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UK Campus

 

The University of Kentucky campus is surrounded by 28 restaurants : 13 true sit down facilities, one Special Occasion dining room, five Pizzerias, one classic 1950s drive in, one breakfast house, a Pasta specialty restaurant, a health food bar, four Asian places, two Italian outlets, an African eatery, four Mexican / Central American grilles, one Sub station, five fast food franchises, and one cookie kitchen which delivers round the clock. The campus is also three blocks from downtown and six blocks from Chevy Chase, each with its own dozen restaurants. So students living in the dorms on the northern (downtown) end of campus are within a short walk of 52 restaurants representing every nationality and type of food. There is legitimate parking at Mcdonalds, Chipotles, Joe Balogna's, Fazzoli's, Cane's, Tolly Ho's, Smashburger, Firehouse Subs, and the Mellow Mushroom. 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.

Arbys Bangkok House Blaze Canes Chipotles Elios   Firehouse Goodfellas Han Woo Ri
Hibachi Insomnia Jalapenos JambaJuice JoeBolognas LeMadelaine LocalTaco McDonalds MellowMushroom Noodles Ovids
PapaJohns PizzaHut Qdoba Savs Smashburger Sonic SteaknShake   TacoBell   TollyHo WaffleHouse

 

Corporate headquarters says this is the only blue and white Arby's in existence. It was painted these colors in keeping with the University of Kentucky Big Blue Nation. So it might be worth a photo, but it's also worth visiting for the food. Arby's carved out its reputation with roast beef sandwiches and they still fix the best in town. They slice it thin, oven roast it and put it between toasted sesame seed buns. There are three sizes. They offer it in cheddar cheese and pepper bacon versions. The basic sandwich is one of the most heart healthy fast foods out there. But there's a corned beef /swiss cheese/ sauerkraut on rye, two roast turkey sandwiches, and three chicken sandwiches. Arby's has added four kinds of subs and three salads. The only concessions to the cholesterol culture are the curly fries, mozzarella sticks and potato bites.

 

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 highly 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.
With a pizza outlet on every block, each one has to do something to make itself unique. Blaze is a national chain whose gimmick is high speed low cost. It's sort of a Subway for Pizza. You walk down a line and tell the attendants which toppings you want on your pizza. The fireman then sticks your pizza in a 900 degree blast furnace while you watch from a safe distance and in 90 seconds you receive your steaming pie. This process works surprisingly well. Blaze pizzas are whole wheat flour, thin crust, fresh tomato versions with a gluten free option. You pay $7.25 for the pizza regardless. You could theoretically pile on all 48 toppings for the $7.25. The problem is the taste. Neither the crust, the sauce or the toppings have the rich flavor pizza conneisseurs are used to. Whether this is because the overwhelming heat blanches the flavor out, or because the ingredients are bland to begin with is hard to say. However, if you want a decent pizza fast hot and cheap, Blaze is your place. They do a great job with their side items. Salads are obviously made with fresh local ingredients and include Tomato Basil, Beet & Goat Cheese, Gorgonzola & Roast Veggie, Chicken and Antipasto. Drinks include Tea, Lemonade, Beer & Wine. For Dessert, you really have to order one of their S'mores. They toast those on the edge of the blast furnace. It might be the best S'more you ever had, but it will certainly be the most unique. On South Limestone across the street from Two Keys. Blaze
cane's

