Home Café and Marketplace of Bowling Green

By Joyce West | 4/24/16 1:00 PM

Southern fare and storytelling is on the menu at Home Café and Marketplace. Kentucky Life talks to Chef Joshua Poling about his Bowling Green eatery.

Are you in the mood for Pulled Pork Kung Pao Pizza or a Hot Brown Burger? Specialty pizzas and sandwiches are on the menu at Home Café and Marketplace in Bowling Green.

Chef Joshua Poling opened the restaurant in 2011. “It’s a Southern restaurant. Everything has kind of Southern undertones. That’s more a reflection of my upbringing.”

The menu is influenced by food from around the world, however. “Every time you cook, all you’re doing is telling a story. … so many of the dishes here are just stories that I’m telling. It may be just a story from my childhood. It may be a dish that my mom served to me.”

He chose to focus on sandwiches, pizza, and salads because they can sell at an affordable price, Poling said. The restaurant works with local farmers, and what’s available on the menu is driven by the farmers’ market.

For example, an early freeze ended the tomato crop one year, and Poling got “a ton” of green tomatoes. “We made a fried green tomato pizza that was undoubtedly our most popular pizza, our signature pizza,” he said. They used a mustard barbecue sauce, mozzarella cheese, and bacon and buttermilk ranch dressing to complete the pie. “And we finish it with some green onions. So our pizzas are a little bit different.”

Poling said they change the menu every three months. The Reuben sandwich, however, has been a staple on the menu from the beginning. The pastrami is hand-cured on site and even the dressing and sauerkraut are homemade.

What really got people excited about Home Café, though, was Burger Night, Poling said.

Bowling Green is Poling’s hometown, and he appreciates support from the local people. “I had a lady come up to me one day and say Greenwood High School should be so proud of you. That means so much to have somebody from your hometown recognizing that hey, you’re doing this.”

Poling said people from Nashville and Louisville have said they wish the Home Café were in their town. “That puts a little extra pep in your step,” he said.

This segment is part of Kentucky Life episode #2114, which originally aired on April 23, 2016. View the full episode here.