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UK Campus


The University of Kentucky campus is surrounded by 28 restaurants : 13 true sit down facilities, several part of a food court, five Pizzerias, one classic 1950s drive in, one breakfast house, a health food bar, four Asian places, one Indian and two Italian outlets, four Mexican Central American grilles, one Sub station, five fast food franchises, and one cookie kitchen which delivers round the clock. The South Campus has The 90, a food court in place of the old cafeteria. The campus is also a short walk from downtown and Chevy Chase, each with its own dozen restaurants. So students living in the dorms on campus are within walking distance of 52 restaurants representing every nationality and type of food. Student meal cards are accepted at half of them. There is legitimate parking at Mcdonalds, Chipotles, Joe Balogna's, Fazzoli's, Cane's, Tolly Ho's and Firehouse Subs. The buildings here are Old Main (upper left) and the Registrar's Office (right). They sit on the crescent drive that is the main entrance to campus. From either building you can look down across the wide lawn and see several of the restaurants reviewed here.

AthenianGrill AtomicRamen BangkokHouse Bourbon & Talouse Canes Chipotles ElCid GirlsGirlsGirls HanWooRi Hibachi
Insomnia Jalapenos Jamba Juice Joe Bolognas Kentucky Sports Bar Local Taco McDonalds Mehak
Ovids Papa Johns Pizza Hut Qdoba Sonic Taco Bell Taste of India Tolly Ho Waffle House
Greek food has returned not only to Lexington but to the UK Food Court at The 90. Since the demise of Levas' and The Grecian Garden, this wonderful cuisine has been missing, but after running a food truck for three years, Ilias Pappas opened the Athenian Grille in Chevy Chase, and has now added this location. It's a small facility with a short menu, but the food is authentic and wonderful. If you just want lunch or a quick bite, there are Lamb, Chicken, Sausage, Souvlaki (shishkebab) and Veggie Gyros ("Heroes"), a famous Greek sandwich. For Appetizers, you can pick from Avgolemono (chicken, rice, egg, lemon) Soup, Greek Salad and Horiatki (tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers, feta cheese, olives and classic Greek dressing). But the heart of the menu is the Entree list : Mousaka (eggplant, spiced meat and bechamel sauce), Pastitsio (ground beef, pasta and bechamel sauce), Spanakopita (spinach pie with eggs and other vegetables), Greek Beef Stew and Cypriot Meatballs. Sides include Lemon Potatoes, Basmati (long grain) Rice and Roasted Vegetables.

Americans know Ramen Noodles as a cheap, quick and easy meal college students and poor people rely on. Ramen noodles have no taste and limited nutritional value but they ease the hunger pangs. As soon as people get a decent job they gladly move beyond Ramen noodles and never look back.

Dan Wu challenges this thinking. Born in China, he moved to Lexington because his father was hired as a faculty member and researcher at UK. He majored in Art at UK, then spent time in New York City and San Francisco before returning to Lexington. He produces a culinary podcast, has worked in the kitchens of various local restaurants, and opened his first Atomic Ramen in The Barn at The Summit.

Now he has an Atomic Ramen stand in The 90 at UK. He plans to completely change your view of Ramen. Wu sees Ramen noodles as Chinese style wheat pasta which is the base for a meal of meat, sauces and toppings. Wu's first step is the Ramen itself. His is locally made, fresh every day, from original ingredients. It has flavor and is quite nutritious. On this base he has built a menu. Wu has also built his clientele from the ground up. There's nothing quite like this in Lexington. It's not similar to Sushi, regular Chinese, Japanese, Thai or Korean.

Uhuru is Ramen plus a pork and chicken broth, pork loin, a six minute egg, braised bamboo shoots, toasted seaweed and scallions. Otomo is the Ramen plus the pork and chicken broth, bean paste, pork belly (rather like bacon), a poached egg, mushrooms, toasted seaweed and scallions. Ando is Cold Ramen plus cucumber, tomatoes, mushrooms, lemon, seaweed and scallions with a citrus soy dressing. Sides are chicken nuggets, wonton wrapped shrimp, Thai style wings, pork vegetable dumplings, cucumbers in a garlic dressing, soybeans, grilled tofu, and pickled cucumbers. The Ale 8, Gent's Ginger Ale, and house made Lemonade all contrast perfectly with the flavors of the entrees and sides. The IntegriTea is a little less dramatic.

