Lexington food trucks open brick-and-mortar restaurants

ctruman@herald-leader.comJuly 3, 2013 

For Lexington foodies, the option soon might be: Would you like that from a food truck or at a sit-down restaurant?

Several of Lexington's most popular mobile food venues are moving into or have opened brick-and-mortar restaurants, including La Petite Crêperie, El Habanero Loko and the Athenian Grill.

La Petite Crêperie, which regularly sees long lines at its mobile booth at the farmers market and festivals, opened a restaurant to a brisk business last week on Kentucky Avenue. The restaurant allows the food stand to expand its offerings, adding salads, more crêpe fillings and French sandwiches.

El Habanero Loko opened last month at 102 West Vine Street, in the building formerly occupied by Tonio's and then J. Morse Bistro. Owner Maria Razo said business was good, and she intends to work at the restaurant and the food truck.

Athenian Grill food truck owner Ilias Pappas mounted a Kickstarter.com crowd-funding campaign for the Chevy Chase restaurant for his Greek cuisine; it is due to open in late August. He said having a sit-down restaurant would let him serve more customers and provide an elaborate dinner experience in a separate upstairs dining room for special parties. The restaurant also will offer Greek goods in a store, also upstairs.

The Kickstarter campaign raised more than $18,000 in pledges.

He said he was grateful for "not only the people who contributed but helped me spread the word."

The Athenian Grill restaurant, at 313 South Ashland Avenue, was formerly Belle's Bakery, which had been open from 2004 until March.

Pappas said the restaurant would be "a truly authentic place to have Greek food ... kind of like the dining experience you have in Greece."

Surveying his restaurant space, Pappas pointed past construction debris and paint to show where three tables and a serving line will be.

Pappas said, "I cook, I clean, I service, I do the marketing."


Sites of Lexington food trucks' brick-and-mortar restaurants

Athenian Grill: Scheduled to open in late August at 313 S. Ashland Ave. (859) 351-1605. Facebook.com/AthenianGrilllex.

El Habanero Loko: 102 W. Vine St. (859) 967-8788. Facebook.com/takeriaelhabanero.loko

La Petite Crêperie: 191 Kentucky Ave. Petitecreperie.com.

Cheryl Truman: (859) 231-3202. Twitter: @CherylTruman.

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