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a la lucie
159 N. Limestone. Lexington's special occasion address. Regarded as one of the region's best. Award winning menu with extensive wine list. Open 10-6, Mon-Sat.Reservations recommended. 252.5277

557 S. Limestone 253-0014. Voted best pancakes by Ace readers in the Best of Lexington poll year after year. Winner of 2001's "Best Veggie Friendly Restaurant." Vegetarian, chicken, and seafood entrees available. Homemade baked goods and desserts. Weekend brunch. Live music. Free evening parking behind the building. Daily specials. Open for lunch, Monday - Friday 11-2. Dinner, Tuesday-Thursday 5:30-9, Friday 5:30-10. Brunch, Saturday and Sunday 10-2.

Billy's Bar-B-Q
101 Cochran Rd. At the corner of High St. in Chevy Chase. 269-9593. Genuine Western Kentucky style pit barbecue and fixins. Dine in/ carry out/ catering/ bulk deliveries. We're the home grown guys. Open M-Th 11am-9pm, F-Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 11:30am-8pm.

Cafe Jennifer
111 Woodland Ave at the Woodlands Condominiums, 255-0709. A cozy restaurant featuring Kentucky favorites, using locally grown produce. Lunch and Dinner daily, Mon.-Sat. Pub room atmosphere in the well-stocked bar and private room available for small gatherings.

Common Grounds

343 East High Street 233-9761 Voted #1 coffeehouse year after year by ACE readers. Fresh treats available daily in the bakery. Night life is great, too: Open mic Mondays, vinyl record night on Tuesdays (Bring your own jazz or blues!). Call about art exhibits.

The Depot
128 East Main St., Midway 846-4745 Eclectic creations with a down home flavor serving Central Kentucky and beyond. Good times abound at “The Depot” in Midway, six days a week for lunch and Thursday, Friday & Saturday for dinner.

Ed and Fred’s Desert Moon
148 Grand Blvd. 231-1161 American Cuisine at affordable prices. Enjoy gourmet pizzas, fresh pasta, specialty salads and sandwiches, and a wide array of entrees in an informal yet elegant atmosphere. Wonderful wine list! Patio dining and banquet facilities. Lunch: 11a-3p Tue-Fri; Dinner: Tue-Sun.

Emmett’s Restaurant
Off Tates Creek Road, south of Man O’ War, offers innovative Southern cooking in a renovated farmhouse featuring a cozy bar, casual patio dining and seven lovely dining rooms. Dinner served Mon.-Sun. beginning at 5:30 PM and Sunday brunch from 11 AM-2 PM. Reservations accepted. 245-4444.

521 West Short Street. 455-9660 Where tradition meets style. Five course tea service at noon and 3 pm Wed-Sat. in an atmosphere of understated elegance. Reservations required. Greentree also offers graceful service and imaginative cuisine demonstrating fine Southern hospitality for professional meetings, club events, and every wedding occasion.

Happy Dragon Chinese Buffet
1510 Newtown Pike, 859-388-9988. All you can eat chinese buffet. Over 120 items daily, featuring fresh seafood, beef, chicken, pork, soups, salads, fruits... and much more! Open Sun. to Thurs. 11am - 10pm, Fri.& Sat. 11am - 10:30pm.

The Homestead
The Homestead Restaurant offers superb regional cuisine in a classic and beautiful setting. A warm and cozy ambience naturally complements the traditional southern dishes prepared by Executive Chef Tony Cortez. With a charming bar, a romantic patio, and laid back live entertainment, The Homestead is the perfect spot for any occasion. The Homestead is open for dinner six nights a week. They are closed on Sundays, except during Keeneland and on some holidays. Dinner: 5:30 Mon-Thur,, 5:00 on Fri & Sat.

Imperial Hunan
Woodhill. 266-4393. One of Lexington's oldest and finest Chinese restaurants. Voted Best Kung Pao by Ace readers. Don't forget the Sunday Buffet. " Hours: Sun-Thurs 11:30am-10pm, Fri 11:30am-11pm, Sat Noon-11pm

Jonathan at
Gratz Park

120 West Second Street 252-4949 Redefined regional cuisine served in our Southern dining room or in the English pub room. Signature items and daily specials, every entrée a Jonathan original. Festive Sunday brunch from 11:30-2 pm. Reservations suggested. Also call us for intimate dinner parties, fabulous banquets, business lunches, pre-wedding events to the reception.

Mancino’s Pizza
& Grinders

1590A Leestown RD. 253-2299. First in Kentucky with HOT oven grinders! A taste of New York right here in Lexington. Everything from the traditional Mancino’s Pride pizza to the “New” Zesty Ranch Pizza. All Grinders are oven baked and served Hot from the oven. Everything made to order. Mon-Fri 11am-8pm; 11am-3pm Sat

Natasha's Cafe
112 Esplanade. A look and a feel of the Bleeker Street in the Village. A taste of Mediterranean cuisine interpreted by talented poet and chef Johnny Shipley. Lunch Buffet 11-2, Dinner 5-9. Lighter fair and exotic coffees in between. Fine dining for any income bracket.

