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Zandale Area

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Ramsey's Fazoli's Mandarin Curry House Penn Station O'Charlie's Rancho Tapatia PhoBC Panera's Casa Panda Cuisine
KFC Planet Thai Paisano's Noodles Five Guys Taste of India McDonalds Jimmy John's Raising Cane's Old San Juan

The Zandale Area extends from Southland Drive south along Nicholasville Road to New Circle Road. This is a concentrated commercial strip which includes 21 restaurants. There is a sleek new high tech McDonalds, and an international array of Classic American, Cuban, Indian, Mexican, Seafood, Italian, Korean, Chinese, and Thai. There's an all noodles restaurant, two places specializing in gourmet sandwiches, and a blend of locally owned and national franchises. The area also includes Mexican and Asian groceries and the retail outlet for Howard's Creek Beer Cheese, which has been named the state's best several years in a row.

Geese
Ramsey's The New Ramsey's is on West Zandale, one block in from Nicholasville Road. Driving south, turn right at the first light past Southland. Ramsey's keeps its menu simple: 13 entrees, seven salads, a soup of the day, 21 vegetables and 15 sandwiches. Ramsey's offers one of the best Chicken & Dumpling versions in Kentucky. You should order Soup of the Day when it's Chicken & Rice, Corn Chowder or Cheese. Among veggies, go for Honey Mustard Carrots, Fried Green Tomatoes, Yellow Squash and Onions, Apple Fritters, Creamed Corn, and Mashed Potatoes & Gravy. Kids like their Macaroni & Cheese. Entrees are a more difficult choice. They're all great. You can get Classic Hot Brown, Veggie Hot Brown or an Open Face Pot Roast Sandwich. These are some of the best Chicken Livers you've ever had. The Meat Loaf is outstanding. We like their Catfish (fixed as you'd like), Skillet Fried Pork Sirloin, and Pot Roast. Pork Chops in Ramsey's Red Sauce are memorable. One creative item is Lemon Yogurt Chicken. For lunch, order Traditional Reuben, Zucchiniburger, or Meatloaf Sandwich. And you MUST save room for the best pie in town. There are 13 flavors, all served hot. They include Peanut Butter, Black Bottom, Butterscotch and Black Cherry.
Fazoli's offers a full menu of Italian fast food, although the manager takes issue with the phrase. He insists he serves "Italian food, freshly prepared, fast." It gets its menu and basic ingredients from the corporation, but the pastas, sauces, breadsticks and salads are prepared during the day and the main dishes are not placed in the oven until you order them. Fazolli's carries all the traditional Italian favorites and adds a few unique twists of their own. The core of the menu is the eight pasta entrees baked and served in a white ceramic casserole dish. Of this core, we think their best are their Spaghetti & Meatballs, Chicken Parmiagano and Rigatoni Romano, although we have friends who swear by their Ravioli & Meat Sauce. You might consider the Sampler Platter, which includes a small portion of several major entrees. The Sliced Italian Sausage & Pasta, and the Tortellini & Sun Dried Tomato Rustico are newer creations which have found a loyal following. Fazolli's offers the usual Subs, Pizzas, and desserts like Italian Lemon Ice. Fazoli's
Mandarin Mandarin offers a slightly modified version of the same 100 entree menu most Chinese restaurants use. We have a whole file of these menus. So the only difference between restaurants is how they fix the food. Mandarin fixes it very well, although dishes are a bit heavy on ginger and 5 spice. Appetizers start with Egg Rolls (Roast Pork, Veggie, Shrimp and Rice Noodle). There are Pot Stickers, Kim Chee, Dumplings, Ribs, and Squid. Soups include Hot & Sour, Wonton, Egg Drop, Veggie, Chicken, Miso and Crab. But their best appetizer is their Crab Rangoon. Of their Entrees, we like the Pineapple Chicken, Grilled Seafood With Beef, Four Seasons (beef, chicken, pork, shrimp and mixed vegetables) and Mu Shu Pork (pork, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, bean sprouts, onions, carrots and cabbage in a hoisin sauce). Of course, there are General Tso's Chicken, Moo Goo Gai Pan, Mongolian Beef, Hunan Chicken (this is great but highly spiced), and Sweet & Sour Chicken or Pork. One old cliche which is still worth ordering is Chow Mein (sliced chicken, onions, celery, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, carrots, bamboo shoots, cabbage, thin crispy noodles and rice in a dark sauce). Mandarin departs from the standardized menu with entrees from other Asian nations. We like the Bangkok Bowl (beef and potato curry, rice, lime chicken, pad thai noodles, peanuts and cucumbers), Hong Kong Bowl (spare ribs, green beans, snow peas, rice), Seoul Bowl (beef, carrots, snow peas, beansprouts, rice, eggs) and Osaka Bowl (seafood over noodles). There are several Wok dishes and a Sushi Bar along the back. Service is slow, not too friendly and not real professional. In the Zandale Shopping Center, along East Zandale Drive. 275-4300.