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 left, and lots of big windows you can look out of while eating inside. The Black Bean Burrito is their best item. chipotle
Ellos Elios ("Ayyos") is the smallest legitimate restaurant in town. It's on South Broadway just South of Maxwell Street. There are no tables; you stop by for your food and eat on the run, although the table in the photo can be set on the sidewalk for a makeshift patio. However, the place has already developed a loyal following, especially for lunch, because what you get here is excellent cooking. This is a blend of Puerto Rican, Dominican Republic and Mexican. Ellos serves unquestionably the finest Veggie Burrito in town. It's 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's delicious. The Rice here is interesting; it's yellow, very tasty, usually served in a mix of onions, peppers, garlic, peas and tomatoes. Ellos serves 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 grill the bread to keep it from getting soggy and you'll be spilling ingredients as you walk down the street, but this is a great sandwich, a meal in itself. They serve a fine soft taco and their sauces and salsas are better than most restaurants. Most days Ellos also serves Tamales, corn meal pockets stuffed with meat and vegetables and steamed. These have become a favorite among UK students living in the apartments down the street. The menu is on a blackboard and changes from day to day to include specials. There are no alcoholic beverages. Service can be a bit slow, especially over the lunch hour, but the food is worth waiting for.
Firehouse Subs is a 15 year old chain founded by two Jacksonville (Fla.) brothers who were firefighters. Competing with Subway has been an uphill battle, but they've done it by offering specialty subs and high quality ingredients. This is not a "build your sub yourself" operation. Here, you order it and they hand you the finished product. Every sub on their menu is $7.00 including tax and you choose between white and wheat buns. Some of their subs are traditional standards, but some are unique. We particularly like the Hook & Ladder (hot smoked turkey, Virginia honey ham, Monterey Jack), New York Steamer (hot corned beef, pastrami, provolone, mustard, mayo, Italian dressing), Steak & Cheese (hot sauteed sirloin, onions, provolone, bell peppers, mayo, mustard), and the Smokehouse (hot USDA beef brisket smoked for 10 hours, melted cheddar, special sauces). Firehouse has hot subs and cold subs and their own special Firehouse Chili. There's only one side : A Chef's Sslad (romaine & iceberg lettuce, bell peppers, cucumber, red onions, tomatoes, provolone, sliced egg and your choice of meat). There are brownies and cookies as a dessert option. Firehouse is proud of their Cherry Lime Aid, which they claim is their own creation, but they also offer freshly brewed Iced Tea. Firehouse Subs
Goodfellas Goodfellas Pizzeria opens on the alley right behind Two Keys Tavern. They specialize in New York Style pizza. The first pizzas in the U.S. were served in New York in 1905, and Goodfellas preserves that original type. This includes making the dough from high gluten flour, hand tossing them and baking them in a brick oven. A New York pizza is large and cut into only eight very wide slices. They have a thin crust which cannot be carried flat, so everyone folds or rolls them over. The cheese goes on the bottom and the thin layer of tomato sauce goes on top. A true New York pizza uses only Mozzarrella cheese. Goodfellas bends this format to suit modern tastes : they offer lots of other toppings and has a gluten free option. If you like thick crusts, small pizzas or other pizza styles this place may not be for you. But thousands of UK students think this is the best pizza in the world and they love the large servings and low prices. Goodfellas also serves a fine Steak. They prepare them in the pizza ovens, where the intense heat sears the surface and seals in the juices. Their Calzones and Cannolis are among the best in town, too. The restaurant itself gives off a gangster era vibe, with lots of black and white and a hint of Mafia. On the downside, you may not be able to find a table; especially on weekends Goodfellas is almost always crowded.

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.

Han Woo Ri
hibachi 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 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. insomnia
Jalapeno's 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.
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, next to Smashburger, across from Fozoli's, a block behind Kennedy's. 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 up from Kennedy Bookstore. 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.

Notice the unusual blue and white decor on this McDonalds. Corporate headquarters says this is the only McDonalds painted these colors, in respect with UK's blue and white school colors.

mcdonalds

Le Madelaine is a French American restaurant in The 90, the new dining center at the corner of Woodland Avenue and Hilltop Avenue in the South Campus Dorm Complex. Le Madelaine is open three meals a day and features made from scratch French and American classics. The beverage list includes Espresso, Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate, Cappuccino, Lattes, Mochas and Machiattos, both hot snd iced. The Breakfast menu features the Breakfast Croissant, a croissant with scrambled eggs, sausage, ham, bacon and cheddar. Or you can just get the croissant with scrambled eggs. Other options include the American Breakfast, Country French Breakfast, Oatmeal with toppings, Fruit Salad and an Omelette with spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, red pappers, swiss cheese, cheddar, bacon, chicken, sausage and ham with a croissant. They are very proud of their Soupes : Tomato Basil, Potato and White Bean. The The Roast Veggie, Chicken and Goat Cheese Salad includes pesto roasted zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, greens and balsamic marinated chicken. Or you can get a Caesar's, Chicken Bacon & Bleu and Strawberry Bacon Spinach Salad. Six Oven Based Sandwiches come with a small side salad. French specialties at lunch and dinner are Quiches, Pochettes (spinach, swiss cheese, etc., in a puff pastry), Chicken la Madeleine, and Pastas.

