Lexington’s Grub Crawl to promote fine dining, support local businesses

Next week, four of Lexington’s high-end restaurants will showcase their talent while raising money for Main Street Lexington

Elyse Ferris

At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 14, four Main Street restaurants will host the Lexington Grub Crawl, a four-course progressive dinner downtown.

The event was planned by Main Street Lexington, which organized the Christmas Parade and Jingle Bell Run downtown earlier this month.

The dinner will include courses at Haywood’s, The Red Hen, Southern Inn and Bistro on Main. Participants can choose between two routes, both of which will spend about 45 minutes at each restaurant.

Route A will kick off the meal at Southern Inn with chicken liver mousse with pickled vegetables, followed by wild boar osso buco over pureed parsnips at Bistro on Main.

Next, Haywood’s will serve patrons boneless beef short ribs with fig risotto, and The Red Hen will end the meal with chocolate tart, topped with citrus whipped cream and raspberries.

Route B will begin the dinner with honey and bacon roasted brussel sprouts at Haywood’s. Next, The Red Hen will serve duck breast with lavender potato puree and port wine.

After The Red Hen, Southern Inn will provide beet-cured salmon with grit cakes and bourbon-brown sugar glaze. Route B will culminate with poached pears for dessert at Bistro on Main.

Bistro on Main Manager Judy Cain said she tried to create a menu that could fit many different people’s tastes, without overfeeding them.

“For the menu, we decided we wanted to come up with something that might be appropriate for the winter, but also might not be too heavy since people will be eating two main courses,” Cain said.

A basic ticket for the grub crawl covers food and soft drinks for $45, plus tax and gratuity. Premium tickets, which include selected alcohol, can be purchased for an additional $20.

Main Street Lexington Executive Director Stephanie WIlkinson said that the organization expects around 50 ticket sales for the dinner. About 25 people are expected per route.

Some W&L students are apprehensive about participating in the Grub Crawl because it falls in the middle of finals week.

“I only have one exam that week, so I’m thinking about going,” Elizabeth Thompson ‘20 said. “I guess it just depends on how busy the week is.”

But other students said too many exams will prevent them from going to the Grub Crawl.

“These restaurants are all great. The food is delicious, and the staff is really nice,” Anthony Ruvo ‘19 said. “I really do want to go. If it wasn’t for finals week, it would be a definite yes.”

Participating restaurants hope that the Grub Crawl will attract locals to town as the holidays approach and encourage future visits to their establishments.

Haywood’s Manager Tawnya West said she hopes the event will broaden local eaters’ horizons on the variety of food options in Lexington.

“We were thinking of ways to liven up the slow season with the restaurants in town,” West said. “Each of these restaurants has a following. Those people that really enjoy a particular restaurant will have the opportunity to try the others to see what everybody has to offer.”

But Cain said the Grub Crawl could also encourage more visits from new customers.

“The hope is that the people who perhaps don’t normally go out may go out and have a really nice time, and be more inclined to come back out and visit main street Lexington and all the stuff we’ve got going on downtown,” she said.