The Curry House opened in 2006, but was up and down under several owners. In 2011 the former owner of Tandoor bought and stabilized it. He brought his recipes with him and has added several entrees from Nepal. Appetizers include various Samosas and Pakoras (both fritters stuffed with meats and/or vegetables, a sort of Indian Perogi). They do a fine job with their four Soups : Mulligatawny (spiced lentils), Palak Shorba (spinach, potatoes, herbs), Chicken Sorba and Tomato Soup. Lovers of Nan Bread will be happy here; Curry House offers 15 and they're all good. Entrees are similar to those at other Indian restaurants with one great exception : the 10 Nepalese items. There's Khasi Ko Masu (tender pieces of goat sauteed in ginger and garlic, marinated in Himalayan spices and cooked in a mild tomato onion sauce), Aloo Tama (potatoes and bamboo cooked in mountain spices), and two Nepali package dinners (one vegetarian). Beverages include the usual Lassi, Chai Tea, Mango and Frooti. The core menu includes the usual pages of Chicken, Lamb, Seafood, Vegetarian and Tandoori specialties. The customer favorite, as at most Indian restaurants, are the Chicken Tikki Masala (chicken breast roasted in the clay oven then simmered in a tomato and cream sauce), Seekh Kebab (minced lamb cubes alternating with onions, spiced with herbs, then roasted on skewers in the tandoor oven), and the Tandoori Mixed Grill (chicken, shrimp and lamb slices roasted in the oven). Ramesh, shown below, taught us to always order a Chutney (they offer four, each $2.00) to enhance the flavor of whatever meat we ordered. A seafood lover at your table should order the Tandoori Shrimp (jumbo shrimp marinated in herbs, then broiled in the tandoor oven); it's a quite different taste and very good. Or try one of the Vindaloo dishes. Vindaloo is a blend of vinegar, sugar, ginger, herbs and spices. It is used as a marinating sauce. Curry House offers Seafood Vindaloo, Lamb Vindaloo, Chicken Vindaloo and Vegetarian Vindaloo. The Vindaloo livens up the flavor considerably. You can specify whether you want it mild, medium or hot. curry house
Lately, The Curry House has gone to a buffet for lunch and on Friday and Saturday nights. We view Indian buffets skeptically : Indian flavors are very delicate and don't survive well under a heat table for 30 minutes. Indian spices need to be tailored to individual tastes. And there is no way a buffet can include all of a restaurant's offerings. Curry House addresses these issues by placing smaller portions on the line, so they are kept busy replacing items as they run out constantly. Once a tray empties, it takes longer to replace, because they are actually cooking more as needed. (Most restaurants prepare their buffets in the morning or afternoon and have everything ready before they open. This is why their flavors fade.) The Curry House rotates items daily, so while some staples are always there, many keep changing, allowing them to feature the whole menu over a couple of weeks. The favorite buffet items here are Chicken Tikki Masala, Vegetable Pakoras (spiced vegetable fritters), Aloo Gobhi (potato cauliflower ginger tomato spice patti), Nan, and Gulabjamun (honey balls). However, we really like the Sambar, a South Indian soup. It contains green chilies, red chilies, onions, tomatoes, dried mango and