A restaurant guide for teams coming to Lexington

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AKKOLADE
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A restaurant guide for teams coming to Lexington

Post by AKKOLADE »

If I overlooked anything or if you have a question, don't hesitate to ask me.

For lunches:

Here is a map of some restaurants near White Hall. For lunch purposes, there's a few places you really need to avoid:
  • Pazzo's
  • Goodfellas
  • Mellow Mushroom
  • Joe Bologna's
They're all pizza places, and they all can be pretty slow. If you don't want to tempt the TD into DQ'ing you for being late to your match after lunch, avoid these places.

The quality of the other places should be covered below.

Anything that says "#1 pick" is one of my more favorite places in town.

For dinners

Okay, so you've traveled from where ever to Lexington. In terms of dining, Lexington's a pretty nice place because it has a good range of restaurants at different price points, and there is a lot of quality. I'm going to be lazy and not list restaurants' addresses, because Google is a thing.

Sushi

#1 pick: Osaka. Great prices, great quality. If someone's visiting from out of town, this is probably my favorite place to take them. I've taken some Richmond-area quiz bowlers here while they were traveling through town (and I'm pretty sure Cody was one of them), and they ranked it above their local options. Keep in mind there's a Toyota plant in town, so sushi quality has to be higher than average to make it. They also do hibachi, teriyaki, udon and other options.

Tomo is another good choice, but tends to be noticeably more expensive. I don't really think there's an upgrade in quality here.

Cajun

#1 pick: Bourbon & Tolouse. Again, the food here is great and the prices are pretty good. I love their jambalaya and their etouffee.

Also a strong choice is Gumbo Ya-Ya. Similar in quality to B&T, but maybe a half step behind. Maybe I just like B&T better because I ate there first, though.

Burgers

Chains include the obvious suspects, plus Five Guys and Cookout.

Bru Burger is pretty good if you're looking for a higher-end kind of deal.

Tolly-Ho is a combo bar/burger joint. This is a dive, but one of the ones with good food.

Italian

#1 pick: Bella Notte. Great, great food. Noticeably fresh. Entrees range from $10-20.

I personally think Joe Bologna's has fallen off badly in the past five years, but some people still swear by it.

Sutton's is great if you enjoy having air conditioning run-off pour onto you and then having to move yourself while the manager and waitress do their best to ignore it.

Pizza

Ignoring chains. Smashing Tomato does a different kind of deal with Neapolitan pizza. Really great stuff.

Puccini's has more of a local feel with interesting pizza options. Sometimes they cross over into "interesting," but YMMV. Also have good Italian entrees, especially their lasagna.

Mellow Mushroom is really good, but can be slow.

I've only recently tried Pies & Pints, but was really impressed by their chicken & gouda pizza. Also have some of the best nachos in town (competing with Saul Good).

Goodfellas is great if you're a fan of grease.

I don't like Pazzo's. Their pizza isn't as good as Mellow Mushroom's, and their customer service can best be described as disdainful.

Mediterranean

#1 pick: Sahara: hopefully if you go here, they'll still have food. They sell out regularly.

Indian

#1 pick: A Taste of India. They have a lunch buffet. Their tandoori & saag options are all great.

Thai

Planet Thai is quite good.

Vietnamese

I recommend Pho BC. They shine, unsurprisingly, in their pho.

Korean

Han Woo Ri. Close to the tournament site, very affordable.

"American"

#1 pick: Saul Good is on the higher end of things. They have great specialty pizzas and entrees like chicken & waffles. At least two locations.

Winchell's is a good diner kind of place. If they have their meatloaf on the menu, you're in luck. Ramsey's is also good, though a little more of a greasy spoon.

If you want wings, you can do worse than Rooster's, though Lexington is weak in this area. I would recommend eating elsewhere if you want a really good look at the best food you can get in town.

#1 pick: Joella's Hot Chicken. I speak about this at the end.

#1 pick: Local Taco. Pretty close to White Hall. They do fusion tacos which are really good. You have to try the Mexi Tots.

Steakhouses/Fine dining

#1 pick: Malone's. Nicest steakhouse in town, so of course it has a higher price tag. If you want to do the old 'take the team out to celebrate a great year with a fine dinner' kind of deal, this and The Tulip are probably your two best options for that. Probably will need reservations.