This is a counter, not a full scale restaurant. Each day, M-F, Wu offers one specialty.

Bangkok House Bangkok House is the only Thai restaurant within walking distance of UK. It's downstairs at the corner of Euclid and Rose. The decor is basic and service can be spotty, but this is very good Thai food. If you're not a Thai conneisseur, be forewarned that when the waiter asks for your preference, state Mild. That said, of the Appetizers, we recommend the Egg, Vegetarian and Spring Rolls, the Pot Stickers, and the Fried Squid. We're not big fans of their Salads, but we do love their Soups, especially the Tom Yum (Lemon Grass). The Pad Thai here has its own cult following. The Entrees give you a choice of Chicken, Pork, Beef, Tofu, Shrimp, Squid, Duck or Fish. To that you then add Noodles, Curries, Rice, Basil, Cashews, Chili, Peppers, Onions, Garlic, Ginger, Bean Sprouts, Eggplant or Pineapple. Within this, there are seven Noodle choices, 10 Curry choices and six Rice choices. If you're a beer drinker, Bangkok House offers the usual, plus Thai favorite pale lagers Singha, Kirin and Chang.

Bourbon & Toulouse has been serving Louisiana Bayou food for three decades from its Chevy Chase location. Now they've opened a second restaurant, facing South Broadway across a parking lot in the small mall one building down from KSBar and The Tilted Kilt.

Bourbon & Toulouse replicates an Atchafalaya Swamp Shack. What you get is Pure Cajun Authenticity. This is serious Gumbo (chicken, smoked sausage, shrimp and vegetables), Jambalaya (rice, smoked sausage, chicken, peppers, onions, and celery), and Chicken Creole (tomato sauce, chicken, green and black peppers all in a white wine roux). We always order the Crawfish Etouffe, but its companion entree, Chicken Etouffe, is also pretty good. Other popular entrees are Black Beans & Sausage, Red Beans & Sausage, Chicken Piquant (tomato sauce, chicken, onions, peppers, celery and lemon), White Chile, Creamed Artichokes & Mushrooms, and Cajun Beanless Red Chile. It's not Cajun, but there's a Thai Peanut Sauce which is rich and flavorful. Many of the items on the menu are Gluten Free. Be sure to specify "Mild" if your tolerance for Scoville Units is low, because there's some serious heat here. The Sweet Tea and Lemonade are very good, and they serve Ale 8.

The new location lacks the cramped edginess of the original, which really did resemble an actual swamp shack, but it's a much more comfortable place to eat a leisurely lunch or dinner. There's also plenty of parking in front, far better than Chevy Chase, where you often had to park a block away. And it's close to campus, just a block past the Norfolk & Southern Railroad Bridge.


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.

Chipotle bills itself as "fast casual" Mexican food. It was originally a McDonalds brand but has since been spun off into its own company. Chipotle's menu consists of five items: burritos, fajita burritos, burrito bowls, tacos, and salads, with a choice of chicken, pork carnitas, barbacoa, steak, or vegetarian (with guacamole). The price of the items is based on the type of meat chosen. Additional toppings include rice, beans, four types of salsa, sour cream, cheese, or lettuce. Owner Steve Ells says "It's important to keep the menu focused, because if you just do a few things, you can ensure that you do them better than anybody else." Chipotle sells beer and margaritas in addition to soft drinks and fruit drinks. Quesadillas are made on request, though they are not listed on the menu. Chipotle has a modern, industrial, stainless steel and sheet metal and glass look. There's a patio, as shown at right, and lots of big windows you can look out of while eating inside. The Black Bean Burrito is their best item. chipotle

