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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." Live music. Free evening parking behind the building. Daily specials. Lunch, Monday - Friday 11-2. Dinner, Tuesday-Thursday 5:30-9, Friday & Saturday 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 on the Park
369 W. Vine St. at the Radisson Plaza Hotel. www.cafeontheparkcom. (859) 231-9000. Wonderful view of Triangle Park. Breakfast 6:30am until 10:30am daily; breakfast buffet served in season. Lunch 11am-2pm, (pasta bar on Thursdays) Affordable upscale American cuisine and a wonderful wine list 5pm-10pm. 90 minute complimentary parking.

Dudley’s Restaurant
380 S. Mill Street in Historic Dudley Square. 252-1010. A Lexington tradition, with adventurous takes on regional cuisine and an award winning wine list. Patio, bar, and dining room each provide a unique atmosphere. Open everyday: Mon-Sat 11:30-2:30 for lunch; Sun 11:30-2:30 for brunch; and dinner Sun-Thurs 5:30-10 and Fri-Sat 5:30-11. Reservations recommended.

Ed and Fred’s Desert Moon
148 Grand Blvd. 231-1161. Affordable American Cuisine. Gourmet pizzas, fresh pasta, specialty salads and sandwiches, and a wide array of entrees. 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, 245-4444, 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.

255-2431. It’s all about the food at this continental eatery where Chef Jim Plymale builds his menu around fresh, seasonal ingredients. For lunch how about Black Bean Cassoulet or Crispy Polenta Napoleon? Imagine the dinner fare. Located on (that’s right) 431 Old Vine St., the atmosphere is smart and cozy. And the bar is the swankiest in town. Dress: As yourself. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Mon-Thurs 5:30-10; Fri-Sat 5:30-11.

"Food with Character" 735 E. Main Street (859)266-9000. Full-blooded, dipped in the Bayou, authentic Southwest Louisiana Cuisine at Furlongs! PO-Boys, Burgers, Creole, Etouffees, Gumbo, Pastas, Salads, Seafood, Steaks, Fresh Fish, great daily dinner specials and extensive wine list. Open for dinner: Mon.-Sat. 4-11.

Good Foods Coop
455-D Southland Dr. (859) 278-1813. Good food fast.
Eat in or carry out. Self-serve hot bar, cold salad bar,
grab & go deli goodies, free range chicken, hormone-free
beef & pork, fresh fish, cheeses, homemade breads, muffins, bagels. Coffee, juice & smoothie bar. Morning coffee and muffins, full lunch & dinner. Mon-Sat 7:30 am-9 pm, Sun 8 am-9 pm.

The Homestead
3955 Harrodsburg Rd, 219-9922. Why not tonight? 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. Open for dinner six nights a week. Open Sundays during Keeneland and holidays. Dinner: 5:30 Mon-Thur, 5:00 on Fri & Sat.

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. 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.

The Mansion
at Griffin Gate
1800 Newtown Pike. 859-288-6142. Lexington's landmark of good taste. The elegantly restored antebellum mansion offers traditional American and regional southern cuisine with European flavors. Experience gracious dining at Lexington's first Four Diamond rated restaurant. The Mansion is open daily from 6pm-10pm. Reservations are suggested.

Merrick Inn
3380 Tates Creek Rd. (Top of the hill in Merrick Place.) We pride ourselves on being the establishment of choice for over 30 years. Enjoy Chef Jeremy Ashby’s savory nightly specials and superb signature southern cuisine all served in our Kentucky manor house. When the weather’s warm, enjoy Lexington’s favorite patio by the pool offering a more casual menu. Mon.- Thurs 5:30 to 10:00, Fri and Sat 5:30 to 10:30.

Scarborough Fare
355 Romany Road. 859.266.8704. A gourmand’s delight, featuring an array of entrees that will tickle your fancy. Menu changes daily. Deli dining, or gourmet carryout for those on the go. Open Monday-Saturday 10-8.

Starbucks Coffee
University of Kentucky Student Center. 257-1209. Lexington's first full size Starbucks location. Stop in today for fresh brewed coffee, espresso drinks, Frappuccinos, delightful pastries, and Starbucks merchandise. Conveniently close to downtown. We are a cyber-café; come surf the 'net on our laptop computers. Open Mon.-Thurs. 7am-9pm, Fri. 7am-4pm, Sat. 9am-4pm.

