Updated June 26, 2020


Over the past three months, COVID-19 has wreaked havoc worldwide, sparing almost no business sector in her wake, and the aftershock will be felt for years to come. Sadly, one of those hardest hit was the service industry, and our friends in the bar and restaurant businesses are on the slow path to recovery. BUT, many of them are hardy, and although we are bidding adieu to quite a few, from their ashes will arise a new wave of contenders!

Let's raise a glass to those we've lost, and welcome the new kids on the block!

Closings

Bar Louie (Fayette Mall): Not to get the rumor mill going, but I can't see this reboot surviving COVID. It's always empty, there's no compelling value proposition, and no one will be flocking to the mall before November. But that's just me. Hopefully they stay afloat long enough for my friends to use our gift card! Update: Now closed.
The Barn at Fritz Farm (The Summit): I'm a little bit baffled that this mainstay was shuttered. After all, the combined businesses inside were probably the most successful and heavily-trafficked. Alas, The Summit continues to consume its victims, one after the next. Crank & Boom hung in there for a few weeks, but ultimately also decided to leave the complex (see “Coming Soon” below), and Whiskey Bear is staying put...for now.

Denny's (Newtown Pike): Never made it. No tears in my beer.

Denny’s (Nicholasville Road): I ate there once. That's all she wrote.

Edley’s (The Summit): I was never a fan. Went there once, ate sub-par BBQ on a pretty nice patio (perfectly positioned adjacent to the playground), and never went back. As my foodiest friend Audra says, you should never *have* to put sauce on brisket. It's like the mortal sin of BBQ. What will close next in The Summit? My money is on J. Alexander's or Texas de Brazil.

Gather on Main (Main & Esplanade): There are not enough words to express my sadness over this closing. Owners (and fellow Danville natives) Jason and Megan Elsea are upstanding individuals who put their hearts and souls into this concept. After converting from franchisees of The Casual Pint, Gather had really started to hit its stride pre-COVID. Best of luck to them in their next adventure - I know they'll bring joy and bounty to whatever they do!

HopCat (Short Street): This place only has one foot in the grave, for now. After surviving years of awful service, I'm almost tempted to say 'good riddance,' but pre-COVID they had really improved their game and pared down their food menu. Let's see if they have what it takes. Update: Now closed.

Josie’s in Georgetown (Georgetown Road): I LOVE Josie's, and I'm not sure why this location never took flight. Lord knows there are enough commuters between Lexington and Georgetown to justify this second location. Still, I don't think they ever ended up introducing alcohol to the establishment, which likely thinned out their dinner and brunch crowds significantly.

The Kitchen at A.S. Eats (Ashland Avenue):  Anyone know what happened here?  All of a sudden it's just gone without a trace!  The owner also presided over Happy & Healthy Ways, which also appears to be DOA.  ???

Local’s (National Avenue): This one hurts me at my core. Although they experienced many ebbs and flows from the onset, many would agree that they were the "OG" of the Warehouse Block dining destinations. That rooftop patio was phenomenal, and so were the roll-up doors off the bar. Hopefully someone with big dreams (and deep pockets) snags this place and transforms it into the happening joint it could be.
Logan’s (Fayette Mall and Hamburg): Meh. There are innumerable yummy, local steakhouses in Lexington, and this is a chain that won't be missed. That said, I know Logan's has deep roots here and holds lots of nostalgia for many folks, myself included. Growing up, my dad would bring us kids to the big city so we could eat at the 'peanut place' and revel in making a mess, but for my little brother that meant a blissful 90 minutes of unlimited yeast rolls. He was a big fan.

Nick Ryan’s (Jefferson Street): The best little downtown corridor will surely miss this mid-level price point (situated happily somewhere between The Grey Goose and Blue Heron) and its fabulous patio, but the owners are committed to their other endeavors: The Tulip and Suggins, located side-by-side in Chevy Chase.

Ranada's Bistro + Bar (Old Vine Street): Ouch. This one hurts. BUT, the good news is aplenty! First of all, Ranada will be back and better than ever with a new set of investors, so we can rest easy knowing she's only on hiatus before her next bout with greatness. Second, a new concept (with a new head chef) will be opening almost immediately in the old space, so foodies everywhere can rejoice in not one, but two, upcoming new experiences!

Shakespeare & Co. (Short Street): I would hardly call this a COVID casualty, as they've had one foot in the grave since closing the Chinoe location, and anyone with eyes could see that the Hamburg location was a 'hail Mary' that was never going to work. The Short Street location was never full, had a strange menu, the decor was reminiscent of the Moulin Rouge movie set, and - as much as I hate to say it - parking is abysmal downtown, so if you're not drawing in diners with something compelling, they're not going to search or pay for parking. COVID was just the nail in the mostly-closed coffin.

Spotz Gelato (downtown): Nine months after opening, the cutest little gelato spot has bid us farewell, but not completely. Starting at the end of June, their food truck will be posting up on National Avenue near Rolling Oven and Mirror Twin every weekend.

Taziki’s (Hamburg): The Taziki's on Southland Drive is underwhelming, especially in a city where Athenian Grill is king, but it's edible. I never made it to the Hamburg location, but I imagine that's precisely why it's closed now.

TGI Friday’s (Hamburg): There was a TGI Friday's in Hamburg? JK (almost). I ate there once with a friend, and convinced their significant other to move to Lexington over a phone call in our booth. It was life-changing! (I love you, Adam!) There was also a cantaloupe in the ashtray outside the front door that day. I'll never forget it.

Already Open

Bazaar Eatery (Vine Street): I've actually had the pleasure of dining on their burger-dillas (AND YOU SHOULD, TOO), and if that was any indication of the rest of their menu, this place is here to stay! Plus they partnered up with Ethereal Brewing Public House (see below), which was a very smart move.