El Cid, on Limestone Street, serves Mexican village cuisine. They have a short menu but offer many outstanding entrees not available anywhere else in town. They think their signature item is Barbacao, Mexican Barbeque which back in the villages bordering Copper Canyon is prepared in pits in the ground covered by Maguey leaves. Here in Lexington they fix it in a slow cooker, but it's still delicious. They then put it in Tacos, Burritos, Mexican Pizzas and by request in anything else. But we don't think that is their best item. We think that honor goes to their Molcajete, a volcanic stone bowl filled with meats and vegetables. The bowl retains heat and thus keeps the ingredients hot for 30 minutes or so. The Molcajete is the Mexican version of the Dutch Oven or Tagine, a unique cooking device not used anywhere else. It's central to rural Mexican cooking and is only available at three Kentucky restaurants. If you visit El Cid, at least one person in your group must order a Molcajete. But there's more here. For Appetizers you can order Guacamole, Chorizoqueso, Traditional Queso, or the unique Birria Ramen, a mix of ramen and beef. You can also order the Birria Ramen as an entree. Their Grande Burro and Mucho Grande echo the old Chi Chi's entrees of the same name. The Burrito Bowl contains all the ingredients of a Burrito without the taco. They offer the usual Fajitas, Tortas and Nachos, but there are also Sopes (fried corn tortillas lined with a bean spread before the usual meat, lettuce, sour cream and pico de gallo are added) and Sancho Burritos (a foot long burrito). Their Margaritas, Mimosas and choice of Beers are excellent.

GirlsGirlsGirls is a hip feminist startup that promotes bicycles, local sustainable food, and fair wages. When you walk in, once your eyes adapt to the dark, it looks like just a bar. Large blackboards list the special drinks of the day and the bar is the most prominent feature. You have to search to find a menu or a place to order. They offer a whole page of eccentric Burritos, Quesadillas, Tamales, Bowls, Tacos, Nachos, a Wrap and a S'More Chimichanga. They're actually very good. You have your choices of smoked chicken, pork belly, smoked pork, spicy ground beef, chorizo, bacon, black beans, falafel, bacon and tofu. So you can mix and match and basically design your own order. In a unique twist, for $1 extra, you can add a fresh egg to any item. Even the Sides are fascinating : pickled peppers, diced red onion, salsa verde, pink cabbage slaw, spinach, avocado, black rice, sweet potato, kale vinegar slaw, and something called Girls Chipotle Fire Alarm Hot Sauce. Five entrees are Vegan Specials. The women offer a 10% discount to librarians, firemen, policemen, EMS workers, teachers and current or former U.S. military members. Prices range from $9 - $12. They deliver in about a two mile radius---by bicycle! They group ingredients rather than mixing them, so you get a mouthful of one ingredient, then a mouthful of another. They should mix everything.
Han Woo Ri is UK's Korean restaurant. It's tiny, occupying half of the first floor of the Sqecial Media Building between McDonalds and Jimmy Johns on South Limestone. But the decor is sleek, modern and well lighted, and the food is authentic and very good. They offer some incredible Appetizers. Their Jalapeno Bomb (fried jalapenos stuffed with crabmeat, cream cheese and special sauces) and Seaweed Salad are two of Lexington's greatest items. They offer a whole page of Rolls : the California, Spicy Tuna, Veggie, Cucumber, and Avocado, and then special versions like the Shrimp Tempura Roll, 007, Mexican, Dragon, Giant Crunch and Crazy Boy. Among the Entrees, we particularly like their Mandoo (steamed dumplings stuffed with vegetables, pork and kimchi), Bulgogi (thin slices of beef marinated with soy sauce, sesame oil and spices), Pajun (pancake stuffed with seafood, garlic and green onions), and Hae Mool Udong (hot soup with noodles, chicken, shrimp, scallops, squid and vegetables). The Hae Mool Udong is a feast in itself. They give you a large bowl and it's very filling. The Bulgogi is Korean BBQ and is delicious. The Dol Sot Bibimbap is a hot stone bowl filled with vegetables, rice, meat and an egg.

Right across the street, at the corner of Limestone and Euclid Avenue ("Avenue of Champions"), HanWooRi operates a second location. This one caters to the six dorms on the block, and is set up mainly for pickup and takeout.

So if you want a warm, intimate place for a traditional sit down meal, you can go to the original location. But if you're in a hurry and just want to satisfy your need for Korean food, you can stop by the corner.

It does have several tables inside. It's a new, sleek, spacious, brightly lighted spot with views of students and traffic moving through the busy intersection. It's particularly busy during the noon hour with students and faculty dashing in for quick lunches.

