Home Ace Issues Ace Best of Lexington 2000 6.27.2000

Ace Best of Lexington 2000 6.27.2000


Best For Lexington
Selected winners speak out on What Lexington Needs


Ace Magazine Best of Lexington 2000 Cover

Lexington needs more support and patronization of locally-owned businesses. We need more public art projects like the horses but with generous sponsors who think more of encouraging local artists than finding a novel subject on which to paste their marketing efforts. We need to value our local history and historic buildings. Lexington renters need landlords to care for the homes and buildings they lease. Lexington needs more funding for local arts organizations to Jess McClanahanoffer new, fun activities for young people. Our town needs venues for local bands. We need bike paths through horse-farm country so we can appreciate and value the area which needs our support to deter development. We need a lake nearby for swimming, sailing and good, clean fun. But most of all we need fewer restaurants and more people to enjoy Lexington’s favorite pancakes!

-Jess McClanahan (and Alfalfa friends), Alfalfa Restaurant Co-owner, voted best pancakes in town


Jim McKeighenLexington needs high-density, well designed in-fill housing downtown. Sleek multi-use buildings with retail, parking and residential units for rich, poor, and in between …

Lexington needs to respect its past and its older neighborhoods and encourage reuse and repair. When new buildings are built downtown or in the suburbs, they should be art works designed by creative and talented architects. After fifty years, anything is eligible for the National Register.

Lexington needs to reduce the size of the Urban Service area every year instead of the current practice.

Lexington needs to support the farmers’ market downtown.

-Jim McKeighen, voted best realtor in Lexington


SquarefishLet’s start with bike lanes. It’s time to segregate bikers and drivers. On the subject of segregation, how about ending it in Lexington housing? There’s an almost frightening homogeneity in Lexington neighborhoods brought on by unfair housing practices and close-minded homeowners. Maybe we could re-purpose some of our downtown office buildings to mixed-income housing.

Then there’s the issue of better access to donuts downtown. A Mill Street donut shop with a giant revolving sign is just the answer. Divert the Ohio River to run down Mill Street, and the downtown Lexington marina district becomes the destination of choice for tourists and locals alike. You could even take one of Lextran’s new gondolas to the annual downtown film festival, enjoying a donut as you take in a diverse sampling of local filmmaking talent.

Get it in your head as clear as you can.

That’s the kind of vision Lexington needs.

-Bob Campbell (fourth from left) of squareFish, voted best web designers


Ernesto ScorsoneLexington needs a pastry shop that makes Italian cannoli and panelle.

Ernesto Scorsone, voted best state legislator


My first inclination would be to say that Lexington needs more cool, locally-owned stores and restaurants, but in fact it has a good many right now. What it really needs are more people to give these businesses a try instead of automatically assuming that “big box” stores are better.

CD CentralAnd by the same token, Lexington has plenty of fine artists and cultural opportunities; it just needs more people who want to take advantage of them instead of watching Survivor.

And I don’t think there is any shortage of good ideas on the part of planners, architects and civic activists for improving downtown and building better suburbs, but there is a shortage of property owners and developers who are willing to take the risk of trying those ideas.

As Walt Kelley said, “We have met the enemy….” and well, you know the rest.

But let’s get down to something a little less lofty but of crucial importance: notwithstanding the above, Lexington needs a real diner.

Preferably one of those cool looking ones with the stainless steel siding.

Not some oversized chain-restaurant “diner theme” fantasy. Not some glorified hamburger joint with silly “nostalgic” reproduction Coca-Cola signs on the walls.

No, I want a real, unpretentious diner just like in New Jersey, with booths and a formica counter and blue-plate specials and mashed potatoes and gravy and corn along with my pork chop. And a slice of pie a la mode. I don’t have a reservation and I don’t want to wait to be seated by the hostess.

-Steve Baron owner (on right), CD Central, voted best record store in Lexington


Polly SingerLexington needs people to get involved! Throw away the remote, get up off the couch and do something instead of waiting around for others to do it. Volunteer with an arts organization, at an animal shelter, or any other cause you feel strongly about. Once a week I volunteer for Woodstock Animal Foundation at Petsmart. It’s fun, emotionally rewarding and you can’t help but smile when you are pushing around a cart load of puppies. If I hadn’t been a volunteer, I wouldn’t be writing this essay. Last January, I started volunteering at the Lexington Art League as 4th Friday Volunteer Coordinator and started serving on the committee.

From my work in that capacity (which I loved doing), I was asked to apply for the Executive Director’s spot which opened up a few months later.

I’d like to see people in Lexington explore more. That includes searching out unusual, offbeat places in Lexington. It’s so easy to stay in your own neighborhood, forgetting that others exist.

