On the Road Review: Ramsey's Diner, Lexington Kentucky

Ramsey's Diner on high Street in Downtown Lexington, KY

Ramsey's Diner on high Street in Downtown Lexington, KY

 It frankly surprised us how hard it was to find a place open for dinner on a Sunday night in Lexington.  Kentucky still has quite a few blue-laws on the books, and many places don't seem to think it is worth it to only be open for a half day on Sunday.

Ramsey's, with four Lexington area diners, is a Kentucky tradition. Opened in 1989 Ramsey's has become the home of Kentucky cooking featuring "meat and three" (choice of 13 country style entrees combined with a choice of three out of 23 fresh veggies). For $11.95 you get your choice of meats and three sides (all referred to as veggies, which is confusing if not used to southern dining).  

Char-Broiled Pork Chops with three veggies (fried green tomatoes, apple fritters, and deep-fried parmesan corn on the cob)

Char-Broiled Pork Chops with three veggies (fried green tomatoes, apple fritters, and deep-fried parmesan corn on the cob)

I went with the Char-Broiled Pork chops for dinner, and was very happy with my choice.  Char-broiled and basted with "Ramsey's Red Sauce" (a sweet and tangy sauce like a barbecue sauce without the smoke or spice).  I had with it Apple Fritters, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Parmesan Deep Fried Corn on the Cob.  The fried green tomatoes were a little soggy (oil probably wasn't hot enough when they were put in), but the apple fritters and Parmesan Deep Fried Corn on the Cob were FABULOUS.  I don't know why it never occurred to me to deep-fry corn on the cob, but after eating it I'm not sure I ever want it any other way.

Ramsey's meat choices for their classic "Meat & Three" dinner menu are: Meat Loaf, Chicken Livers, Country Fried Steak, BBQ Chicken Breasts, Lemon Yogurt Chicken Breasts, Fried Chicken Breasts, Skillet Fried Pork Sirloin, Pan Blackened Catfish, Southern Style Catfish, Cajun Fried Catfish, Buffalo Fried Chicken Breast, Pot Roast, Char-broiled Pork Chops, and Country Fried Pork Chops.

One thing unique to diners in the south is their classification of anything with meat as a "veggie".  The veggies on the menu at Ramsey's are: Veggie of the day, Macaroni 'n' Cheese, Mashed Potatoes with Gravy, Green Beans, Creamed Corn, Honey Mustard Carrots, Corn Oysters, Yellow Squash and Onions, Fried Green Tomatoes, Pinto Beans, Apple Fritters (literally sliced and cored apples dipped in batter and deep fried), Kale Greens, *Okra, Corn, and Tomatoes (*mixed together and stewed), Fried Okra, Sauteed Spinach, Stewed Tomatoes, Cole Slaw, Potato Salad, French Fries, Baked Potato, Sweet Pickled Beets, and Parmesan Deep Fried Corn on the Cob* 

They feature other choices on their menu including burgers, salads, sandwiches, and the obligatory "Hot Brown".  Meat & Three is their staple though, and it will never change.  Given the variety, many people opt just for the veggie plate, allowing them four of the "veggie" selections for just $7.95.

If you find yourself in Lexington, you have to give Ramsey's a try.  This is a little piece of Fat Boy Heaven down south.