A FOOD TREKClockwise fromtop left, FridayNight Flights atWhole Foods;Babalu andguacamole madetableside; porkchops and gritsat Honeywood; agame of cornholeoutside ShakeShack108FALL 2018K KEENELAND.COM

TO THE SUMMITFrom tapasand pizzato prime rib,Lexington’snewest fooddestinationoffers somethingfor every tasteBy Louis GuidaPhotos by Mark Mahan

A FOOD TREK TO THE SUMMITAT H E N I A N G R I L L A T O M I C R A M E N B A B A L U T A P A S & T A C O S B L A Z E P I Z Z ACaption for photo goes hereA variety of beer and snacks draws in the Friday evening crowds at Whole Foods.Friday about 6 p.m.Early summer. Hot,and threateningrain. You find yourself in Lexington,Kentucky, metropopulation 500,000, de factocapital of a Bluegrass regionfamed the world over for itsracehorses and bourbon.where Henry Clay once held forth. Youran outdoor setting, apartments, officego-to places are nearby, but one of youspace, and a boutique hotel. It was de-says, “Let’s check out The Summit.”veloped — and is managed and leasedSo you drive six miles south through— by Bayer Properties, a Birmingham,rush-hour traffic and suddenly there it is:Alabama-based company established inThe Summit at Fritz Farm, an urbanized1983 that owns and/or operates retail andcomplex of buildings, streets, and side-office properties in eight states.walks commanding a corner of the bus-“The Summit at Fritz Farm is an all-outiest commercial intersection in the city,experiential destination that celebratesNicholasville and Man o’ War.the Lexington lifestyle through a collec-Opened last year on what had beention of shopping, dining, and signaturea family-owned farm, The Summit isevents,” says marketing manager Steph-thinking about food, you’re with friends,adevelopmentanie Bork. “Our diverse restaurant mixwalking the city’s historic downtownthat includes retail and restaurants in[there are 24 eating and drinking spots]It’s the end of a workweek. Thirsty and 165-million, 54-acreB L U E S U S H I S A K E G R I L L C O R E L I F E E AT E R Y C R A N K & B O O M C R A F T I C E C R E A M110FALL 2018K KEENELAND.COM

A FOOD TREK TO THE SUMMITCR Ú F O O D & W I N E B A R E D L E Y ’ S B A R - B - Q U E G R I M A L D I ’ S B R I C K O V E N P I Z Z E R I Ashowcases an array of nationally recognized eateries by local accomplishedrestaurateurs along with several concepts, each offering its own specialty. Ithas something for foodies of all ages.”You drive down to enter the development — getting the paradox of a subterranean summit — and make your wayto a parking spot near Whole Foods, oneof The Summit’s anchors. Your expedition, improvisational by choice, beginswith the market’s weekly Friday NightFlights: tastes of five different beersfrom one brewery (which varies eachFriday) paired with five different snacks.Beers and snacks are set up at stations throughout the market. Tonight,the beers — citrus-infused wheat, IPA,peachy wheat, lager, and stout — arefrom Mill Creek Brewing in Nashville.The Barn focuses on Kentucky food brands in its “artisinal” food hall.The snacks, made in-house, are freshtomato bruschetta, roasted chickendrumsticks, Gouda with lemon crisps,plantain salad, and fruit pies. It’s 7 perperson, including a reusable small plastic (Weizen-style) tasting “glass,” whichyou can hold on to and return with another Friday night and receive 1 offyour flight.From Whole Foods you walk a fewyards down the street to Babalu Tapas& Tacos for guacamole. Named for thesignature song of Desi Arnaz’s characterRicky Ricardo on the old “I Love Lucy”TV show, Babalu describes itself as a“restaurant concept” inspired by Latincuisine and music such as the guaracha,cha-cha, and Latin jazz. It began in Jackson, Mississippi, in 2010, and now hasnine locations, in Kentucky and statesfarther south.This Friday, Babalu isn’t seating atoutdoor tables because of expected rain.Celebrated Kentucky chef Ouita Michel operates Honeywood.H O N E Y W O O D B Y O U I TA M I C H E L J . A L E X A N D E R ’ S K E N T U C K Y F O R K E N T U C K Y112FALL 2018K KEENELAND.COM

