New restaurant brings New York-style bagels to Lexington

Business has been booming since Legendary Eats opened last month


Emma Coleman

Legendary Eats, which opened last month, is located on West Washington Street in the storefront previously occupied by Blue Phoenix.

Annaliese Schneider

A new restaurant in downtown Lexington is bringing culinary inspiration from New York to Virginia. 

Legendary Eats opened on West Washington Street last month in the storefront previously occupied by Blue Phoenix. The menu was inspired by New York, owner Jessica Harden’s former home.

“Every time we went back we would binge on bagels and Jersey-Italian food,” said Harden, who moved from New York City to Lexington in 2014. “It was just something we missed, something we wanted to bring to Lexington.” 

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  • Many of Legendary Eats’ menu items are named for legends and monsters, like Sasquatch, Medusa and the Jersey Devil.

  • Kandace Little takes an order for pick-up over the phone.

  • Legendary eats ships its dough from New York.

  • Owner Jessica Harden wanted to bring New York inspired food to Lexington.

  • Bagels are baked in-house daily.

  • The menu features a variety of breakfast and lunch sandwiches on bagels or baguettes.

  • The restaurant’s sign features the legendary Bigfoot against a backdrop of the Blue Ridge mountains.

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 The restaurant, which is open for breakfast and lunch, serves sandwiches on New York-style bagels and subs.

“All our dough is shipped in from New York,” Harden said. “It’s really important to me, because I believe that the water really does matter, and we bake them in-house daily”. 

 Harden and her husband didn’t move to Lexington with the intention of opening a restaurant.

“We were never supposed to stay in Lexington,” she says. But what was intended as a temporary stay turned into a permanent one. “We kind of slowly fell in love with the town, and just decided to stay”.

 So far, Lexington has returned  that love. 

“Since we’ve opened, the community has been amazingly supportive,” she said,“The first two weeks were had a line out the door from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. It was supposed to be a soft opening, and it wasn’t soft at all, so it’s been great”. 

Brooke O’Brien, university lacrosse coach, stopped in for lunch on Friday with Kristy Speers, the reunion giving coordinator at Washington and Lee. 

“The location is amazing,” Speers said. “Plus the fact that you can take it to-go.”

Speers and O’Brien said they liked the idea of breakfast sandwiches all day. 

“That’ll be good for college students,” O’Brien said. 

 This support has been especially vital as the business opened during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

“We panicked a little bit,” Harden says. “this is a business completely owned by me and my husband, life savings put into a restaurant we didn’t know when we would be able to open”. 

 After buying the storefront in November, the Hardens planned to have their restaurant open by April, in time for the influx of Lexington’s spring visitors. But, COVID-19 restrictions and safety precautions, including the closing of restaurants in the beginning weeks of the pandemic to limit the spread o

f disease, meant that the restaurant was not able to open until August. 

But Harden manages to find a silver lining. “We took the time to regroup and think about it and we took time to really get into the construction, and the detail… So instead of rushing to be open we had the time to look at the little tiny details.”

One of those details is the store’s sign, which features  the distinctive silhouette of the legendary Bigfoot against a backdrop of the Blue Ridge  mountains. 

Many of the restaurant’s  menu items are named for legends and monsters, like Sasquatch, Medusa and the Jersey Devil. 

“My guilty pleasure was alwa

ys watching Finding Bigfoot, which is like the most insane show but, I loved watching it so we thought that bigfoot would be the perfect mascot for us,” Harden said.

The  myth has connections to the area around Lexington. 

“We’ve looked it up, there have been a good amount of sightings, he has some history in the Blue Ridge Mountains”.