Burgers have taken over the spot where Mexican once reigned. The former El Chico restaurant in Beaumont Centre now is Bru Burger Bar. The menu at the gourmet burger place also features salads, sandwiches and craft beers.
Burger choices include the Bru (Taleggio cheese, bacon, tomato jam, caramelized onion), Kentucky bourbon (bacon, peppercorn-bourbon glaze, horseradish havarti) and ground turkey (carrot-ginger slaw, peach compote). Bru is at 3010 Lakecrest Circle. Call (859) 305-0082 or go to Bruburgerbar.com.
■ Brown's Bakery, 1226 Versailles Road, is closing at the end of December. Owner James Brown said he has a "new venture, and I can't wait." We'll have to wait until Brown, who participated on Food Network's Cupcake Wars and also appeared on Season 3 of TLC's Next Great Baker, is ready to tell us. Call (859) 225-8400 or go to Brownbakery.com.
■ House Food & Wine, 207 South Limestone, has closed after only about six months. "The time commitment was too much for us with our other businesses," said owner David Jones, who also operates Soundbar, across the street from the House location.
New Year's celebrations
■ Alfalfa, 141 East Main Street, is serving its annual New Year's Day brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Specials include raspberry-almond pancakes and spinach-mushroom omelets. Call (859) 253-0014 or go to Alfalfarestaurant.com.
■ Natasha's Bistro, 112 Esplanade, is planning a romantic New Year's Eve dinner with a four-course prix fixe menu for $60 in addition to an a la carte menu. There will be strolling musicians during dinner and at the party afterwards. Seating is available from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Half-price movie tickets are available that night for those dining early and going to The Kentucky Theatre to see Nebraska or The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Call (859) 259-2754 or go to Beetnik.com.
■ Thai Orchid Café, 1030 South Broadway, will be closed Sunday through Wednesday and on Jan. 1. The café will be open 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. New Year's Eve, and the party begins at 5 p.m. with a three-course meal for $25.95. Call (859) 288-2170 or go to Thaiorchidcafe.net.
■ Bakery Blessings & Bookstore @ the Bar, 1999 Harrodsburg Road, is taking last-minute orders for Christmas pies, cakes and goodies. The bakery will be open until 2 p.m. Christmas Eve with no lunch service. It is closed Christmas Day and Dec. 26. Call (859) 554-6044.
■ Double H BBQ, 1244 Versailles Road, is offering country ham by the pound through the holidays. Also available: smoked pulled pork or chicken, brisket, ribs, 24- and 48-piece wing platters, burgoo, homemade sides and desserts. Call (859) 523- 4227 or go to Doublehbbq.com.
■ Red State BBQ, 4020 Georgetown Road, is smoking holiday turkeys.
"We get our turkeys fresh from Critchfield Meats and will be taking orders right up to close of business on Friday," owner David Carroll said. Pickup for the turkeys is before 6 p.m. Christmas Eve. The cost is $5 a pound.
The Friday night special is smoked prime rib. It's $16.50 for 8 ounces, $19 for 10 ounces.
Also, Red State is offering a 10 percent discount with a Southern Lights ticket stub through Dec. 31. Call (859) 233-7898 or go to Redstatebbq.com.
■ People who like lamb fries will travel great distances to eat them. When The Julep Cup offers the Southern delicacy as a special, which it is doing Friday and Saturday, people "drive in from all sorts of counties," chef/owner Lindsay Brooks Brugh said. Call (859) 226-0300 or go to Thejulepcup.com. The restaurant is at 111 Woodland Avenue. (For those unaware, lamb fries are fried lamb testicles.)
■ The Grey Goose, 170 Jefferson Street, is serving prime rib pizza and Clare Island salmon with a teriyaki glaze Friday and Saturday. Call (859) 233-1500 or go to Greygooserestaurants.com.
■ Unlimited Spirit, 402 Southland Drive, is having a tasting of Alltech's Town Branch bourbon and Bluegrass Sundown, and Blue Chair rum, from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday. Call (859) 309-2903.