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Miguel’s Pizza at Red River Gorge

Miguel’s Pizza has been catering to climbers since the 1980s. Kentucky Life visits the iconic shop near the Red River Gorge.

The Red River Gorge is perhaps Kentucky’s best-known outdoor destination, attracting rock climbers from around the world. Miguel’s Pizza, located in the nearby community of Slade, has made a name for itself by meeting the needs of these visiting climbers.

In the early 1980s, Miguel Ventura purchased a vacant building that had once been a craft store. He turned it into a popular ice cream shop. Miguel’s son, Dario, now the manager of Miguel’s Pizza, explains that climbers visiting the gorge would ask to camp on the property’s lawn. As it became a regular camping location, climbers suggested Miguel offer more substantial fare to refuel at the end of the day, and the pizza shop was born.

Today, Miguel’s is known for creating high-quality food from scratch. They source local, seasonal ingredients whenever possible. After working up an appetite at the Gorge, diners can try some unusual toppings on their Miguel’s pizza, such as sweet potato, corn, or even pasta.

Miguel’s caters to its core customer base, offering climbing gear for sale in the restaurant. The camping side of the business is much more official than it was in those early days, with rooms and cabins available alongside five acres for tent camping. The property can even be rented for weddings and receptions.

For more on Miguel’s food, camping, wedding rentals, and more, visit

This video is part of Kentucky Life episode #1917, which originally aired on April 19, 2014. View the full episode here.