Hibachi Express is a Japanese Stir Fry restaurant on South Limestone across from Memorial Hall. You could sit inside and eat, but there are only a few tables and it works best as a carryout. The menu's limited but the food's tasty. You pick an Appetizer from the Spring Rolls, Crab Rangoon, Sesame Balls and Dumplings. You choose your Entree from Vegetables, Steak, Chicken, Shrimp, Fish or some combination of these. Then you pick Hibachi or Teriyaki Sauce. It all comes with Yum Yum Sauce. You're going to spend about $10 : $6-7 for the entree and $3-4 for the appetizer. The place gets hectic at lunchtime and is especially popular among Business, Law and Engineering students.

insomnia Insomnia is the most unique food business on campus. It stretches the definition of the word "restaurant," but we include it here because it does serve food and it's insanely popular. Insomnia serves Cookies. That's it. Cookies. Large, warm, soft, delicious Cookies. There are Regular Cookies, Deluxe Cookies, Cookie Cakes, Brownies and Ice Cream Cookies. And here's the thing : They Deliver. Anywhere on or near campus. Until 3 a.m. Seven days a week. So if you're studying late, or partying late, you can order a cookie. Or a whole bag of them. And these are probably the best cookies you've ever eaten. They're even better than the ones Grandma used to make. There are sugar cookies, M & M cookies, oatmeal raisen cookies, peanut butter cookies, reesies piecies cookies, mint cookies, chocolate cookies, and on and on. You might want to drop by and pick up a menu to hang on your dorm wall. Insomnia is on the alley behind Two Keys Tavern. If you want your cookie really warm, you'll have to pick it up yourself, since it will cool before the delivery van can get it to you. And for some reason the people behind the counter tend to be a bit abrasive. But, Hey, it's Cookies.
Jalapenos has all the traditional menu items, but they have some which are unique. Their appetizers include more seafood. There's a Seafood Quesadilla, Marinated Shrimp, Tostada Crab & Shrimp, and Sauteed Shrimp or Scallop. They also have more soups : Chicken, Bean/Bacon/Cilantro, Corn/Avocado/Cilantro, and Shrimp Soup served with vegetables, rice and avocado. We particularly recommend the Corn and Shrimp soups. The Jalapeno Salad, which also includes crisp greens, tomatoes and cheese, is a favorite among weight watchers. If you're big on Mexican breakfasts, Jalapeno's offers Huevos con Chorizo and Huevos Rancheros on the lunch menu. Vegetarians appreciate touches like the Spinach Enchiladas, Spinach Quesadillas, Potato/Cheese/Rice Burritos, and Vegetarian Fajitas. We like their Chile Rellenos, which lean toward the traditional Mexican style rather than some of the more creative versions offered by some restaurants. Jalapenos offers five full steaks and a shish kebab entree, but we think they're at their best with seafood. They offer four Shrimp entrees plus Baby Red Snapper, Tilapia, and Salmon. There's a kids menu. The Jalapeno Margarito is unique. Jalapeno's
Kentucky Sports Bar is the headquarters of Kentucky Sports Radio, the statewide UK oriented radio show produced by Matt Jones. KSB is across the parking lot from Sonic on South Broadway. The interior is steeped in UK football, basketball and baseball theming. Jones, with sidekicks Ryan and Shannon, is often present, with the show itself and various podcasts produced here. As seen at left, there is three season patio seating. Inside is an array of large screen TVs. Jones says he wants this to be the best facility in Lexington to watch a game. Former UK stars, including Rex Chapman and Luzasc Obrzut, drop by often. The food here is secondary; you come for the atmosphere. However, Jones has hired cooks with talent and the food's not bad. The menu might be described as upscale bar food. The Wings, Barbeque and Pretzels are made right there and are surprisingly good. We like the Fried Green Tomatoes, Chili, Ribs, Shrimp & Grits, Catfish and the Brisket, either as an entree or a sandwich. Among the 16 sides, we like the Green Beans, Stewed Apples, Collard Greens, Cole Slaw and Sweet Potato Fries, but we have friends who swear by the Cornbread and Mac & Cheese. On game days KSB is packed and service can be slow, so come early, find a good table and chill. Food on game days is prepared in large batches and quality dips somewhat. The Beer selection is excellent.
Jamba Juice is a health food outlet specializing in fruit and vegetable smoothies. But it's a lot more than that. As you walk in, on your left is a Shuffle Bean Coffee Bar where you can order various gourmet coffees, teas, lattes, mochas and espressos. At the main counter, you can order Granola Bowls spiked with bananas, strawberries, blueberries, coconut, honey, yogurt, peanut butter and soymilk. There are bowls of Slow Cooked Steel Cut Oatmeal with milk and those same toppings. There are Turkey Sausage Wraps, Spinach & Cheese Wraps, Flatbreads with cheeses, peppers, chiles, and chickens. There are muffins, waffles, and other breakfast breads. But most of all, there are five pages of every kind of smoothie imaginable. You can order Strawberry, Mango, Peach, Orange, Passion Fruit, Banana, Apple, Blueberry, Pineapple, Lemon, Lime, Pomegranate, Ginger, Kale, Carrot, Spinach, Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Pumpkin, Chia Seed, Green Tea, or every possible combination of two, three, four, five or six of these. You could sit inside, but most students head off to class sipping their smoothies on the way. It's a combination breakfast and vitamin supplement, loaded with proteins, minerals and antioxidants. Jamba is on South Upper, where the west end of Euclid Avenue deadends. Jamba Juice
jimmy john's


