Posts Tagged 'Nick Ryan’s'

Red Mango Yogurt opens in Hamburg

redmangoThe new Red Mango Yogurt & Smoothies store is a little hard to find at Hamburg Pavilion, but worth the search. The street address is 2304 Sir Barton Way, but you’ll have to wander back behind Versona Accessories and Altar’d State to find the self-serve yogurt shop.
The store also offers fresh fruit smoothies, fruit and yogurt parfaits, and frozen coffee drinks. Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Call (859) 373-0099 or go to


Akielo Temple Marching Patrol will hold a spaghetti dinner from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday at Oleika Shrine Temple, 326 Southland Drive. The menu features spaghetti with meat sauce, salad, garlic bread, drink, and dessert. Cost is $7, $4 for children age 10 and under.
■ Hank Shaw, a James Beard award winning chef, will be at Azur Restaurant at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Shaw, author of Duck, Duck Goose, will join the Azur chefs for the November Chef Series dinner. Cost is $50. Call (859) 296-1007 or go to The menu features bourbon spiked duck wing burgoo; crispy duck rillettes; and grill roasted duck breast stuffed with chorizo.
■ On Friday, Bourbon n’ Toulouse, 829 Euclid Avenue, will donate 20 percent of sales to The Free to Breathe Lung Cancer 5K Run/Walk which takes place Nov. 16.  Call (859) 335-0300 or go to
Gluten Free Lexington is holding a holiday feast at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Tates Creek Country Club ballroom, 1400 Gainesway Drive. The gluten-free menu includes Heavenly Ham turkeys and hams, corn bread dressing, broccoli casserole, corn pudding, and pumpkin pie from Whole Foods Market. Tickets are $10. Go to
Grimes Mill Winery, 6707 Grimes Mill Road, will celebrate the soon-to-open new bridge on Grimes Mill Road, near the winery. Visitors have had to make a detour to the winery, and the “No Bridge Between Us” celebration will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday.  Entertainment will be provided by fiddler Ron Penn and Tanner Jones, playing the banjo. Call (859) 549-9691.
Oliva Bella has received the holiday shipment of its eight-year-old aged Balsamico, available in 1-ounce and 4-ounce bottles. Samples will be available from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday at Wine + Market, 486 West Second Street.
Cobar Cantina at Coba Cocina, 2041 Richmond Road, is hosting Nonprofit Nights during November. Located on the second floor of Coba Cocina, Cobar features small plates and drinks. Non-profit organizations will receive 25 percent of nightly proceeds from 4 to 10 p.m. on specific nights.
Here’s the schedule for this week:  Friday, Community Action Council; Saturday, Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra; Sunday and Monday, Tates Creek Presbyterian Church; Tuesday, Lexington Humane Society; Wednesday, Bluegrass Greensource; Thursday, Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence; and Nov. 15,  Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bluegrass. Call (859) 523-8484 or go to
■ Sondra Strunk, owner of Sondra’s Wine Creations, will offer samples of her  wine jellies and wine candy for holiday shoppers. Strunk will be  at Larry Mac’s Beer Cheese Shop, 3101 Clays Mill Road, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 30 at the Country Art and Craft Fair at First Vineyard, 5800 Sugar Creek Pike in Nicholasville.
■ On Monday, Veteran’s Day, Bob Evans restaurants will honor veterans with free all-you-can-eat hotcakes.  Veterans and active military personnel must show a valid military ID. Locations are at
Nick Ryan’s chefs Joe Hall and James South, both combat veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom, are preparing special entrees for Veteran’s Day on Monday.  A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides support and assistance to injured service members. The chefs  will prepare “A General’s Feast” of steak and lobster and a “Ranger” bread pudding. Call (859) 233-7900 or go to restaurant is at 157 Jefferson Street.

