From pop up to permanent location, The Burl presents food by Kismet

From pop up to permanent location, The Burl presents food by Kismet


Coming June 10, The Burl Food presented by Kismet.

A dedicated music venue in the heart of the Distillery District, The Burl has it all. An arcade, live music, and now food brought to you by the dynamic duo of Philip Cronin and Tonya Mays. 

“The Burl is a one of a kind in Lexington right now. You have the arcade, the live music venue and now all the snacks,” says Mays. “It’s going to be this little entertainment compound that Lexington needs. How can you beat it?” 

Photo credit Dana Rogers Photography

Kismet began as a fun way for Cronin and Mays to both have creative freedom in the kitchen, cook what they love, and share it with others. The first pop up was at Best Friends Bar in 2018. Word of mouth happened, and the two were eventually approached by The Burl, but it was never the goal to turn their pop ups into something more. 

“Little did we know that several iterations later we would be opening up a brick and mortar for that very concept.”

Mays adds, “We always knew that our end goal was going to be opening a restaurant, but we weren’t expecting that dream to start with Kismet.” 

The menu is small but mighty. A Kismet classic, the pillowy soft steam buns, which Mays describes as addicting, are made from scratch and feature fried chicken. Another cult favorite menu item is the Dan Dan Noodles, which is a spicy noodle dish with the choice of KY Proud ground pork or tofu. The Basic B is a locally sourced double patty with all the toppings between a squishy bun. Holy ‘mole’ is their take on spiced guacamole and Kismet Home Fries are their unique spin on crispy potatoes.

You might want to leave room for dessert when there is a sweet potato doughnut with vanilla ice cream, berries and caramel involved on the menu.  

“We want Kismet to be these amazing dishes that we have had before, but local ingredients and maybe a little Kentucky twist.”

With plans to open prior to covid, but knowing there is never really a “good” time to open a restaurant, Mays says, “I think that our little red window is our saving grace and will keep everyone safe and healthy.”

It’s not uncommon for pop ups to find their way into a brick and mortar location. “Pop ups are important for our industry and supporting one another. You can use it to have that creative outlet or to further goals in this industry.”

Cronin and Mays are no strangers to the industry in Lexington. If you aren’t familiar with them from their pop ups, maybe you’ve seen them over the years during their stints at Dudley’s or The Apiary among other prominent culinary establishments in Lexington.

“The Burl Food presented by Kismet, is our partnership that would have maybe never happened if it weren’t for our pop ups.”

Mays concludes, “Our partnership with The Burl creates an all in one experience of live music, an arcade, and now, good food.”

The Burl Food presented by Kismet is open Wednesday through Sunday from 5 pm to 11 pm.

The Burl is located in the Distillery District at 375 Thompson Rd.

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