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Going to Keenland in April - where to eat?

  • d

Not much on this board about Lexington. I am going to Keenland for a week in April and would like some recs for places to eat. Coming from NJ so please, no deli or sushi. Would love some local favorites like a hot brown. We don't get served grits very often. High end or low end, as long as it's good. Breakfast and dinner mostly, will be at the track for lunch. thanks in advance.

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  1. Atomic Cafe in Lexington is one of our favorites.

    http://www.atomiccafeky.com/

    There are some great places in Midway if you don't mind driving--Holly Hill Inn is probably the best-known.

    http://www.midwayky.net/mw_businesses...

    1 Reply
    1. re: mamaciita

      The orginal Malones screams spring meet...its a must

    2. Thanks for this. We're looking for the same thing. Coming from Toronto. We hope to make it to Keeneland again for a meet. We'll probably have breakfast one morning at the track kitchen, my son loves that sort of thing, but what else might be around. Is there anything in the Versailles, Lexington or even Georgetown areas? Like the orginal poster has requested - local favourties- Fried chicken, biscuits?

      5 Replies
      1. re: dory

        Here's a link to the Inn at Shaker Village: http://www.shakervillageky.org/dining/

        Claudia Sanders is in Shelbyville: http://www.claudiasanders.com/

        Miguel's in Midway is owned by a family friend: http://www.miguelsmexicanrestaurant.com/

        1. re: dory

          Just thought I'd open this older post. We're finally getting to Keeneland again, a year late, and was wondering if there's any new favourites we should know about? We're going to be staying in downtown Lexington for 4 days at Easter but will do a day trip to Louisville. Will probably go to Wallace Station, and maybe to the White Line Diner but am still looking for southern cooking, soul food perhaps. Ambience is not important - it's all about the food. We're travelling with our 14 yr old son who gets a kick out of eating at chicken restaurants - if the chicken on the sign is wearing funny costumes. So far we've eaten fried chicken where the advertising features chickens in cowboy attire, sombreros, plaid golf pants, curly wigs and aprons, beards, moustaches and we're always on the lookout for more when we travel.

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          Wallace Station
          3854 Old Frankfort Pike, Versailles, KY 40383

          1. re: dory

            We made it to Keeneland for this meet. And the "tornado" got to Versailles before we did so we tended to stick closer to downton Lexington where we were staying. And let our son pick the restaurants. Some hits, some misses. We did get to Ramsey's, the favourite choices being the fried catfish,baked sweet potato, summer squash and peanut butter pie. The waitress was so nice and was happy to bring me some green sweet relish to put in the tartar sauce. We ate at a Mexican restaurant in a suburban residential area not far from the Fayette? Mall. Satisfying but nothing outstanding but as we were up to our axles in water it was time to pull over and eat. We drove out to Wallace Station but it was ridiculously busy so we continued along the Old Frankfort Pike to Frankfort to the White Line Diner. My husband and son had the pulled pork which they thought was decent but my son wasn't crazy about the spicing. I had the scallop po'boy which was really good, But don't look for it on the menu. Apparently Rick's seafood order from Cincinatti came with scallops instead of oysters, The blue cheese mac and cheese was a nice variation on the theme. None of us were crazy about the bread. It reminded me of an elongated english muffin that fell apart on contact. We also went to the bakery in Frankfort and bought a few baked goods, the cheese danish was nice. The chocolate shop in town was a disappointment. The bourbon chocolates were alright but far too sugary for my taste and the fudge was no better than inexpensive grocery store brands. On a late night we stopped at Tollly Ho for a midnight snack. Burgers were good old school burgers. Portions were huge. Onion rings and fries were what you'd expect. The limeade was a refreshing change. Although I must say I enjoyed every gallon of the unsweetened tea I drank on this trip! If you're at the Kentucky Horse Park try the lunch there. They had decent pulled pork bbq sandiwiches, soup beans with cornbread and a few other regional specialties. I enjoyed the bread pudding, which was drizzled with some dark chocolate. As caferias go this was a good one. Other sweets we enjoyed were Doughdaddy donuts (which I enjoyed much more than our Tim Horton's donuts).. We walked through the very tiny farmer's market near the hotel after breakfast at Della's Diner. I bought pimento cheese and beer cheese. Interesting. My son bought Easy Cheese in a spray can at the grocery store. Not sure if I really care to try either again. But we're all hooked on Ale 8 One and loaded the back of the pick up truck with cases of it. Oh yes, and a couple of bottles of bourbon for my husband. My son enjoyed the battered and deep fried dill pickles. And as for the funky chicken we didn't get any of that until just before we crossed the border at Port Huron into Canada.

