The Local Scoop: Recap Edition - Lexington Luminary

Lexington Luminary

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Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Local Scoop: Recap Edition

OOPS!  I did it again.  Well folks, just call me Britney Spears.  What can I say?  Sometimes life gets in the way of blogging, or in my case re-reporting the local goings-on.  Much of this content is quite literally old news, but in my experience that doesn't necessarily mean anyone knows what's going on around them.  Happy perusing!

Real Estate


Boots Bar...for sale AGAIN?!

I have been traipsing around UK's campus since 1996 and didn't even know this place existed until recently, y'all!  Made famous after becoming the inspiration for the band name My Morning Jacket, it was last for sale as condos on the top level, commercial space on the middle floors, and a rumored restaurant in the basement.  Who knew?  And who's going to snap up this iconic space and give it new life?!

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An 85-acre development planned off Winchester Road. Here’s what it will include.

Another development adjacent to Hamburg and I-75?  Seems like an ever-worsening traffic nightmare.  Who else thinks it's about time for Lexington to build a bypass?


Retail

Wilson's Grocery

I couldn't be more excited for the residents of Kenwick, Hollywood, and Mentelle Park!  When I was an undergrad student at UK circa 2006 (I'm SO dating myself right now!), I lived at the corner of Richmond and Cramer Avenues with a couple girls from Kirwan 3; see picture below.  Wilson's was half a block from our apartment and the ultimate quick stop for all your essentials - Spaghettios, Ramen Noodles, cereal, and the like - but also the freshest meat AND the cheapest VHS rentals in town.  And for those undoubtedly counting backwards in their heads, no, VHS wasn't still a thing then.



Retail ‘decor district’ expands on unlikely Lexington thoroughfare

Big Ass Fans was way ahead of its time when they opened a second location on Winchester Road back in the spring of 2010!  I've long since been a fan of Scout and Room Service, but now with a second Habitat ReStore and the relatively new Worn & Co., the corridor is practically a destination all its own!  And let's not forget my favorite cupcakery of all time, nearby BabyCakes, at the corner of Henry Clay and Liberty Roads.

Gucci and snacks? This new outlet store offers a bit of both.

It's been open almost 3 months and I haven't set foot inside.  That's right - the third floor of Macy's now houses an inter-company outlet concept called Backstage.  Maybe it's the fear of so many good deals, or perhaps it's the overwhelming environment of chaos that goes along with stores of a similar nature, like Marshall's or TJ Maxx - who knows?  Regardless, I'll try to hold out until Christmas shopping inevitably draws me inside.



New and Notable

A roller coaster, virtual reality and more. Visit Lexington’s new indoor theme park

If the words 'Malibu Jacks' conjure up nightmares of fighting your way around Man O'War or New Circle Road, fear no more!  Now your nightmares take place in the heart of Lexington's worst traffic congestion:  Nicholasville Road!  I have to say though, it's totally worth it.  SO many activities for adults...and kids, too. 😆 Highlights include an 18-hole miniature golf course, bowling alley (complete with a full bar and TouchTunes jukebox), stripped-down Original Brooklyn Pizza, and coming soon:  BD's Mongolian Grill!



Logan’s of Lexington opens at its new location Wednesday

No, not the steakhouse - this Logan's specializes in upscale clothing and accessories for men.  I could not be happier to see businesses continuing to fill Lexington Green, especially in the wake of Mellow Mushroom's abrupt departure.  Whatever it takes to keep my favorite store in Lexington, Joseph Beth, alive and thriving!

Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken now open in Lexington

Lexington has waited SO long for the mysterious restaurant emerging from the backside of Carson's to be completed, and now it is, much to my personal chagrin.  Why?  Because they only serve HOT chicken, and nothing else.  Those of us who are prone to gastrointestinal upset or dislike intense heat are just plain out of luck!  Nearby Joella's to the rescue, and who doesn't love their quaint location (parking notwithstanding) in the heart of Chevy Chase?!


Going, going...gone?

Lexington brewpub closed for nonpayment of taxes

It's a shame, really, but not a surprise.  I patronized Life Brewpub a handful of times since they opened in 2016, and the service was consistently inconsistent, for no good reason!  The most full I remember it being was last summer (2017) around brunch time; a girlfriend and I were on the patio along with 4-5 other girls, and there was someone inside at the bar.  For those keeping count, that's 8 people max, yet our mimosas took 20 minutes.  Every.  Time.  The beer they brewed was actually pretty good, as was the menu, but the turtle-speed service was the nail in the coffin.  Hopefully something else will make its way to the Richmond Road corridor and put the space to good use.

Another retailer leaving Fayette Mall for The Summit; new store opening in February

With all the establishments leaving our old faithful Fayette Mall, I'm fearful for its future, but at the same time I'm excited for an upgraded Williams-Sonoma, complete with a home goods section!  What I'm not excited about?  The rat race for parking at The Summit.  No thanks.  I'll stick to online shopping.


