A new restaurant is going in on South Limestone and hopes catch a wave of downtown foot traffic. The Southern Deli & Tavern will open in late August at 207 South Limestone, where Graze used to be.
Co-owner Bryan Henderson, who has decades of experience in the restaurant industry, is partnering with a friend, Eric Van Schoyck, to establish the new concept.
The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner and will feature sandwiches named for Southern cities, often with a special tie-in.
The Memphis, for instance, features Nutella, banana and peanut butter, in a homage to Elvis. The Nashville is a play on hot chicken; the Miami is a flavorful cubano.
He plans to offer Tractor organic natural fountain drinks and will have a full bar as well.
Henderson said the concept is one he’s had in his wish list for a while, looking for the right opportunity to develop. The former owner of the Carrabba’s Italian Restaurant in Hamburg, Henderson came to Lexington in 2009.
He and business partners Michael and Nicole Sloan owned the Local Taco concept, which they franchised to someone else in Lexington. Henderson sold his interest in Local Taco earlier this year to invest in new concepts.
He also owns Burgher Burger, a hamburger restaurant, in Richmond.
In Lexington, he said, the location will be key.
“This corridor right here has gotten much more desirable, with Jeff Ruby’s, with 700 parking spaces, with Ethereal buying that (the building on the corner of High and Limestone,)“ he said. The parking will be important because there is little daytime parking.
Southern Deli & Tavern will be open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weeknights, to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and to 9 p.m. on Sunday, he said, with plans for brunch eventually.
The restaurant has seating inside for about 40, with seating for about 25 planned for outside, he said. The restaurant also will do catering and delivery, he said.
Although he thinks the bulk of the business will be lunch traffic, with quick service at the counter, he also plans to do a late evening happy hour.
“We’re a block and a half from UK, and we’re a block and a half from City Center, and a block and a half from Rupp. So I think I’m going to get a pretty good mix, especially during lunch, of students and business,” he said. “I think City Center has changed the landscape ... before, I wouldn’t have been interested in this location.”