I discovered the Art League that way, deciding to check out an art gallery on a rainy fall day. You can see how my life has changed from that one small action.

We need to appreciate our history and preserve it. Lexington is an amazing place and we forget that. Loudoun House, the home of the Art League, is a real find. I was shocked to drive up and see a castellated gothic villa in Lexington of all places. Again, another one of life’s little surprises. Loudoun House’s “twin” is Lyndhurst in Tarrytown, New York and was used in the show Dark Shadows.

All historic homes require renovation and Loudoun House is no exception. The Castlewood Neighborhood Association has put together a proposal, along with the Parks and Recreation Department which would renovate Loudoun House, the Gymnasium and build a new badly needed community center for the North Side. Let’s hope this happens.  The neighborhood deserves it.

-Polly Singer, executive director, Lexington Art League, winner of best art exhibit in the last year (Nude 2000)


Arts & Entertainment

Ace Magazine Best Of Lexington 2000 A&E

I would admire the photographs of the artists seated in their garrets, dressed in tattered smocks and frowning in the direction of their beefy nude models. To spend your days in the company of naked men-that was the life for me. ‘Turn a bit to the left, Jean-Claude. I long to capture the playful quality of your buttocks.’

David Sedaris


Mmm… buttocks. And what a pertinent image to start out a list of the best arts and culture of Lexington. For, of course, it was the pictures of the nekkid people, the ever-popular Nude 2000 Show, that really drew out the art consumers of Lexington -or at least the gawkers. And there was no shortage of people voting for the favorite place to see live asses in the best adult entertainment category.

But according to the copious reader essays on the dearth of arts and entertainment in Lexington, a picture of some nice, taut buttocks sort of sums up the scene.

This is not to say that Lexington has no art gems. Certainly this year’s winners are not merely the top of the heap but also excellent in their fields, no matter how much they rely on buttocks.

But what do you say about a town that votes a park full of horses the best outdoor sculpture? While risking the ire of the angry art mob (as Terry Allen would say), is this the best, or just the most familiar?

There have been plenty of great shows at home and hereabouts that remained unmentioned in the voting process.

Still, we got REAMS of essays about “what Lexington needs is a thriving arts and culture scene,” but people aren’t even going out to see what we’ve got.

This problem is best illustrated by the fact that people keep voting for long-gone candidates for these categories. People are not looking for anything new in town.

Instead, they simply rest assured that 100 Proof is still best Lexington film for the year 2000, even though it came out in 97.

Chris Offutt’s The Good Third Cousin Twice Removed, as it was popularly bastardized by the readers, won the best book category in 98. Barbara Kingsolver’s Poisonwood Bible won in 99. They are still great books, but they didn’t come out “in the last year,” as the category clearly specified.

Does anyone who voted for songwriter Paul K and artist Rodney Hatfield even realize that both those guys moved to Louisville? How ’bout savin’ a little of that lovin’ for the talent that actually lives here?

Lexington does have some of the best artists, musicians and buttocks in the land. But also some of the least appreciated.

While this is the best you picked, there’s even more great stuff you might still be missing, hidden behind the hooves of the horses or those perky wildcat ears over at the sports museum.


Gordon GildersleeveBest Artist Due For National Attention

Gordon Gildersleeve

Steve Armstrong

Rodney Hatfield*/Arturo Sandoval

*Hatfield lives in Louisville


Best Art Gallery


UK Art Museum

Loudoun House


Best Outdoor Sculpture

Thoroughbred Park

Gratz Park

Frisch’s Big Boy


Best Art Exhibit

Nude 2000

Chinese horses

Minds Open


Best Photographer

Forrest Payne

Guy Mendes

Mary Rezny



What it needs every year. A better nightlife. A more lively downtown. A bar or club large enough to host bands that are too big for Lynagh’s and too small for Rupp. Lexington needs a reason NOT to go to the mall. Better shops, better restaurants, better parking, a new downtown.

reader essay


Best Book by a Kentucky Author

Creeker by Linda Scott DeRosier

Loss of Innocence by Cara Richards


Best Local Theater

Shakespeare in the Park

Billie Holiday at Actors’ Guild


Best Kentucky Made Film

American Hollow

*100 Proof was years ago. Stop voting for it.


