Petro's Chili & Chips will bring its gourmet chili to Lexington at a franchise restaurant on Tates Creek Centre Drive. It's scheduled to open in late August.
The site formerly housed a Pizza Hut.
The menu, which features upscale versions of "Frito pies" — chili layered on chips with other ingredients — was inspired by a food concession that opened during the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville.
The name "Petro" was derived from petroleum, which honored the fair's energy theme.
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The Petro's menu includes meat-based and vegetarian chili Petro's cups layered with chips or pasta, cheese, tomatoes, green onions, sour cream and optional black olives and jalapeños. Fat-free cheese and sour cream also are available.
The round restaurant was built after the Pizza Hut building was torn down.
The Petro's will have dine-in and patio sections, and a drive-through. Its menu also includes Nathan's hot dogs, stuffed baked potatoes, nachos, soft-serve ice cream and Hint of Orange iced tea with orange slices.
Petro's has restaurants in Tennessee and Georgia. The one in Lexington is the first in Kentucky, but a site for a second Lexington restaurant is being sought, said Dale Widmer, owner of the Petro's chain.
"This will be our first venture into Kentucky, and we're really excited about it," Widmer said.
The synthesis of the ingredients is what makes a Petro distinctive and tasty, Widmer said.
"The chili tastes good alone, but the best way to have it is with a Petro."