Holiday menus

Staxx BBQ, 11 Carson Place in Frankfort, will cook your holiday turkeys and hams. Turkeys and turkey breasts may be ordered smoked or fried, and the spiral hams are smoked. Thanksgiving orders may be picked up from 11a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 27 or from  8 to 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day.  Call (502) 352-2515.
Barnes & Noble Café, 1932 Pavillon Way, in Hamburg, is selling whole cheesecakes for holiday parties and family dinners. Flavors are pumpkin, original New York style, Godiva triple chocolate, and red velvet. Cheesecake is $40 and serves 14. Call (859) 543-8518 and ask for the café.

Would you like a blindfold with your menu?

Have you ever thought you were in the dark about  Lexington’s dining scene? At Natasha’s Bistro & Bar you literally could be.
Natasha’s Bistro & Bar, 112 Esplanade, will serve guests a Kentucky Proud menu to eat in complete darkness. It’s designed for the senses of smell, taste, sound, and texture. Participants will remove their blindfolds after each course.
Natasha’s owner Gene Williams quotes Miami chef Adrianne Calvo about the concept of dining in the dark: “The concept of ‘Dark Dining,’ which enjoyed significant popularity throughout Europe for several years before its introduction in various major cities throughout the United States, has been defined as a sensory overload that maximizes flavor by suppressing vision, creating the ultimate in dining experience.” The dinner will be at 6 p.m. Monday. Tickets are $49. Call (859) 259-2754  or go to

Special events

Bistro La Belle Market and Cafe will join other downtown Midway merchants in supporting The Homeplace in Midway and its “Voices in Cloth” quilt show on Saturday.
Bistro La Belle will serve Laura’s white bean soup and Weisenberger Mills cornbread from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The meal is free, but the café will accept donations for The Homeplace. The regular menu will be available. Bistro La Belle is at 119 East Main Street. The quilt show will be at 128 East Main Street. Call (859) 846-4233 or go to
Woodford Reserve Distillery serves a holiday buffet on Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 22. Chef-in-residence Ouita Michel and her culinary team have created a menu of Kentucky favorites and seasonal specialties. Distillery tours are offered before dinner. Seatings are at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Cost is $50. The Distillery is at 7855 McCracken Pike, Versailles. Call (859) 879-1812 or go to
■ On Monday, you can help Baby Health Service by dining at Nick Ryan’s. The restaurant’s “Monday Matters” program donates a portion of the day’s proceeds to charities. Baby Health provides free quality health care to children without insurance. Call (859) 233-7900 or go to
■ When you make a donation to your favorite charity through and you could win a catered dinner for eight.  Mulberry & Lime, a gift/home furnishings shop in the historic Matthew Kennedy house at 216 North Limestone, will be the site for the dinner that will be prepared by Dupree Catering. Wine will be provided by Wines on Vine.

New menus

The Village Idiot, 307 West Short Street, has a new winter menu.  Chefs Andrew Suthers and Wyatt Sarbacker have put their personal touches on classic cold weather comfort food. Included are ham hock ragout with Lexington Pasta’s spinach gnocchi and pork belly en croute with pickled onion and whole grain mustard.
On Monday, the restaurant will serve a prix fixe dinner featuring seasonal dishes to compliment selections from Schlafly Beer and wines from Vanguard. The dinner will include a reception of hors d’oeuvres and three courses each paired with wine and beer. Cost is $49. Call (859) 252-0099 or go to
Casanova Italian Restaurant, 855 South Broadway, has some new menu items. Included are bronzini acqua pazza, (a fish owner Leo  Capezzuto imports from the Mediterranean Sea), Neapolitan traditional sausages with rapini, and spaghetti aglio olio scampi. Casanova is accepting reservations for Christmas parties. Call (859) 309-3313 or go to

Nick Ryan’s remembers Levas’ at Mad Men Night

Nick Ryan’s, 157 Jefferson Street, will celebrate Mad Men Night on Wednesday. Martinis, Manhattans and old-fashioned cocktails will be specially priced and served in the style of the popular old Levas’ Restaurant, a stylish downtown restaurant in the ’60s and ’70s. (Read former Herald-Leader columnist Don Edwards’ story on Levas’ below.) Nick Ryan’s staff will be dressed a la Don and Betty Draper from the hit AMC television drama set in the 1960s. Call (859) 233-7900 or go to

Memories of Levas’ Restaurant

Angel Levas in 1977 (from Herald-Leader archives)

Angel Levas in 1977 (from Herald-Leader archives)

Don Edwards, a retired Herald-Leader columnist, wrote this column about Levas’ Restaurant after it closed in 2004.