curry. The soup has a deep, rich flavor with an underlying heat from the chilies. It is not meant for eating with a spoon American style. It is meant as a dipping soup. The Wada (offered in an adjacent tray) is dipped into the Sambar, diluting the searing heat for a delicious treat. We also like the Achar, a chutney used to enhance the entrees. Sampled alone, Achar is very hot, but used carefully on meats or veggies, it brings out their flavors. Pictured are Sharad Dhakal (left) and Ramesh Rimal, preparing for lunch. curry buffet
Penn Station is a hot Sub outlet. That's all they have : 12 hot Subs, Fries, plus soft drinks, freshly squeezed lemonade and freshly brewed iced tea. Contrary to their logo, these are not the kind of Subs you would get in Pennsylvania or New York, but these are very good (anybody remember the original full phrase : Submarine Sandwich?). The ingredients are all fresh, they make them to order right in front of you, and the prices are standardized (Six inch Subs are all $4.89, 8" are $5.99, 10" are $7.99 and 12" are $9.39). Our favorites are the Reuben, Chicken Teriyaki, Sausage and Artichoke. However, among regular patrons, the Veggie, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Dagwood (create your own), and Philly Cheesesteak are popular. They also offer Cold Deli Subs : Italian, Club, Tuna Salad, Chicken Salad and Dagwood. The Fries are a love 'em or hate 'em item. They still have the skins on. They're flash fried in cholesterol free peanut oil. Some people come here just for the Fries. Others consider them soggy or hate those skins. On the 10" and 12" versions, ingredients are sometimes spaced out unevenly, so you may find yourself eating part of the sandwich with no meat or no toppings. This never happens on the shorter versions, so we suggest ordering those. They're certainly big enough to satisfy anyone not starving. We also suggest lifting the bun and checking your Sub when you first get it to make sure you have preciserly what you ordered. People at other Penn Stations often complain that they find toppings they specifically said they did not want, or do not find toppings they ordered. We've never heard these complaints about this location, but it doesn't hurt to check each time.
O'Charley's is a solid chain restaurant with good quality comfort food for reasonable prices. They start you out with made from scratch Strawberry Lemonade, Cherry Limeade, Raspberry Iced Tea or Mango Iced Tea, all very good. Loaded Potato Soup is served every day and a Soup Of The Day rotates among Poblano Chowder, Chicken, Tomato Basil, Clam Chowder and Chicken Noodle. The Potato Soup is pretty heavy, but the Poblano Chowder and Tomato Basil are excellent. They offer eight Salads, of which our favorites are the Bleu Cheese Wedge and Southern Pecan Chicken. Of the Entrees, we highly recommend the Mississippi Delta Catfish, Cedar Planked Salmon, Bruschetta Chicken, Pot Roast, and Ribs. Recently, O'Charley's has focused its attention on its Prime Rib and it is now very, very good. If all you want is a sandwich, we suggest the Fish Sandwich (they use fresh never frozen Atlantic Salmon) and Grilled Turkey Burger. Save room for Dessert. They serve a fine Pie : Peach, Apple, French Silk, Southern Pecan and Caramel. Service can be a little slow, especially after church on Sundays.
