4401 Harrodsburg Rd.
Lexington, KY 40513
Open Mon-Fri, 8 am - 2 pm; Sat & Sun, 8 am - 3 pm (breakfast only)
Accepts cash and credit cards
Date of Visit: Saturday, May 8, 2010 at 9:00 a.m.
IMPRESSIONS: Coffee Pub, a newer addition to the Lexington breakfast scene, has a cool sounding name, right? Coffee Pub. Two cozy words wrapped up together in an oldish-looking stone building in a city surrounded by picturesque horse farms and Shaker buildings. Dubbing itself, "The Breakfast Place," Coffee Pub hopes to score a solid "awwww..." from you with it's name and lovely location, but it lands a definite "meh" when it comes to the food and service.
But I feel bad, because my brother and his wife took us to the Coffee Pub for breakfast, and we really did have a good time with them. It's not you, guys, it's me. I've ruined breakfast for us all.
ATMOSPHERE: Like I said, Coffee Pub goes for a cross between the I'm-taking-a-break-to-read-a-book coffee shop and the pub-with-plush-chairs-and-a-roaring-fire feel. All of this is crossed with a common theme in Lexington: horses. Pictures of horses, articles about horses, knick-knacks relating to horses, puns about horses in the menu (see below). It's all there. And it adds up to something: big wooden beams, close quarters, some exposed brick. You do get a fairly cozy feeling.
FOOD: The menu picks up on the horse theme. First, there are entire pages dedicated to different coffee drinks and the smoothie bar. The comes the "Starting Gate," with dishes like Two Eggs +, Chicken Tamale, Breakfast Burrito, Belgian Waffles, Chicken Soft Tacos, Pancakes, Biscuits & Gravy, and an Egg Sandwich. Subsequent pages featuring Omelets & Scrabbles, a children's menu titled "For Lil' Colts & Fillies," and a page of Thorough-Breads. Get it?
First up was the bourbon bun. Their version of the cinnamon roll, again with the play on Kentucky culture (buns). This was low, wide, and warm. The frosting supposedly had bourbon in it, although the flavor wasn't too strong. A dash of cinnamon on top. Overall, good, and not too sweet.
I tried the most "Southern" thing I could find on the menu: the biscuits and gravy. Two soft and somewhat flat biscuits covered in a peppery gravy. Not too bad, but the gravy tasted of chicken stock, like it was made from a mix.
Another look at the burrito, this one with grits. The burrito highlights one of our overall impressions of the food: that we could make much of this ourselves. I like eating somewhere that offers food that I generally couldn't make at home.
Waffle with strawberries. Again, pretty good and very visually appealing, but not exceptional.
SERVICE: The service scored an "okay" with us. Our server was nice, and he handled a fairly large group well, but he didn't communicate all that well with us. So we never knew exactly when he would return with silverware (which he forgot repeatedly) and when our food was coming (which took a while... long enough that we noticed). He wouldn't have to do much to step it up, but just a couple more visits to the table would make us feel more noticed and cared for.
OVERALL: In the small breakfast scene of Lexington, Coffee Pub is a good addition, but one that needs some improvement in food and service to make it really noticeable. They do the breakfast standards well, and it seems like their coffee drinks and smoothies are worth noting, but they just don't quite deliver on the promise of their beautiful location and decor. A few small improvements and the place could be really exceptional.