Pacific Pearl
Chinoe Plaza. Boldly fusing Asian and American flavors. Coconut fried lobster, King Crab legs in ginger butter, and Grilled Yellowfin Tuna are just a few of the items that represent this extensive menu. Dining room, patio and bar offers elegant decor. Open 5-10 pm, Sun-Thu. and 5-11 pm, Fri and Sat. Reservations recommended. 266.1611

Scarborough Fare
355 Romany Road. 859.266.8704. A gourmand’s delight, featuring an array of entrees that will tickle your fancy and menu changes daily. Sample the mouth-watering desserts and you’ll be back to feed your newest addiction. Special dinners prepared daily. Café dining, or gourmet carryout for those on the go. Open Monday-Saturday 10-8.

l Pass the PR, Please

To plunge yourself headlong into a new business, open your life to the public, and give the majority of your hours and sweat to a virtual pinpoint of a goal that will be reached far down the road takes courage and initiative. To make sure that everyone knows about your new venture and how it will affect his or her life takes marketing, and that is the difficult part. Unfortunately, great ideas have fallen by the wayside because people have not known how or why to do the legwork necessary to make a dream become a reality.

For example, in the food industry it is easy to hide in the kitchen (there is plenty of work to do) and avoid contact with clients and potential clients - expecting the food to do the talking for you - but it doesn't work that way. It is a constant effort. Your face has to be seen and remembered and your name should be bounced around until, when dropped, it causes an appropriate exclamation of recognition. You must also work tirelessly not only at your business duties but at interacting with the public, learning more about your craft, writing press releases, and advertising. It's a delicate balancing act that you hope to achieve, unless you are Chris and Ouita Michel, owners of the historic Holly Hill Inn in Midway, KY, who have allowed another company to help with the balancing act. They have hired a public relations firm (FSA) for their marketing decisions.

I was surprised when I first heard about this, not for their resourcefulness but for my ignorance. I was not aware that smaller businesses such as restaurants would benefit so greatly from this idea. The firm handles all of their newsletters, direct mailings and press releases, and really pushes their name out there, both locally and nationally.

The process of turning over your marketing to a public relations firm begins with a long interview. This information creates the biographies, fact sheets, and press releases necessary to assemble a press kit, which is shopped around to the local press and then distributed more regionally to such magazines as Kentucky Living. Gradually, the geographical boundaries start spreading and leading towards magazines such as Southern Living. Look for Ouita and Holly Hill in an issue this spring. There is also a publicist's convention where marketers try to pitch their clients to food writers and publishers to give them more publicity in other areas of the country.

FSA Public Relations, in Louisville, specializes in "food and hospitality media relations." The names that they work with and represent are big (some adoring, some annoying), obscure, and familiar. It seems to be a nice mix that can come together for publicity events and reach various types of food interests.

With that said, I modestly submit that the Michels have to be one of the hardest working couples in the local food business.

Chris and Ouita met in New York at the Culinary Institute of America where they both graduated with honors, married, moved to Lexington, and began working immediately towards their goal of owning a restaurant. Both of them worked at several restaurants in different capacities and have, according to them, "learned from every job and every project, and every meal eaten in restaurants, and have applied those lessons to the Holly Hill Inn."

As well as attending to the front of the house (where the restaurant is housed), Chris is currently working on becoming a Master Sommelier, which will allow him to discuss wine tasting and how it enhances food, wine production methods and regions, and the proper decanting process and accouterments. This course is in three parts, each becoming increasingly difficult, and ends in a tasting exam in which a candidate must identity grape, country, and vintage of six wines in twenty-five minutes.

Ouita has involved herself in many projects other than the immense one of owning a restaurant where she is executive chef. She is former president of the local chapter of the American Culinary Federation, a non-profit, professional organization for chefs that expands opportunities to increase skills and knowledge and works philanthropically with the community. Also, as the leader of the "Days of Taste" for the Kentucky chapter of the American Institute of Wine & Food, she and other members have gone into elementary schools and worked with children to teach good nutrition and have visited farms and restaurants to learn more about the process of foods.

Next month she will be on stage in Louisville with three other chefs with esteemed bios, demonstrating her cooking skills and entertaining at a benefit for the International Association of Culinary Professionals Foundation. This is what lots of hard work and some great marketing will get you. The fame will arrive forthwith and soon we will be attaching her name to Lexington ("Oh, yes, she's from here."), and saying we knew her when...

Please email your culinary heads-ups to Karen at