Business

Restaurant choices grow on Richmond Road with addition to Skyline Chili, LaRosa’s

Feeling like a big breakfast? First Watch is moving from Man o’War to the new “restaurant row” on Richmond next to the coming LaRosa’s and Skyline Chili.
Feeling like a big breakfast? First Watch is moving from Man o’War to the new “restaurant row” on Richmond next to the coming LaRosa’s and Skyline Chili. Photo provided

Richmond Road is about to get another “restaurant row.”

Gary Holland, the head of Holland Restaurant Group that is bringing Skyline Chili and LaRosa’s Family Pizzeria back to Lexington, is planning to consolidate his brands in one new shopping area by moving First Watch there, too.

Holland said Tuesday that he plans to relocate the First Watch restaurant at Man o’War and Richmond Road to a new, bigger location next to the new LaRosa’s and Skyline. All three new restaurants should be completed this summer and open for business.

And he’s got more First Watch plans: His group also is finalizing the purchase of a spot on Nicholasville Road in front of Target and near Arby’s for another location of the popular breakfast food spot that is only open until 2 p.m., Holland said.

The Nicholasville location is expected to be ready in September, he said.

A native of Independence, Ky., Holland brought First Watch to Lexington in 2012 and has seen the chain do very well here. He expects that the new location will be a winner for all three chains.

The location “is much more visible and has more parking and we get the opportunity to build it from the group up, which is nice,” Holland said.

He and most of his other top executives all started in the restaurant business as dishwashers, he said. Holland built his franchise group to more than 1,000 employees and is opening more First Watch locations in Louisville, too.

He knows there is great interest in expanding Skyline and LaRosa’s outside of Lexington. Under consideration: Richmond, Georgetown, Winchester, Versailles and beyond.

“We are exploring other areas,” he said.

What makes Skyline chili that special?

“The first thing is the experience. The restaurant is very warm and welcoming and the food is very good,” he said.

“The first time (people eat it) they think, ‘that was OK’ but after the third time, they start craving it. It’s nothing like any other chili parlors. We are a cut above. In Cincinnati, we’re are the king of the city.”

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