Bluegrass Bistro (Griffin Gate Marriott): The setting couldn't be more picturesque, that's for sure. Whether it was inspired by COVID or not, this brand new concept came to play! They've been killing it on social media - though they could stand to have a page independent from rest of the hotel/resort - and they booked Ben Lacy for every weekend since they opened, so that's an automatic crowd pleaser! AND they started strong by offering Sunday BRUNCH. Yes please.


Brewed (Malibu Drive): The former home of Barista Social has been resurrected as a combination pour-over coffee bar and beer joint!



The Burl Food by Kismet (Thompson Road): Another concept born from a great partnership! Having just opened on June 10 I don't know much about the place yet, but from what I've read the couple behind the counter (Tonya and Phil) have roots in street food and draw their inspiration from their travels. A great addition to the Lexington Distillery District!


The Chatino (Leestown Road): One day this was Yummy Yummy Asian Cuisine, and the next it was a Mexican/Chinese fusion buffet! I wasn't the biggest fan of YYAC, but my curiosity won't be able to stop me from trying this wacky combination!


Elixir Downtown (Short Street): The former Parlay Social (RIP) is under new ownership but with the same great management as before. Welcome back, Oliver! I'm curious as to what their 'membership' will entail. A throwback to Prohibition-era customs? We'll soon find out!


Ethereal Brewing Public House (Vine Street): I'm a big fan of the original Ethereal location, as well as the folks behind the scenes and behind the bar. Situated across the street from Jeff Ruby's and the new Marriott City Center, this will be a slam dunk. Did I mention they partnered up with Bazaar Eatery? All-around WIN.


Seafood Lady (Georgetown Street): This place is still somewhat of a mystery to me, but apparently it's a big deal in Louisville! Seafood to get excited about in Lexington? I'm all in!


Coming Soon

Bandido Taqueria Mexicana (South Upper): Mystery #2, which is ALSO apparently a big deal in Louisville! Opening in the former Smashburger at Center Court. Projected to open summer 2020.


Brevede Coffee Co. (Manchester Street): The newest tenant to join the Lexington Distillery District is - wait for it - a coffee place (keep reading and you'll catch on). More caffeine is a-ok with me! Brevede offers a unique value proposition from the rest of its category competitors, featuring a Slayer Espresso machine, European-style desserts, arts workshops for kids, and a mobile coffee bar. Projected to open in July.


Crank & Boom (Clays Mill Road): Stonewall residents rejoice! You can now get your ice cream and donut fixes in the same visit. I foresee many collabs between C&B and North Lime Coffee & Donuts in the not-so-distant future. Projected to open June 19.


The Do-Over (222 Rosemont Garden): Just to be clear, that's not the name of the place, but I don't know what the name is yet! The Painted Taco was, for a fleeting moment, a real great concept next to everyone's favorite local pizza joint, PieTana. It really brightened up the block. Alas, it wasn't meant to be. Word on the street is that Fitz & Foster are at it again with a new car-themed concept, slated to include burgers, hot dogs, and BREAKFAST, to name a few. Hopefully it won't be another 'garage,' as we already have one of those knocking it out of the park. Projected opening = ???


DV8 Kitchen (Midland Avenue): Big CONGRATS to owner Rob Perez on his second location. Important things are happening with Community Ventures and the Midland Avenue development. The more the merrier, especially for businesses with a strong backbone. Projected to open August 2020.


Genesis Coffee House (Forbes Road): According to LexGoEat, this coffee contender will essentially be a re-imagining of my beloved Gather on Main, featuring specialty drinks; breakfast, lunch, and dinner sandwiches; pastries and sweets; and soups.  With the new Starbucks now open on Sharkey Way (near Leestown and New Circle), one starts to wonder how many coffee spots one corridor can support?  Alas, read on...
Projected to open in July.


Leestown Coffee House (Leestown Road): It's clear to see that Lexington's coffee scene has experienced nothing short of a BOOM over the last year, and the good times just keep rolling! The latest contender will open up next to the Fire Station #13, across the street from Pops Resale. Masterson Station is the largest neighborhood in the state, after all, not to mention Meadowthorpe and every other neighborhood popping up on the west side. Projected to open late July/early August.


Papi’s RĂ¡pido (Broadway): Papi's has expanded from Chevy Chase! Most people are GAGA for tacos (I'm not one of them, so I don't get it), so this seems like a no-brainer. Projected to open June 26.
Postmaster’s Pub (Short Street): From the folks who brought you Pazzo's (RIP), The Beer Trappe, Bear & the Butcher, and The Village Idiot (RIP) comes a new concept! Will it sink or will it swim? TVI had such poor service in recent years, which only served to diminish the overall dining experience. I am *very* hopeful that this iteration breathes new life and energy into downtown. It's such an iconic building (hence the name) and deserves to be done justice. Projected to open July 1.


Taco Tico (Southland Drive): Growing up in Danville, we had a Taco Tico. Fast-forward a couple decades and I finally realized there was one on Boardwalk in Lexington, and apparently there was another in Palomar at some point. Last fall another one popped up on Pimlico, then the Southland location was hot on its heels. What is it about this place that has everyone so enchanted? I mean everyone knows Taco Bell is gross, that's not new information. Projected to open summer 2020.


Wm. Tarr Distillery (Manchester Street): >>Insert shameless self-promotion<<
I'm SO EXCITED to announce that Lexington's first federally-registered distillery is returning the Lexington Distillery District this fall! Our first releases will be a limited 12-year bourbon and an exclusive rye blend whiskey. Follow us on social for all the updates and exciting announcements! Projected to open Q1 2021.