A hunka hunka burnin' cheese is heading to Lexington.
The Tex-Mex restaurant chain Chuy's, which features an Elvis shrine in every store, is hoping to open for business Aug. 30 at 3841 Nicholasville Centre Drive, in the former Nothing But Burgers, which has been closed for about a year.
Rosenstein Developments' Jeff England said the company has a long-term lease with Chuy's for the site, which is across the road from Bella Notte Italian restaurant.
"We're excited about them opening the new store," England said.
Chuy's marketing manager, Hilary Delling, said the private chain, based in Austin, Texas, is equally excited about coming to Lexington. It already has a Chuy's in Louisville, and Delling said it posted a brief notice on the store's Facebook page about coming to Lexington recently and got hordes of positive responses.
Chuy's, she said, "is going to change your life. There's nothing like Chuy's in the Southeast."
She said the restaurant serves only fresh food — fresh hand-rolled tortillas and seven freshly made sauces. "Nothing frozen or out of a can," she said, except for french fries for the kids.
Delling said she's already thinking up promotional shirts, such as "Go Big Blue (tortilla chips)," a Chuy's speciality.
"We go places where we feel like people will 'get' us. Lexington's going to get us," she said.
The restaurant also plans to partner with the local charity Camp Horsin' Around and will build local events around that.
On June 16, Chuy's received a restaurant remodeling permit from the city. The restaurant estimated its construction costs at $1 million.
That's a far cry from the humble start of the fast-growing chain, which began in an abandoned barbecue joint in Austin. According to company lore, founders Mike Young and John Zapp had only $20 to spend on décor. Saying "You can't fake cheap," Zapp parlayed that $20 into a velvet Elvis and a velvet Stevie Wonder, and the walls were done.
The company claims a cultlike following both for its fresh food and for its funky décor, which differs from store to store.
And there is plenty of cheese, and green chilies bought direct from pepper farms in Hatch, N.M.
Chuy's will begin taking applications for 175 full- and part-time positions from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday at the restaurant's Lexington site off Nicholasville Road. Applications can be printed out and filled in from the Web site, Chuys.com.