Lexington’s Alfalfa Restaurant to close after 47 years

Lexington’s Alfalfa Restaurant to close after 47 years

BY KRISTINA ROSEN

In a city where most restaurants are lucky to survive a year or two, Alfalfa Restaurant stuck around for 47.

Alfalfa posted on its Instagram on Saturday, March 14 that it would be closing the following day.

The photo showed a chalk sign outside the front door that said: “We are closing indefinitely after this Sunday. Come in to say Goodbye.”

ace archives

Over a week went by before Alfalfa officially announced on their Facebook page that indefinitely meant for good.

“After much consideration we’ve decided that we will not be able to re-open Alfalfa once it is safe to do so. We appreciate everyone’s help and support over the past two years.”

The post continued, “If anyone is interested in carrying on the legacy of Alfalfa and would like to discuss taking over the restaurant message us. Good luck to everyone on getting through these difficult times.”

The restaurant first opened its doors in Lexington in 1973. Throughout the 90s, they won Best Pancake in Ace’s Best of Lexington Readers’ Poll so many times that the category was eventually retired.

For over thirty years, Alfalfa Restaurant lived in the same little hole on Limestone across from UK’s campus until it moved to a new home on Main Street in 2004.

Over the next 31 years, the restaurant grew into what Sarah Tackett described as,  “an unofficial home for hippies and suits alike. Birkenstocks and Blahniks, bohemians and bankers co-exist amicably among the patronage—and there’s something to be said for a restaurant that has built a sort of diverse enclave that transcends just about every existing boundary in Lexington (rich and poor; black and white; downtowners and suburbanites)—a restaurant that has lasted 31 years in a town where most are lucky to survive one.”

Alfalfa celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2013. Three years later, the Lexington culinary institution was put up for sale by owners Jimm Happ and Betsey Moses.

Over the next couple of years, Alfalfa Restaurant ownership continued to change frequently.

During summer 2017, new ownership took over. The new owners were no strangers to Lexington’s restaurant scene — Salvador Sanchez of A Cup of Common Wealth and Chocolate Holler along with Cameron and Kevin Heathcoat of popular Bourbon n’ Toulouse and Chevy Chase Inn.

About a year later in 2018, ownership changed one last time when Amy Messer of Lynagh’s bought the restaurant with business partner Joe McGinley of Cosmic Charlie’s.

Over the past 47 years, Alfalfa developed into a community hub that transcended location and ownership evolution. Whether or not the restaurant is reincarnated, we can all agree almost everybody in Lexington has an Alfalfa memory, and its legacy will live on.

 


 

Subscribe to the Ace e-dition for Lexington news, arts, culture, food, and entertainment news delivered to your inbox.

Call today to advertise in Ace, 859.225.4889