The Mellow Mushroom is a 1960s Pizzeria, a taste of what your grandparents experienced. The House Special features pepperoni, sausage, ground beef, onions, green pepper, shrooms, black olives, tomatoes, bacon, ham and cheese. There's a Mighty Meaty, exclusively meat pizza, heavy with pepperoni, sausage, ground beef, ham and bacon and just skipping all that other stuff. The MegaVeggie offers sun dried tomatoes, spinach, onions, tofu, green peppers, shrooms, black olives, fresh tomatoes, broccoli, feta, banana peppers, and artichoke hearts. There are Gourmet White, Pesto, Jerked Chicken, Hawaiin and BBQ Pizzas; Calzones, 15 kinds of Hoagies, and Pretzels.
Noodles Noodles 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. Noodles is on South Limestone, across from the dorms, at the Euclid Avenue intersection.
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 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.
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 bear 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 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.
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. Qdoba's

Sav's Grill offers a West African menu. It's Lexington's only African restaurant and it's very good. The restaurant is a modest double storefront at the corner of Limestone and Maxwell. You order at one counter, move down to the pickup counter, take your tray and find a table. There are only a dozen tables and in its year of operation owner manager Mamadou Savane has drawn quite a following, so lunch hour can get very crowded. Sav himself serves up the food from a dozen large bowls along the wall. The Lamb Ragout, Cornish Hen and, on weekends, Ribs, are excellent. We really like the Attie'ke' ("Kay Kay") Salad. If you're hungry enough for an appetizer, we recommend the Fried Plantains. They're delicious, but you get a dozen and they're filling enough to be a lunch all by themselves. The bowls are wonderful. The most spectacular is the Peanut Goat with Fufu, but there are various beef, chicken and vegetarian dishes, all made with palm oil. You can choose rice, couscous or fufu as the base of any dish. Cups of Piment (Habanero) Sauce are always optional. Beverages are part of the adventure. The coffee is interesting, there are fruit sodas and Jamaican ginger beer. You can usually park across the street.

Smashburger certainly lives up to its claim as the Gourmet Burger outlet. Their schtick is they smash the Angus Beef patty on the grill to sear the beef and seal in the flavor. The menu consists of seven $6 burgers, three $4 hot dogs, three $7 salads, seven $3 sides, two $4 floats and a milk shake. You get what you pay for. These will probably be the best burgers and dogs you've ever eaten and the sides, salads and floats are way above average, too. Even the bread is special, an extra rich egg, chipotle or multigrain (your choice) bun. We (not usually big fans of burgers or fast food) are particularly impressed with their Baja Burger (pepper jack cheese, guacamole, lettuce, tomato, onion, chipotle mayo and fresh jalapenos) and BlueGrassBurger (Wild Turkey Bourbon sauce, applewood smoked bacon, melted cheddar cheese and fried banana pepper rings). But the Chicago Dog (mustard, tomatoes, pickles, peppers, relish and onions) is a close runnerup. A neat alternative is the Bourbon BBQ Ranch Chicken Club Salad (strips of buttermilk seasoned chicken, chopped applewood smoked bacon, diced tomatoes, onions, cheddar cheese, romaine & iceberg lettuce, Wild Turkey Bourbon bbq sauce and buttermilk ranch dressing). Our favorite sides are the Smash (Russet) Fries, Haystack Onions, Sweet Potato Fries, Fried Pickles and Veggie Frites. This being Kentucky, you MUST try the Ale 8 One Float, especially if you're already an Ale 8 lover. No one else has it, and it's great. Or there's bottled beer or wine by the glass. A spacious patio lets you relax in the shade and see a mile up Euclid Avenue.

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.

Going to college sure is different. We had a cafeteria, the K Lair, and then a long walk to any other restaurants. Now they have a wide variety of restaurants right in the dorms, right across the street, and in the cafeteria building. And they can use their meal cards in any of these restaurants. For example, here's the Steak n Shake on the first floor of the new dorm, where Holmes Hall used to be, across the corner from Kennedy's Book Store. This outlet doesn't have table service; you order and pick up from the counter, then find a table. But the menu's still the same. Steak n Shake, as the name implies, is famous for its eight Milkshakes and 13 Steak Burgers, any combination of which is a meal in itself. But there's also very good Vegetable Soup, Salads, Applesauce, Cottage Cheese, Baked Beans, Patti Melts and six kinds of Chile. Desserts are mainly large Sundaes.
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.
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.
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