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            Wallace Station
            3854 Old Frankfort Pike, Versailles, KY 40383

            Tim Hortons
            2206 13th St, Ashland, KY 41101

            1. re: dory

              beer cheese is hit or miss, Halls on the river has the best.

              1. re: dory

                Hey Dory.

                We ate at Rick's White Light Diner yesterday and while we liked it, it didn't WOW us. It's the 10th or so place we visited that is "Triple D approved" and it was certainly the least good.

                DT

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                White Light Diner
                114 Bridge St, Frankfort, KY 40601

          2. Murray's is the best choice offering local specialties and outdoor patio. Fried Chicken is excellent as well as chef's specials. It gets crowded after the last race so make a reservation. Cocktail lounge features many Maker's Mark items of interest.

            3 Replies
            1. re: swickman

              Thanks to all. Murray's menu looks good. A little taste of bluegrass while i'm there. Claudia Sander's looked good too but I'm not driving halfway to Louisviile for fried green tomatoes. Please keep the suggestions coming. Buiscuits? Hot brown?

              1. re: dock

                I would not walk across the street to eat at Claudia Sanders....the food is nasty and it is dirty.

            2. Skip the food... stick to bourbon. Only kidding of course. Midway is worth the trip. People have already made some fine suggestions, but you might also consider Wallace Station. It's owned by Ouita Michel, who also runs the aforementioned Holly Hill Inn. Wallace Station would be a great choice for taking-out and picnicking at the track.

              http://www.wallacestation.com/Wallace...

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              Holly Hill Inn
              426 North Winter Street, Midway, KY 40347

              Wallace Station
              3854 Old Frankfort Pike, Versailles, KY 40383

              Holly Hill Inn
              Midway, KY, Midway, KY

              Holly Hill Inn
              426 N Winter St, Midway, KY 40347

              4 Replies
              1. re: KYcolonel

                Interesting you should suggest Wallace Station. It's going to be featured on an upcoming "Triple D" episode with Guy Fieri. As are several other Kentucky d.d and ds, two of which are in Lexington. I've never been to the Shaker Village but my sister stayed and ate there and enjoyed it.

                1. re: dory

                  Dory,
                  Do you know when the Triple D episode with Wallace Station is going to air or if it already has? It is one of my favorite places around this area!

                  Anna

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                  Wallace Station
                  3854 Old Frankfort Pike, Versailles, KY 40383

                  1. re: Roadpony

                    Hi Roadpony,

                    I don't think it has aired yet. I guess keep checking the Food Network website or Flavortown USA site for updates. I know it's not tonight's episode.

                    We never made it to KY this spring, maybe October for the fall meet or yearling sales. Looking forward to some local specialities!

                    Dory

                    1. re: Roadpony

                      Not sure if you got a chance to see it or not but if you scroll to the bottom of the page linked here you can watch it.
                      http://www.flavortownusa.com/wallace-...

                      DT

                2. Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg is a favorite of mine. I have eaten there when visiting for many years. The foods are traditional and always of good quality.

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                  Beaumont Inn
                  638 Beaumont Inn Dr, Harrodsburg, KY 40330

                  1 Reply
                  1. I'm also planning trip to Lexington and looking for some good food.

                    I see all the references to places in Midway. I've looked Midway up on Google maps and it's 4 1/2 hours away. Is this the Midway you all are talking about? Just a little too far to drive for a meal.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: wintersummer

                      From Lexington
                      Take Leestown Road (U.S. 421) west toward Frankfort. Midway is approximately 11 miles beyond
                      New Circle Road.

                        1. re: KYcolonel

                          Thanks for letting me know where the "other" Midway is!!!!

