El Charro Authentic Mexican Cuisine
A Mexican restaurant that prides itself on using fresh, authentic ingredients, El Charro has already received many rave reviews since it opened its doors three months ago.
“We’re starting to see repeat customers, so that’s great,” said Flor Gonzalez, whose mother, Martha Oregon, owns the restaurant.
El Charro serves traditional Mexican-style dishes, many of which are based on the owner’s own recipes.
In addition to serving quality food, the restaurant also puts an emphasis on providing excellent service.
“We try to make our customers feel really welcome from their first step into the restaurant,” Gonzalez said. “We want to make sure all of their needs are met and accommodate every special request. … The customer is No. 1.”
Gonzalez and her mother liked the location of South Elkhorn Village, as well as the variety of restaurants in the center. Based on the success of the “dining destination” philosophy, they may eventually expand the restaurant and add a patio.
SEC Sports Pub
Owned by David Romero, SEC Sports Pub is gaining popularity with its beer selection, live music, full dinner menu and golf simulator machines.
“This side of town doesn’t have much in the way of a sports venue with live music, so I thought this was a way to open up a hopefully successful business,” said Romero, who formerly owned The Grapevine in Tates Creek Centre.
“I look at (owning The Grapevine) as a time where I cut my teeth and learned the business,” Romero said.
A golf enthusiast, Romero said the golf simulators added a “competitive and fun” feature to his bar and restaurant, which also boasts 32 televisions and four 120-inch projectors.
SEC Sports Pub’s menu offers a selection of Cajun-style items in addition to steaks, sandwiches and other hearty entrees. They also offer a diverse assortment of 12 different beers on draft.
Romero’s future hope for SEC Sports is that it will become a popular Southside neighborhood bar.
“I want this to be a safe, fun and quality environment,” he said. “What I share with my staff is that we’re going to provide quality service, a quality product, in a quality environment for our patrons to enjoy. I hope all those things come together.”
Romero’s thoughts on South Elkhorn becoming a restaurant destination are in line with the center’s management’s vision.
“The more restaurants that are here, the more activity it creates,” he said. “You’re creating more business for everybody by being a place where everybody wants to be. I think it’s great … now you can just drive into the South Elkhorn shopping center and decide what you want for dinner.”
Brick Oven Pizzeria
Slated to open later this year, Brick Oven Pizzeria is the only pizzeria of its kind in Lexington that will offer delivery services.
Owner Tim Kolenda said he chose to locate his business at South Elkhorn because the “number of households, income levels and age group” of the area fit well with his vision for Brick Oven Pizzeria.
“It’s the old fashioned way of making pizza,” said Kolenda of the traditional wood-fired style, which was originally made famous by several well-known Brooklyn, N.Y., pizzerias.
Kolenda is a Lexington resident who formerly worked in the restaurant franchise business for 18 years. “When you’re working in a profession, it’s always a dream to have your own thing,” Kolenda said, adding that he would consider opening another Brick Oven location in Lexington based on the South Elkhorn restaurant’s success.
Brick Oven Pizzeria will offer various seasonal specialty pizzas in addition to pasta and grinders. The restaurant will also have several varieties of beer available.
Like the other restaurant owners, Kolenda sees South Elkhorn gaining a variety of eating establishments as a positive move.
“It’s going to benefit everybody here,” he said. “It gives people a destination where they have several different places to choose from – almost like a food court.”