Logan’s Restaurant and a Long Walk Home

You know, the two of us have finally begun to actually notice that we are getting older. Not to say that we are old, but we are definitely older than we used to be.

Really though, what option do we have? You get older or you get dead. I pick older.

Logan’s Roadhouse is in much the same position: the restaurant is getting older and I think it has begun to notice.

Friday was a beautiful evening, so at the end of that long workday, we decided we would love to get out and enjoy the fresh air. We also wanted steak for dinner. We pondered driving downtown to one of the restaurants we have yet to visit. We decided to multitask instead, and turn a nice evening walk into our mode of transportation. As Logan’s Roadhouse is a mere 1.5 miles from our home and we hadn’t been there in a while, we decided to eat there.

Oh, there was a time Logan’s was the place to be!

There was a time when Logan’s Roadhouse was always crowded and there was always a wait for a table. Thank goodness there were big barrels of peanuts to keep your appetite in check as you waited the 45 minutes or so to get a table. To add to the fun, you could toss your peanut shells on the floor and no one minded a bit. Heck, they encouraged you to toss those shells on the floor and it was liberating to crunch your way across the debris on your way to the table.

When you got to the table, you would find a little bucket filled with peanuts, and nowhere else to discard the shells except on the floor. I suppose this was to make you feel you were a beer swilling, steak eating nonconformist having a big time at the local roadhouse.

This South Broadway location is the very first Logan’s and opened in 1991. Eventually, the restaurant became part of a larger restaurant chain, and today, Logan Roadhouses can be found in a number of states. I don’t believe I have ever eaten in any other than this one.

1991 – Those were the days, my friend!

In 1991, my husband and I were 28 years old. We had been married three years, didn’t have kids and no one significant in our lives had suffered and died yet. We were financially flush and ate out often, and we were at Logan’s most often, enjoying the beer, the beef and the peanuts with our friends!

Logan’s was fairly hip and friendly to all who entered – whether you were there to sit at the bar and hook up with big-haired 80’s chicks in tight jeans or a big shouldered polyester power suit, or you were there with friends to talk over dinner, or with your squirmy kids for supper on the way home from work. There was a place for everyone at Logan’s Roadhouse.

And as I recall, the food was very good. Not fancy, but solid. The menu was basic Steakhouse/American – steaks, chops, salmon, entrée salads, and sides such as baked sweet potatoes, baked potatoes, French fries, mac and cheese.

Of course, Lexington was not a “foodie” town in 1991 (believe it or not, the term was first used back in the 80’s). The offerings available included possibly two of every fast food establishment under the sun, the usual suspect chain restaurants, including Shoney’s, TGI Friday’s, Rafferty’s, and the like, and then local restaurants such as Joe Bologna’s, the Coach House, and Logan’s Roadhouse. As far as steakhouses go, what comes to mind is Western Sizzler. To be honest, I can’t recall when Outback opened.

Logan’s Roadhouse was not a fancy restaurant, but it was a nice, middle-of-the-road restaurant with a little bit of a theme. Theme restaurants were all the rage back in the day, and some restaurants that are still around have all that faux antique bric-a-brac still hanging on the walls.

Given the relative lack of options, it is possible that when I remember the food as being very good it simply means that my expectations were lower.

Our visit on Friday was fairly lackluster. The first thing we noticed when we walked in – around 8:30pm on a Friday evening – was that there was no wait. Not only was there no wait, but perhaps half the tables were empty. I’d never seen such a thing. We realized that we hadn’t actually been to Logan’s in a while, so this may not be new, but to us it was. The wait staff was mostly standing there and were very friendly and inviting, but the entry was very quiet.

We each ordered the Brewsky Onion steak with steamed broccoli and a Caesar’s salad. I’d never had the Brewsy entrée before, but the Spouse had. The expected rolls and butter came out promptly, as did our iced tea.

Unfortunately, the rolls were lackluster, as was the butter. We observed that perhaps in the past the big airy rolls and whipped butter were a newfangled concept and a wonder to behold, but today, they were merely “okay”.

In fairness, we make our own bread now and rarely eat commercial bread; perhaps that is the reason for our disappointment.

The iced tea was not bland (perhaps not enough tea) and the old plastic cups were unattractive.

We never did get our salads. The waiter was very nice but he completely forgot to bring the salads and brought the entrees out after a long wait. I expect the wait was the built in time allowed for us to eat a salad. We were given the option to take salads or have $3 removed from each entrée in lieu of the salad; we chose the second option.

This was handled quickly and without it becoming an unpleasant issue. The waiter apologized profusely and offered the choices once we pointed out the error. I have read in previous reviews that wait staff had been rude or had brushed off diners’ concerns, but I am happy to report that in our case, this did not occur.

I ordered my steak medium and the Spouse ordered his medium-well. His steak was cooked to the appropriate doneness, however mine was definitely rare, rare being bright red in the center and barely warm. I know I could have returned this steak and I trust that I would have had no problems doing so, however, I often eat my steak rare – actually more often than not – so the doneness was really not an issue to me.

There was something lackluster about the beef in general. It isn’t that it was bad, it just was not delicious. The medium steak was tough and dry; the rare steak was just not flavorful.

The onions were too salty, as was the broccoli. I did think the broccoli was steamed perfectly – not too raw, not too mushy – but it had been salted too much. I did not enjoy the onions at all and kept wondering if they were prepackaged or perhaps the “Brewsy” part of the onion was actually a pre-prepared flavoring added to onions, and that this topping did not involve any actually cooking or “brew”. It was just too salty, too overpowering and had a chemical taste.

All in all, the meal was lackluster, to the point that we regretted having walked to Logan’s to eat. This left us sad and we discussed our history with the restaurant in comparison to this experience on our way home.

We noticed there were changes to the menu – it seems like there were more items to choose from, for instance, the drink menu certainly had more mixed drink options. We also couldn’t help but notice that the floor was practically cleared of peanuts and each table had not only a bucket of peanuts but an empty bucket for the discarded shells.

This leads us to believe that Logan’s Roadhouse on South Broadway has been hit by hard times – fewer diners due to a poor economy, in addition to the many, many new and interesting restaurants that have opened in Lexington as of late.

It is no longer a given that people are going to meet at Logan’s – mostly I saw older couples and groups and families with children. The well-dressed and financially flush “twenty and thirty-somethings” we used to be were absent. My guess is they were downtown at one of the newer restaurants, having dinner with friends.
Clearly Logan’s Roadhouse needs to make changes to accommodate the reality of the new Lexington dining scene. Right now, it is tired and seems a little lost. I do hope things will improve for this restaurant. It seems there is always room in Lexington for an establishment that serves good food.


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