The only constant was change in Lexington’s restaurant scene in 2016, as new restaurants opened to great fanfare, and others closed (sometimes with a bang, more often with a quiet whimper).
CLOSINGS and Transitions
Abuelo’s at the Fayette Mall closed late February. The space re-opened in May as Oak Springs Grill, a new concept featuring comfort food and a selection of bourbons and wines.
One of Lexington’s oldest restaurants, Alfalfa, is up for sale after 43 years in business.
The Cheezy Mac at Fayette Mall closed, following in the footsteps of the closure of the Richmond Road location.
Coba Cocina on Richmond Road closed down in April.
Han Cook In closed shortly after proprietor Lucy Seo appeared on Guy’s Grocery Games on the Food Network in August. Lexington’s first real ramen restaurant, Ramen Ya, took over the location on 1030 South Broadway. Owner Shan Tao, and his wife Jin, also own DY Market on Clays Mill.
JDI Grille, which was located at 319 Cedar Street and South Broadway, closed on New Year’s Day, and the business is for sale.
Lynagh’s Irish Pub at 384 Woodland Avenue near the University of Kentucky campus has been put up for sale.
National Provisions, which was located in the Warehouse Block, closed after five years.
Sal’s Chophouse and Meats BBQ Market in Lansdowne Shoppes closed to make more room for Malone’s Banquets.
Shorty’s, the Urban Market on 163 West Short Street, closed in June five years after the original ribbon cutting. Shorty’s had already closed once in September 2013, but it reopened in January 2014, just in time to save us from the grocery-less downtown abyss caused when the Euclid Kroger closed down for the rooftop parking remodeling project. (School Sushi is expected to open in the former Shorty’s location in 2017.)
Travinia Italian Kitchen closed at the Fayette Mall in November.
The Upstart Crow closed at the corner of Limestone and Short Street, a space formerly occupied by the Jax, Mia’s, Rosetta, and Annabelle’s. (In its place, Chef Jonathan Lundy will open Corto Lima in 2017.)
BIRTHS and Transitions
Big Shake’s Hot Chicken opened on 867 South Broadway. This is the first of multiple locations to be opened in Lexington.
The first BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse in Lexington opened at corner of Nicholsaville Road at the Fayette Mall.
BurgerFi opened its first Kentucky location at Fayette Mall on 141 Rojay Drive in March. Another BurgerFi location is scheduled to open in Coliseum Plaza across from UK campus on Euclid Avenue.
Caldo moved from their location on North Ashland into Proof Fitness Spa at 230 West Main Street.
The building that formerly housed CoachCraft on 360 E. Main Street became Carson’s Food & Drink.
Ranada West-Riley, chef and owner of Lexington Diner, opened Creative Table Kitchen and Catering: a kitchen for catering, private classes, and chef’s table dinners.
District Sport & Tap opened in the former location of Saddle Ridge dance club off South Broadway.
Goodfellas opened in the Pepper Distillery.
Chef Craig de Villiers has opened a second Graze restaurant on South Limestone in place of House of Soul.
Grillfish opened in the former Atomic Cafe location on the corner of Limestone and Third Street.
The Asian restaurant, J2C Bistro, opened within The Lex apartments on South Broadway.
Jax Burgers & Brews opened at Lexington Green on 161 Lexington Green Circle.
J. Render’s BBQ is now not only a local food truck, but a full-on brick & mortar with a patio and full bar. The restaurant opened at 3191 Beaumont Centre Circle in the former Puccini’s Smiling Teeth (which has locations in Chevy Chase and Hamburg at Brighton).
Lexington Pasta opened a bodega, which offers ready-to-eat meals, at 227 N. Limestone.
Lockbox opened at the 21c Museum Hotel on the corner of Main and Upper.
Louie’s Wine Dive opened in Chevy Chase in the location formerly occupied by the Macho Nacho, Glenn’s Creek Brewery, and Buddy’s. This will be the first location in Kentucky.
Maria’s Kitchen moved to the former Willie’s location at 805 North Broadway in March.
Trish Tungate (former owner of the Dish) and John Tresaloni (former owner of the Fishtank) opened Minglewood in the former a la lucie’s location on Limestone.
Mellow Mushroom opened a second location at The Plaza at Lexington Green, in the former location of a movie theater.
Mod Pizza, the Seattle-based pizza chain, opened in the former location of Calistoga at Winchester Road and Sir Barton Way.
The first Nestlé Toll House Café in Kentucky opened on South Broadway and is co-branded with Red Mango.
The second Nothing Bundt Cakes store in Kentucky opened at 2358 Nicholasville Road in November. Cakes range in size from cupcake-sized Bundtinis to 10-inch Bundt cake.
Pivot Brewing, Lexington’s first modern cidery, opened on Delaware Avenue in October. The cidery features more than 11 different ciders on tap, in addition to local beer.
Rock House Brewing opened at 119 Luigart Court in the North Limestone district. In addition to at least five of its own brews on tap, Rock House Brewing will carry other local craft beers.
Table Three Ten has a new chef. Stephen Holden previously worked at Lockbox at 21c, National Provisions and The Apiary. The restaurant is located at 310 West Short Street in Lexington.
Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe opened on Southland Drive in April.
The first Uncle Maddio’s in Lexington opened in February next to the Disco Kroger.
The West Sixth Greenroom opened on 109 W. Main Street. The Greenroom is a “nanobrewery” concept: it operates on a smaller scale than West Sixth, which allows it to experiment with a variety of specialty beers.
For a look at Lexington Food Year in Review for 2016, click here.
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