Every time I go past the northwest corner of Limestone and Vine Street and see a couple of old bay windows hanging over Vine from the second story, I think about Levas’ Restaurant, once a landmark there in the heart of downtown.
I remember being a reporter in the 1960s. If you couldn’t find the mayor or county judge or some other official behind a desk, Levas’ Restaurant was the second place you went looking.It was incredibly crowded, elbow to elbow at the bar, with everyone wanting a table and talking all at once. On many tables was the restaurant’s trademark: an individual-size martini pitcher. And in the heat and smoke, the place smelled deliciously of filet mignon, prime rib and a few ethnic dishes, such as moussaka, for the family was proud of its Greek heritage.
I especially recall walking past the front door, which opened on Limestone, one cold winter night. Out of the restaurant came a town idol, a handsome University of Kentucky basketball star named Charles “Cotton” Nash. He was wearing an expensive-looking camel’s hair overcoat, and on his arm was a beautiful young blonde. Both were laughing. How wonderful, I thought, to be king of the city.
That was Levas’. You never knew who you’d see there, but it was usually somebody, with a capital “S.”
“Mike Levas, my father, bought it from two old brothers who were going back to Greece. We started there in 1920 when it was the corner of Lime and Water streets, long before Vine was reconfigured,” said Evangelos “Angel” Levas, 73. “It was called Coney Island Lunch, a hot dog stand. Nearly all men. Ladies would have lunch at the Canary Cottage. My job was to slice the buns two at a time. Then old Klaren’s Bakery started selling them pre-sliced. In those days, if my father had a problem, like a rowdy or no-pay customer, he went outside and waved his apron. That was the signal for Callahan, the cop at Main and Lime, and Callahan would come running.
“The place was open 24 hours seven days a week. One Sunday in 1941 I went in to work. The cook didn’t show, the dishwasher didn’t show, the server didn’t show. I was 10 years old. I phoned my father. ‘Nobody’s here,’ I said. ‘I don’t know what to do.’ He said: ‘Close up.’ I said: ‘Where’s the key?’
“Well, the place hadn’t been closed in 21 years so nobody knew where the key had gone. I got a locksmith from Pinkston’s to make a new key. After that, we were closed every Sunday.”
‘The good days’
In the 1950s, Lexington was growing. Downtown, with its upscale department stores, hotels and several theaters, was like a miniature city. After college and the Air Force, where he served as an officer in Germany, Angel Levas and his brother, John Levas, had an idea: a new, white-tablecloth restaurant that would combine the food, drink and sophistication they had seen in other cities.
“We remodeled the old property in 1956 and opened within a month,” Levas recalled. “We went from hot dogs to filet mignon in 30 days.”
It was the new game in town, and 119 South Limestone was an instant hit.
“The people,” Angel Levas said. “That’s what I miss the most.” The brothers’ parents were still alive and active in the business. A menu dish was named after their mother, Marika Levas. “We called it Chicken Marika, with a meat-and-raisin stuffing, Greek style.”
The suburbs were looming, but there were no malls. Downtown was the commercial center of town, and it was booming.
“Those were the good days,” Levas says. “In the holiday season, the streets were so crowded that you almost couldn’t walk.” His brother later left the business and moved to Hawaii.
Calling it quits
Levas’ Restaurant had one last incarnation, and again it gave the town something it hadn’t seen before. In 1978, it moved west up the block, remodeled the old Walgreen building, and changed its address to 141 West Vine. It had 22,000 square feet on two floors and was posh: a piano, huge dining rooms, private-party rooms, 400 pieces of fine art on the walls and not a single horse painting.
“What happened,” Levas said, “was that downtown Lexington moved to Victorian Square and old Festival Marketplace.” And the ‘burbs were in full ascension, sprawling out with more and more asphalt. “Suddenly we had more competition than ever before. Per capita, I think Lexington has more restaurants than anywhere.
“Clientele we’d been used to seeing four or five times a month? Now we saw them once a month. We stopped lunch. Where we had filled four dining rooms, now we were lucky to do two. Finally, in 1988, I called it quits. I just couldn’t do it justice any more. It’s a young person’s game. I didn’t go bankrupt. I just quit and began enjoying life, doing things like taking trips to Europe.”
Today he stays busy selling microsurgery instruments for eye surgery.
Part of old downtown Lexington died with Levas’ Restaurant.
Levas still thinks of the old days and maybe dreams of some new ones.
“Limestone was once called Mulberry Street,” he said. “Don’t you think that’d be a great name for a restaurant? Mulberry?”

