Restaurateur Bobby Murray revives former Murray’s venue with a second Josie’s location
While it may sound cliché, veteran restaurateur Bobby Murray is a firm believer in the saying that when one door closes, another one opens. In his case, that door was his family’s Murray’s restaurant on Harrodsburg Road, which he shut down two years ago, but has now reopened in the form of a second location for his casual-style eatery Josie’s.
Thriving in its third month, it seems Josie’s, which is named after Murray’s daughter, is feeding a demand in this part of Lexington for an inexpensive, yet high quality, family-owned restaurant with an eclectic menu.
Murray explained how he decided to shutter Murray’s restaurant in the wake of his mother’s death and in the midst of the economic downturn. Operating Murray’s, along with Josie’s original Chevy Chase location, plus Merrick Inn on Tates Creek Road, which his parents bought in the mid-1970s, had become too much of a responsibility to shoulder.
“During the time the Murray’s building was on the market, we showed it to some people, but no one ever leased or purchased it, which I never understood because this area is booming,” said Murray of the Southside community, which boasts several newly developed subdivisions and condominiums.
After two years of continuing to pay the mortgage on the empty building, Murray and his wife, Jennifer, thought opening a second Josie’s location there could be a profitable idea based on the growing success of the Chevy Chase restaurant.
Originally called “Josie’s Grab & Go” and operated as a gourmet to-go deli in 2009, the Chevy Chase location was renamed “Josie’s” and turned into a full-scale restaurant just eight months later.
Known for its home-style breakfast menu, which offers an array of sweet and savory dishes, it’s now difficult to find an empty table at either Josie’s location on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Originally open for just breakfast and lunch, the restaurant has recently expanded its hours to include dinner service.
Breakfast specialties include unique omelets and quiches, waffles and other standards, like biscuits and sausage gravy and eggs benedict. The lunch and dinner menus feature lots of gourmet sandwiches, like Murray’s family recipe chicken salad and pimento cheese, and other options. Around 90 percent of the menu items are Murray’s own creations.
“It’s so family-oriented … kids love it and it’s inexpensive,” said Murray, who added it’s the restaurant’s goal to have 10-minute ticket times to ensure swift service for its patrons.
Murray explained how Josie’s has become a welcome spot for families and friends to meet in a warm, inviting atmosphere.