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Jefferson Street bridge

It's coming down, folks!  In fact, it's already partially gone.  I didn't think it mattered much after Oliver Lewis Way opened and traffic studies revealed the volume and patterns already favored OLW, but boy was I wrong!  The light cycles at the corners of OLW/Manchester and OLW/Main Street are ATROCIOUSLY short.  Every day I witness overzealous drivers getting their cars stuck in the intersection, and the road rage that ensues as everyone who cannot advance in the cross-direction as a result of these inconsiderate drivers continues to wait.  Traffic engineers:  Please fix this stat!

Wild Fig bookstore on North Limestone to close

This story breaks the heart of the bookworm in me.  I fondly remember shopping at the original Meadowthorpe location, and happily followed them to North Limestone.  There is nothing more special than a privately-owned bookstore; more often than not the staff are friendly and knowledgeable, and the spaces are warm and welcoming.  Morris Book Shop was another favorite that Lexington couldn't seem to sustain.  Joseph-Beth, while considerably larger than both Wild Fig and MBS, is practically where I grew up and is now the only place I purchase books in town (see next story).  If I had to point a finger, it'd probably be straight at Amazon, but I'd be remiss not to add that I am a Prime member, and as a result I do frequently take business away from other enterprises.


Distinctly Lexington

How 3 artists are reminding Lexington of Cheapside’s dark past

One notable downfall to delayed news is missing important art exhibits such as this.  I wish more people knew and appreciated the historical significance of Cheapside.  A century and a half before it was a weekly destination for Thursday Night Live (TNL), Cheapside was the primary auction block in Lexington - the hub for slave trade in Kentucky.  This project was brought about following the return of Historical Marker #2122 this spring, after it sustained damage from vandalism in 2015.  Not all of Lexington's history is something to be proud of, but it's haunting in its truths.


Vintage Spirits: Justins' House of Bourbon

A hybrid shop and museum.  It's an interesting concept, one that should resonate strongly in the heart of bourbon country.  Located at the corner of Main and Jefferson Streets, Justins' House of Bourbon is Kentucky's first vintage spirits store, and some of the bottles cost more than gently used cars!  The owners were smart to strike while the iron was hot - soon Town Branch Park will lie directly across the street, and foot traffic will increase ten-fold.

Clever When Wet 

Just another reason to love our charming little city!  (And not be too upset about the never-ending rain.)  #GetOutAndPlay


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I don't really care where it originated.  Key Lime Pie is delicious.  End of discussion.


Having worked on Palumbo Drive during most of the construction of the new facility, it pleases me endlessly to know that Valvoline is thriving to the degree that it is.  Did you know their global headquarters were right here in Lexington?  It's true.  Central Kentucky is also home to several large and globally-significant corporations - Toyota, anyone?
Air Horse One: Elite equines fly first class on this Lexington-based air charter

I had to read this story a couple times before I was 'ok' with it, I mean, one-way flights for horses are $5,000?!  Given the number of private charters frequenting Blue Grass Airport in April and September/October, it shouldn't come as any surprise, yet I found the number staggering for whatever reason.  Then this quote jumped out at me:  "LeBron [James] doesn't travel from game to game on a Greyhound bus.  These Thoroughbreds are professional athletes, with a strict training regimen and diet.  And it all plays a part of it."  Touché.

Coming soon

Thinking Greek for lunch? You will be. Athenian Grill coming downtown.

Greek is a genre I don't crave often, but once it's presented to me I can't think of anything else!  Ilias Pappas, owner of Athenian Grill, is nothing if not enterprising.  What started as a humble food truck has become three brick-and-mortar locations - South Ashland, Locust Hill, and The Summit -  in addition to packaged goods in Kroger stores state-wide and a location within Commonwealth Stadium.  Yes, it'll always be Commonwealth Stadium to me.  His new store will sit adjacent to the eventual City Center, aka Center Pit, and join Panera Bread on the ground floor of Park Plaza apartments, facing Phoenix Park.  Downtown isn't known for having much by way of lunch options, and bonus:  they'll be offering delivery!


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New restaurant opening in former Mark’s Feed Store, Applebee’s spot

A Mexican restaurant in Beaumont?  It's about time!  One trip to Mark's Feed Store signaled a wrong fit for me, and I'm not surprised they closed down first thing this year; after all, with J. Render's right around the corner who wants chain BBQ?  Their fatal flaw may be the exclusion of a patio, but only time will tell.  But for now, who cares?  It's almost winter.  I can't wait to try it!

Vacant Fayette Mall restaurant coming down; new one being built

Since only familiar regional chains tend to survive at Fayette Mall (RIP Travinia Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar), this move seems logical.  The current Outback Steakhouse location on Tiverton hides behind Bella Notte and blends in with the rest of the strip mall tenants.  Bloomin' Brands operates two other successful chains in Lexington - Bonefish Grill and Carrabba's Italian Grill - plus another Outback in Hamburg.  Don't look for it any time soon though; construction is slated to begin in spring 2019 with an opening later next year.

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