Kentucky Sports Radio host announces next move, and it isn’t political

Is this where Matt Jones’ new restaurant will be? Apparently so. The host announced on his Kentucky Sports Radio show Thursday that KSBar and Grille will go here.
Is this where Matt Jones’ new restaurant will be? Apparently so. The host announced on his Kentucky Sports Radio show Thursday that KSBar and Grille will go here. NAI Isaac

Will it be the ultimate Kentucky sports bar? Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio hopes so. He and his partners are opening a sports-themed restaurant called KSBar and Grille in Lexington.

Jones, who also has political aspirations, announced on his radio show Thursday that it will be in the former Saddle Ridge/District Sport & Tap location at 1030 South Broadway.

“Our hope is it becomes the number one spot in Lexington to watch all sports,” Jones said, adding he hopes to be open by mid-August. “Our goal is to get it open before the first football game.”

Plans for the restaurant have been in the works for a year, he said, and are independent of his interest in a potential run for the Senate seat occupied Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He won’t make a decision about that until next year, he said.

The main reason he wanted to open KSBar and Grille was “to expand the brand,” Jones said. He plans to leverage the popularity of the show into customers for what he hopes will be very good food.

Matt Jones, host of Kentucky Sports Radio, is opening a UK-themed sports bar in Lexington in August.

“Lexington is restaurant-saturated, but not necessarily sports bar-saturated,” Jones said. People coming to town often ask him where would be a good place to watch a game.

“And there’s never been a good answer ... I saw a void.”

Besides his KSR crew, who all have a stake in the restaurant, Jones is working with Jamie and Jessica Daniel, natives of Eddyville, Ky., who own The Oasis Southwest Grill in Franklin, Tenn., and Kuttawa, Ky., as well as the Tilted Kilt Pub and Eatery in Clarksville, Tenn., and other restaurants.

The location “halfway between Rupp and Kroger Field” gives them lots of opportunities, he said. “And on game days, we may have shuttle service for people to go to and from the game,” he said.

Jones, who has no previous restaurant experience, said he will be in charge of the menu, while other KSR personalities including Drew Franklin and Ryan Lemond will be in charge of other aspects.

The food will be high-end sports bar but appropriate for all ages, he said, and the atmosphere will be very “KSR-centric” and heavy on the University of Kentucky memorabilia, much of which will be loaned from fans.

One has offered to let them hang the original national championship banners from Memorial Coliseum, Jones said.

There will be a lot to decorate: According to NAI Isaac, which listed the property, the spot had more than 11,600 square feet of space. It also has outdoor seating space.

Half of the building will be taken by another establishment, Jones said. KSR will have offices upstairs, too.

“We’ve never had an official office for our radio show and our website. So I expect to be there a lot,” Jones said. “We plan on doing a lot of events there. We’re going to tape all of our podcasts there, we’re going to have special nights with trivia, we’re going to show wrestling and pay per views … we plan on really engaging with people there.”

While KSBar and Grille will focus primarily on the UK Wildcats, there will be room for other sports as varied as English Premier League football to wrestling.

“Our goal is to get any sports that people want to come out and watch collectively,” he said. “Any sporting thing, we want you to be able to come there.”