Go, Kentucky Wildcats!
Yes, Lexington, Ky., is perhaps best known as home to the University of Kentucky and its ultra-successful men’s basketball team, but this “Horse Capital of the World” and Kentucky’s second-largest city has also built a strong reputation for top restaurant options. Here are five excellent eateries that will serve you right in Lexington.
Wild Eggs is everything it’s cracked up to be, with two locations in Lexington that offer breakfast, brunch, and lunch menu choices for local customers and out-of-towners. A friendly staff provides great service, and food items include wild berry crepes, wild mushroom scramble, Belgian waffles and stuffed French toast. In addition, Wild Eggs has a number of Mexican dishes like breakfast burritos, frittatas and huevos rancheros, while several flavored coffee choices are also available.
Beauty and the feast is what Merrick Inn is all about, offering an elegant ambiance of Southern charm and high-quality food served by an experienced wait staff. The menu celebrates Southern flavors, with Merrick’s obtaining many of its ingredients from an on-site herb garden as well as local farmers markets. The menu at this eatery on Merrick Drive is upscale and diverse, with choices like Angus ribeye, Mediterranean chicken and walleye pike.
The sweet smell of success (or maybe it’s the aroma of fresh-baked bread and wood-fired grilled meats) greets customers when they stroll into Bella Notte on Nicholasville Road. The locally owned Italian restaurant is decorated inside with a natural theme of vines, trees and arbors, and menu items include dishes like fettuccine alfredo classico, penne gorgonzola, veal piccata and seafood linguini. All meats and produce are locally grown, and all dishes are affordably priced.
Coles 735 Main
The atmosphere sizzles like a T-bone steak at Coles 735 Main, with Lexington-born executive chef Cole Arimes preparing each dish like a work of art. Fine-dining food options include global favorites, artisan fare and American classics, with specific dishes like seared scallops, sautéed duck breast and center-cut filet mignon. This restaurant on East Main Street features an extensive wine and beer list along with many Kentucky bourbon selections.
Blue Door Smokehouse
You’ll get the best possible meals at Blue Door Smokehouse because the owners are the workers. They have garnered several awards for their barbecue entrée choices that include tender brisket, pulled pork shoulders and smoked bologna sandwiches. The food even exceeds the restaurant's hype, and the Walton Avenue eatery has good prices – most sandwiches are $5, platters are $10, and combo platters of two meats and a 1/4-rack of ribs are $12.