Rancho Tapatia Rancho Tapatio is part of a growing line of Mexican businesses along Burt Road (off Nicholasville between Lowry and Zandale). There are a bakery, an extensive grocery and a liquor store, all Mexican, all good. But the restaurant is the best. It's probably the least known of the Lex Mex group, but does some things better than its rivals. We really like their Quesadillas. They start with a base version and you can pretty well design your own with cheeses, meats, vegetables, sauces, shrimp and other ingredients,with $9 the top price. They offer Oysters (Ostiones), and a great Cocktail de Cameron with tomato sauce, diced onions, cillantro, avocadoes and your choice of Shrimp or Octopus. This is the only Octopus Cocktail in Kentucky. Their Soup list is the most extensive in town --- seven --- and includes Pozole (pork & hominy), Menudo (beef stomach), Carne en su Jugo (Guadalajaran steak, bacon and bean), Caldode Pollo (chicken vegetable), Caldo de Res (beef vegetable) and Seven Mares (shrimp,octopus, fish,,clams, squid, oysters, crab legs, almajas, scallops, carrots, potatoes, zucchini and celery). The Seven Mares makes a feast for two. They serve Breakfast, but what most restaurants call Huevos Rancheros they call Huevos Mexicana. Desserts include really good Sopapillas and Flan, but the best is their Xangos (Chimicheesecake).
Pho BC is the city's newest Vietnamese restaurant. The Vietnamese mix vegetables and meats with noodles and cook them as a soup so you eat the entire meal from a bowl. Their word for this noodle based soup is Pho, thus the name for this restaurant. Rather than much smaller soup bowls, their bowls are what Americans call Mixing Bowls, so when you order a Large you'd better be hungry. Many people will be satisfied with a Small. With no seasoning, Vietnamese cooking is flavorful but bland. They offer you options on heat and at your table are various seasonings. If you're big into egg rolls, you'll love these. If you're not going to order one of the main course soups, the appetizer Crab Asparagus Soup is outstanding, and the Egg Flower Soup is a tempting alternative. However, the real soups are the big main courses. Of those, we like Seafood Soup, but Steak Soup, Vegetarian Soup, Meatball Soup, Brisket & Flank Soup, Pork Soup and Spicy Beef Soup are delicious. If you really don't like soup, try the Vietnamese Pancake, Fried Squid, or Curried Chicken. Even beverages are an adventure here. We love the Coconut Milk, Litchi, and Soy Bean Juice, and several of our members enjoy the Hot Milk Coffee, sort of an Asian Cappucino. 176 West Lowry Lane. From downtown, go South on Upper / Limestone / Nicholasville Road, turn right on Lowry and look for PhoBC on the right.
Panera's is famous for drinks, soups, sandwiches and paninis. The outlet shown here, in Regency Square on Nicholasville Road, also features a cozy fireplace on cold Fall and Winter days and a patio for Spring and Summer. We like their Ginger Peach Tea, which we have tried and cannot duplicate anywhere else (so we just buy boxes from Panera). Of their soups, which we order in the bread bowl Puritan style, we like Creamy Tomato (pureed with red pepper and oregano in cream) and Garden (Swiss chard, cauliflower, zucchini, tomatoes, beans, peppers, barley, and basil pesto thoroughly pureed). The two salads we think lead the pack are the Mediterranean Salmon (chilled salmon, field greens, romaine, feta cheese, olives, oranges, almonds, red onions in honey tangerine vinaigrette dressing) and Fuji Apple Chicken (citrus herb chicken, field greens, romaine, tomatoes, red onions, pecans, Gorgonzola, apple in white balsamic apple vinaigrette). The Asiago Roast Beef and Mediterranean Veggie top a whole page of sandwiches.
