Thrillist: “The Essential Lexington Restaurants”
Best steak: Columbia Steak House
“Lexington loves steak, which might explain why Columbia’s has been around since 1948. Get the legendary Nighthawk special: the Famous Diego salad, a tenderloin broiled and served with garlic butter, and a baked potato.”
Conde Nast Traveler: “Lexington Is the Bourbon Destination You Need to Know About”
“Save room for dinner back in Lexington at Columbia’s Steakhouse, the city’s oldest. The restaurant is renowned for their Nighthawk Special, an eight-ounce tenderloin drenched in garlic butter, named after a legendary local DJ. Finish it off with a slice of Kentucky Silk Pie, a decadent, chocolate overload.”
Columbia Steak House has been in business since 1948 which makes us the oldest restaurant in Central Kentucky. Columbia’s Steakhouse offers real, historic, Central Kentucky only, specialties like the great taste of our decadent Hot Brown, crispy Fried Banana Peppers and scrumptious Lamb Fries.
Columbia’s also offers an extensive traditional menu that includes a variety of steaks, chicken, seafood items and the famous Diego salad with garlic and celery seasoning as well as a full-service bar.
The Legend Of The Nighthawk
Columbia’s is most famous for their “Nighthawk” special, which includes an 8-ounce tenderloin smothered in garlic butter, generous baked potato, a diego salad, and homemade rolls with honey butter.
Ask anyone from the Bluegrass one question: “What is Lexington’s signature restaurant?” Without hesitation, the answer is simple and clear…Columbia Steakhouse. There simply is no other choice. Since the first day the doors were open in 1948, some seven decades ago, fans of delicious Southern inspired favorites have made Columbia a legendary destination.
And it’s easy to see why generation after generation continue the tradition. Mention the words “Nighthawk Special” or “Diego Salad” and it’s immediately clear folks are in for a meal that has guests driving in from near and far. To dine at Columbia Steakhouse is as much a part of experiencing Lexington as horse races and fine Kentucky Bourbon.
The stories of the “Old Days” are as entertaining and delicious as the classics that grace the menu. During the early years, Columbia’s became a favorite for more than its delicious menu classics. Tales of gambling in the back room and “disorderly conduct” by some of Lexington’s most famous and infamous patrons caused a stir and ruffled the feathers of the local authorities.
Legend has it that the restaurant was a “front” for gambling and other such activities, full of thick smoke and an air of intrigue. Mention the name “Smitty” and memories of standing in line awaiting your favorite maître d’ can’t help but make you feel nostalgic. The legend and lore are long at Columbia Steakhouse.
These stories are as seasoned and savory as the many longtime favorites on the menu of this iconic Bluegrass restaurant. Skip the pretentious and inflated prices of up-and-coming local restaurants. For the true Bluegrass dining experience shared across time and test, Columbia Steakhouse awaits you. We delight in inviting you to become a part of our history.