Restaurant, Bier Stube, Volleyball
Marikka's Reopens In Much Larger Quarters

Marikka's, Lexington's only German restaurant, has reopened in its brand new state of the art facility on Southland Drive.

The new complex was built along the front edge of the shopping strip, displacing 100 parking spaces. The entire row in the photo at right is Marikka's. The brown facade closest to us is the restaurant. the biege section in the middle is the Bierstube, and the taller building at the far end is the volleyball arena.

The restaurant, seen below in an interior photo, is the smallest facility and almost seems like an afterthought. But the menu contains all the old favorites with some new ones added.

Appetizers include the famous Potato Pancakes With Applesauce and the Uber Grosse Pretzel With Mustard & Beer Cheese.

Salads include the Gurkensalat (German Cucumber Salad) and the Tomatensalat (German Tomato Salad). If you're not quite so adventurous, there are the Gross Salat (traditional tossed salad) and Fruit Salad.

Of the Hauptgerichte (entrees), the Wienerschnitzel (veal cutlet seasoned, breaded and pan fried), Sauerbraten (center cut beef tenderloin marinated in red wine and vinegar) and Goulasch (paprika seasoned beef tips in gravy) are old favorites.

However, we like their Gemischte Wurstplatte (mixed platter of three sausages and hot potato salad), Jagerschnitzel (breaded and pan fried pork smothered in mushroom gravy), and Gerauchertes Schweinekotelett (smoked pork chop).

It's an extensive menu with a full range of fish, chicken, pork, beef and sausage dishes. The sides here deserve your attention. You must try the Klosse (potato dumplings), Kartoffelsalat (hot potato salad), Grune Bohnen (seasoned spiced green beans), Rotkraut (red cabbage), Saur Kraut and Hausgemachte spatzel (German noodles).

And, of course, at a German restaurant, the desserts are an important part of the experience. German Chocolate Cake, Black Forest Cake, Apple Strudel, Raspberry Strudel and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream are among the world's greatest sweet treats.

When you finish your meal, you should at least stop by the Bierstube and Volleyball Arena for a look. This is a large and ultramodern Bierstube. It has the traditional long rows of tables and bar all the way along one wall.

Marikka's offers 973 beers, not only from Germany but around the world. 40 of them are on tap. Within a few months, they will also be producing their own beers, behind those gigantic glass windows so you can watch the brewing process. The Bierstube includes ping pong tables, foosball tables, air bowling and dart boards.

The volleyball arena includes three indoor sand courts separated by mesh curtains. Marikka's volleyball leagues are already almost completely full.

The new facility is beautiful and spacious but has lost its charm and has no feel of authentic German. The waitresses don't dress in traditional German clothing and can't even pronounce the names of the foods. The decor is sleek but doesn't look German. None of this detracts from the food, of course, but it is disappointing.

Matt Jones, KSR To Open Sports Bar

Matt Jones and Kentucky Sports Radio hsve announced they will open a new sports bar in the South Broadway Shopping Center in August.

The facility is next to Jalapeno's, across the parking lot from Sonic. As you can see from the photo at right, there is plenty of room.

The windows on the second floor frame what will become the new KSR studio. Jones and his staff of Shannon, Drew, Ryan, etc.will produce the five day a week radio show plus their podcasts and other programming at this location.

The location is about halfway between Kroger Field and Rupp Arena. It's about a five block walk to either.

Jones told his radio audience this week that the facility will be designed for ideal viewing of games, especially UK away games. Jones said he will personally take charge of the menu, which will be basically "high end bar food with a few signature entrees."

Ellios Moves To The University Club

The smallest and best Latino restaurant in Lexington has moved into new quarters. It's not small any more.

Elios ("Ayyos") has been serving its famous tacos, quesadillas and burritos on South Broadway, in the tiny hole in the wall in the photo at right. There were no tables; you stopped by for your food and ate on the run. However, the place developed a loyal following, especially for lunch, because of the excellent cooking. The menu was a blend of Puerto Rican, Dominican Republic and Mexican. Ellos served unquestionably the finest Veggie Burrito in town. It was big enough to make two meals for most people (or you could eat it walking to class and rewrap the remainder for the next class break) and it was delicious. The rice was interesting; it was yellow, very tasty, usually served in a mix of onions, peppers, garlic, peas and tomatoes. Ellos served a Torta, a very thick sandwich, stuffed with small cubes or strips of meat (your choice of chicken, steak or pork), garden vegetables, avocado, and cheese. They grilled the bread to keep it from getting soggy. It was a great sandwich, a meal in itself. They served a fine soft taco and their sauces and salsas were the best in town. Most days Ellos also served Tamales, corn meal pockets stuffed with meat and vegetables and steamed.

But the business outgrew the site. There was no parking, and customers were being towed while they waited for their order. Ellios was looking at The Summit but couldn't find an affordable location. He had about given up on Lexington and was in Chicago when a University Club administrator called about his taking over the food service at the golf course clubhouse. He hurried back, they met, and he jumped at the chance.