Chicken Casa is a minimalist Mexican outlet. It specializes in one item : Veracruz Style Grilled Chicken. Owner Manuel Frias was born and raised in Veracruz, a state of Mexico, and he says he's only fixing chicken the way everyone he knew fixed it when he was a kid. The chicken itself is lightly caramelized in canola oil, salt and black pepper. It is then grilled in a salsa of tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno, cinammon, cilantro, cumin, olives, lime and Tequila. Individual meals for $5 and $6 offer your preference of two each of legs, thighs, wings or breasts served with a small bowl of onions, one of salsa, a package of tortillas, and two sides of your choice. For couples or families for $9, $10 or $12 you can get eight piece bowls representing half, whole or one and a half chickens, with two sides, tortillas and marinated onions. Sides include rice, refried beans, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, and guacamole. We think the mashed potatoes and guacamole are the best of these. There are a few chicken related alternatives : Chicken Sandwich, Chicken Salad, Chicken Enchilada, Chicken Quesadilla and Chicken Taco. And there are just a few nonchicken options : Grilled Ribs, Grilled Steak and Pulled Pork. This is mainly a carryout store front but there are six tables if you prefer to eat in. It's not fancy, but this is tasty, heart healthy, low fat eating. The sides are routine, but like most longtime Kentuckians we've been eating chicken all our lives, and this is very good. Chicken Casa
KFC

Harland Sanders began Kentucky Fried Chicken in Corbin, Ky., in 1930, and began franchising in 1952. He pressure cooked chicken using a recipe of 11 herbs and spices which is still kept secret. Chemists have tried breaking down the recipe and have identified black pepper, salt, sage and savory as four of the 11 ingredients but can't crack the other seven. Sanders was taught by his mother that deep frying ruined food so he never allowed it. He began cast iron skillet frying the chicken but as soon as the pressure cooker was created for vegetables he adapted it for chicken frying. He used soybean oil because it is trans fat and cholesterol free. So even though it's fried, KFC chicken is among the healthier of fast foods. In addition to chicken wings, legs and breasts, you can get very good cole slaw, corn on the cob, green beans, biscuits, macaroni & cheese, mashed potatoes and the potato wedges, which are almost as famous as the fried chicken. The wedges are seasoned with the same secret recipe as the chicken. People stop just for a bucket of wedges. The slaw is made from cabbage, carrots, onions and Sanders' mother's dressing. KFC now offers Grilled Chicken, which is marinated and seasoned before firing. Hot Wings are marinated in a chili pepper sauce. There's also a Chicken Sandwich, Chicken Pot Pie and a "Bowl" of mashed potatoes, sweet corn, chicken bites, three cheeses and gravy. KFC hand prepares each item on the premises just before serving it. You can order a soft drink, but we recommend The Colonel's Sweet Tea instead. The Zandale location of KFC is at the corner of Nicholasville Road and Pasadena, at the top of the hill coming south.

Planet Thai opened in xxx. That's not so long ago, but it's the grandaddy of local Asian restaurants. The facility, on the corner of Nicholasville Road and Dennis Drive, consists of one large dining room with a saltwater aquarium in the middle. Its menu would take a year to sample thoroughly. It offers 90 dinner items plus 11 appetizers, a beverage list and desserts. With each entree you have a choice of meats, side dishes, and degree of heat. The menu opens with a dozen Appetizers, goes on to Soups and Salads, and is then divided into Curried Dishes, Noodles, Rices, General Entrees and House Specialties. If you're a big seafood lover, you'll be in Heaven, with all the Squid, Shrimp, Mussells and Scallops worked into the appetizers, soups, and main items. But there are many vegetarian dishes. 2417 Nicholasville Road. 373-8269. Planet Thai is on the west side of Nicholasville Road, the second building past Pasadena Drive.
Lexeat : Paisano's Paisano's should be one of Lexington's great Italian restaurants. It's been here for 30 years, so has had time to build a loyal following. It's a classic family neighborhood restaurant like you find in Boston and New York. And it has the best seating in town. Paisano's has little nooks and niches, raised two steps above the main floor, separated by railings, tucked away back in corners or along walls. The Italian music is carefully muted in the background, so you can listen to it or ignore it as you wish. This is an ideal place to come for good conversation and a quiet relaxing meal with as much privacy as you can expect in a restaurant. And the menu is impressive. Sadly, the service and food do not fulfill this promise. Service is spotty, especially after the entree arrives. The food is not bad. But it's only average, only fair. In a city with several outstanding Italian restaurants, "average" is not competitive. Even the Salads, the Minestrone and the Wines are only average. The Eggplant Parmesan is overcooked. The chicken entrees and the pasta lack taste. Even neighbors who have been eating here for decades admit the food has gradually declined over the last 6-8 years. This does not mean eating here is a bad experience. It's just disappointing. You'll want to love it for its location, its coziness, its menu and its neighborhood atmosphere. We're cheering for a comeback and we'll return periodically to see if it happens. Paisano's is off Nicholasville Road just behind Planet Thai.
