Chef Stephen Williams finds it difficult to classify
his restaurant.“Some people call us French-Southern with an American
twist, but we also do Chinese, Indian and South American,” says
Williams. “You can’t really label us. We just love to cook.”
That’s because the Bouquet Restaurant and Wine Bar
never has a menu set in stone. The meals depend on available produce and
ingredients from local farms.
“We don’t do anything out of a can,” says Williams,
who serves as head chef and owner. “It’s all fresh and we make the most
of the ingredients.”
His menu includes everything from Kentucky lamb rack
with potatoes, mushrooms and beans, to tofu with fresh vegetables and
Williams’ culinary provocations begin with a small but tight-knit staff, which meets each week to discuss menu items.
“Everyone here is just as much into the craft as I am,” says Williams. “You have to have a passion to be in this business.”
Their collaboration results in an elegant and
delectable menu derived from Northern Kentucky’s farm-raised animals and
“It takes creativity and ingenuity and that’s the fun part,” he says.
For six years, Williams has called the Bouquet his
home. He used to live above the restaurant with his girlfriend and
general manager, Jessica Cotrell. The couple moved out in 2012, but
they’re renovating their old living quarters to seat 60 more people in
With white tablecloths, wooden floors, chairs and
ceiling fans, Bouquet has a classic upscale Southern feel. It’s a
fitting environment for a restaurant located in Covington’s historic
“I love it here,” says Williams. “Everyone is chill and not in too much of a hurry.”
Bouquet also has more than 200 bottles of wine and
was voted best restaurant for overall excellence in the 2013 Best of
NKY. Williams believes it validates all the effort he’s put into the
“It can be a lot of work sometimes, but I love coming to work so its worth it,” he says.