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 South Limestone three doors up from Euclid, across from the new dorm complex.

Joe Bologna's is synonymous with Lexington Pizza. Joe opened the town's first pizzeria back in 1972 on Euclid Avenue. By 1989 he had outgrown the original location and moved into an abandoned church. The bar is where the altar was, these are the original 1891 Eastern Kentucky pine floors, and Joe's is one of the few restaurants in America with 41 stained glass windows. But the main reason to visit Joe is his pizza. You can order the crust you want. Most people order the thin, and it's excellent, very crisp, perfectly baked. But you can get yours a little or a lot thicker. With four decades of students now bringing their children back, Joe's is a tradition. Two of those traditions are the Fried Banana Peppers and the Breadsticks. The sticks are drowned in garlic butter and the banana peppers are crisp and delicious. Most people consider them the best in town. The All Time favorite pizza at Joe's is the Lite Supreme, a thin crust light on cheese and heavy on toppings. It has homemade sauce, onions, green peppers, hot peppers, green and black olives, zucchini slices, shredded carrots and tomatoes, mushrooms, pineapple, and grated romano cheese. Or there's the Meatball Pizza, a medium crust piled high with sliced meatballs, marinara sauce and mounds of mozzarella sauce. The Hawaiin is a thin crust with ham, green peppers, pineapple, barbeque sauce and mozzarella cheese. 120 West Maxwell. A block west of S. Limestone. Joe's
Local Taco Local Taco is a Global Fusion restaurant. It blends Tex Mex, Southern and Asian cuisines. The ambience needs work. You place your order, find a table, then come back to pick up your food. The cashier is notoriously sullen and disinterested. Tables are crammed too closely together and prices are a bit high for a college campus hangout. But you should still go, because the food is creative and tasty. They use as much local produce as possible and make everything in house. Some patrons complain that the tacos are too small, but everyone agrees that they're delicious. The Guacamole contains avocado, onion and tomato and is one of the best dips in the city. As a general rule, choose a taco entree. The Brisket Taco (with a sweet marinade), Korean BBQ (with pickled jalapeno sauce), Fish Taco (the tartar sauce is great), Chicken Taco (lime marinade and tomatillo sauce) and Veggie Taco (mushrooms, zucchini, squash, cabbage and rice) are all great. The best deal is four Tacos for $10. Their Enchiladas are not nearly as good. Margaritas are hand squeezed and excellent. Local Taco is on Limestone Street, across from Good Samaritan Hospital.