Millersburg cafe serves art and history with its menu

If you enjoy the charm of small towns, take a drive to Millersburg and have lunch or dinner at the 5th Street Café.
Last fall, Robert and Maureen Barker opened a café to complement and support ArtCroft, an artists residency where individuals can do creative work in a rural setting. The café is at the corner of Fifth and Vimont streets in the historic Millersburg Coal and Lumber Co. building, which was founded in the early 1900s.
Dinner is served 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and the menu includes pasta, salmon, chicken and New York strip steak. Lunch hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and the menu features sandwiches, salads and soups. The luncheon chef is Julio Silva, and Richard Barrett prepares dinner. Call (859) 473-0552 or visit


Merrick Inn, 1074 Merrick Drive, is having a wine tasting featuring Brian Fowler with B.R. Cohn Winery in Sonoma County, Calif. Wednesday Wines on the Vine is 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The cost is $23. Reservations are required. Call (859) 269-5417.
Winchell’s, 348 Southland Drive, is having its annual lobster boil 4:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday. The date was incorrect in last week’s Weekender. Call (859) 278-9424.


■ Two Winchester bars and a Nicholasville producer won bragging rights at the third annual Beer Cheese Festival in Winchester on Saturday. First place went to Kentucky Beer Cheese from Castano Foods, Nicholasville; Woody’s Bar & Grill, in Winchester, won second, and Full Circle Health Foods Market, also of Winchester, was third. DJ’s Bar & Grill, in Winchester, was voted people’s choice. Winners of the amateur competition were Rouse Hunt, first; Ollie Puckett, second; and Brennan Gilkison, third.

New on the menu

Bella Notte, 3715 Nicholasville Road, has a new summer menu. Included are house-made farmhouse spicy sausage; heirloom tomato salad; and strawberry shortcake, limoncello semifreddo, and a trio of sorbets. Call (859) 245-1789 or visit
Caramanda’s Bake Shoppe has created a new cupcake. The piña colada is pineapple cake filled with pineapple buttercream, iced with coconut buttercream and rimmed in fresh coconut. Locations are 332 Southland Drive, 3805 Dylan Place, and a kiosk in Fayette Mall. Call (859) 278-7172 or visit
Shamrock Bar & Grill’s new menu has a professional look and lots of new items. There’s a granny Smith apple and blue cheese salad, Irish Cobb salad, and more “from-scratch” sides, including macaroni and cheese, broccoli casserole and green beans. Locations are 154 Patchen Drive, (859) 269-7621; and 4750 Hartland Parkway, (859) 245-9504.
Nick Ryan’s, 157 Jefferson Street, now serves lunch beginning at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. Daily lunch specials are priced at $8. Brunch specials are served along with the full lunch menu beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday. Call (859) 233-7900.