Five Guys became famous because President Barack Obama likes to walk the two blocks from the White House and lunch there several days a week. They offer eight burgers, four hot dogs, two kinds of fries, and a dozen toppings (lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, onions, mustard, ketchup, relish, jalapenos, bell peppers and three sauces). You mix and match the toppings as you wish. The decor is odd : stacks of peanut and potato bags are everywhere and peanut shells are all over the floor. They brag about their "100% peanut oil fries," but beware. This is Cargill Peanut Oil, which contains dimethylpolysiloxane, a nonbiodegradable chemical used to produce hydraulic fluid, lubricants, and the original silicone breast implants that caused so many problems back in the 20th Century. The burgers are over rated. If you separate out the meat from the toppings, bread and fries, their taste doesn't compare to those of their rivals. We don't even like the inside : it's too bright, has a littered look with all those bags and peanut shells, and has the ambience of a high school cafeteria. The success of Five Guys seems to us a triumph of hype over substance.
Taste of India is Lexington's newest Indian restaurant. The Friday nights we ate there it was not full but we noticed a steady stream of carryout service, so obviously it has already developed a loyal customer base. The ambience is very informal and festive, and includes large TVs with Bollywood films. Service is professional but very warm and cheerful. They offer all the usual Indian classics but have added a few and customized several others. Beverages include Indian Coffee, Mint Iced Tea, Black Hot Tea, and Punjabi Chai, a delicious blend of black tea, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, clove and milk. All come with free refills. There are Lentil, Spinach, Chicken and Coconut Soups. We really like their Spinach Soup (Palak Shorba), a rich and creamy take on this traditional item. They offer four Salads : Fish, Chicken (the Salmon and Chicken cubes are grilled in a clay oven), Kachumber (tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and chaat masala tossed in lemon juice), and Garden. Appetizers are very traditional : Veggie Pakora (mixed vegetables battered in a lentil flour then deep fried), Veggie Samosa (peas and potatoes turnovers) Meat Samosa (spiced lamb, peas and chutney turnovers), Paneer Pakora (fried cheese & chutney), Chicken Pakora (fritters stuffed with spiced chicken, garlic & ginger), and Gobhi Manchurian (batter fried cauliflower fritters in red sauce). They offer 12 kinds of Nan Bread. We think all 12 are delicious and urge you to try at least one order, especially the Sampler Basket for $6. There are seven Tandoor Oven specials, including the traditional classics Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Tikki and Seekh Kebab, but we especially recommend their Mixed Tandoori (marinated and roasted chicken, lamb & shrimp). You can pick from 12 Chicken dishes, of which we suggest the Mango Chicken (chicken cubes cooked with sweat & sour mangoes, spices, ginger and scallions in a great sauce). There are pages of Lamb, Seafood and Vegetarian entrees, and two Goat specialties, which we tried and loved.

