Nick Ryan’s

Jefferson Street is one of the areas we were really looking forward to visiting upon returning to Lexington. Nick Ryan’s is one of the most popular restaurants on Jefferson Street. Nick Ryan’s is a modern American restaurant with a Southern vibe. The tasty cocktails and a nice bourbon selection, a necessity in Kentucky, are a nice bonus. 

Parking is tough. You can park along Jefferson Street, which can be a tough find, or opt for a spot on the multiple cross streets. There is also a lot, but this has been full the last few times we’ve been. Just make sure not to park in any of the apartment or other restaurants. Read the signs. As someone who is permanently scarred from many University of Kentucky towing jobs, I highly recommend you don’t make getting towed part of your evening!

I also didn’t realize until sitting down to write this post that Nick Ryan’s is part of a restaurant group, including The Tulip and A.P. Suggins. Nick Ryan’s seems to be the “middle ground” of fanciness amongst these three.



Make a reservation at Nick Ryan’s here.


Appetizer and Cocktails

Sometimes on Friday, you just need an Old Fashioned. Nick Ryan’s version is made with Jefferson’s bourbon, which isn’t my favorite, but it was a good cocktail. The PAMApassion was a big hit – pomegranate liqueur, Absolut Ruby Red, lime juice, triple sec, and cranberry juice.

Jefferson Old Fashioned

For apps, the must-have is the corn fritter bites. These are a little bit like hushpuppies, basically fried cornbread balls. The honey butter dip is amazing. There are around 15 of them, so easily shareable and “poppable.”

Corn Fritter Bites

The meatball fundido was good, but would probably opt for something else next time. These are sausage/beef meatballs with marinara, cheeses, and pico de gallo, served with chips. A little tough to eat and the meatballs could’ve been better.

Meatball Fundido


Main Course

This is one place I had a difficult time choosing what to eat. Our waitress recommended the shrimp and grits, fried chicken, and blackened mahi. Having eaten here before, I’d recommend the comfort-type foods for entrees. The steaks are good, but not deserving of a $30+ price tag in my opinion. Also, the southern theme of the restaurant steers me toward those type of dishes.

The shrimp and grits were excellent. They are served on a giant bed of andouille Gouda grits, which are awesome. The sauce/broth was also very tasty.

Shrimp and Grits

The smoked BBQ pork butt was good, but would probably recommend something else here. Maybe living in Kansas City raised my barbeque standards? I can’t imagine why. My favorite KC BBQ seasoning is available here

Local Smoked BBQ Pork Butt

The Spicy Chick sandwich was really good. It comes topped with jalapenos, beer cheese, barbeque sauce, and an onion ring. Sorry, no pic of this one.



Nick Ryan’s is a great place to bring friends for a fun atmosphere and good southern dining.

Being on Jefferson Street, it’s also the perfect launching location to other local spots like Grey Goose (cocktails) and Blue Stallion (brewery), which can make for a nice nightcap after dinner.

Nick Ryan’s also has a really good brunch on Saturday!

Hours: M-Th: 11a-10p, Fr-Sa: 11a-11p, Su: CLOSED

Address: 157 Jefferson Street, Lexington, KY 40508

Phone: (859) 233-7900





Instagram @nickryansrestaurant


Google Maps Directions


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