Tom Behr, owner of Pazzo's Pizza Pub, has bought the Metropol restaurant building at 307 West Short Street where he and his son Brian will open the Village Idiot pub in April.
Metropol closed at the end of 2011 when owner Dr. John A. Schremly retired after 50 years of practicing medicine. The restaurant was housed for 10 years in what is Lexington's oldest surviving post office building, dating to about 1825.
Tom Behr said he had his eyes on the historic building for several years. He thought the name, Village Idiot, fits the building. And the building looked perfect for a pub, "like a pub you'd see in a small village in England."
Behr was pleased to land a spot on Short Street, which has become a downtown bar and restaurant destination. Across the street from Village Idiot is Table 310; Cheapside Bar, Dudley's and Parlay Social are in the next block. Shakespeare & Co. restaurant with a large "opening soon" sign is a few doors down the street from the Behrs' new establishment.
The former Metropol interior is being gutted and redone to give a totally different look and feel to the place, Behr said.
This new venture adds to the Behrs' presence on the food and beer scene.
Tom runs Pazzo's near the University of Kentucky campus that has pizza and 45 draft beers.
Brett Behr, another son, runs The Beer Trappe on Euclid Avenue in Chevy Chase, which offers more than 400 bottled beers. The beer list at Village Idiot will be somewhere between Pazzo's and the Beer Trappe, and there will be a full service bar.
Behr described the Village Idiot as a "gastro pub," a term for a pub serving "high end pub food."
"Traditionally, pubs in England had good beer but not good food," he said. That began to change in the 1980s and 1990s when the quality of food was elevated. The trend caught on in the United States about 10 years ago.
Executive chef at Village Idiot will be Andrew Suthers of Lexington, back in Central Kentucky after being away for about 10 years pursuing his career.
The Idiot will serve small plate meals, bar snacks, classic pub food like braised beef and lamb shanks and several entrees.
Locally-raised meat and vegetables will be served as often as possible, Behr said.
Brandon Judd, bar man at Table 310, said, "They're going to have a pretty killer beer selection. I'm excited about it." Plus it will add to the critical mass of bars and restaurants on Short Street, he said. "The more the merrier. We're a pretty tight-knit group," Judd said. "It will be good to have new friends moving into the area.