McDonalds is the all time fast food giant, and you can still feast on a Double Quarterpounder With Cheese, Large Fries and Triple Shake so thick you eat it with a spoon. However, even McDonalds has moved on. Their Wraps are very good in Ranch Grilled, or Chipotle Grilled Barbeque. The Grilled Chicken Sandwich is listed by the American Heart Association as the heart healthiest item on McDonalds menu. Grilled Premium Chicken Breast Strips are also great, as are six kinds of salads, especially the Premium Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad or the Asian Salad. McDonalds offers Paul Newman's Own Dressings in six flavors. These are nationally noted for their low fat, low cholesterol content. McD's still offers the sugary desserts, but the Fruit Yogurt Parfaits and Baked Apple Pie Slices avoid that problem. There's also Low Fat Milk, Apple Juice, Dasani Water, Orange Juice, and Iced Tea. For a caffeine fix, there are five flavors of iced coffee. However, this brand new half block long building is the least attractive worst use of space of any McDonald's in the country. It is dark, cramped, and actually seats very few people for the huge size of the building. The small counter also guarantees long lines at mealtimes and after games.

Mehak is the campus Indian restaurant. It's at the corner of Euclid and Limestone, across from Alumni Gym. They're set up for carryout and pickup with a block of dorms right across the street. To cater to the lunch crowd with all the faculty, staff and students in central campus, they offer a buffet. It's good, with all the Indian classics, but the flavors on the buffet range from sweet to bland, since many students are new to Indian cuisine. Sitting down and ordering off the menu gets you better flavors. For some reason they don't offer the traditional Spinach Sorba, but their Indian Style Tomato Soup and Vegetable Broth Lentil Soup are very good. They offer 10 kinds of Bread, of which we like the straight Nan, Onion Nan and Garlic Nan. There are 14 Chicken or Lamb entries, of which, of course, the Chicken Tikki Masala is the favorite of most students. However, we found their Lamb entrees very flavorful and preferred them over the Chicken. We especially liked their Lamb Vindaloo. There are seven Tandoori entrees, of which we like their Lamb Seekh Kebab. However, we tried the Tandoori Pomfret (marinated fish cooked with yogurt, herbs and spices) and found it possibly the best item on the menu. Mehak should advertise this as a signature dish. There are five Goat entrees. The Goat Masala (goat cooked with fresh onions in a rich creamy tomato sauce flavored with herbs) and Goat Vindaloo are particularly good. There are 16 special entrees for vegetarians and some of them are outstanding. We love their Baingan Bharta (eggplant baked in the tandoor oven with onions, tomatoes and spices), Bhindi Masala (okra cooked in lemon juice, fresh ginger, tomatoes and onions), and Aloo Gobi (cauliflower cooked with spices). All these are also gluten free. The Seafood menu includes Shrimp or Tilapia cooked in varying combinations of curry, coconut, sesame, vegetables, ginger and cashews. Beverages include the traditional Lassi, Chai Tea, Sweet Tea, or Coffee. If you have room for Dessert, you can choose from Fried Milk Balls, Cheese Cakes, Ice Cream, and Rice Cooked With Saffron and Fruits. For sides you can order Mixed Pickles, Onion Chutney, Mint Coriander, or Pappadam (heavily seasoned lentil bread). This is Northern Indian cuisine. Chef Paween Kumar was born and raised in India and spent two years at the Indian Government Food Institute. He has 32 years experience in the restaurant industry.

