262 North Limestone
Lexington, KY 40507
Open Tues-Sun, 8 am – 2 pm
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Date of Visit: Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 8:30 a.m.
IMPRESSIONS: In Lexington, Kentucky, visiting with my three brothers, we started an amazing day today together that involved a bourbon distillery tour, playing with sound systems, shooting guns (not immediately after the bourbon), drinking beer, eating Cajun food, and playing video games. Of course, that day began awesomely with breakfast. We did some triangulating of online sources, and came up with Doodles as a best bet. You can find it close to downtown Lexington, with a handy parking lot out front.
ATMOSPHERE: Doodles is my kind of place. Bright colors on the walls and plates. Open design. Big windows, nice patio outside. It was pretty quiet when we arrived, with a mix of businessmen, studiers, and families eating breakfast, but it got busier by the time we left.
There’s something very open and welcoming about Doodles. For instance, they have a community table, with a sign encouraging you to share the space with strangers.
Plus, they’re willing to teach you how to properly steep you coffee in a French press.
I’m related to these nerds.
FOOD: The good vibes established by the space are continued in the menu. Doodles is another great example of a small menu featuring dishes they do really well. And you’re in Kentucky, so you can get some good Kentucky cooking, too. Here’s the Dirty Shrimp and Grits. Made with local grits and a tomato gravy. Definitely spicy and rich. You can add bits of country ham to it, too.
They serve a couple different types of breakfast quesadillas, and this one is the Kentucky Hot Brown Strata version, with the classic mix of turkey, bacon, cheddar cheese, and tomatoes. A great way to mix up a classic Kentucky dish.
One of my favorite dishes is the fried-egg-in-a-piece-of-toast. It goes by many names; I know it as Eggs in a Nest. So I was delighted to find a new version – the Egg Doodle – using biscuits. The biscuits worked just right – puffy and soft enough to cut with your fork, but a little crispy around the edges. The eggs are automatically served “dipping.”
Came with a side of some spicy cheese grits – actually, probably the best I’ve had. They were so rich and flavorful, with just the right texture.
Close-up of the biscuit “nubbin.” Great, now people are going to Google “biscuit nubbin” and find my site.
SERVICE: Very friendly and welcoming, although you don’t get a lot of interaction. Doodles has you order at a counter, then take a number and find a seat. The woman at the register made helpful suggestions (she recommended the amazing grits), and the kitchen staff gladly talked about the restaurant. You can easily chat with them over the long open bar that crosses the space. The bar has a lot of self-serve details: coffee and soda, butter, extra plates, condiments, plus little cups of chocolate chips and sprinkles (for your pancakes; pictured above) or locally-made jams (see below).
OVERALL: We’ve had some good breakfasts in Lexington, but this is the best so far. Right up my alley, from decor to mission to dish preparation. Lots of room in the restaurant, lots of fun, and lots more dishes to try on return visits. We loved everything we had, and we still haven’t tried the Johnny Cakes (cornmeal pancakes), Pigs & Puffs (bacon & beignets), or the Oatmeal Brulee. Guess I’ll have to visit my brothers again!