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KSR County Spotlight: Come Spend A Day At Fayette!


Welcome back everyone!  I feel like this is the third or fourth county I’ve called my ‘home away from home’ but having lived here for the last 10 years, I guess it’s just home. Take a seat and let me give you the tour of the green pastures and white picket fences that make up Fayette County!




Located in central Kentucky, Fayette County was founded in 1780.  Fayette was one of the original three counties created from the larger Kentucky County, Virginia.  Along with Jefferson County and Lincoln County, Fayette separated from Virginia in 1792 to make up the state of Kentucky.  At that point it contained land from 37 present day counties and parts of 7 more.  Fayette was named after Marquis de Lafayette, a French major-general of the Continental Army under George Washington.  Working as a go between with France and the Colonists, Lafayette was instrumental in France providing their support against the British, ultimately helping the colonists win the Revolutionary War.  For his accomplishments in serving both France and the United States, he was officially known as “The Hero of the Two Worlds.”  Lafayette died in 1834 and is buried in Paris, under soil brought in from Bunker Hill.


Even back then, they were wearing blue.

Even back then, they were wearing blue.


As most of us know, Lexington is Fayette County’s seat and largest city.  Of the approximately 310,000 citizens in the Lexington area, nearly 40% have bachelor’s degrees making Lexington one of the Top 10 Smartest American Cities according to a US News report.  Along with that distinction, Lexington is known as “The Horse Capital of the World” as it is surrounded by over 400 horse farms.  The 1,200 acre Kentucky Horse Park was the first non-European city to hold the World Equestrian Games in 2010 and brought in over a half a million visitors.  With some of the best equine care facilities in the world located in Lexington, legendary horses like Cigar and Kentucky Derby winner Go For Gin are just a few of the retired horses that call Lexington home. As these legendary horses are sent here to stud after racing, many of the most famous horses in racing have been born in the farms around Lexington.  The most famous of these horses, you may have heard of him, was Man O’ War. During his career, Man O’ War won 20 of 21 races including on his way to the elusive Triple Crown.  He’s been ranked the #1 greatest horse in racing by multiple media outlets including Sports Illustrated and the Associated Press.


Kentucky Horse Park.

Kentucky Horse Park (


Of course you can’t talk horses in Lexington without mentioning what is arguably the most beautiful horse track in the world, Keeneland. Each April and October, the greatest horses from around the world make their way to Lexington to run on this gorgeous oval track.  Founded in 1935 on 147 beautiful acres, Keeneland runs numerous Stakes races each April as preparation for the Derby in May. Race fans can watch their horses as they parade around the paddock before entering the tunnel under the stands onto the track. Fans can either make their way out to the stands or hang by the betting booths as they sip on their bourbon and watch the horses circle the track. Keeneland’s beauty has much to do with their stake in tradition as not a lot has changed since their opening in 1935.  For this reason, movies like Seabiscuit and Secretariat have been shot here. Come on out this fall (October 3-15) and definitely don’t miss Keeneland’s first Breeder’s Cup in 2015!


Make sure to check out!

Make sure to check out!


So Lexington also has this university you all may have heard of, University of Kentucky?  Yeah?  That’s good.  As you all know, Lexington is home to UK and all of her 29k+ students.  UK is Lexington’s largest employer. having about 14,000 employees as of 2012, when the hospital was only 7,000 feet tall.  Housing 16 colleges, a grad school, 4 professional programs, 99 masters and 66 doctoral programs, UK is the state’s highest ranked research university. (Sorry Chester)  Of course you all only come to this site for one thing, county posts.  Oh, and occasionally UK sports stuff.  I’m not going to overload you with the history of UK sports as you’re a good fan and already know everything there is.  So let’s run through this real quick … Winningest men’s basketball program of all time.  8 National Championships. First to 2000 wins.  Winningest Cheerleading squad of all time with 20 National Championships. Multiple National Championships in cross country, gymnastics, and even a co-national champion football team in 1950!  So yeah, we do alright for ourselves …


2012 Title Celebration.  My credit card sat at Tin Roof for 3 days.

2012 Title Celebration. My credit card sat at Tin Roof for 3 days.


Of course we can’t mention Lexington universities without giving a shout out to Transy.  Founded in 1780, Transylvania University is the oldest in Kentucky and among the oldest in the country. Transy has educated the likes of 2 US vice presidents, 2 US Supreme Court justices, 50 US senators, 101 US representatives and 36 US governors.  However, some of their more important alumni include Matt Jones, Tomlin, Turkey Hunter, Hubby, Mosley and miss Ally Tucker.