Voltaggio brothers headline Ky. Proud Food Show

Fans of Bravo TV’s Top Chef are in for a double treat when brother chefs Michael and Bryan Voltaggio (Season 6 champion and runner-up) come to Lexington.
The brothers are the celebrity chefs at the Kentucky Proud Incredible Food Show and they will be cooking at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Oct. 8 at Lexington Center.
This is the third year for the food show and it will be a one-day event instead of two, Sheila Kenny, director of marketing for the Lexington Center, said.
Bryan Voltaggio is chef and partner at Volt in Frederick, Md. Michael Voltaggio will open his first signature restaurant, Ink, this year in Los Angeles. He was a finalist for the James Beard “Best New Restaurant” award in 2009.
The Incredible Food Show features product sampling, and cooking demonstrations and seminars. Tickets will go on sale Aug. 5. Go to


■ The Ashland-based Italian restaurant chain Giovanni’s has opened its 108th store in Nicholasville. John Goodyear and Brent Ferne  opened the store in March at 851 North Main Street. Giovanni’s serves pizzas, calzones, Italian sub sandwiches, baked spaghetti, and lasagna. The buffet is $5.99 at lunch and $6.99 for dinner.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Call (859) 885.1044.
Merrick Inn, 1074 Merrick Drive, is having a luau on Thursday to launch the opening of its new covered patio. The pig roast will feature sandwiches for $9.50 and plate dinners for $10.50 with slaw and baked beans. Hours are 5 to 9 p.m. Call (859) 269 5417.
Sarah’s Corner Cafe BBQ, 4300 Winchester Road, is celebrating its second anniversary during May. New menu items include smoked bologna, smoked turkey breast, and homemade ice cream. You can pick up a Boston butt bone for the dog for a donation to the Lexington Humane Society. Call (859) 309-1220.

New menu items

Barnes & Noble Booksellers now sells pizza at its cafe at the store in Hamburg at 1932 Pavilion Way. Classic pepperoni and four-cheese pizzas are 8-inches and cost $5.95. Call (859) 543-8518.

Special events

■ The Bluegrass Mystery Theatre presents “A Wedding To Die For” at two locations this month. The show and three-course meal at Equus Run Winery in Midway will be Friday. Wine tastings begin at 6:15 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. Cost is $45. Call (859) 846-9463.cq
The show moves to My Old Kentucky dinner train in Bardstown on May 21. Tickets are $99.95 for adults, $59.95 for children and includes a four- course meal and two-hour train ride. Call (866) 801-3463.
Wingspan Gallery, 191 Jefferson Street, is planning an Italian menu for Thursday. Included are pasta with pancetta in a spicy tomato sauce, insalata caprese, sauteed chicken cutlets with baby artichokes, and tiramisu. Call (859) 225-5765.
Country Cookin’ by George, 1801 Alexandria Drive, is offering an all-you-care-to-eat weekend special. The lunch buffet is $7.45 and dinner is $9.95 and features BBQ ribs, frog legs, and coconut shrimp. Call (859) 276-0001.
■ The Urban Monday special at Nick Ryan’s, 157 Jefferson Street, is coconut beef curry and chicken marsala. Cost is $12 and includes soup or salad and a glass of one of the featured wines, La Puerta Torrontes or Darcie Kent pinot noir. Red beans and rice with smoked sausage is served at lunch and dinner on Mondays. Call (859) 233-7900.

Farmers Market report

■ The Bluegrass Farmers’ Market will have asparagus, lettuce, greens, rhubarb, carrots, onions, herb seasoning, jams, baked goods, honey, veggie plants and hanging baskets on Saturday. Hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at 3450 Richmond Road, in the parking lot of Pedal the Planet and Fast Signs. Go to
■ The Lexington Farmers Market now is open on Tuesday and Thursday at the corenr of Broadway and Maxwell Street. Hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Vendors have several varieties of strawberries, asparagus, local and Southern tomatoes, kale, chard, spinach, onions, salad greens, new cow’s milk cheeses from Boone Creek Creamery, beer cheeses and cheese spreads, pastries and artisan breads, fresh pasta, nut butters, beef, pork, chicken, bedding plants, fresh flowers and herbs, and hanging baskets.
The downtown Saturday market at Fifth Third Pavilion is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.


■ The telephone number for Brown’s Bakery’s new location is the same as the old spot: (859) 225-8400.  The bakery has moved to 1226 Versailles Road. The number was incorrect in last Friday’s Weekender.