Win, Place, Show Dining in Lexington

The Life

Photo courtesy of The Merrick Inn

Lexington, Ky. lays claim to more than just being a producer of some of the finest horses and bourbons around. There is also top notch dining in and around the city. If you’re headed to town to enjoy the Keeneland meet, here is a list of three tasty establishments that fit the budget of a high roller, all the way down to the $2 show bet player.

Win: The Merrick Inn

Photo courtesy of The Merrick Inn

It’s an institution that has been a tradition among Lexington locals for the past 40 years. Fried food fiends will savor their famous southern fried chicken and walleye pike entrées or the fried green tomatoes starter. If you’re looking for something on the lighter side, you can opt for the pecan crusted pork tenderloin that is topped with Maker’s Mark apple chutney.

While you are enjoying your meal, you will be steeped in Thoroughbred tradition. It was here at Merrick Place, that the former manor owner trained the fabled "Exterminator," the 1918 Kentucky Derby winner. The namesake of the manor, a Thoroughbred named Merrick, finished in the money 125 times, winning 61 races. Be sure to pay homage to Merrick at his gravestone, located just in front of the Inn.

Place: Coles 735 Main

Photo courtesy of Coles 735 Main

Coles is akin to a two-year-old colt on the Lexington culinary scene, opening in 2012. The menu is a breath of fresh air, featuring progressive dishes such as mussels in a chili lime yuzu broth and Moroccan butternut squash soup. Southern staples still dot the menu if you’re looking for more traditional fare. Shrimp and grits as well as a New York strip steak and grits remind you that you are indeed in Kentucky. Swing by Coles, if you’re looking for diverse high-end cuisine at a very affordable price.

Show: Red State BBQ

Photo courtesy of Red State BBQ

Don’t let your political affiliations steer you away from this spot. All parties are welcome here! It’s a no-frills barbeque joint that emphasizes full-flavored smoked meats at a reasonable price. You can’t go wrong with the chicken, pork, or brisket. However, the ribs steal the show. Red State Barbeque is the perfect spot to wrap up a day at the races. Just don’t get barbeque sauce on your blazer or sundress! 

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