roadtrip MI to KY....need recs!
I'm a former Kentucky Native who is now a chef in Minneapolis. If you make your way through Louisville you must swing into J. Graham's Cafe in the Brown Hotel for the origional Hot Brown. This beautiful sypmhony ina sandwich is probably the most authentic and legendary piece of food to come out of the state (including the colonel's chicken). you can find a decent Hot Brown all over the state but why not get it in the place where it orginated forever ago?
You need to hop off I-75 and get on 280 if you want to hit the original location for Tony Packos. I'm not sure if 280 is done now but the last few times I've been there was a lot of construction.
Don't forget the I-75 South construction near the bridge. I've just been taking 275 South until it hits 75.
I-280 is finished, and extremely beautiful. You can also get to Tony Packo's easily from downtown Toledo--get to Cherry Street at the north end of downtown, cross the river on the Cherry Street Bridge, turn left on Front, and head north a couple miles to Consaul.
BTW, also check the "What can I get in Dayton that I can't get in LA" thread. It's got some great suggestions for that area that I never knew about, and I make this trip pretty often.
so i'm guessing you want some places in OH for along the route! from north to south...
in toledo, tony packo's isn't far off the highway and is a classic.
in findlay there is a high end place called revolver that's gotten great press.
in lima there's kewpee burgers. local chain i guess - you may have them in MI. never been but people rave. no website but search and you can find more info
south of there there'll be many a skyline (local cincinnati chili chain) which is an interesting thing to try if you never have. i love it and so does everyone i've introduced it too. it's fast too - but kind of spicy.
Our daughter graduated from UK about 10 years ago, and then she took a job in Lexington with a local TV station. We have spent a fair amount of time in Lexington. I am not much of a chain restaurant guy, but they do have their place, especially when traveling. There is a wonderful restaurant in Lexington, not far from the UK campus, called Ramses. I think they may have some other locations in town too. You can check MapQuest for the location. The Hot Brown is traditional Kentucky, and it is out of this world. They have a lot of other good offerings too. If you are looking for fancy, Ramses is not that, but it is a very nice place to eat and it is clean and always crowded. Lots of UK professors eat her too.
We moved to Cincinnati from New England about 2 years ago so I can give you the names of a lot of places in the Cincinnati area, but I'm sorry that I can't help you out more with recommendations in Lexington. We travel south quite a bit, and we look for any reason to stop at Ramses when we are traveling on I-75 headed south, or driving back north to Cincinnati. I'm sure you will enjoy the area. The drives out into the country along the horse farms are wonderful.
It's Ramsey's with a "y." http://www.ramseysdiners.com/ The East High location opened twenty years ago when I was in college, and has always been popular.
Stella's Kentucky Deli is a great spot for lunch if you're downtown. http://www.stellaskentuckydeli.com/
Dudley's has a wonderful patio if the weather is warm, and their chef does fish particularly well. They're a little pricey, but reliable for fine dining with a relaxed feel. http://www.dudleysrestaurant.com/
We must be neighbors. Here's a few suggestions for Lexington.
We always enjoy Teds Montana grill. This is in a shopping area, on the South side off I-75 and Man O war Blvd. Just a few stores down is a Corky's BBQ. Not the worlds best BBQ but solid food for a road trip.
The Merrick Inn is nice.
Wallace Station is an absolutly killer sandwhich shop in a totally unassuming building in Versailles. This is just out side of Lexington on on the Blue Grass Horse Farms drive if you opt to do that (You can get a free Lexington map with the road tour if you are a AAA member). Don't miss the Kentucky Horse Park. I never miss a chance for a hot brown but this may be the place where I had the best cuban sandwhich ever. Because Wallace station does not have a dedicated site I'll include the link to their my-space page and their sister property the Holly Inn.
Finally there is Heirloom for a little more up-scale.