Rye on Market
Rye on Market is a staple in the Louisville food scene, located in the Nulu (New Louisville) area on Market St. just east of downtown. Rye is serving up amazing food made from the best ingredients that comprise a menu that changes to reflect the season's offerings. These incredible dishes are also accompanied by some of the best cocktails in Louisville. Eater.com has placed Rye on its “18 Essential Louisville Restaurants” list and is a local favorite. Executive Chef Tyler Morris has a background from both coasts of the US, from Sonoma, CA to New York City, he brings his vision and passion for food to Rye.
Growing up in Sonoma, California, Morris found his appreciation for food. Getting his first job in a kitchen in Sonoma led him to culinary career that was grown in New York City. Moving to New York he was engaged with a creative community that shaped his culinary outlook, “My brother and my sister are both in the art world in New York. So there was a natural progression in to food and art. My sister and I in our off time started doing supper clubs and small catering events out of our house.” Tyler also has been influenced by some of the best chefs in New York, “I think that the most influential are the people that I’ve worked with, April Bloomfield and Tom Colicchio, are the most notable, and they have done a lot and inspired a whole generation of cooks.” Sharpening his skills under the best in New York, he brings his world class culinary skill set to Rye.
His time in New York was not just great for his growth as a chef, but also the place where he made his connection that brought him to Louisville. Morris stated, “I was working at The Breslin… and that is where I met Michael Trager, who was in my kitchen and is from Louisville… he approached me about opening a restaurant and initially we thought about New York and we reconsidered and made the move to Louisville.” Thus the move to Louisville began along with the vision of bringing a restaurant with big city style that embraced the uniqueness of Louisville and its heart for local businesses. “There were a lot of people who were welcoming, I think a lot of people were excited to have us come in and do the concept that we wanted to do." Rye entered into Nulu area and fit right into the neighborhood and helped make Nulu one of the most intriguing neighborhoods in the country. "We wanted to push the envelope, to open a restaurant that didn't feel that it needed to conform to the status quo."
Since Rye's opening on East Market, it has sought to innovate not only what they put in front of the customer, but where and who it comes from. "I think there are always trends....myself, I was into the molecular gastronomy thing, a conceptual approach to preparing food and modernist food. I like all of that. At least at this time, I am starting to go back to simple food, not messing with things as much." It is that approach to food and that has allowed Rye to build relationships with local farmers and suppliers to help bring in fresh meat and produce to serve. The result was creating a unique dining experience and menu that varies with the season, all the while providing the freshest ingredients. Louisville has allowed for this to develop, "I mean, I know where food comes from, but I didn't have an opportunity to interact with farmers and purveyors, which is probably the biggest difference between New York and here." Rye is truly pioneering the way in the ever growing food scene in Louisville. When asked what was most encouraging about Louisville's food scene, Morris carefully gathered his thoughts and stated, "The most encouraging trend in food is literacy, a want from the public to know where their food is coming from is very strong here in comparison to other cities of similar and larger sizes"
Tyler also gave some thoughts on where he thought food was going in our growing city, "I would like to see more ethnic restaurants, more cultural things... with information being shared. More often these divisions of geography are broken down and it's not weird to have Cambodian food here... I think that inevitably things will start blending together... and that will be exciting." Often we have a thought of chefs always eating at only the top premiere restaurants but Tyler says the opposite is true, when talking about his favorite restaurants he gave a surprising answer, "I don't eat at really nice restaurants often. I like anything ethnic. I like El Molcajete, on South 4th St. and central, near Churchill downs, its really authentic Mexican." As another order comes in through the backdoor, Tyler checks out what is being brought in while sipping on his coffee, its obvious that he has a passion for good food. "Louisville has been good to my family, it surprised us in a lot of ways, we had no connection to it before we moved here. All we had were stereotypes of what it would be like... but people here are kind and not pretentious. Its been interesting that I have never met anyone who hasn't liked it here... There is a lot of opportunity, its got a lot of things going for it." Tyler and his family have found a home here in Louisville and so has the food Rye puts on its plates for the people of Louisville, and that is a good thing for its diners and the local food culture of Louisville.
Article authored by: Andrew Cenci
Photos by: Aaron Oneal
Rye Photo Gallery