Question everything. Accomplish anything.

Question everything.
Accomplish anything.


Finally, I can’t bring you to my city without letting you know of the great spots to eat and grab a drink.  Lexington has tons of amazing food options depending on what you’re hungry for.  Looking for a nice steak and some sushi?  That’s a BHG specialty.  Check out any of the Malone’s spots for a great filet (go oscar style) and some fantastic sushi.  If you’re looking for more of a home cooking feel, you can’t go wrong with Ramsey’s.  Their chicken and dumplings changes lives.  Other great options include Dudley’s and Tulips if you’re looking high end, Shamrocks and Winchell’s if you’re looking for more of a local feel, or anything on Jefferson Street .  My personal favorite is a little restaurant/bar over on Leestown Rd called Thoroughbreds.  Pop in there, ask Andy for a cold beer and have Hattie cook you up some of her famous meatloaf.  And make sure you get the baked beans. Trust me.  As for a grabbing a drink, you’re in luck! Lexington is experiencing a craft beer explosion in town, and we’re all benefiting.  West Sixth Brewery on Sixth and Jefferson offers numerous IPA as well as lighter options.  The other popular craft brewery in Lexington, Country Boy Brewery, offers some great options as well. I usually have to decide between their Cougar Bait American Blonde or their Shotgun Wedding Dark Brown Ale.  If you’re more of a wine-o, check out Enoteca which literally means ‘wine library’ in Italian. And for those of you looking to get a little wilder, please see my Tin Roof picture above.





So there we are.  Next time you come to Lexington for a football tailgate, or a day at the races, you’re fully prepared to see everything great Fayette County has to offer. After all this excitement, we’re going to need a quiet place to relax, maybe do some hiking.  Carter County, here we come!


Remember, if you want your county’s favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant, or cool town event featured, hit me up at [email protected] and we’ll get it on here!


Article written by Corey James

21 Comments for KSR County Spotlight: Come Spend A Day At Fayette!

  1. Parker
    4:33 pm July 30, 2014 Permalink

    Carter County, oh boy. Can’t wait to read the Olive Hill bashing that’s gonna take place.

  2. Didn't make it there
    4:36 pm July 30, 2014 Permalink

    Man O War was “on his way to the triple crown?” He didn’t win it because he didn’t run in the Derby. His owner thought it was too early in the year.

    • UKfan
      5:21 pm July 30, 2014 Permalink

      I was going to post the very same thing. Man O’ War was undoubtedly a great race horse….I can never decide whether Man O’ War or Secretariat was the best race horse of all time. Sounds like a good topic for BTI.

  3. when
    4:42 pm July 30, 2014 Permalink

    Kenton county needs to be done soon.

  4. Lexington man
    4:50 pm July 30, 2014 Permalink

    Shamrocks? Shamrocks is an absolute dump full of coke heads and hammered bartenders that wear jean shorts.

  5. Bddfromcincy
    4:54 pm July 30, 2014 Permalink

    Azur Restaurant and Patio in Beaumont Centre is hands down the best upscale eatery in town. One has not truly eaten unless one has tried one of Chef Jeremy’s entrees.

    • NYCayts
      9:00 pm July 30, 2014 Permalink

      Nothing says upscale like a strip mall restaurant.

  6. MikeMan
    4:54 pm July 30, 2014 Permalink

    Comment sections have just turned into “let’s bash this article/writer” or “let’s find any possible error and make sure to point it out”. As the saying goes, never read the comment section. Product of my own fault.

  7. gordonm
    4:56 pm July 30, 2014 Permalink

    Would a person who lived in Fayette county TWICE, for over 2 years each time, in 2 different decades offer much about Fayette county?

  8. Aaron Craft's Rosacea
    5:01 pm July 30, 2014 Permalink

    Every other Country Boy Brewing Beer > Cougar Bait American Blonde

    • Bradley
      5:20 pm July 30, 2014 Permalink

      Couldn’t disagree more. Different folks, different strokes.

  9. Didn't make it there
    5:08 pm July 30, 2014 Permalink

    Hey MikeMan you are right about the bash the writer thing. Now I feel bad. Didn’t mean to do that but everyone oughta know Man O War didn’t run in the Derby. We are Kentuckians after all. So I didn’t mean to bash him but just to point that out. I’ll try not to do that again.

  10. Drew Franklin
    5:10 pm July 30, 2014 Permalink

    Thoroughbred is the best restaurant in Lexington and I will not listen to anyone trying to dispute that.

