The former Wines on Vine restaurant space is coming back to life.
Larry Dean, who was a manager there for years before the place sold to Larry and Julie Adams, is reopening a restaurant there.
The wine bar and bistro closed in October, at least the fourth locally owned restaurant to close that month. At the time, Larry Adams said increased competition was one factor but not the only one. He predicted more struggling restaurants would be closing. “It’s a flooded market here in Lexington,” Adams said.
Dean thinks that the revamped space and menu will draw customers back downtown, he said this week.
“(Former owner Burk Kesssinger) and I did very well here for years,” Dean said. “This area needs a nice neighborhood restaurant, the others had shut down and I have well over 10 years experience in this neighborhood.
“There’s enough regulars in this neighborhood, if you give them a nice atmosphere and some fun they will all come back and maybe some more will join them.”
Walker’s is opening this weekend for dinner and on Monday for lunch and dinner. The menu is “influenced American,” Dean said, with shareable appetizers such as fried green tomatoes with sriracha aoili, salads, and entrees such as steaks, hot Brown and fried chicken breast for dinner.
“I don’t do a gimmick, just really good food at reasonable price, nice atmosphere,” he said. “A combination of nice and neighborhood.”
The interior, which seats 82, has been remodeled and fireplaces have been added. The chef will be Alex Bath, formerly of Winchell’s, Carson’s and Chatham’s, where Dean also was manager. There is a full bar with a wine list and craft beer on tap.
Once the weather warms up, Dean said he plans to open up the patio seating and add a brunch on weekends.
Walker’s is named for his wife Walker Dean.
“We’ve been dating or married 50 years now,” he said. “I think it’s about time I acknowledged her. And you never can have too many brownie points.”