So at the end of last month I mentioned that there was a new spot opening in Lexington, and that I would be talking about it again in the future. Well, the future is now, and I recently made a trip to the brand new restaurant that is looking to put a bit of an updated, and somewhat healthier, spin on the classic deli.
Jason’s does a pretty good job of staying under the radar, as I haven’t noticed much advertising of their arrival in Lexington, and had never heard of them at all until around six weeks ago. They have over 250 locations in twenty-eight states, and have pretty well established themselves as a company that’s focused on giving their customers tasty, classic deli-style food that’s free of things like trans fats, and artificial colorings and flavors. And being the inherent planner that I am, I cheated a bit and browsed the menu on their website and was immediately excited about many of the healthier options they offer. Too often my biggest complaint these days with restaurants is that things always seem to be the same; new places come in with lots of fanfare, only to end up offering slightly-tweaked versions of the exact same thing that is being served everywhere else. So seeing an entire section of Jason’s menu dedicated to vegetarian items? Another one featuring various takes on the classic baked potato? Sign me up.
The menu itself is extensive; beyond the already mentioned areas of the menu, they offer traditional deli sandwiches (like pastrami), muffalettas and paninis, and a build-your-own sandwich option as well. Add to that a solid selection of pastas, soups, ready-made salads and a salad bar – something you don’t see much of anymore – and you’ll have to make several visits just to try out everything you’re interested in. There is a respectably-sized kids’ menu as well, and…wait for it…complementary soft serve ice cream. Jason’s clearly want their customers to feel spoiled for choices when they come in. I also appreciated that they have gluten-free and gluten-sensitive items clearly marked on their menu. I don’t personally have any gluten issues, but in this day and age, making note of those items on a menu can only be a positive for a restaurant. And many of the menu items come in a “Lighter” portion, so you can get a smaller portion for a little less money, which is amazing if you’re just feeling a little hungry, or are trying to watch your portions.
So for my first visit I opted for the Nutty Mixed-Up Salad ($7.19 for the lighter portion) with a Balsamic Vinaigrette. Featuring antibiotic-free grilled chicken, feta cheese, dried cranberries, walnuts, grapes and apples on a bed of spring mix, it was extremely satisfying without being too greens-heavy. Am I the only person who secretly likes a 60/40 salad? Meaning 60% toppings and 40% greens – it can’t just be me. The ingredients impressed me with their freshness, especially the walnuts and the greens themselves, two items that stand out immediately when they’ve been sitting around too long. I washed it down with Jason’s Black Currant Iced Tea, which had it’s own natural sweetness and kept this sweet tea addict happy. On future visits I think I am most interested in trying out the Papa Verde, a baked sweet potato topped with turkey, spinach, avocado (sold!), Asiago cheese and drizzled with jalapeno Ranch dressing. Another item that jumped out at me was the Beefeater sandwich, a toasted French bread treat with beef, provolone and mayo, and served with a side of au jus. I. Love. Au. Jus.
Jason’s deli is located off of Nicholasville Rd. on Malabu Dr. behind the Rite Aid in the new “The Venue” shopping center. if you haven’t been yet, I definitely recommend heading over the next chance you get. They also have a drive thru window, they cater, and they deliver as well, so you have all kinds of options to try out this contemporary take on the classic delicatessen. If you have already visited, let me know in the comments what you tried and what you liked best about it. Have a great week!