Best Place for Live Music



Kentucky Theatre


Lexington needs to realize that not every resident loves horses, God, the Wildcats, weather broadcasts, country music, the Backstreet Boys, or the Kentucky Derby.

reader essay


Best Adult Entertainment

Camelot East

Solid Platinum


SupafuzzBest Local CD


Frank & Mary Schaap



Best Local Band Due for National Attention



The Hub


Best Largely Undiscovered Band

Mother Jane

Rockstars of Soul



Best Local Songwriter

Paul K*

Kiya Heartwood

Otto Helmuth

*Paul K moved… a long time ago


Sexiest Local Band





Food & Drinks

Ace Magazine Best Of Lexington 2000 Food & Drinks

You can see this everywhere you go: young, middle-class people whose lives are beginning to disappoint them making too much noise in restaurants and clubs and wine bars. ‘Look at me! I’m not as boring as you think I am! I know how to have fun!’ Tragic. I’m glad I learned to stay home and sulk.

Nick Hornby


Food. What would we do without it? Besides feel a little more peckish, it has long been surmised that Lexington would shrivel up and be a ghost town without its restaurant/fast food industries.

All it takes is a drive down Nicholasville Road to realize that half of our city’s workforce earns their paycheck from the food service industry, while the other half is blowing their paycheck on the new Applebee’s ethnically-themed steak.

Thus, it is all the more important to cull the cream from the curd, metaphorically speaking. With so many terrible restaurants out there to choose from,(and in so many wonderful locations) readers were emphatic about who does serve the best food in Lexington…

Huzzah for us. We’ll show those crappy Americana chicken-tender-vending wall-filled processors yet. Our survey indicates that original, interesting, and imaginative fare can be rewarded.

Or as David Sedaris puts it, “I’m always searching the menu in the hope that some courageous young chef has finally recognized tobacco as a vegetable. Bake it, steam it, grill it, or stuff it into littleneck clams…”

Just another way to support our local growers.


Best Pancakes



Waffle House


Smoothie KingBest Smoothies

Smoothie King


Body Works


Best Place to Buy Bread

Great Harvest Bread Co.


Atlanta Bread


Magee's BakeryBest Place to Buy Cookies


Great Harvest



Best Sub

Jimmy John’s


Penn Station


Best BBQ

Billy’s Bar-B-Q

Red Hot & Blue

Family Soul



“More locally-owned restaurants that exhibit a little imagination, attention to detail, and prices that acknowledge Lexington isn’t New York.”

-reader essay


Cheapside Bar & GrillBest Bar & Patio

Cheapside Bar & Grill

Atomic Cafe



Best Dive



Buffalo’s & Dad’s


Best Wine List





Best Beer Variety


Lexington City Brewery



Best Distillery

Maker’s Mark

Labrot & Graham


Best Caterer

Phil Dunn Catering

Harriet DuPree

Billy’s Bar-B-Q


Best Service

A La Lucie’s




Jonathan At Gratz ParkBest Cosmopolitan

Jonathan at Gratz Park

Bigg Blue Martini



Most Original Menu

Ed & Fred’s Desert Moon




Dudley'sBest Place for Marriage Proposal


a la lucie’s




“Any more Applebee’s style restaurants or chain restaurants of any kind…”

reader essay


Best Restaurant Worth a Road Trip

Hall’s on the River

Lilly’s (in Louisville)

Shaker Village (Pleasant Hill)


Most Veggie Friendly Restaurant





HeliosBest New Restaurant





Best Role Model for Lexington Restaurant

Jack Fry in Louisville


The Goods

Ace Magazine Best Of Lexington 2000 The Goods

He must show, in the way he spends his money, that he is conscientious and not crass. The emerging code of financial correctness allows bourgeois bohemians to spend money without looking like one of the vulgar yuppies they despise. It’s a set of rules to help them convert their wealth into spiritually and intellectually uplifting experiences. A person who follows these precepts can dispose up to $4 or $5 million annually in a manner that demonstrates how little he or she cares about material things.

-David Brooks


From the best place to buy porn to the best florist, we’ve got the goods, baby. With all the Super Wal-Marts and Meijer’s and asphalt playgrounds opening up, wouldn’t it be comforting to know that people still care about the small businesses, who fight The Man for the right to sell their wares?

Well, you, dear readers, are the ones who care.

Of course, not all the winners are small and independently-owned, but a substantial number are.

Chains did log in their fair share of votes (the Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy pulled in some big numbers, for example), but the Mom and Pop shops generally prevailed, and readers supplied passionate essays about why they voted the way they did.

While Lexington might have pretty much everything you could ever need, everything you could want is a different matter (where can I get a decent zuppa inglese gelato? or a pair of sisal underwear?). Of course, everyone seems to want – among many other things – an IKEA. BADLY. Because it won for the second year running as “Best Store You Wish Lexington Had.”

Though one reader scrawled in the margin, “what is the fascination with ugly Danish particle board furniture?”

