I recently visited my friends at Visit Lex to check out all that the Southland Neighborhood has to offer. This was a region of Lexington that I was not very familiar with; thus, it was truly an honor and a privilege to dive head-first into the culture.
Largely a residential section of the city, Southland boasts a charm and a devotion that is unique to areas of its nature. The restaurants were full of locals. That, to me, says it all; when in Southland, you are having a truly authentic Lexington experience.
Now, the best part — the food!
348 Southland Dr., Lexington, KY 40503
Winchell’s is, without question, an icon of the neighborhood. Having been a part of the Southland community for over 25 years, they have proven to be a casual go-to for Lexingtonians. From grabbing a drink, to boasting well-rounded breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, you should not – if seeking an authentic experience in Fayette County – miss Winchell’s.
Also, biscuits and gravy.
Those are the three words to this country boy’s heart. Winchell’s gravy is smack-your-MeeMaw good – savory, heavy, and beyond flavorful. It’s that old-fashioned gravy that you grew up on – and it doesn’t get much better than that.
Also, might I add: the jalapeño cheese grits are everything that I’ve ever wanted and more.
The Ketch Seafood Grill
2012 Regency Rd., Lexington, KY 40503
Much like Winchell’s, I very much noticed the local devotion to the Ketch when dining. Many of the diners were regulars – that was clear. Conversations were shared between the staff and the patrons; they seemed as if they were friends. In fact, I have no doubt that they were. That is an accolade that cannot and will not, in my book, be overvalued.
Plus, anywhere that puts Old Bay on their fries is a place for me.
Willie’s Locally Known
286 Southland Dr., Lexington, KY 40503
*Edited (November 25th, 2018): Willie’s has, unfortunately, closed. I am proud to have dined there!
Willie’s served up some of my favorite food of the day. I have three words for you: pork belly tacos. Enough said, am I right?
Apart from the trio of tacos that I tasted, The Original Willy’s Pork Burger was a standout. Featuring a pork and beef blend, it boasts a house seasoning, smoked cheddar, pickled onions, house-made pickles, and a Carolina Mustard Sauce. Sound familiar? You’ve likely seen it on the Food Network’s Burgers, Brew, & ‘Que!
210 Rosemont Garden, Lexington, KY 40503
Proudly claiming themselves as Southland’s hole-in-the-wall pizza joint, Pietana is just that. I found the space to be aesthetically pleasing, modern, yet cozy – a balance that is not the easiest to obtain. They use fresh, local ingredients: West 6th’s Amber Ale goes in the dough, the brisket is from the Blue Door, the sausage is from Marksbury Farm (one of my favorites), several meats are from Critchfield, and Winchell’s sausage gravy makes an appearance on the breakfast pizza pies.
I chose to special order a pizza with prosciutto and arugula. Two thumbs up — a solid choice. The pairing of the two + Pietana’s great base ingredients = magic.
Marikka’s Bier Stube
411 Southland Dr, Lexington, KY 40503
If you ask a Lexingtonian about the institutions that they have great memories connected to, chances are you will commonly hear “Marikkas”.
Marikkas first opened in 1991; given the popularity and size of the original location, the owners knew that they had to expand. The new location is here and it is quite the sight for the eyes! Approximately 22,000 sq. ft., Marikkas has six volleyball courts, a 10,000 sq. ft beer hall, Kentucky’s largest beer selection, a restaurant, and a private party space.
As one of the region’s only German eateries, Marikkas proudly serves native delicacies such as homemade sausages, wursts, wienerschnitzel, and more. Whether you are venturing into Marikkas to socialize with friends over drinks, spike on your opponent, or to satiate your appetite, take it from me – you won’t regret your visit!
I cannot thank my friends at Visit Lex enough for this fabulous day. If you haven’t explored the culinary scene in Lexington’s Southland Neighborhood, what are you waiting for? Adventure awaits!
As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!
Y’all come back now, ya hear?
FTC: This is a commissioned post; all opinions, however, are my own.