56 / BEYOND GRITS Merrick Inn $$$ D V G Consistently voted among the city’s best dining destinations.A stylish,yet relaxed local hot spot serving inventive regional specialties and comfort food,including buttermilk fried chicken with mashed potatoes,a wide variety of rotating veggie sides,petite filet medallions and plenty of great daily specials.Several charming dining rooms and patio settings create a sophisticated,lively atmosphere. 1074 Merrick Drive – (859) 269-5417 – themerrickinn.com Nick Ryan’s Saloon $$ L D V G A neighborhood restaurant and bar named after the Ryan family who ran a number of saloons in Lexington at the turn of the century.Enjoy their contemporaryAmerican favorites and Prohibition-era drinks while unwinding on the porch,facing the happening Jefferson Street. 157 Jefferson Street – (859) 233-7900 – nickryans.com Palmers Fresh Grill $$ L D V G There is something incredibly serene about eating a meal lakeside. Combine that with the freshest of fresh ingredients,live music and an award-winning wine list and you have yourself a dining experience that is certainly out of the ordinary.“Fresh”is this grill’s middle name,using wood- fire grilling and slow roasting to create its savory,signature dishes. 161 Lexington Green Circle – (859) 273-0103 – palmersfreshgrill.com 98 99 PORCHES & PATIOS 97