Lexington: Adventures at Meadowthorpe Café
In an environment of new cafes and diners, Lexington’s Meadowthorpe Café is an old standby. A breakfast and lunch diner, Meadowthorpe, offers a full range of burgers and sandwiches, as well as pies and daily soul food specials. Meadowthorpe is another Kentucky eatery on Garden & Guns Best Southern Burger Spots, one of a half dozen in Lexington alone. I ate at Meadowthorpe years ago, but was eager for a return visit.
The day’s special was fried chicken plus two sides and cornbread. I was mightily tempted, but didn’t think I could pass up one of Meadowthorpe’s “Serious Signature” burgers: The Spalding. What makes a burger Serious at Meadowthorpe is the inclusion of bacon and a fried egg, which isn’t a bad idea at all. And what makes The Spalding burger the Spalding is that the bun actually is a donut from Lexington icon Spalding’s Bakery.
I added some onion rings and filled up my cup with fountain Ale-8-One (always a good choice). Then my friend and I searched for a table. And searched. We had arrived at prime lunch time, and Meadowthorpe was hopping with business.
We settled on a small table that needed to be bused, and awaiting the busboy, we set a couple of items down on the table against the wall away from the previous patrons’ food. This, we quickly discovered, was Wrong.
Soon the busboy, who turned out to be an elderly gentlemen and not a boy at all, informed us that if we put anything down on the table he didn’t know what to take away. He proved this by dropping a used knife in my drink. While busing and lecturing us not to put anything down, he proceeded to receive—and take—a call on his cell phone while we’re standing holding our food, fearful of the consequences of setting it down.
Eventually, all seemed clear, although we glanced about to make sure we had permission to set our items down. And I got a new drink. Moral: Don’t choose the unbused table.
Our main order was brought out to us after a bit of a wait, and I mumbled something about the paucity of onion rings on my plate to my friend. The waiter apparently overheard as he soon brought out a small bowl with a single additional onion ring in it.
So how was the food, you ask?
Well, it’s quite good, really.
The Spalding is a great burger, but it very well could beat you into submission. A bacon and egg cheeseburger on a donut bun punches you hard with richness. The donut really does add a nice sweet counterpoint to the savory in the burger, but after about halfway through it’s pretty overwhelming. Maybe they knew that additional onion ring was too much for me to handle. You certainly ought to try it, though.
The onion rings are good, by the way, and you really will enjoy as many of them as you can get.
I actually enjoy quirky places as long as the food makes it worthwhile. Meadowthorpe qualifies on both counts. Your experience won’t be cookie cutter, and your food should be excellent. If you’re going to order The Spalding be sure you can handle it.
1415 Leestown Road
Lexington, KY 40511
Monday – Tuesday: 8 AM – 2 PM
Wednesday – Saturday: 8 AM – 3 PM
Sunday: 9 AM – 2 PM