McDonalds totally rebuilt its Nicholasville Road location as its new showcase in Kentucky. The place is high tech, with panoramic TV screens on the walls, and the menus posted on giant LED screens which can change from breakfast to lunch to dinner. The architecture is sleek and spacious. They've also upgraded the menu to offer healthier, trendier items. The classic burgers are still there, but now there are 15 McWraps, half of which are Grilled, 11 different Chicken options, half of which are Grilled, plus Fish and Ribs. Of this mix, we like the Grilled Southwestern Chicken Wrap. It's tasty and we've opened one up and checked the ingredients and it's extremely heart healthy. Their Breakfast menu now includes 15 McMuffins, Biscuits and Bagels stuffed with various combos of sausage, eggs, bacon and cheese. With one simple trick, you can convert the Egg White McMuffin into a VERY heart healthy breakfast : Just lift off the top bun and remove the Canadian Bacon. All of the salt (800 mg!!) and cholesterol are contained in this bacon slab. The Muffin, Egg White and Cheese are free of salt, fat and sugar and the result tastes pretty good. McDonalds also offers Hotcakes which are fine as long as you don't drown them in Syrup, which of course is sugar heavy. McDonalds now offers six salads, of which the Premium Southwest Grilled Chicken is very good (just don't drown it in dressing). Beverages include fat free milk and chocolate milk, orange juice, and smoothies (banana, pineapple and pomegranate).

noodles

Noodles looks like a fast food outlet, but don't be misled. This is a serious international pasta, soup and salad restaurant. You order from the counter and they bring it to your table, but that's just to provide quick service. Prices range from $6 per bowl of pasta to $5 per bowl of soup to $8 per large salad. Ice Tea is $2, Beer is $4 and Wine is $6. Kids (of all ages) who love Mac & Cheese can order either Wisconsin or BBQ versions. Adults will come back several times to sample various pasta choices : Bangkok Curry, Indonesian Peanut Saute, Tuscan Linguine, Pesto Cavatappi, Pad Thai, Japanese Pan Noodles, etc. Soups include Thai Curry, Tomato Basil Bisque and Chicken Noodle. Salads include Spinach & Fresh Fruit, Grilled Chicken Caesar, Chinese Chicken Chop and Pork Med. There are even a few Sandwiches : BBQ Pork, Mediterranean, Wisconsin Cheesesteak, and Chicken Caesar. You can order Beer, Wine or Iced Tea with your meal.

Jimmy Johns is a gourmet sandwich outlet boasting that they cut all meat and vegetables fresh right in front of you, bake their own bread each day, and apply everything, such as Grey Poupon, just before handing you the finished sandwich. They don't serve anything except sandwiches but they fix those so fast that if you weren't watching them you'd swear they had to be prepackaged. They have six SUBs, six Slims, 11 Giant Clubs, and their signature Gargantuan. If you're hungry we recommend that Gargantuan (salami, smoked ham, capicola, roast beef, turkey, provolone, onions, lettuce, tomato, Italian dressing on a homemade French bun). It could be considered Dinner in a Sandwich. If that seems a bit much, try the Italian Night Club (salami, capicola, smoked ham, hot peppers, provolone, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, Italian vinaigrette). The Vegetarian Sub contains provolone, avocado, alfalfa sprouts, cucumber, lettuce, tomato and mayo. Other modest offerings are the Bootlegger (beef, turkey, lettuce, tomato, mayo), Porker (applewood smoked ham, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo) and the Unwich, which has your choice of the sandwich meats or vegetables on a plate without the bread. Jimmy Johns is on the west side of Nicholasville Road
Old San Juan Old San Juan is a classic Cuban restaurant, run by a Cuban couple along with their daughter and son in law. It's a low key storefront with a Cuban grocery in the back, but the food is outstanding. This is an especially good lunch stop. You could order the Cuban sandwich (ham, swiss cheese, roast pork, mustard, pickles and their incredible homemade Cuban bread), or the Roast Pork Sandwich (pork, swiss cheese, lettuce, tomatoes on that same bread), or one of the other six sandwiches. You could easily become addicted to this bread. Sides include Black Beans & Rice, Fried Plantains, Beef Stuffed Potatoes or Chicken Croquettes. The Coffees here, especially the Cuban Expresso, are almost worth a stop in themselves. But their milkshakes are even better. We love the Pina Colado Shake, but the Mango, Mamey, Guava, Tamarindo and Guanabana Shakes are all good. Order the Medium, however, as these are pretty rich. The Large is a meal in itself. The dinner menu includes Steak, Pork Chop, Ground Beef, Pulled Simmered Beef, Red Snapper, Shrimp, Chicken, Sausage With Onions & Cheese, and a Cuban Vegetarian Platter (black beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions & peppers). Ingredients are basic but their sauces, seasonings and dressings are special. If you can leave room for dessert, there are Cuban Flan, Tres Leches, Pastries and Quesitos, all quite rich. Leaving here you can't help but wonder how Mexican instead of Cuban food became so popular. This cuisine is much lighter and the tastes much more delicate.