    • gordonm
      5:24 pm July 30, 2014 Permalink

      Drew you set yourself up with that: “What a fat boy would say about Lex”, My favorite place to eat is…

    • DH
      5:41 pm July 30, 2014 Permalink

      That may be true, Drew. And I admit I’ve never been, but I don’t know if I’d eat meat at a place named for horses. I wouldn’t eat at a place called Canine, either, so maybe it’s just me…

  11. Lexingtonian
    5:30 pm July 30, 2014 Permalink

    Ah good ol Lexington K-Y best city in the world!

  12. Litig8tr
    5:52 pm July 30, 2014 Permalink

    This is my first time back in Lexington in 10 years and I was wondering where to go to dinner tonight. Your suggestions all sounded good. Since I am a wine geek, and its only a few blocks from where I am staying I’m trying Enoteca.

    Thanks for the info!

  13. 22UKCAT0
    8:38 pm July 30, 2014 Permalink

    If you come through Carter County. Make sure to visit Carter Caves. In my opinion its one of the best state parks Kentucky has to offer. Also visit Simply The Best Bar and grill. It is super delicious!!!

  14. BigBlueStallion
    8:52 pm July 30, 2014 Permalink

    Blue Stallion,ZOMG Blue Stallion. ZOMG.

    And the Gnomes. Don’t forget the Gnomes.

  15. litig8tr
    9:28 pm July 30, 2014 Permalink

    So I went to Enoteca tonight and here is my review that I posted on Ubranspoon. I also told them that KSR had given them a big shout out!

    I went to law school in Lexington many years ago and lived in KY for over twenty years thereafter, often frequenting the town. But I hadn’t been back in ten years. My how things have changed!

    The area where Enoteca is located (Jefferson and 2nd Streets) were off limits in my day. There was no reason to go there and you didn’t want to find yourself there.

    This previous no man’s land is undergoing a major transformation. Now, homes are in the early stages of renovation and, particularly on Jefferson, they are being converted into small, locally owned, walk-in neighborhood restaurants complete with patio dining. Within walking distance of the downtown hotels, this area is completely safe and is frequented by both young and older clientele. The sidewalks are alive with activity.

    I learned of Enoteca from a popular UK sports blog, Kentucky Sports Radio. It was touted for “winos” so I knew it was for me. I was not disappointed.

    Enoteca was a pleasant relief. It is a tapas restaurant with a wine list that goes beyond the “usual suspects” of overpriced plonk that you wouldn’t buy at retail, but often have to hold your nose and pay three times retail in most Lexington restaurants because it is all that is available.

    I started off with a Soave, a region in Italy that was bastardized by cheap bulk wine in the 70’s but which is producing quality wines these days. I ordered it with Enoteca’s Gazpacho, which was to die for!

    Round two consisted of their Chorizo puffs with mustard sauce, accompanied by a Languedoc Cabernet Franc. This was nothing like the Chorizo you get in Mexican restaurants. Virtually all French wines are blends and Cabernet Franc is usually a minor component. Rarely do you see it standing on its own, which is disappointing. The Cabernet Franc blended wonderfully with the Chorizo puffs and mustard sauce.

    Round three was their famous meatballs, again with the Cabernet Franc. Their meatballs are a blend of pork and beef and you get 8 of them for about $8. They were divine!

    Lastly, I rarely order desserts because I am usually full by the end of dinner. But I had heard about Enoteca’s bourbon and fig encrusted almonds. That does not sound enticing to me at all , but I succumbed to peer pressure and gave them a go. They were incredible, both in taste and in the combination of textures.

    If you are in Lexington, shun the big names and just walk up to Jefferson Street and pick out the place that most appeals to you. But be sure you go all the way up to 2nd Street where you will find Enoteca, a hidden gem.

    • Drew
      11:43 pm July 31, 2014 Permalink

      Hey, buddy. I’m glad you got to see what I’ve been preaching about Lexington for a while. It definitely has changed a lot in a short period of time. Stella’s Deli is one of my favorites and County Club too. Of course, the anchor that holds all of Jefferson Street together is West Sixth Brewery. It’s become a great part of the downtown Lexington experience.

      I’ve had many on this website challenge me about this and, really, you can’t compare Lexington to Louisville but in terms of comparing Lexington to the rest of the SEC–only Nashville and Athens come close. Oxford is pretty but there’s hardly anything there. Plus you can’t really compare Nashville to the rest because it’s a much larger city than the other SEC towns. Lexington holds it’s own quite well, in my opinion.

      Hope you make it back soon. Also, the writer mentioned Dudley’s. Sabio’s is a new place, with a lot of wine to choose from at Dudley’s Square. Very upscale and classy. You should try it out.