#1 pick: The Tulip. Again, higher end. More of a fine dining place. Great food, more expensive than most options on this list. Will probably need reservations.

Sal's: Another really good steakhouse. Again, expensive. Need reservations.

Copper River Grill. "Alaskan themed." Really good, but disgustingly large serving sizes. Located out in Nicholasville, which can be a good half hour drive one-way.

Columbia's. Imagine a 1960s steakhouse transported today, and this is what you have. I recommend the downtown location - I think they have 2. Might be 3.

German

Marikka's. It's German food, so mainly sausages and fried meat. Still good, though. Their mashed potatoes and green beans are great, though.

Cuban

Old San Juan. Literally a mom & pop joint. Mom runs the stove, barely speaks any English and really hopes you like what you eat. Looks like a dive, but you will like their empanadas.

Mexican

#1 pick El Rancho Tapatio. More authentic than other Mexican places in town. I've yet to have anything here that I didn't like (well, other than lingue, but I just don't think I'm a fan of tongue). Great tacos, great enchiladas, great tamales.

Chuy's. A mini-chain, but Tex Mex that seems really good to me. Waiters can be a little hit or miss.

Mi Pequena Hacienda. More Americanized Mexican, but it's done really well. 3 locations.

Region delicacies of note: ah, the hot brown. Basically, if you ever looked at yourself and thought "jeez, I wish I was fatter, had a higher cardiovascular disease risk and was inched closer to diabetes," this is the meal for you. Basically a bowl filled with turkey, bacon, maybe ham, plus Mornay sauce and tomatoes with cheese melted across the top. The tomatoes make it healthy, obviously. It is a food item that you look at and instantly know it is not good for you. If this is something you want to try for yourself, Winchell's and Ramsey's are your best options. I claim no responsibility for what happens after you eat this, and I wouldn't recommend eating this more than once a year. But it is pretty darn good.

There's also hot chicken. KFC tried doing some version of this, but I've heard it's a violation against God. Joella's Hot Chicken does a great version of this. Basically it's fried chicken, but covered in hot sauce and additional sodium. Again, you're in Appalachia - any kind of regional dish isn't going to be healthy. I'm probably underselling this, though - this is ridiculously tasty, possibly because of the discomfort it can cause.
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Re: A restaurant guide for teams coming to Lexington

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Re: A restaurant guide for teams coming to Lexington

Post by AKKOLADE »

I should try that place one day.
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Re: A restaurant guide for teams coming to Lexington

Post by Valefor »

For what it's worth, having gone to college for four years in Lexington myself (down the road from UK), Pazzo's is my absolute favorite pizza place in the entire city. :grin:
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Re: A restaurant guide for teams coming to Lexington

Post by AKKOLADE »

Vissi d'arte wrote:For what it's worth, having gone to college for four years in Lexington myself (down the road from UK), Pazzo's is my absolute favorite pizza place in the entire city. :grin:
Regardless, do not go there for lunch. It is terribly slow.
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Re: A restaurant guide for teams coming to Lexington

Post by Valefor »

AKKOLADE wrote:Regardless, do not go there for lunch. It is terribly slow.
This I will 100% agree with. Dinner only.
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Re: A restaurant guide for teams coming to Lexington

Post by Rococo A Go Go »

This is a good list with at least three places on it that I have really enjoyed at some point. I'm partial to burger places and Tolly Ho is my recommendation to anybody who wants a burger this weekend. Smashing Tomato has really good pizza, and I've had a couple really good steaks at Malone's; for the latter, it's a restaurant worth the money you'll spend, but it might be advisable not to actually spend that much money unless you really feel like it.

Joella's in Louisville has a really strong reputation, so I'm guessing the one in Lexington is high quality as well. The other chains (Chuy's, Mellow Mushroom, Rooster's) all serve decent food but nothing you can't find elsewhere. As far as local delicacies, I believe one barbecue restaurant in Lexington (JJ McBrewster's) serves Western Kentucky-style mutton barbecue, but I've never been there and have my doubts as to whether it's an accurate (or even good) imitation.