Red Lobster was the first Corporate Seafood operation to open in Lexington and after the others have come and gone, it remains. This is a standardized menu : reliable, reasonably priced, providing what customers want. The two Soups are both outstanding : Clam Chowder and Lobster Bisque. Red Lobster is especially good at combination platters and baskets. There's the Bar Harbor Lobster Bake (lobster, shrimp, scallops, mussells and linguini), the Wood Grilled Basket (lobster, shrimp and scallops over wild rice) and the Broiled Basket (shrimp scampi, tilapia, crab and shrimp). We consider Flounder the most delicate of fish, and you can get it here either by itself or in combination, like The Admiral (flounder, shrimp, scallops and clam strips). The Fresh Fish of the Day Board usually includes Atlantic Salmon, Tilapia, Rainbow Trout and Cod. These last two are greatly unappreciated. Cod was America's original favorite seafood, from the Pilgrims in 1620 up through the early 20th Century. And too many people avoid Rainbow Trout because it contains a lot of tiny bones. It's delicious, sweet and delicate. Just pick the bones out. The Crab Legs are really, really good. Somebody at your table must order the Pumpkin Pie In A Jar just so the rest of you can see it, and somebody ought to order the Key Lime Pie so you can all taste it.

red lobster
Cane's has one of the most interesting histories of any fast food chain in town. While a student at LSU, Craig Silvey turned in a business plan for a restaurant serving only one item : chicken fingers. The professor was not impressed and gave him a C-. But Silvey and buddy Todd Graves spent a Summer in Alaska working on Salmon boats to raise the money, and opened the restaurant anyway. It became a huge success and they opened a few more. Silvey graduated and sold out to Graves. He went on to Wake Forest for an MBA, then moved to California. A year later Graves called asking him to come back to the company. Graves had expanded to 60 locations and was being overwhelmed. So Silvey returned to the company he helped found. Today they're up to 100 locations, but their core menu still consists of three items : The Plate, The Box and The Sandwich. All come with the top secret Cane's Sauce. They've added a Kid's Box and a Tailgating Box, which are just smaller and larger variations on the original Box. Oh? The Name? They were going to name their restaurant Salmon's after the fish that provided them their funds, but were advised that would confuse people about their product, so they named it after Craig's dog. Cane II is now the official mascot and appears in ads and promotions.
Wendy's was the first national chain to openly challenge McDonald's in the burgers and fries wars, and the Ohio based company still makes fine burgers, in that unique square shape Dave Thomas created. You can get hamburgers or cheeseburgers in single, double or triple stacks with bacon and other additions. There are grilled chicken and fish sandwiches and wraps, and a line of stuffed and baked potatoes with sour cream, chives, broccoli and cheese and bacon. Wendy's has really focused on its salads. They offer Mandarin Grilled Chicken, BLT, Grilled Chicken Caesar, and Southwest Taco Salads. As sides you can have dishes of Mandarin Oranges, bowls of Chile and a Strawberry Yogurt Squeeze. Wendy's has always taken great pride in its milkshakes and still offers Vanilla, Chocolate, Fudge, Strawberry, and Nestles Toll House Cookie Dough. Wendy's Zandale location is on the right as you head South, at the intersection of Nicholasville Road and Moore Drive. wendy's
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