Actors Theatre of Louisville Announce Name and Opening of Restaurant

by Jacob Coakley


Chef Edward Lee’s restaurant Milkwood will open at Actors Theatre of Louisville Feb. 8.
Chef Edward Lee’s restaurant Milkwood will open at Actors Theatre of Louisville Feb. 8.

Last August the Actors Theatre of Louisville announced that Chef Edward Lee would take over their restaurant space, and now they’ve announced the restaurant’s name, theme and opening date. The new restaurant, Milkwood, will open to the public on Feb. 8 will feature a menu of “comfort food with an Asian pantry.” The restaurant was named as a tribute to Dylan Thomas’ Under Milkwood—a play for multiple voices about the inhabitants of a colorful and whimsical village that Lee reflects is “much like Louisville” in its representation of an “authentically one-of-kind community.”


Nationally Acclaimed Chef Edward Lee's Much Anticipated New Restaurant MilkWood Will Offer Comfort Food With An Asian Pantry

Louisville, KY– Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Managing Director, Jennifer Bielstein and Artistic Director, Les Waters are thrilled to announce that nationally recognized Executive Chef Edward Lee’s much-anticipated new restaurant MilkWood will open to the public officially on February 8. Situated in the heart of Main Street and housed in the lower level of Actors Theatre of Louisville’s theatre complex, the modern bar-restaurant will boast a menu featuring comfort food with an Asian pantry.

Jennifer Bielstein said, "We are honored to partner with Edward Lee in this new endeavor at Actors Theatre. Lee’s inquisitive and passionate approach to food is the perfect complement to the work we create at Actors and we could not be more thrilled to have his energy and creativity in our building. MilkWood will offer a relaxed gathering space for our patrons to enjoy a perfect evening at the theatre!"

Edward Lee added, "I am excited to be part of the history and the enthusiasm that Actors Theatre has brought to the arts community of Louisville. Our goal is to be as creative with our food as the theatre has been with their productions."

MilkWood aspires to be a communal and convivial gathering space for diners. The restaurant’s name pays homage to Dylan Thomas’ Under Milkwood—a heartwarming play for multiple voices about the inhabitants of a colorful and whimsical village that Lee reflects is “much like Louisville” in its representation of an “authentically one-of-kind community.” Under Milkwood was also, coincidentally, the play with which former Artistic Director Jon Jory made his Actors debut with in 1969. Lee and his team have created a space that imbues a casual yet refined ambiance that Lee hopes, like the restaurant’s name, will evoke a “comforting and nurturing atmosphere”.

MilkWood will seat 75 in the dining room and 25 at the bar. Described as comfort food with an Asian pantry, the menu will feature enticing small plates like Asian Fried Chicken and Smoked Brisket offering creative and surprising twists on familiar dishes. Chef Kevin Ashworth has been appointed to operate the kitchen and run the restaurant on a daily basis. Ashworth has been an integral team member at 610 Magnolia for the past two years. Appetizers will range from $7-$12 with main courses priced from $12-$22, making the restaurant competitively priced with neighboring downtown restaurants. A full bar, featuring wine-on-tap, craft beers and a cocktail list will also be available.

The restaurant will be open Tuesday – Sunday with dinner service beginning at 5.30 p.m. MilkWood will begin taking reservations on February 4, 2013. These can be made by calling 502-584-MILK (6455) or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information, visit

Chef Edward Lee

Originally from Brooklyn, NYC, Chef Lee took the helm of 610 Magnolia in 2004, the elegant fine dining restaurant located in Old Louisville. Under Lee’s vision the restaurant has earned the reputation for being the area’s finest dining destination, garnering praise for its unique combination of southern hospitality and urban sophistication. In addition, Lee has developed a national reputation as a Kentucky Chef at the forefront of the Farm to Table movement and the Chef and 610 Magnolia have been featured in Bon Appetit, Food & Wine,the New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Saveur, Organic Style, Southern Living, Gourmet Magazine, MSNBC and the BBC’s “The World”. He was a finalist for the James Beard Foundation Awards Best Chef: Southwest in 2011 and 2012. Most recently he was propelled into national stardom when he won Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” in a battle that featured tongues and cheeks and he was a firm favorite during his recent appearance on Bravo's "Top Chef: Texas, Season 9."

About Actors Theatre of Louisville

Les Waters, Artistic Director

Jennifer Bielstein, Managing Director

Now in its 49th season, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the State Theatre of Kentucky, has emerged as one of America's most consistently innovative professional theatre companies. Actors Theatre’s programming includes a broad range of classical and contemporary work, presenting more than 500 performances each season. The company performs annually to nearly 200,000 people and is the recipient of the most prestigious awards bestowed on a regional theatre: a special Tony® Award for Distinguished Achievement, the James N. Vaughan Memorial Award for Exceptional Achievement and Contribution to the Development of Professional Theatre, and the Margo Jones Award for the Encouragement of New Plays. Actors Theatre's international appearances include performances in over 29 cities in 15 foreign countries. Currently, there are more than 40 books of plays and criticism from Actors Theatre in publication and circulation.