Restaurant News & Reviews

Southland restaurant closes after only four months. But location wasn’t the problem.

A Lexington restaurant that was determined to prove its location wasn’t cursed ... has closed.

Nash’s Southern Table & Bar, which opened on Southland Drive in June, announced the news in a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

“We are sad to announce that effective today we are closing Nash’s doors,” said owner Chandler Lyles in the post. “Yes, it has only been a few months but to be frank we don’t have the money to continue. We planned this part of our business poorly and we were unable to overcome the early mistakes. This definitely isn’t a ‘cursed’ location like so many have suggested. This business not succeeding is on us and only us. We look forward to trying the next restaurant that decides to call this place home.”

Lyles said that their core restaurant business, Lyles BBQ, is not closing and that any gift cards purchased at Nash’s can be redeemed there.

He also thanked the customers who supported the business, which was launched as a way to offer more styles of food, particularly recipes from his mother, Jennifer “Mama” Lyles.

The spot was the former home of Willie’s Locally Known, which was open there for about three years.

At the time of the opening, Jennifer Lyles also was adamant that there was no “cursed location” to overcome.

“A lot of people have said on social media, ‘Oh I hope you make it because nobody’s ever made it there ...’ It’s kind of like our trademark to take over spaces that people say that about,” Lyles said at the time.

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Jennifer “Mama” Lyles had a menu of Southern favorites including hush puppies and fried green tomatoes at Nash’s Southern Table and Bar. Janet Patton

Southland Drive has been undergoing beautification efforts over the summer designed to improve the appearance of the railroad trestle and drainage ditches. The $1.85 million revamp has torn up business driveways but eventually will include new trees, sidewalks, artworks and pedestrian crossings.

Chandler Lyles said Tuesday that the construction never really was a problem. “The city of Lexington is doing a great job revitalizing the whole area,” he said.

Nash’s Southern Table & Bar, the new place from Chandler and “Mama” Lyles Southland Drive, announced it has closed. Ryan C. Hermens

“I don’t think that location is cursed and anybody who is saying that is hurting small businesses who are investing in that corridor,” Lyles said.

Several new businesses, including a Taco Tico restaurant, are moving onto Southland Drive.

The problem came down to poor planning, he said.

“We just ran out of money. It was a very big business, we stretched ourselves too thin, were overly optimistic, and our plan didn’t account for certain expenses,” Lyles said.

Nash’s Southern Table & Bar, the new place from Chandler and “Mama” Lyles, opened in June on Southland Drive. Ryan C. Hermens

“We started our business five years ago on the side of the road out of a tent ... and our goal has always been to grow a very big company,” Lyles said. “When we got that chance it was too good an opportunity to pass up. ... We just bit off more than we could chew.”

He said they had a lot of customers and most liked the food. “We needed to be about 30 percent busier,” he said.

If they’d been able to keep going for another six months, he said, they might have made it but they couldn’t keep going without jeopardizing their entire business.

“We decided to close Nash’s to save Lyles’,” he said. “You hate it ... but sometimes you have to make hard decisions.”

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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