What Fred's not telling you is that the Hot Brown was created to feed drunk people after midnight, which means the nutritional value doesn't count.
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Re: A restaurant guide for teams coming to Lexington

Post by AKKOLADE »

Oh man, I can't believe I forgot JJ McBrewster's. It's a really good kind of barbecue-bistro deal. I can't speak to their mutton/western Kentucky-style stuff - I just haven't got that far into the menu - but what I have had is phenomenal. And I'm friendly with the owners, so I feel really bad for missing them. They'd be a top pick for me if you want something in the $10-$20 range.

Edit: their Facebook page has really good photos of their food and now I'm going to have to eat there for lunch tomorrow.

I do not condone the usage of mayo on burgers, but:

Image

(They are closed on Sundays)
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Re: A restaurant guide for teams coming to Lexington

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Other thoughts on Lexington:

*Lexington drivers are, as a whole, bad. They are garbage bad. They do basically everything possible to irritate me, including but not limited to: failing to move cars out of the road after minor fender benders; rolling stops leading into cutting you off; the old "oh, I'm in the wrong lane and I can't get into the correct lane, I could go to the next block and turn around, oh guess I'll just block off my entire lane of traffic while edging into the other one" move; passing you on the shoulder; going 20+ MPH over the speed limit; going 20+ MPH under the speed limit; passing you on the right and then cutting you off all so they can get to the same red light as you one spot ahead of you, because apparently they learned to drive from Mario Kart

Basically, drive defensively. It's not as bad in terms of volume as bigger cities, obviously, but Lexington drivers are a breath of fresh air to the genre of bad driving.

Also, any college kids around think they typed idqd into their automap.

*There are several roads closed currently, including Avenue of Champions (UK tournament veterans will know this as the old road used to park in the book store's parking lot; that lot has been destroyed, because we need out 2384290348th new dorm). I believe UK's current goal is to close every road on campus so it's only accessible by skateboard or something. I will try to remember to look into this tomorrow.

*If you're looking for things to do away from the tournament, let me know. I'm too tired to come up with a good list, but here's a "I have insomnia and want to go to sleep in 5 minutes" list.

Joseph Beth is a good book store. There are also multiple Half Price Books.
If you like horses, there's the Kentucky Horse Park, Keeneland and the Red Mile. I don't think either has races currently, so it'd be more "let's go look at the race tracks and also the gamblers who come here to gamble on races at other parts of the country, oh that smell is the smell of desperation."
Mary Todd Lincoln house. Haven't been. Sounds historical. Ditto the Henry Clay estate. There's also the Waveland Historic something or other.
The Arboretum is really pretty and very free.
The minor league team in town will be on the road, and the roller derby term appears to be off.

GUYS THE RODEO WILL BE IN TOWN http://www.ticketfly.com/venue/15077-ke ... ech-arena/
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Re: A restaurant guide for teams coming to Lexington

Post by Rufous-capped Thornbill »

I'm gonna briefly hijack Fred's (excellent!) thread to declare that the best way to make sure your team risks forfeiting a match, regardless of what tournament you are at, is to get pizza for lunch. It is very hard to get pizza in less than an hour, and in my TD experience, the teams that were late getting back from lunch were almost always teams that chose to get pizza. Save your pizza for after the tournament, folks.
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Re: A restaurant guide for teams coming to Lexington

Post by AKKOLADE »

I just talked with one of the owners of JJ McBrewster's, and they're offering a 10% discount to any NASAT players from the tournament that go to JJ's for dinner Friday or Saturday. All you have to do is show them this post!

*They also asked me to specify the discount excludes alcohol, but you're high schoolers, so you're already excluded.
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Re: A restaurant guide for teams coming to Lexington

Post by AKKOLADE »

I was reminded of Sav's Grill, which has great West African food at very good prices. It's off of South Limestone on the right, just down a bit where one could hypothetically turn onto Avenue of Champions if it wasn't a construction dead zone.
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Re: A restaurant guide for teams coming to Lexington

Post by AKKOLADE »

I was asked which restaurants are particularly small. The smallest would be Han Woo Ri and Bourbon & Toulouse. Marikka's and Pho BC are a bit small as well. The rest probably won't have issues with space unless a bunch of teams all go at the same time or something.
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Re: A restaurant guide for teams coming to Lexington

Post by AKKOLADE »

Also, for Malone's, The Tulip & Sal's, you may need a reservation.
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