Now, on a warm breezy April afternoon, Ellios feels very fortunate. His new restaurant is called The Rabbit Hole Tavern by Ellios. His menu includes the usual chicken/park tacos, cheese/chicken/pork quesadillas, and the famous burritos. For golfers with different tastes, he's added hot dogs and various sandwiches. Beverages include hot chocolate, coffee, powerade and Arnold Palmers (a mix of iced tea and lemonade).

But here, Ellios also has a complete bar. He offers wines, beers in cans, bottles and glasses, and the usual mixed drinks.

The Rabbit Hole Tavern also offers seating, either around the bar as seen at left, or in the L shaped restaurant as seen below. So patrons no longer need to eat their lunch walking out the door.

As Ellios closed the South Broadway location, he posted signs and social media announcements telling his customers how to find him.

Amazingly, they've followed him. They usually call ahead, place their order, then drive the several miles out Leestown Road to pick it up. "At first people were getting out of their cars and walking into the clubhouse and the regulars here were asking who was coming to a golf course with no clubs. People had never come here before just for the restaurant." As we took these photos and interviewed Ellios, three customers picked up orders. He now will also cater weddings and apecial events and run the carts out in the picnic shelter and on the party deck. He's hoping to still run the famous Ellios Food Truck on campus and downtown.

"We have a real kitchen here, nice and roomy, well equipped. We'll be able to do all sorts of things. Every time a member stops by, we're asking them what they'd like on the menu. Over the next few months, we'll adapt and develop exactly the menu the golfers want. But we'll always keep the tacos, quesadillas and burritos. They're our signature entrees."

Skyline Chile To Open Lexington Location

Skyline Chili, the long time Cincinnati chain, will open a new restaurant on Richmond Road in the Spring.

Skyline Chili, wildly popular with thousands of loyal fans, features a base of spaghetti and a topping of shredded cheese. It also includes cinnamon, cloves, chocolate and bay leaves. Customers can request onions and beans to liven it up even more.

The new facility will cost about $700,000 and include 4855 square feet. It will be at 2850 Richmond Road.

Skyline has 100 locations in the Cincinnati area and a dozen in Louisville, but this will be the first in Lexington since one next to Kennedy Bookstore closed 40 years ago.

There are eight unique styles of Chili in the U.S. Skyline has made the Cincinnati style famous. No other style uses a base of spaghetti.

Hunan, City's Oldest Chinese Restaurant, Closes

Hunan's, Lexington's oldest Chinese restaurant, closed at the end of August. The family "just wore out" running the sit down estsblishment for 32 years. "It was 12 hours a day, seven days a week, year round. Our parents are ready to retire and we just decided we couldn't do it any more." The family is not leaving the restaurant business entirely. They've opened Jin Jin, a Chinese takeout outlet, in Chinoe Plaza (photo, below). There are four tables along one wall where someone could eat in, but service will be bare. It's obviously not intended as a sit down restaurant.


Hunan's was a small family restaurant which opened in 1984 at Southland Drive and Nicholasville Road and was still there. The building is a modest red frame (above), but offered authentic Chinese at its classical best. The hot and sour soup was milder than most but extremely rich and mellow, considered by most Chinese enthusiasts the best in town. The mustard was powerful and had to be sampled with care, but the sweet sauce was Apricot based and wonderful. Hunan's Shanghai Scallops in Mandarin Sauce was the best Chinese seafood entree in town and maybe the state. Hunan's was Elegant. It had class, dignity and subtlety. The name implied Hunan cuisine, which is extremely hot. But that was misleading. They were just using the name. In fact, they offered items from all Chinese regions and would fix them mild, medium or highly spiced.

The new Jin Jin menu offers a special section entitled "Hunan Classical Gourmet --- Original Recipes From Hunan Restaurant." They include the most popular Beef, Pork, Chicken and Shrimp entrees. But the famous Shanghai Scallops in Mandarin Sauce, the reason many Lexingtonians and Central Kentuckians stopped at Hunan, are gone. It's not suited for takeout packaging.

The new menu, sadly, is the same 123 item menu every other Chinese takeout restaurant in America offers. Hunan kept its menu small, to about a dozen entrees, and did those 12 very, very well. Most of its devoted fans thought it did them better than any other restaurant in Kentucky. Now, we're back to the same assembly line menu as every other Chinese outlet.

The phone number at Jin Jin is 859-269-3382.

Marikkas Remodelling On Steroids

Marikka's, the Lexington German restaurant, isn't just remodelling. The new building extends all the way out to Southland Drive and all the way over to the Fire Station. It used to be a small storefront at one end of the strip mall; now it looms over the neighborhood and swallows up 100 parking spaces. The Grand Opening is scheduled for Spring 2018, likely April.

Marikka's features a Bier Stube with 400 imports, mostly German and Belgian. This is the best place in Central Kentucky for European beers. The Menu offers German favorites very well prepared. The owner is German and imports ingredients from home. Sauerbraten, jagerschnitzel, potato pancakes, spaetzel, sauerkraut, breads and cheeses are especially good, with portions too large to eat at one sitting. From the Hyatt, take South Broadway, turn left on Clays Mill, left on Rosemont Gardens, right on Southland, and look for Marikka's in the shopping strip to your left, at 411 Southland.