                          I really thought some of these Midway places sounded great - but when I looked Midway up on Google maps, it was west of the Land Between the Lakes area. I'll be in Lexington/Frankfort and can make it to this other Midway. thanks so much.

                      1. Columbia Steakhouse. Downtown. Tons of racing memorabilia. Cold Beer. Great Steaks. Been doing it for years.

                        1. just got back and thought i'd report. first night we just went for some pizza at mellow mushroom. good beer and lovely coeds to watch but i usually don't eat pizza outside of nyc and this place verifies why. the next evening we ate at murray's. it was a beautiful night and we ate on the patio. that made it a worthwhile night. but the place had glorified bar food. no beer on tap and $11 for a bourbon. menu was uninspired. and the college waiter was out of bill and ted's excellent adventure. whoa dude. funny but not in a haha way. we had lunch at the track so nothing to report there. the next night we ate at dudley's. nice looking place with a small but nice bar. food was very good if uninspired. i had a salad with goat cheese and about 4 pieces of lettuce. i had the steak frites and my friend had the pasta. all tasty but like i said, nothing to wow. the last day we went for breakfast at stella's. nice place with nice ideals and tasty local food. i had eggs with country ham and a side of biscuits with gravy and cheese grits. no lunch needed that day! the buscuits were outstanding, flaky and delish. the gravy was also terrific, very peppery. the grits were just sooo good. not mushy like i've had in the past but cheesy chewy deliciousness. it's like the difference between instant oatmeal and steel cut oats. and the ham was just great. this is the kind of place i love to eat at when i visit a new area. all local providers and all regional food. you should support them. for dinner we went to jonathan's. never mentioned on this board and that is a shame. it's the epitome of what i asked for. the chef uses local ingredients to cook some high end bluegrass/ southern food. it is what a chowhound wants. it's a little pricey but not outrageous. my friend had local asparagus in an appetizer. i chose an appetizer that basically was bluegrass cooking in 1 dish. grit fries( like fried polenta but with grits) in a pimento cheese sauce with a banana pepper relish. it was amazing. simple ingredients that tasted great and was kentucky in 1 dish. if he added a burgoo dipping sauce i think he would have all the local specialties in 1 dish. and my main was shrimp and grits. not bluegrass but still southern and darn good. as you can tell, i don't get grits in nj so i certainly had my fill this week. and dessert was a trio of homemade ice creams. bananas foster, mint chocolate truffle, and derby pie. wow, a terrific ending to a fine meal. this place should get more recognition. thanks to all and next time i'll get to try a hot brown.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: dock

                            I personally I have mentioned Jonathons numerous times on Chowhound. Did you not search the archives? In fact Gratz park inn is one of my favorite places to stay. I am not a fan of Murrays too many other choices, I do like Dudleys but more for like Ladies luncheon.

                            1. re: LaLa

                              Hi Dock,

                              Sorry you didn't get to those places earlier. Both had been in the archives extensively. OTOH, your critiques were spot on. Couple new places to go that I've found outstanding. Josie's for breakfast. Grey Goose for casual night out. Tulip for upscale dining.

                              1. re: DrFillster

                                I second the Tulip... one of our favorite nice places. French inspired... steaks, fish dishes, mussels and fries, frog legs, ect..

                            2. re: dock

                              Wow, you come on chowhound, ask for tips, then go and get chain pizza? No wonder why New Yorkers have no clue about America.

                              I'm going to NYC next week, should I get Sbarro? Is that Authentic NYC Pizza?

                            3. ... months later, Keenland is going on again, and I'm headed to Lexington. If i had all the time, i'd check these places out. None fancy by any means, just good food and good memories.

                              A.P. Suggins: fried chicken and white gravy
                              Le Matin: baguette (dude goes back and fourth from France and picks up ingredients)
                              Halls on the river: Fried banana peppers and frog legs
                              Billy's BBQ: Mutton and Burgoo.
                              Columbia's steakhouse: lamb fries
                              Winchell's: hot brown, fried green tomatoes, extreme hot wings
                              Joe Bologna's: Bread stick floating in garlic butter
                              Gold Star Chili: Though fast food, its hard to come across chili spaghetti (Cincinnati chili).

                              I'm sure I'm missing some other old favorites, but there is my list for anyone who's interested.