Fill Up at This Former Filling Station

Doodles, Lexington KY 

The best visions often begin as doodles. You just never know what may come from a little swipe of pen to paper.

Doodles, the downtown Lexington restaurant, began as the vision of two longtime friends, Susan Harkins and Lynda Mellin, to open an eatery using as many organic and locally-sourced ingredients as possible. Its physical space, a repurposed gas station on the historical preservation roster, fit perfectly into the theme of consciousness and environmental awareness.

Since opening in the summer of 2008 with the help of first General Manager Lillie Ruschell (presumably for whom ‘Lillie’s Egg Doodle’ was named), Doodles has become a respected morning destination – a beacon among the downtown breakfast bunch.

It’s well worth the short drive from our hotel to downtown, but don’t venture here on a Monday. The restaurant is open only for breakfast and lunch, Tuesday through Sunday, and the weekend menu features that ubiquitous combination marking its place in the food world as brunch.

“Southern cuisine is a favorite of everyone involved with Doodles,” says owner Melissa A. Jackson. “Equally important to us is providing food sourced locally, organically farmed and using as many sustainable products as we can in all other areas of our business.”

To that end, Doodles buys its eggs from Todd Family Farm and North Fork Farm. Bacon comes from Garey Farms in Paris, KY, with deli meats and ground sausage from Critchfield’s Meats. Beef is provided by Elmwood Stock Farm, and bread is baked fresh at Bluegrass Baking Company.

There’s a lot of history in this old gas station. For example, back in the day, the owners used to purchase their liquor here. Now, they serve a breakfast that would cure your ailments if you purchased a wee bit too much. They even post a daily “Day in History”. The morning we dined was the anniversary of John Lennon’s death. (Cue sad Beatles song.)

Doodles is located on a cool, funky street with other shops and restaurants for browsing. There’s free Wi-Fi and plenty of parking. The space is small, modern and delightfully comfortable. An abundance of natural light pours in through giant windows where the gas station’s garage doors once hung.

Favorite items, according to Jackson, are the Huevos Rancheros, a delicious vegetarian option, and the Corned Beef Hash, beloved by regulars. The biscuits and sausage gravy are made in-house daily, but the small batch has a tendency to sell out fast. (So get ‘em while the gettin’ is good.)

There was a line out the door when we left. Here, you order, grab your silverware and hope for a spot to sit.

“Doodles started out and has remained focused on a delicious, simple, made-from-scratch menu,” Jackson says. “We provide our customers with consistently delicious and filling ‘comfort food with a conscience.’”

Note to savvy diners: ‘Check-in’ with Causely to feel good while you fill up.

Doodles is located at 262 North Limestone (at the corner of 3rd and Limestone) in Lexington, KY. For more information, visit the Doodles website, or call (859) 317-8507.

– Ashley Kahn Salley
Lead Storyteller, Innisfree Hotels