Restaurant News & Reviews

Giant pork chops, deep-fried Derby pie are standouts at the Kentucky State Fair

LexGo Eat visits campus Steak ‘n Shake

The LexGo Eat team speak with general manager Elizabeth Petty of the new Steak 'n Shake diner, part of Limestone Park I residence hall on UK's campus, and sample strawberry and chocolate milkshakes.
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The LexGo Eat team speak with general manager Elizabeth Petty of the new Steak 'n Shake diner, part of Limestone Park I residence hall on UK's campus, and sample strawberry and chocolate milkshakes.

The Kentucky State Fair begins Thursday in Louisville, and in addition to the Sivori treats (deep-fried Derby Pie, anyone?) you can sample lots of homegrown food from Kentucky farmers.

The Kentucky Cookout tent will feature food from the Kentucky Sheep and Wool Producers, the Kentucky Aquaculture Association, the Kentucky Country Ham Producers Association, the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association, the American Dairy Association of Kentucky, the Kentucky Pork Producers’ Association (home of the giant pork chop) and the Kentucky Corn Growers’ Association.

There’s also a Kentucky Bourbon, Bites and Brew tent that will have — what else? — bourbon, Kentucky themed-food and craft beer, with representatives of local breweries and distilleries there.

If you like to see where your food comes from, there will be displays of vegetables and fruits, bees and honey, and livestock exhibitions. And cooking demos in the Gourmet Garden in the South Wing.

And if cooking competitions are your thing, there’s one to watch just about every day, beginning with the Kentucky Farm to School Junior Chef competition, Aug. 19 to 26, and the Evan Williams Bourbon Cooking Competition, 6 p.m. Aug. 19. There’s also the Kentucky Beef Council Backyard Burger Competition, 4 p.m. Aug. 21; the Gold Medal Flour Cookie Contest, 6 p.m. Aug. 22; the Great American Spam Championship, 6 p.m. Aug. 23; and the Kentucky Pork Challenge, 6 p.m. Aug. 24. For more information about the State Fair, including a full schedule of events, go to It runs through Aug. 28.

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles will host the Commodity Appreciation Breakfast on Thursday to open the fair. To commemorate the KDA’s Hunger Initiative, attendees are asked to bring canned goods that will be donated to local charities. The Hunger Initiative is an effort to examine the hunger problem in Kentucky and search for solutions. Quarles also will address the Kentucky Farm Bureau Country Ham Breakfast on Aug. 25.

▪  Rooster Brewing in Paris is expanding. Owner Ralph Quillin said the production brewery will move to 420 Main, the old Bourbon Hardware building. “We’re expanding our capacity by 500 percent to meet the demand of the Lexington market, to supply our Northern Kentucky distribution partner and to supply our upcoming Lexington restaurant,” Quillin said.

“With over 11,500 square feet on the first floor of this circa 1869 livery and blacksmith shop, we’ll have more than enough room to scale up our operation and add bottling, food and sponsor more events and community organizations.” Quillin’s plans are to keep the RoosterBrew Tap Room and Public House at 609 Main Street and add a few more seats and possibly a small kitchen to bring food service in-house.

▪  Bour-Bon, 616 Main Street in Paris, is gone. Owner Joseph Clay announced last week that the restaurant, bar and event venue, which opened in May 2014, is closed and for sale. In March, the historic buildings at 616-618 Main Street, which were extensively renovated for the restaurant, were listed for sale with a price tag of $985,000.

▪  The Break Room at Pepper, 1178 Manchester Street, has opened its covered deck overlooking tree-shaded Town Branch. The bar in the Distillery District regularly has food trucks on site evenings and weekends.

▪  Panda Express Chinese Kitchen, 2399 Richmond Road, has opened. The new eatery is on the site of a former BP station and near Newk’s Eatery and Home Depot. Panda Express also has restaurants on Nicholasville Road and at the University of Kentucky. Panda Express recently announced that it is adding General Tso’s Chicken to the menu. Call 859-268-0009 for hours.

▪  Freshii, a the global health-casual, fresh food concept, opened its first restaurant in Lexington on Aug. 15 in the Academic Science Building at 680 Rose Street, on the University of Kentucky campus. Freshii offers a menu of healthy options with high-quality ingredients designed to provide nutritious meal choices to people on the go, including a customizable menu of breakfast, soups, salads, wraps, bowls, burritos, frozen yogurt, juices and smoothies.

