New concept LOX takes over lunchtime space at RYE

Lunchtime at RYE is now LOX. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

NuLu has another dining option for lunch.

LOX, which opened Sept. 14 as a concept-within-a-concept at RYE, focuses on cured salmon and bagels, among other sandwich and salad options.

Lox, the Jewish term for brined salmon, is a staple in East Coast Jewish delicatessens — Russ & Daughters was cited as an example of LOX’s inspiration — and is often served as a sandwich on a bagel. Brined salmon from Nova Scotia is often called Nova lox, while in some countries it is referred to as Gravlax.

RYE Chef Zach Chancey said with some former New Yorkers in house, a lox and bagels concept seemed appropriate.

“That kind of food is kind of a favorite around here,” he told Insider.

Brined salmon on a bagel is one of the features at LOX. | Courtesy of LOX

The salmon is being prepared in house, brined for three or four days in salt and sugar, with a few spices. The result is a refreshing, salty meat that can be eaten as a stand-alone, on a sandwich or with various sides.

One menu item at LOX is salmon and eggs, a simple pairing of gravlax, sunny-side eggs and rye toast. Of course, there’s a salmon bagel with cream cheese, red onion, capers and fresh dill.

(I tried the latter and found it to be tasty and refreshing, with the cream cheese balancing the saltiness of the salmon nicely.)

The idea for a concept-within-a-concept carries over a bit from Galaxie, which is owned by Thor Morgan and Doug Petry, the same partners who own RYE and LOX. But Chancey said he was in a bar in Puerto Rico when he first saw such a concept in action.

The space, he said, had numerous bars, and each one was distinctly different from the others, giving the experience of being in several places at once.

“Every bar was a different theme,” Chancey said. And so when the idea for LOX was conceived, it made sense to do away with RYE lunch and create a new concept rather than start from scratch.

“We thought, ‘Why do we need another brick and mortar when we have this?’” Chancey said.

“We envision LOX as a go-to destination for Louisville’s lunch crowd,” Morgan said in a media statement, calling the menu a “labor of love.”

Zach Chancey | Courtesy of LOX

Of course, while brined salmon is the centerpiece of that menu, with a salmon tartare dish another feature, there are other go-to items that will appeal to those who aren’t into seafood. The cobb salad can be had with salmon, shrimp or turkey salad, while there are a couple of basic sandwiches like roast beef or turkey avocado.

Sides include items such as chickpea and red quinoa salad, black pepper potato chips, or even bacon. In addition, there is a $50 party platter for catering lunch meetings that feeds up to six and includes salmon, smoked trout dip, pickled shrimp, plus bagels and garnishes.

While the menu is currently limited, Chancey said customers will “definitely see some expansion.” That expansion might not come for several weeks.

“Right now, we’re trying to see what’s selling and not selling,” he said.

The plan is to potentially add more Jewish deli-style items and sandwiches, mentioning pastrami as a possible addition. He also said the plan is to add benedictine for a more local flair.

“Because we’re not New York City, we’re Louisville, Ky.,” he noted.

In addition, some cosmetic renovations, including new lighting, painting and art, were done at RYE to help make way for the concept and to celebrate RYE’s fifth anniversary. The media release explained the goal was to give the dining area a “comfortable, relaxed atmosphere.”

LOX serves lunch Thursday through Monday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. A full bar is available during lunch. Catering orders can be placed by phone at 749-6200 or online.