Restaurant News & Reviews

Chef’s latest restaurant to bring scratch-made pasta, Italian sauces to City Center

An avant-garde Italian restaurant will open in the City Center development on Lexington’s Main Street this winter.

Chef Jonathan Lundy, business partner and sommelier TJ Cox and Lee Greer will launch ItalX at 160 West Main, anchoring the corner of Main and Upper.

The restaurant, which will have seating for about 80 with 15 bar seats, will be off the lobby of the 120-room Residence Inn and the 214-room room Marriott Hotel.

This isn’t the first restaurant from this team: Lundy worked at Greer’s Coba Cocina restaurant before opening Corto Lima in 2017. Although Lundy became known in Lexington for his New Southern cuisine at Jonathan’s at Gratz Park, the chef said in 2016 that his culinary heart was more attuned to Southwestern flavors.

“We want to take the success we’ve had at Corto Lima and push it into a new restaurant,” Lundy said. The price point will be similar, with a menu that is respectful of classics without adhering to the stereotypical.

No red-checkered tablecloths, candles in Chianti bottles or massive plates of pasta, he said.

“It will be more delicate in sizing, small plate-minded,” Lundy said. “Let’s put it this way, not tri-colored tortellini with a basil pesto cream sauce. I’m not going to take frozen ravioli and put a sauce on it, that doesn’t sound fun to me. Would I eat it, yes, of course I would. But I want to do a few things that are different.”

Jonathan Lundy, who opened Corto Lima at Short Street and Limestone in 2017, will be launching a new Italian restaurant at City Center. Mark Cornelison 2014 staff file photo

ItalX likely will start with limited dinner service and build to lunch and dinner seven days a week.

According to a news release, the Italian concept has been in the making for about five years.

“I am excited to see it come to life,” Lundy said in the release. “Thanks to my partnership with TJ, Lee and our team we are finally prepared to move into a beautiful restaurant space in Lexington’s hottest development.”

The restaurant will pair contemporary and comfortable design for a “local interpretation of a Mediterranean bistro.”

Lundy and Cox also will continue to operate Corto Lima, a Latin fusion restaurant a few blocks away on Limestone and Short streets.

Corto Lima, chef Jonathan Lundy’s restaurant on Limestone, has found a strong audience. He hopes the new ItalX will too. Charles Bertram

“We sought the best culinary legacy in Lexington and grabbed the Corto Lima duo, Chef Jonathan Lundy and TJ Cox,” Greer said in the release. “Together, we have the opportunity to create something special and different on the block we are proudest of. This collaboration brings innovative ideas to the cornerstone of the City Center project.”

The menu for ItalX will feature “simple, fresh, quality ingredients and inspired hospitality in a warm and inviting space,” according to the release. “A twist on traditional Italian fare, the menu will feature multiple scratch-made pastas, reimagined small plates, vegetarian and gluten-free offerings, and everyone’s favorite desserts. Popular Italian dishes will be reinvented with elegant presentation.”

The bar program, developed by Cox, will offer extensive Italian wines and an inventive cocktail list.

Greer said he hopes to have the new restaurant open by mid- to late November. He said he loves Italian food; ‘italics’ means slanted, and this will be a new slant on a classic.

“We have some Italian restaurants here I love very much but we don’t have anything like this,” Greer said. “This could be the most prominent corner of the City Center project, from a pedestrian point of view. We felt a little bit of pressure to deliver something as unique as The Dame and Buster’s,” two bars demolished for the development.

Greer said that he hopes to take this concept, along with Corto Lima and another American concept in development, and bring them other cities.

“I love working with these guys, and this project is not the biggest by any stretch but it’s one I’ve been looking forward to for a long time,” Greer said.

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ItalX, a new Italian restaurant from chef Jonathan Lundy, sommelier TJ Cox and Lee Greer, will open in City Center later this year. Image provided
Janet Patton covers restaurants, bars, food and bourbon for the Herald-Leader. She is an award-winning business reporter who also has covered agriculture, gambling, horses and hemp.
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