Many considered chains something of a necessary evil in a town that’s as driven by conspicuous consumerism as this one, but argued with their placement in terms of the good of the city.

For example, many readers wrote, “not one more Meijer’s… unless it’s downtown.” Downtown needs a viable grocery store. Desperately. But they’re multiplying like rabbits in the suburbs, where there are already too many.

The same with malls. Hamburg Pavilion sparked a lot of angry essays for its poor traffic and its debatable selection of shopping options. “Disappointing” was an adjective used frequently. If we must have chains, readers asked, “why is Nordstrom coming to Louisville and not here? Why no Crate & Barrel? Why no IKEA?”

Others confused Lexington with New York, “where’s Barney’s? Manolo Blahnik? Jimmy Choo? Prada? Dean & DeLuca?”

And many, many readers took the time to register their concern about the fate of Lexington Mall on Richmond Road. “Great location. Close to downtown and major residential neighborhoods to support it. Plenty of parking. It’s a ghost town.”

Another reader asked, “why pour all that money into that Hamburg eyesore when Lexington and Turfland Malls could be revitalized as successfully as Fayette Mall was?”

One thing’s certain. Lexingtonians are prepared to fight for their right to shop. God love ’em.


IncredipetBest Pet Store





Best Hardware

Baker (old Botkin) True Value


Lexington Hardware


Best Place to Buy a Used Car

Don Jacobs Choice Used Cars



Best Thrift Shop

Goodwill Industries of Kentucky

Salvation Army

Zebra Lounge/Zing


Best Florist

Oram’s Chevy Chase Florists


Best of Flowers


Best Used Books

Black Swan

Sqecial Media



Best Place to Buy Porn

Video Max


Best Local Record Shop

CD Central



Anymore stores like Meijer’s or Wal Mart, I mean, how many of these do we need? Do we really need another Meijer’s on Reynolds Rd, less than a mile from the New Wal Mart? Do we need more traffic in this already congested area? We need less chain everything, especially restaurants. You cannot drive five minutes without seeing an Applebee’s, there is even one in Nicholasville.

-reader essay


Best Women’s Clothes

Bella Rose

Isle of You

Worlds Apart


Best Men’s Clothes

Howard & Miller


Abercrombie & Fitch



Another Meijer, WalMart or Target. I personally have watched developers and local government destroy the country roads, woods at Tates Creek, and Nicholasville Road. It really sucks. The groundhogs are scrambling to find a place to go on Reynolds Road.

-Lisa Turner, reader essay


Best Place to Shop for Someone Who Has Everything


Sqecial Media

Third Street Stuff


Best Store You Wish Lex Had


Crate & Barrel

Tower Records


Services & Professionals

Ace Magazine Best Of Lexington 2000 Services & Professionals

He’s pounding nails into a hardwood floor/And I swear to God I heard someone moaning…

– Tom Waits


We’ve all been burned by lousy professionals. Whether it’s sinister mechanics who cut wires to keep you coming back for more, or plumbers who can’t fix that lousy drip unless they’ve clogged their pockets with a wad of your $20s, or contractors who abscond with your life savings, or the photographer who double-exposed your wedding negatives, or that unscrupulous surgeon who waited till the anesthesia took effect before…well, let’s just say the prospect of finding a pro without getting screwed sometimes seems shadowy at best.

And that’s why this category exists. Because we want to spare you the pain we’ve all suffered.

It’s not so much a celebration of these fine workers for excellence in their fields, although they all presumably deserve it, for getting the votes in – but it’s a way that our readers can give something back. They can say, “Hey! These guys didn’t just avoid sticking it to us, they genuinely helped us out!”

So we can share these professional goldmines and spread the good word to others.

Now rest assured, this is a readers’ poll, not an editorial.

But when you’re in the mood to get your f’eng shui’ed, many people have been known to peer at the Real Best on their fridge for an idea of where to go.


Best Plumber

John Estes Plumbing & Heating

Wyatt Plumbing


Best Place for a Bypass

St. Joseph Hospital

UK Hospital


Best Flap n Zap

Physician’s Eye Center PSC


UK Hospital


Jim RichardsonBest Stockbroker

Jim Richardson


Best Realtor

Jim McKeighen of Turf Town


Best Banking for Non-Millionaires

University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union

Bank One

Community Trust


Pest Photograher (Commercial)

Mark Kidd

Forrest Payne

Richard Smithers


Best Massage

Lexington Professional Massage

Chesney Guyon

Rebecca Herpick


Best Yoga

Lexington Wellness Center



Best Feng Shui

Ann Bowe


Pedal PowerBest Bike Repair

Pedal Power



Best Mechanic

Steve DiMartino at Perfect Auto Care

Quality First Auto Care



Best ISP

MindSpring Enterprises



Best Web Designer

squareFish Media Services


Best Health Club


Lexington Athletic Club

Gold’s Gym



Ace Magazine Best Of Lexington 2000 Media

That ephemeral sheet… the newspaper, is the natural enemy of the book, as the whore is of the decent woman.

