Not a day goes by in Lexington, Kentucky that someone doesn’t ask via twitter or facebook where to find the best breakfast or brunch in Lexington. Or where to find any breakfast or brunch, along with the commonly expressed sentiment that what we really need in Lexington is breakfast and brunch delivery (which is completely true).
This segment of Ace ‘s purely opinionated chain-free Dining Guide (one of ten parts, including downtown, Chevy Chase, campus, popular breakfasts and brunch spots, coffee, international markets, beer guide, patios, etc) focuses on Lexington’s local-oriented breakfast and brunch options. Call ahead for hours, and what’s in stock on any given morning.
Alfalfa 141 E. Main Street Suite 190 Lexington KY 859.253.0014. Opened in the 70s, Alfalfa relocated from its 30 year home on UK campus to downtown, next door to the Arts Center in 2004. And the Birkenstocks followed. Weekend brunch highlights include the buckwheat blueberry pancakes, but if you’re feeling more Lunch-y than Brunch-y, the Hoppin John and Alfalfa avocado grill will do nicely.
Doodle’s 262 N. Limestone Lexington KY 859.317.8507. Located in a former gas station, this space is an excellent example of adaptive reuse. Ugh with the Fast Casual service that’s becoming entirely too popular these days (you order; you pay; you pour yourself a drink; someone brings your food or you go fetch it), but otherwise, it’s a nice thing to find a New Orleans-meets-Kentucky Proud menu. Local Caffe Marco Coffee. The beignets are more like a funnelcake or a zeppole than anything at Cafe DuMonde, but no complaints. Try the dirty (local, Weisenberger) shrimp and grits.
Dudley’s 259 W. Short Street. 859.252.1010. Dudley’s downtown benefits from all the nearby church traffic for Sunday brunch, and from pleasant turns on Southern classics like Crab Benedict.
First Watch has locations on Richmond Road and Broadway, offering a healthy approach to traditional breakfast, brunch, and lunch items.
Hanna’s on Lime 214 S. Limestone Lexington KY 859.252.6264 Breakfast options for downtowners include both a quick start (two eggs and bacon or sausage) and a running start (a fried egg and bacon sandwich).
Joseph-Beth’s Bronte Bistro 161 Lexington Green Circle. 859.422.1429. Unlike the close quarters offered by most coffee shops and many other breakfast spots, there is room to work, and room to avoid neighboring conversations.
Josie’s 821 Chevy Chase Place Lexington KY 859.523.8328. This place started as a “grab and go” carry-out from the former Murray’s owners before evolving into a few incarnations and eventually becoming a breakfast/brunch/lunch spot for Chevy Chasers in search of pancakes, omelets, etc.
Magee’s 726 E. Main Street Lexington KY 859.255.9481. Family owned bakery. Breakfast, lunch, and sweets.
National Boulangerie 264 Walton Ave Lexington KY 859.303.4763. From the team that brought you Wine + Market and Table 310 downtown, comes their latest venture, a French-inspired bakery, bordering the National Avenue renaissance (in the sweet spot just between Kenwick, Bell Court, and downtown, just off the requisite hipster railroad tracks on Winchester Road). This is phase one of National Provisions (set to include a brasserie, wine shop, beer garden, and grocery/market).
North Lime Coffee and Donuts 575 N. Limestone Lexington KY 859.414.6654 opened September 2012. Try the Key Lime glazed, and (of course), the funnelcake. On its first day of soft open, they sold out of donuts around 3 pm. BYOI (Bring Your Own Insulin).
Ramsey’s in Chevy Chase
500 E. High Street Lexington KY has relocated to Zandale, across Nicholasville Road from the Zandale Center (behind Burger King). 859.259.2708. Although Ramsey’s is known for their meat and three (and pie), they also serve breakfast any time the regular kitchen is open. In addition to omelets to order, their classic breakfast combo offers up to five eggs, plus bacon, plus sausage, and toast, and pancakes, and potatoes. You pick as much or as little as you like (but no sharing).
Shakespeare and Co at 367 Short Street opens at 7:30 am for breakfast, a massive convenience for business diners in search of a power breakfast downtown.
Spalding’s 760 Winchester Road Lexington KY 859.252.3737 If you don’t pick up these donuts for breakfast, you’re probably not going to get a taste of this Lexington classic at all. They close when they sell out, and as of this writing, they only accepted cash, so hit the ATM on your way there.
Stella’s Deli 143 Jefferson Street. 859.255.3354. Stella’s was an early entry into what is now the Jefferson Street renaissance and dining corridor when old-time regulars got accustomed to a weekend brunch buffet. There’s no more buffet, but the Pick Three and Pick Four options are more generously portioned than the weekday lunches, while highlighting the usual locally-sourced ingredients, like Weisenberger grits in all-you-can-eat amounts. It’s close quarters if you get there for weekend brunch during peak hours, but side patio seating in the summer eases the rush hours. (It is now open for dinner as well.)
Sunrise Bakery 111 W. Main Street Lexington KY. 859.255.0304. Fresh-baked pastries, breads, cookies, etc. in a family-owned spot on Main. (Breads include baguettes, whole wheat, French, semolina, ciabatta, foccacia, salt bagels, brioche, etc)
Table 310 310 W. Short Street. 859.252.5277. The favorite French-inspired small plates experience is now open for weekend brunch. The croque madame is already a favorite.
Tolly Ho 606 S. Broadway Do not bring any fauncy brunch expectations to the Ho. This is breakfast, for late shifters, late drinkers, and everyone in between, when only a fried egg will do.
Wild Eggs Palomar Center. It offers items like a Frito Bandito Frittata, and other contemporary twists on typical breakfast, brunch and lunch fare. It’s open Monday thru Friday 6:30 am to 2:30 pm, and on weekends, 7 am to 3 pm. The Lexington location is the first franchisee operation for the Louisville-based restaurant chain, and more are on the way in western Kentucky.
Windy Corner Market 4595 Bryan Station Road. Lexington. 859.294.9338. Another successful entry from one of Lexington’s best and brightest culinary entrepreneurs, Chef Ouita Michel (Holly Hill Inn, Wallace Station). Southern casual.
Winchell’s 348 Southland Drive Lexington KY 859.278.9424 If you go to only one sports bar for breakfast/brunch, it should be Winchell’s. A BLT and egg sandwich sounds pretty standard, but it’s better. The specials vary from weekend to weekend (probably based on what did and didn’t sell out from dinner the night before), and folks line up into the parking lot to see what CIA trained Chef Graham Waller (an Emmett’s alum) will cook up. (He prepared a 60-course feast for his father, Greg Waller’s, 60th birthday. Greg Waller was a UK film professor for many years, and a contributing film writer for Ace in the 80s and 90s).
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