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While Lexington, KY, may be well-known as home to Keeneland and University of Kentucky, it’s also where you’ll find some pretty amazing dining options. A recent weekend visit with a friend uncovered three stand-outs in particular that make a return visit to this fun Southern city highly likely in the near future. Here are three Lexington restaurants everyone should experience at least once.

3 Lexington Restaurants Worth the Drive

Kentucky Native Café

417 East Maxwell Street, Lexington, KY 40508

For well over a century, the Michler family has been meeting the fresh flower needs of Lexington. Today, they’re still fulfilling plant and floral needs, but they’re also providing a one-of-a-kind dining experience you won’t find anywhere else. Wander through several of the Michler greenhouses, and you’ll suddenly arrive at a magical world of lush foliage and twinkling lights. Kentucky Native Café, a self-described “urban oasis,” is indeed just that — a paradisiacal place to enjoy a drink and a bite to eat in a most perfect setting. The beer menu, on which everything is $5.66, changes frequently and features three to four local craft beers. If beer’s not your thing, additional options include a short wine menu, local coffee or fruit spritzers. If you’re hungry, a Bavarian pretzel is a must, or try a salad or shareable plate. They also carry locally made gelato courtesy of Sorella Gelateria.

Tables are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, and social distancing is enforced. SB TIP: If you can’t find parking in the Michler’s lot or on the street, head to 446 East High Street, and you can enter the restaurant via the entrance at the back of the parking lot.

RELATED: Your Southern BBQ Bible

Lexington restaurants: Kentucky Native Cafe

The Kentucky Native Café menu is tiny but mighty, and it changes frequently. Here, roasted wild mushrooms are paired with housemade hummus and rolls. Image: @kynativecafe via Instagram

Lexington restaurants: Kentucky Native Cafe

Here, an apple dumpling a la mode is paired with a locally brewed nitro coffee. Image: @kynativecafe via Instagram

Kentucky Native Cafe

Dine among the lush foliage at Kentucky Native Café. Image: @kynativecafe via Instagram

girlsgirlsgirls BURRITOS

395 S. Limestone, Lexington, KY 40508

Yes, the name of this place sounds more like an adult nightclub than a hip eatery, but rest assured, this is a Lexington restaurant MUST — and it’s all ages, so bring the kids.

As the name suggests, this joint has sass — from the website to the menu item names to its social media accounts. Perusing the menu, which appeals to meat-eaters, vegans and every dietary preference in between, is almost as much fun as eating the contents listed. The BFF, the Thin Lizzy and the Boss Bitch (which is as you’d imagine — a take-control-and-build-your-own burrito) are just a few of the freshly made “El Dorado-style” burritos, which means they’re filled with fresh fare, wrapped in a flour tortilla and grilled till crispy and brown. Select from burritos, tacos, and quesadillas, but word to the wise: Do NOT skip the sides — particularly the kale vinegar slaw, the tots (with “chipotle ‘chup” to dip), and the chips and queso. You’d be remiss, also, to bypass the specials board, which changes frequently and often takes the liberty of blending both words and food. For example, this week’s special is the gyr’eeto, which is your choice of lamb, beef or falafel in a red pepper flake flour tortilla, topped with local tomatoes, lettuce, onion, pickled carrot, pickled radish, pickled pepper, cilantro and girls’ tzatziki sauce, all lightly grilled to delicious perfection. The Beshear Burreet, named after Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, is a healthy and filling burrito featuring your choice of two proteins as well as kale, spicy basmati, queso, pickled local carrot, spinach, radish and jalapeño. Described on the menu as “a healthy and nutritional power-up,” it comes with a challenge to contact Commonwealth of Kentucky leaders (who are listed along with their contact information on the menu) and demand justice for Breonna Taylor while you wait for your order.

Whether you’re into the social justice and advocacy scene or are simply looking for some amazing, fresh food from a locally owned restaurant, girlsgirlsgirls BURRITOS is where it’s at. Order online or by phone, or place your order at the window for patio dining or carry out, and enjoy a cocktail while you wait.

Lexington restaurants: girlsgirlsgirlsburritos

The menu is closely intertwined with social justice advocacy, and girlsgirlsgirls BURRITOS makes it incredibly easy for customers to do their part. Image: @girlsgirlsgirlsburritos via Instagram

Lexington restaurants: girlsgirlsgirlsburritos

For beverages, girlsgirlsgirls has an array of non-alcoholic options as well as beer, wine and cocktails. Choose from the menu, or toss out the liquor you love and they’ll make some suggestions for drinks not on the menu. Here, a concoction of fresh plum purée, housemade guava margarita mix, mint and lime. Image: @girlsgirlsgirlsburritos via Instagram

Lexington restaurants: girlsgirlsgirlsburritos

For the Buffaloreeto wrap, choose from crispy chicken or tofu doused in housemade chipotle buffalo sauce and jalapeño ranch,  and topped with jack cheese, cilantro, onion and lettuce (or shrettuce, as they call it — shredded lettuce). YUM! Image: @girlsgirlsgirlsburritos via Instagram


821 Chevy Chase Pl., Lexington, KY 40502

If brunch is what’s on tap, then definitely head to Josie’s, but be prepared for a short wait — it’s that popular. While Josie’s does have lunch and dinner, the breakfast menu is what shines. Choose from five omelets, each served with your choice of breakfast potatoes or cheese grit casserole and a biscuit. For big appetites craving something sweet, direct your attention to the pancakes and waffles, which you can order topped with whipped cream, maple syrup, fresh berries and a variety of other options. Other breakfast classics on the menu include eggs Benedict, breakfast quiche and standard sides like bacon, sausage, bagels, toast and fruit. Finally, if you’re looking for healthier selections, organic granola and an egg white omelet round out the offerings.

Not ready to dine indoors? Josie’s has converted a portion of the parking lot to covered outdoor dining. And to help lessen the spread of germs, they’ve also forgone actual menus. Instead, a quick scan of the QR code on the table placard pulls up the menu and offers everything you’ll need to know.

RELATED: “I Opened a Business During The Pandemic”

Lexington restaurants: Josie's

The Oreo pancake comes topped with whipped cream and crumbled Oreo cookies — a sweet start to the day! Image: Josie’s Facebook page

Breakfast from Josie's in Lexington, KY

If you’re enjoying this breakfast feast of farm-fresh eggs, potatoes, bacon, cheddar jack cheese and chopped green onions, all smothered in Josie’s famous sausage gravy, make sure you leave time for a nap afterward. Image: Josie’s Facebook page

Enjoy your dining adventures in Lexington!


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