Murrays' is for sale

Prominent Lexington restaurant Murrays' is up for sale, as a result of Bobby Murray's packed schedule tending to his three area eateries.

Murray and his family opened the restaurant in 2003 inside a restored manor house on a former estate on Harrodsburg Road past Man o' War Boulevard. It's a restaurant that's known for its innovative American cuisine and elaborate patio.

"I may have bit off a little more than I could chew," Murray said on Friday while working at his new restaurant, Josie's Grab & Go at 821 Chevy Chase Place. The family also operates Merrick Inn.

"The restaurant business is one of the hardest businesses out there," Murray said. "It's very time-consuming and very stressful. And they're not as near as profitable as the public likes to think they are."

Murray said he typically works 80 hours weekly.

"Right now, I'm turning the lock both ways at this new store," he said.

So the family decided a few months ago to put Murrays' on the market. The price tag: $1.975 million.

The 92-year-old home is 8,375 square feet and sits on 2.17 acres, said Realtor Coba Craig, chairman of the board at Silvestri-Craig Realtors.

"There's been a lot of interest," Craig said. "But the current economy scares everyone to death, and I think that's the main problem at this point.

"We're just trying to see what the market's going to do."

So why look to get out of Murrays' and not the leased Merrick Inn property?

Murray, 49, has been working at the Merrick since he was 12. His parents took over the restaurant a few years after that.

"It's an institution here in Lexington, and you don't see many restaurants that have been around that long," he said. "I enjoy working there, and I don't think I would ever sell the Merrick Inn."

And Murray said he's not too concerned if Murrays' doesn't even sell. He's installed a new management team and is excited about their work, but thought it was worth putting the property up for sale.

"We just thought if we can sell it, let's sell it," he said. "It's one less headache."