Ovid's began in the basement of the W.T. Young Library. It has now moved to The 90, the food complex at the intersection of Hilltop and Woodland in the middle of the South Campus Dorms. Ovid's is a fast food outlet with a limited menu, but students use it for study breaks in mid afternoon or mid evening. The only two entrees are the Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Rotisserie Chicken, each $5. Off the Grill are a Philly Cheesecake Sandwich, Spicy Beef Wrap, Grilled Chicken Sandwich, Four Cheese Panini and Spicy Fried Chicken. Sides include Mac & Cheese, Garden Salad, Collard Greens, Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, Siracha Cole Slaw, Pasta Salad and Potato Salad.
Papa John's is a Kentucky success story. In 1983 John Schnatter sold his 1971 Z28 Camaro for $2800 to purchase used equipment and began selling pizzas out of his father's suburban Louisville tavern. 10 years later he had a nationwide chain, and tracked down and bought back that original Camaro. It now sits in the lobby of the headquarters building. Today, Papa John's is the third largest pizza chain in the world, still headquartered in suburban Louisville. Papa John's is a carryout and delivery business. Despite the fact that delivering pizzas is their primary focus, Papa John's has continuing trouble with this process. Thousands of UK students complain that Papa John's takes longer to deliver than any other pizza outlet, and makes more mistakes. So how does Papa John's stay in business? Because they make very good pizza. Back in the 1980s, they were the first chain to emphasize fresh, local ingredients and prepare everything on site rather than shipping it frozen. Today, rivals have caught up to this trend, but Papa John's retains the loyal customer base from the time they were ahead of the curve. Their pizza is a more Midwest style : thick stiff crust, heavy tomato sauce, heavy cheese, basic old school toppings, more salt, smaller pies, narrower slices. Next to Coliseum on Euclid Avenue. Papa John's
Pazzo's is UK's version of the classic college pizza hangout. Service is the worst in town and the pizza's only average (most people think it's far too doughey). You can get better pizza across the parking lot at Mellow Mushroom or up the alley at Goodfellas. But UK students love Pazzo's for other reasons. It has 47 beers and 65 bourbons , a combination no other place in Kentucky can match. It has 300 seats and 27 large TV screens, so it's the best place in town to watch a UK game. The calzones, meatball subs and hoagies are excellent, much better than their pizza. Portions are generous. With all those seats, you can come with a group of friends and know you'll all be seated with only a few minutes wait. And then there's Pint Night. Every Wednesday night, Pazzo's selects a local craft beer to celebrate. You not only get a special deal on the beer, but get take home glasses with that beer's logo. Frequently, Pazzo's also offers live music. So it's a good place to spend a leisurely evening with several friends, enjoying good conversation, good beer or bourbon, decent music and the games on TV. The waitress will get around to you eventually. This photo is of the rear entrance, since that's what you'll see from the Pazzos parking lot. The front faces on Limestone, right across from the dorms.
Pizza Hut (Wichita 1958) was the first national pizza chain to colonize Kentucky (1970 in Lexington), and for a long time they were the best source of pizza in a state with few Italians and no history with the food. Now, individuals and fine restaurants make pizzas locally from scratch while large chains like Pizza Hut have abandoned local cooking and gone to frozen ingredients and even frozen entrees. So Pizza Hut scrambles for its life in a competitive market. Attempts to update have been mixed. They dropped their original pizza recipe (which many old timers still think was a major mistake), and have dropped the calzones (which were hugely popular but not a large profit generator). They now offer five $10 pizzas (meat, cheese, pepperoni, veggie and combo) plus a build it yourself model. There are three pastas (chicken alfredo, meat marinara and lasagna). New in 2009 are $5 specials : Pizza Rollers (four, sushi sized, stuffed with pepperoni and cheese, with ranch or marinara sauce); Panormous Pizza (one topping, four slices); and Pzone (foot long, ellipsis shaped, your choice of pepperoni, meaty or veggie). They have Wings, Breadsticks, Cheese Sticks and Cinammon Sticks. They do offer the best prices in town. South Limestone, across from the Gatton College of Business & Economics. pizza hut
Qdoba's Qdoba does some very creative things with the basic Mexican menu. We particularly like their Mexican Gumbo, which is a Qdoba creation. You won't find anything like it anywhere else, and we think it alone justifies a Qdoba visit. But there are other reasons. Qdoba uses all local fresh ingredients and makes your order while you watch. There's none of the shipping items in premade and frozen, then quick thawing and heating them in a microwave just before serving. Qdoba's burritos, tacos and quesadillas are made California style, which is more like Mexican and less like Tex Mex. In other words, the taste of the fresh vegetables and herbs comes through without being buried under the heat of peppers and spices. Their Taco Salad is a pile of lettuce and vegetables served in a taco bowl; first you eat the salad, then you eat the bowl. Qdoba lets customers customize your order: first you specify which basics you want, then you choose which additions you want. Qdoba also provides complete nutritional information on each item so if you're dieting or training you can customize your meal. Many students treat this as a carry out restaurant, but there's plenty of room to eat in. During weekday lunchtimes it gets extremely busy. Next to the Coliseum, behind Papa John's.