A FOOD TREK TO THE SUMMITCOURTSEY OF THE SUMMITCOURTSEY OF THE SUMMITCOURTSEY OF THE SUMMITL A P E T I T E C R E P E R I E PA S T U R E B Y M A R K S B U RY FA R M S H A K E S H A C KFrom left, offerings from Blue Sushi, Atomic Ramen, and Ted’s Montana Grill hint at the variety of foods available at The Summit.But the outside section of the bar, underseven local eateries, including AthenianSoutheast chef who’s been written up ina building projection, is available, and youGrill, Crank & Boom ice cream, Pasture bya long list of national publications, fromfind places there, looking into the kitch-Marksbury Farm, and Smithtown SeafoodThe New York Times to Vogue.en. The guacamole is made tableside —among other favorites. After that, youHoneywood reflects Michel’s passionbar-side in this case — and comes withmove on, past glossy exteriors of Arhaus,for and commitment to local ingredientshouse-made chips. You add a jalapeñoAnthropologie, Edley’s, Grimaldi’s, FRYE,and agriculture. “I feel like it’s introducingextra.Blue Sushi Sake, and more.local food to new groups of people,” sheAfter Babalu, you wander The Sum-Your passeggiata ends with sensorysays. “It’s already driving about a quartermit’s sidewalks and take in the scene.overload but revives your thirst and ap-million dollars in local food purchases aStores (there are about 40 in all) are stillpetite, and you land at Honeywood, theyear. The Summit is meeting our expecta-open. Crowds swell here and there. Youlatest addition to celebrated Bluegrasstions. We love being there.”check out a Pottery Barn sale and therestaurateur Ouita Michel’s culinary em-You take a large table outside at Honey-preppy looks at Brooks Brothers and trypire. Sited at the center of the center,wood and order draft beers, a black-eyedon a few lenses at Warby Parker, one ofit’s The Summit’s only single-locationpea fritter special, and shrimp hoecakeswhat The Summit calls its “first-to-mar-restaurant. Michel, who also owns Smith-from the regular menu. The drinks comeket” brands, meaning it’s the only loca-town Seafood in The Barn, is a six-timeand then a thundershower, so you movetion in Kentucky for the trendy, New YorkJames Beard Foundation nominee for bestinside to eat.City eyewear shop that takes its namefrom two Jack Kerouac characters.When you’ve paid the bill, the shower isover and it’s dark outside. Stores and moreBetween Warby and Shake Shack,than one restaurant are closed. But youranother New York City-headquartered,graze and hop hasn’t quite run its course.“first-to-market” brand here, a fewYou walk toward a red neon outpost andmillennials play cornhole on ar-find J. Alexander’s still open. It’s 30 min-tificial grass. You walk throughutes until the kitchen closes and only afew tables are occupied. (Theremit describes as “Kentucky’swas a dinner rush a couplefirst and finest artisan foodhall.” With the ambiance ofakicked-up-a-notchfoodcourt, it houses booths fromCOURTSEY OF THE SUMMITThe Barn, which The Sum-of hours earlier, your hostA burger from Pastureby Marksbury FarmS M I T H T O W N S E A F O O D S TA R B U C K S S T E E L C I T Y P O P S T E D ’ S M O N TA N A G R I L L114FALL 2018K KEENELAND.COM

A FOOD TREK TO THE SUMMITTEXAS DE BRAZIL WHISKEY BEAR BAR WHOLE FOODS MARKET WORLD OF BEERsays.) J. Alexander’s is part of a holding company thattraces to Nashville and 1991 and operates more than40 restaurants, including 19 J. Alexander’s, under fivedifferent brand names in 16 states. The food across thebrands is mainly classic American.You’re winding down and not too hungry or thirsty.Your server is talkative and consequential. Could youhave just a taste of the prime rib? She tells you to ordera kid’s portion and with it a pizza because the woodoven it’s cooked in was made in Italy. You take her advice. With your check comes a finale out of The Summit central casting: a large piece of carrot cake — aJ. Alexander’s specialty, your waitress says — compliments of the house.With that, you head back to your WholeFoods parking spot. Your night — The Summitpart of it, at least — is over. The sky is deepblue, clear, and starry. There’s a half moonout. And the open road back to downtownLexington awaits. KMHappy Hour:Monday-Saturday 5:00 to 6:30 pm1/2 price appetizers and drinksFor Dinner:Open Monday 5:00 to 9:00 pmTuesday-Thursday 5:00-10:00 pmFriday & Saturday 5:00 to 11:00 pmOutdoor Seating199 North Limestone, Lexington, KY 40507Tel: 859-246-0999 Fax: llebistro.com116FALL 2018K KEENELAND.COMFrom top, a viewof J. Alexander’s;customers lingerat The Barn andWhole FoodsMarket as eveningdescends.