BY KRISTINA ROSEN
Hidden within the industrial landscape of the Jefferson Street corridor sits a luxurious venue (with a Jon-Carloftis designed exterior) and a home for Lexington’s new ever-changing dining experience. Starting in August, Apiary Fine Catering & Events will introduce OMAGE, their new ephemeral culinary concept.
Before the pandemic, it was nearly impossible to experience Apiary unless invited to a private event at the venue and even entry on that was tough. Given a normal year, Apiary would be booked with weddings or private events almost every weekend, especially in the summer. OMAGE was developed as a way for Apiary to curate events during a time when many events have been cancelled because of the pandemic.
“What we are creating is a unique dining experience in Lexington that leverages all the aspects we do well which is food, service, and ambience,” says Cooper Vaughan, Chef-Proprietor of Apiary.
“The idea of OMAGE is that it’s ephemeral. It’s there and then it’s not. These are events that happen and then they go. So, if you want to be a part of it, jump on it because it is not something that is going to be there all the time.”
When large gathering events went away in March, Apiary pivoted with The Hive, which can be described as their “ultimate culinary club.” But with restaurants allowed to reopen, Apiary knew they needed to create a reason for people to come and the obvious next step was to develop their own restaurant concept alongside The Hive.
OMAGE is homage without the “h” and stems from the inspiration to pay homage to the chefs, concepts, and places that inspire the world of innovative cuisine. Vaughan adds, “It allows us the opportunity to lean on some sort of creative inspiration to create an experience that changes every two weeks.”
The structure of OMAGE is an old world, slow-paced approach to evening dining, which means beginning as the sun sets. An outdoor garden venue combined with the humidity of summer makes late dining more optimal. There is no other place in town offering a late-night experience at this level like OMAGE offers. Lexington restaurant lovers familiar with Grant Achatz’s Next, in Chicago, which rotates concepts every four months, will recognize the appeal.
Starting on August 7, OMAGE will be open on select Fridays and Saturdays starting at 8 pm. Reservations are taken until 10 pm and doors close at midnight. Unlike most restaurants, guests have their table the entire evening and can choose to stay until the doors close with no pressure to rush.
The menu evolves from week to week, but thematically, it changes drastically every two weeks. In mezze style, small bites come to the table over the course of the evening. A full bar, curated wines, and a rotating menu of craft cocktails inspired by each menu will be available for purchase.
The August 7 through August 15 menu celebrates Yotam Ottolenghi, a famous writer and chef-owner in London.
OMAGE is reservation only. Reservations are prepaid and available for parties of two to six. Tickets are $65 per person and cover the cost of food for the evening. Chef’s Table is the VIP option for 10 people under a secluded garden pergola along with a specially selected tasting menu for $150 per person.
“I’m excited to do something completely different and be involved with people,” says Vaughan. “Even though we’re in the pandemic, it is energetic and inspiring just to be able to create a hospitality experience and share it with somebody…and have that direct interaction.”
OMAGE is located at 218 Jefferson Street.
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