Lynagh’s, JDI Grille for sale; pub owner wants to focus on bagels

JDI Grille and Tavern on Cedar St., and S. Broadway in , in Lexington, Ky., on June 28, 2013.
JDI Grille and Tavern on Cedar St., and S. Broadway in , in Lexington, Ky., on June 28, 2013. Lexington Herald-Leader

Two more well-known Lexington restaurants are looking for new owners: Lynagh’s, an institution with University of Kentucky students in Woodland Plaza, and JDI Grille & Tavern, which reopened with great fanfare on Broadway in 2013, are both for sale. This follows news that Alfalfa on Main Street is also hoping to find a buyer.

Robert Swan, who bought Lynagh’s in 2014, said he’s actually been trying to sell the restaurant for about a year. “I have other businesses I’m trying to focus on, that’s the primary reason,” Swan said. He also owns Great Bagel, which he started six years ago in the same shopping center as Lynagh’s and would love to expand.

When Swan bought Lynagh’s, he revamped the menu, including the O’Round burger, and updated the 35-year-old restaurant, which began life across the street on the other corner of Euclid but has been in its present location at 384 Woodland Avenue for more than 25 years.

“Originally I bought it because it was an institution, and I thought I could fix it up and attract more people. That was the idea. It was kind of dying,” Swan said. But the changes haven’t moved the needle very much he said. “We are each year doing better but it has to be more to keep it going.”

The business is listed with Pulliam Co. brokerage for $125,000, with inventory, equipment and furnishings included.

Swan said he probably will close Lynagh’s if it doesn’t sell by the time the lease runs out at the beginning of 2019.

Pulliam also is listing JDI Grille & Tavern at 319 Cedar and South Broadway. The restaurant opened in February 2013 as a tribute to the original Jefferson Davis Inn on High Street.

Co-owner Jason Morgan confirmed that both the restaurant and the property are for sale. According to the listing, the price for the business, which had gross income of $1.65 million in 2015, is $500,000, including inventory, furnishings and equipment.

The 6,192-square-foot building is not included; the price for the property was not listed, but according to the Fayette County Property Valuation Administrator’s web site, it’s valued at almost $1.79 million.

The reason for the sale is, according to the Pulliam listing, “Sellers are dissolving family partnerships.”

Jason Morgan and his twin brother Jeff Morgan, a minority partner, declined to comment on the potential sale.

But according to documents filed in Fayette Circuit Court, the brothers and their mother, Karen Morgan, who is also a co-owner, have been in litigation over the restaurant for at least two years.

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