▪  Alfalfa, 141 East Main Street, will feature Egyptian food for International Night on Aug. 17. From 5:30 to 9 p.m., you can get lemon fig chicken, kofta (grilled spiced Stone Cross Farm ground beef kebabs with red chili tahini sauce, hummus, crumbled feta, cucumber salad and flatbread), ful medames (fava beans simmered with onions, lemon and spices served over basmati rice and topped with a fried egg), moussaka, and kushari (mixed pasta topped with lentils, chickpeas, basmati rice, ginger and cumin spiced tomato sauce and fried onions.) Next week: Korean cuisine. Call 859-253-0014 for information.

▪  Need an excuse to picnic? Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate, at 120 Sycamore Road, will host a free pop-up concert by WindSync at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 18 to kick off the 10th annual Chamber Music Festival. The Ginkgo Tree Café, with sandwiches and salads for sale from Athenian Grill, will be open until 9 p.m., and West Sixth Brewery will have a beer truck there.

▪  Braxton Brewing Co. of Covington, named one of the top 33 new breweries of 2015 by Beer Advocate, is venturing into the Lexington market on Aug. 24 with a party at Pazzo’s Pizza Pub, 385 South Limestone. Braxton will have three canned products — Oktober Fuel, Storm, and Crank Shaft — along with many draft products.

▪  Brasabana, 841 Lane Allen Road, will host a pig roast Aug. 26. Buffet will include roasted suckling pig, sautéed shrimp in garlic-tomato sauce, empanadas de carne (pastry filled with braised beef, raisins and olives), croquetas de jamon y pollo (smoked ham and chicken croquettes), black beans, white rice, elote (grilled corn with queso fresco, lime and cayenne, pepper), pico de gallo and tres leches cake with strawberry compote. It’s $20 plus drinks. Reservations are recommended; call 859-303-5572.

▪  Moontower Music Festival returns Aug. 27 to Masterson Station with live music and lots of food, including Crank & Boom, Rolling Oven, Popcorn Paradise, Steel City Pops, Red State BBQ, Gastro Gnomes, Crazy ’Bout Cajun and Honnah-Lee Bubble Tea. Tickets are $49 each, available online at, or you can buy them for $35 through through Wednesday.

▪  Azur Restaurant and Patio, 3070 Lakecrest Circle, will kick off Labor Day weekend on Sept. 2 with a buffet of Hawaiian and Pacific Rim-themed luau foods, tropical drink specials and live music. Menu includes slow-cooked and pulled kahlua pig; mango ginger chicken; lori lomi salmon, pickled onion, tomato, ponzu; Korean glazed pork ribs; garlic fried rice; tuna and rock shrimp poke with ginger, soy, cucumber; shrimp dumplings; tropical fruit salsa; Hawaiian ratatouille; and kale, hearts of palm, pineapple and macadamia salad. It’s $45, plus tax and tip. Call 859-296-1007 for reservations.

▪  The Kentucky Chinese American Association will host the annual Moon Festival, 4 to 8 p.m. Sept. 10 at the Moondance Amphitheatre, 1152 Monarch Street. It’s free; there will be free samples of moon cakes and other Chinese foods available for purchase, along with cooking demonstrations, crafts, music and dance demonstrations and more. Go to or call 859-224-8072.

▪  The Bluegrass Indo-American Civic Society will celebrate India Day from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 18 at the Moondance Amphitheatre, 1151 Monarch Street. It’s free; there will be a variety of Indian food available, as well as entertainment. Go to or email

▪  Explore Italy’s diverse wine culture in the English Grill at the Brown Hotel, 335 West Broadway in Louisville, at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 18. Sommelier Troy Ritchie will pair wine from regions around the Italian peninsula with a four-course meal at the special dining event. From Piedmont in the north to Campania in the south, Ritchie and Vias Imports’ Rudy Basile will showcase wines of the regions alongside classic dishes like cioppino and Bolognese crafted by chef de cuisine Andrew Welenken. The cost is $65 and includes a wine pairing for each course. For more information or to make reservations, call 502-583-1234.

▪  Through Aug. 30, Bonefish Grill, 2341 Sir Barton Way, will offer fresh steamed, cracked lobster, stuffed with creamed spinach and cheese, served with roasted red potatoes and melted butter for dipping.