E. and J. de Goncourt, 1858


Speaking of whores…

Thank God for the media. Really.

What other single entity can be despised so regularly? Just when you get a good rant going about the government, someone says “But I like my Social Security check” or “The Post Office has really improved.”

But not so with the media. No one’s going to hold you back as local TV news, the newspapers, radio and the internet get theirs.

And, deliciously ironic, at the same time you thrash the media like a ripe piñata, there are so many guilty pleasures to be had.

PROSTITUTES!! Need we say more? Probably not since a whole lot of you voted for every prostitute story you could get your paws on.

So c’mon. You know you love it. Trash the media to your friends and then cuddle up with it at the end of the day.

It’s okay. The media understand. We’ll still be here for you.


Best Media Scandal of Past Year

Tom Kenny

First-grade teacher arrested for prostitution

Kentucky Theatre porn debates


News Story You Wish Would Go Away

10 Commandments

Sweatshop protests

(Elian disqualified. Not remotely local.)


Best General Assembly Coverage

Barry Peel


Best Local Website



Best Evening Newscast

Channel 27

Channel 36

Channel 18


Brian CollinsBest Meteorologist

Brian Collins

Brad James

TG Shuck


Best AM Station

590 WVLK

1300 WLXG


Best FM Station

89.9 WRVG

103.3 WXZZ

88.1 WRFL


Best Sports Reporter

Alan Cutler

Dave Baker

Krista Voda


Ace Lynching CoverBest ACE Cover Story in the Last Year


Nashville Pussy

Best of 1999



Ace Nashville Pussy CoverBest ACE Cover

Nashville Pussy


Local Color

Ace Magazine Best Of Lexington 2000 Local Color

Even the losers get lucky sometime.

Tom Petty


As you cruise this town with its acres and acres of identical subdivisions, McFood joints, airport hanger-cum-Wal-Mart superstores, six and eight-lane asphalt stretches, forests of billboards advertising the same crap as anywhere else, and generic entertainment offerings, you gotta wonder, “What saves this town from being Anywhere USA?”

The only answer that stands the scrutiny: the people.

Yes, we the people. We the freaks, the oddballs, the wacked-out college students, the earnest activists, the bizarre politicians, the freaky drifters, the seemingly plain people with strange tales to tell.

That’s what makes Lexington a town to remember.

In the words of a certain pot holder, “God Bless This Mess.”


Gatewood GalbraithMost Beloved Local Personality

Gatewood Galbraith

Scott Peyton

Hal Mumme


What Lexington needs is a downtown. What we have now is several hotels, some retail stores (that close at 5pm or so), a sports arena, a library, a transit center and a few scattered bars. We need to add PEOPLE to that mix! Buildings shouldn’t be sitting vacant for years at a time. Buildings shouldn’t be torn down and become a vacant lot for two or three years. Solutions: downtown should be more pedestrian friendly. New stores and restaurants should be encouraged to open downtown. Landlords should be encouraged to maintain the buildings and keep them occupied (why they don’t do this is beyond me).

-reader essay


Best Celebrity with Kentucky Roots

George Clooney

Ashley Judd

Johnny Depp

Hon Mention: Richard Hell (who got nearly as many votes as Tom Cruise, and has more authentic roots here)


Best Local Politician You Love to Hate

Ernie Fletcher

Pam Miller

Scott Crosbie


Best Urban-County Council Member

Isabel Yates

Gloria Martin


Best State Legislator

Ernesto Scorsone

Kathy Stein


Best Idea to Share with LFUCG

Less development

Leave KY theater alone

Dog park


Best Local Developer

Frank Minnifield


Biggest Embarrassment in this years general assembly

10 Commandments debate

Bottle Bill

Someone asking Kathy Stein if she believed in Jesus


Best UK Scandal of the Past Year

Wethington and the sweatshop protestors

Wethington contract

Allison’s arrest


Limestone Street Construction Lexington KYBest Construction You Can’t Wait to See Finished


New Circle & Winchester



Sexiest Bachelor

Scott Peyton


Sexiest Bachelorette

Jennifer Nime

Rhonda Reeves

Ninie O’Hare


What Lexington Needs

Dog park

Bogart’s sized concert venue

Bike lanes and trails


What Lexington Doesn’t Need

More development


Tie: subdivisions/SUVs