Yamamoto Japanese Grill
& Sushi
130 West Tiverton Way. 859-272-6668. Call for reservations. Prepared before your eyes!! Come enjoy our Fresh Sushi and a variety of Sushi Rolls and fantastic performance and taste in Habachi Grill. Lunch Specials and Lunch boxes available $5.95-9.95. Mon-Thurs 11-2, 5-10; Fri 11-2, 5-11; Sat 5-11; Sun 12-9.

l Running on Empty
(Wine at the Farmers' Market)

The drill is simple: my wife gets to sample various vinegars, partake in the sticky tasting of local honeys, and then spend hours staring at a variety of flowers for sale. I, on the other hand, am praying for the pounding in my head to stop and that Mother Nature would think outside the box for once and just let it rain bourbon all morning.

I shouldn't be here. It's far too early for smiles and fresh produce.

I know exactly what to expect since I was at the Farmers' Market last summer, and even the summer before that. I enjoy the Farmers' Market, but I'm constantly looking for some soft cabbage to take a nap on.

All of a sudden a familiar smell hits me. It's that friendly, boozy smell that permeates Italian restaurantsand it's coming from somewhere between the "home-baked blueberry pie" booth and the "sun-dried tomatoes in a jar" stand. With a few quick glances I've found the source; someone has dropped what appears to be a sample cup that once housed an aromatic red wine.

I dash towards what could only be the other side of the market, in search of the only thing that might cure me of this rotten mood I'm in: Free wine samples! Nearing the end of the strip it came into view, the wine booth! As if my prayers had been answered, sitting on the table was indeed an army of sample cups-each of them filled to the brim with red or white wine.

Ignoring the whispers of onlookers pondering my state of well being, I grab and guzzle while uttering a quiet thank you to Bacchus, the God of Wine for rescuing me from what was to be a mundane Saturday morning. In all seriousness, sampling wine requires a good wetting of the palette before one could even begin endorsing the subtle flavors. On this particular morning I figured on three to four cups of warm-up boozing before I moved on to the actual wine tasting.

The booth belonged to Chrisman Mill Vineyard & Winery, and to my knowledge, it's the first time wine has been freely offered, let alone sold at a farmers market in Lexington.

Before the pleasant salesmen could utter another flagship factoid about the complications of their growing operation, I was reaching for my wallet to eagerly buy a bottle of their Chambourcin-a dry red that I knew would go doubtlessly well with steak, barbecue, and best of all, other free samples from the farmers market!

In spite of my initial doubts, I ended up having a great day at the farmers marketAll thanks to sampling and purchasing a local wine.

Perhaps I was enchanted by the sheer brilliance of selling local wine at the Farmers' Market or maybe it was the excitement of being utterly surprised at what I saw. My routine surprise is usually reserved for the shock of just how long my wife can shop for flowers before coming up for air.

It just goes to show you that sometimes the farmers market can evolve right before your eyes-for you never know what will turn up. Just advise the staff at the new wine booth that it takes at least a dozen samples before the flavorful tannins can completely assimilate your palette. It worked for me.

Wine is emerging as an actual
industry in Kentucky, including:
Barker's BlackBerry
Hill Winery

16629 Mt. Zion-Verona Rd

Crittenden, Ky 41030


Bravard Vineyards
& Winery

1500 Overton Road

Hopkinsville, KY 42240


Broad Run Vineyads

10601 Broad Run Road

Louiville, Ky 40299


Century House
Winery & Vineyards

P.O. Box 629

Lewisburg, KY 42256


Chrisman Mill Vineyard

Nicholasville, KY

Equus Run Vineyards

1280 Moores Mill Road

Midway, KY 40347


Highland Winery

P.O. Box 52

Hwy 805

Seco, KY 41849

606/ 855.7968

Lover's Leap
Vineyard & Winery

129 Lover's Leap

Lawrenceburg, KY


Springhill Vineyards

3205 Springfield Road

Bloomfield, KY 40008