Food Friday – Top Tier Tacos


Love Shack and Greek Goddess tacos (front to back) from Agave and Rye in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo by Ella Dye.

Words by Lily Cashman

If you are anything like me, then one of your favorite activities is going out to fun restaurants with your friends. A go-to for my friend group is tacos; over the years we have marked a few as top notch!

Last spring, past On the Record staffer Ella Dye and I set out on a mission: to agree upon the best taco restaurant in Louisville. And after spending nearly two months and way too much of our money visiting one taco restaurant per week, we came to a clear consensus. 

Agave and Rye. 

Before last spring, I had never heard of this restaurant before, but when another On the Record staffer found out about our story she told us we had to check it out. It ended up being the first taco restaurant we visited and it set the expectations high for the rest of our search.

Located off of Baxter Avenue, it is right on the edge of Louisville’s Nulu area, an up-in-coming space in our city that has lots of food and small shop options. 

From the outside, the building’s large, painted, “Save The Bees” mural drew us in immediately and allowed the restaurant to fit in with the rest of Nulu’s art ambience. 

We had no issues finding parking since we went mid-afternoon on a weekday, but don’t fret over parking even if you choose to visit at a busier hour, as there is a large parking lot around the backside of the building.

When we walked in, we were greeted by a hostess that took us to our seats in a small red booth, perfect for two people.

We were immediately impressed with the dual-sided service card they gave us upon arriving. One side read, “Hola!” and the other, “Just Chillin’.” If the “Just Chillin’” side was up we were able to have a conversation without getting interrupted by our waiter, yet whenever we needed something, all we had to do was flip over the card. This is such a simple but respectful touch that made this experience one to remember.

Another feature we really enjoyed was the mural that coated the entire side wall. The mural was brightly painted and incorporated Muhammed Ali and horses to give it a more local feel, even though Agave and Rye isn’t.

Once we got settled in, we started simple with chips and queso. We were shocked at the thickness of the tortilla chips, but to our surprise they were actually really crispy and had the perfect amount of salt. The chips were some of the best we tried for dipping into the queso at any of the taco restaurants, as they didn’t break at all. 

We spent a long time reading over the massive list of taco options that they had to offer. And while they had the usual basics like, “The Plain Jane” and birria tacos, we were intrigued by the weird flavor combos that we saw on their menu.

For instance, Ella ended up ordering The Rooster taco, which included, “Crispy Chicken, Mac N Cheese, Nashville Hot Sauce, and Sweet Pickles.” She was a little nervous about how it would turn out, but ended up saying it was awesome! The chicken was seasoned well and had a nice crunch, while the mac was super creamy.

The original combos didn’t end there, though. I ended up ordering the Greek Goddess, which consisted of a “Guac Cushion, Falafel Fritters, Tabouli, Vegan Cucumber Tzatziki, and Crispy Carrots.”

Something unique to Agave and Rye is their “Love Cushions,” a filling you can add between the two taco shells. The outside taco shell is soft while the inside one is crunchy. This makes the massive tacos a bit easier to eat, since the shell isn’t ripping and the taco contents aren’t falling all over the place. There are all sorts of different Love Cushions offered and you can add them to any taco you choose.

My taco was delicious, and my favorite part was the crispy carrots on top. I could eat a whole bucket of them by themselves. I know that carrots are a staple topping on some of their other tacos, so look out for them if you choose to go.

Another thing Agave and Rye prioritizes is being dietarily inclusive, which I think is an important aspect for any restaurant. The Greek Goddess was one of their Vegan options, but they also have a handful of others if you are vegetarian and/or gluten free. 

While the Greek Goddess is no longer on the menu, it’s for a good reason. Their taco menu is always changing so they can come up with new unique ideas and ingredients. That’s what makes this place so exciting: you never know what you are going to find, and it pushes you to try flavors that you never expected to be good. 

After an appetizer and one taco, we were both stuffed. So while seven or more dollars may seem like a lot for a single taco, it could be your entire meal. 

Ella and I were impressed with Agave and Rye’s constant push to grow as a restaurant. While I was back over the summer, my waiter asked me to fill out a survey to talk about my dining experience and I thought that was a smart way to see where their areas of growth still are.

Overall; the service, creativity of recipes, and ambience made this restaurant stand out amongst others in our city. The small booths with dim lighting that we were sitting in would be great for a date night, while there are also large hightops if you want to go with friends. In the warmer months, the large deck out back provides lots of additional seating, too! This restaurant is truly perfect for just about any occasion.