Sonic is a retro drive in restaurant where for half an hour or so you can pretend you're back in the 1950s. They even have girls on roller skates coming out to take your order and carrying your food out on trays which hook onto your car window. The menu is the classic burger, fries, shake and ice cream, although they've updated it a little with Nachos, Onion Rings and Chicken Nuggets. They play Golden Oldie music over the speakers. On Fridays and Saturdays it's a frequent stop for guys cruising Lexington in their restored 50s and 60s cars, so you might want to bring your camera. If you walk over from one of the dorms or nearby student apartment complexes, there are a few picnic tables set up under the canopy so you can sit outside and enjoy the ambience.
Taco Bell is one of the new restaurants in The 90, at the corner of Woodland and Hilltop. Having been around for 50 years, Taco Bell has its own cult following. It serves both soft shell and crunchy shell tacos, plus Dorito tacos, steak tacos, nacho cheese tacos, fiery tacos, double decker tacos, and a dozen burritos. The burrito lineup includes crunchy cheese, spicy cheese, grilled, smothered, refried bean, black bean, beefy, shredded chicken, cheesy potato and loaded potato. Taco Bell is an acquired taste, but thousands of people have acquired it and at lunch times the line is out the door snd down the sidewalk. The biggest advantage is the low price ; a burrito ranges from $1.50 - 2.50 and tacos range from $1.50 - 3.00. Top of the line in either category, the "Supremes," are a meal in themselves, which even with beverage is only $4.00. There's inside and sidewalk seating, but most students grab their order and head to class.
Taste of India is one of Lexington's best ethnic restaurants and now they have a counter at The 90. Beverages include Indian Coffee, Mint Iced Tea, Black Hot Tea, and Punjabi Chai, a blend of black tea, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, clove and milk. There are Lentil, Spinach, Chicken and Coconut Soups. They offer four Salmon, Chicken , Kachumber (tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and chaat masala tossed in lemon juice), and Garden Salads. Appetizers include 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 Nan Bread. There are seven Tandoor Oven specials, including traditional classics Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Tikki and Seekh Kebab, but we recommend their Mixed Tandoori (marinated and roasted chicken, lamb & shrimp). Their best Chicken dish is the Mango Chicken (chicken cubes cooked with sweet & sour mangoes, spices, ginger and scallions).
Tolly Ho is the last great 20th Century greasy spoon left in Lexington. It's not fancy, the menu is basic, prices are cheap, soft drinks are served in bucket sized cups, everything is fried on a standard grill, and it has its own loyal crowd of every day customers referred to as Ho-Rats. For 40 years they've been serving Bacon Cheese Fries, Ho-Burgers, Hash Browns, Omelettes and other favorites. Against increasing competition from upscale chains, long timers still insist Tolly-Ho serves the best burgers (which come with Swiss Cheese) in town. The place is open 24 hours a day and the after midnight atmosphere is the stuff of movies and novels, an eclectic mix of Hippies, Goths, Jocks, Fraternity Boys, Art majors, Biomed Researchers, Street People, High Schoolers, Alums and Taxi Drivers. They don't take credit cards but they do sell t shirts, cigarettes and aspirin. As the sun rises you get to see construction workers ordering Beer & Breakfast. Newcomers are announced as "Ho Virgins" while everyone claps and shouts Welcome. Tolly-Ho moved to its new South Broadway location in 2011, losing the old dungeon atmosphere but gaining a large parking lot.
Waffle House is famous for their waffles but ironically their menu features everything else. They promote their Steak & Eggs, Pork Chops & Eggs, Grilled Chicken & Eggs, Omelettes (Cheesesteak, Chili Cheese, Jalapeno and Ham & Cheese), Egg Sandwiches, Hash Browns and classic EggsnBacon or Ham & Egg plates. They're also pretty proud of their biscuits, sausage and bacon sides. Then, over there in the corner, they get around to their Waffles. Their basic is the classic Butter Milk Waffle. There are Double Waffles and Waffles With Sausage or Ham or Eggs. You can pick from Pecan, Chocolate Chip, Blueberry and Strawberry. Actually, we regret the evolution of Waffle House. Way back there, they served ONLY waffles, two pages of every variation imaginable. We could try waffles here we could never find anywhere else and couldn't fix ourselves. Now they've diversified, but the waffle choices are narrowed. Luckily, they still do a good job, with waffles and everything else.