Jeff Ruby hates to disappoint. But Lexington will have to wait just a bit longer for the “Jeff Ruby experience” to arrive.
The restaurant coming to City Center, which had been planned to open April 1, will be delayed for a few weeks. The restaurant is now expected to open the third week of April at the earliest, according to Britney Ruby, president of Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Lexington Herald-Leader
But Jeff Ruby promises that it will be well worth the wait.
“People of Lexington are expecting something magical and we are going to give it to them,” Jeff Ruby said.
“JR” has an unlimited budget for decorating, according to his daughter, “and he exceeds it.”
“This is fun for him, and what he loves to do,” she said. “He gets to focus on insuring that every square inch is over the top.”
The look and feel are all part of delivering the “Jeff Ruby experience,” he said. Lexington’s Jeff Ruby Steakhouse will have a variety of private dining areas in addition to a large lounge, which will have a baby grand piano on a stage surrounded by a horseshoe-shaped bar.
Ruby gets his inspiration from lots of sources.
▪ For a key feature of the lounge, an idea came to him at an Elton John concert: “Elton has the Red Piano tour, and I saw his show at Caesar’s, and I thought ... you can paint a piano whatever color you want,” Ruby said.
So Lexington’s will be Wildcat blue.
▪ A whole private dining room that will seat 60 also will be dedicated to the Wildcats. But it won’t look like a sports bar. “It’s going to be a classy room ... going to be rich, with blue draperies, and the colors and all but rich woods,” he said.
▪ An intimate dining room focuses on Lexington’s horse industry. The Breeders’ Table is an antique table with 1 2 chairs under a ceiling filled with jockey silks of famous racing stables, including WinStar, which campaigned Triple Crown winner Justify. Ruby has deep ties to horse racing and has sponsored the top jockeys in Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup races.
▪ The Bourbon Room will feature another antique table, this one with seating for 18, and a matching cabinet that will hold lots of bourbon. “All the bourbon in the restaurant will be in that cabinet,” Ruby said.
▪ The Gatsby Room, which will seat 30, was inspired by the Leonardo di Caprio movie and features carpet and other touches from the film.
▪ The restaurant features lots of chandeliers. Antique chandeliers, which necessitated specially raised ceilings. Swarovski crystal chandeliers. Red Murano glass chandeliers.
▪ And the 1,800-square-foot patio (he’s leaning toward calling it “the Paddock”) will open onto the lounge, with firepits and bronze horse fountains.
▪ The menu, Britney Ruby said, will feature some items unique to Lexington but also will have all the favorites from Jeff Ruby Steakhouses around the country. The executive chef will be Dylan Jones, who has been the chef de cuisine at the flagship Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse in Cincinnati, she said.
She hinted there’s one feature they expect to play up in Lexington: Tableside cooking. “It’s classic and old-school but we’re going to elevate it,” Ruby said. “We’re well known for our bananas Foster and we hope to do that tableside, and potentially tableside tartare, and some fun tableside cocktails.”
Owners are aware that coming to Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse means people will have a higher check than most restaurants in the area. And they want to live up to the expectations that go with that, she said.
“You can get great food anywhere, but we give people a show,” Ruby said. “We want people to say that’s the best money they’ve ever spent. And for that you’ve got to have great atmosphere and ambiance.”