Story by Matt Wickstrom, Kentucky.com
Photos by Alex Slitz
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Arcadium, the north Lexington bar and arcade concept owned by Paris natives Sean Taylor and cousins Spears and Will Hinkle, will soon be adding food to the mix.
This spring the bar will officially open Favor, a food concept spearheaded by Aaron Withers and Wyatt Sarbacker.
Withers began cooking in Lexington and has since worked at The Catbird Seat in Nashville, Relæ in Copenhagen and other restaurants in New York City and Tokyo. Sarbucker received his culinary degree from Sullivan University, going on to work as a private chef and consultant in addition to helping develop multiple projects with sustainable, pasture-raised livestock from Kentucky farms.
“We’ve been lucky to have a solid group of regulars as well as support from the neighborhood and we felt we were at a point to expand,” said Taylor. “That’s around the time we were introduced to Wyatt and Aaron. They each bring their own culinary experience that they’ll bring together at Favor to deliver a unique take on pub food.”
According to Taylor, the desire to incorporate a food option within the bar stems from his wish to see a return of a formal food establishment on their corner, which recently saw Fida’s Caribbean Cafe depart from inside Al’s Bar, leaving the sweet and savory North Lime Coffee and Donuts as the only ones on the corner serving up goods.
Favor’s Food Offerings
The restaurant will be located off of a newly built wooden patio behind the bar and will feature an eclectic pantry and menu that fits to Withers’ and Sarbucker’s personal styles, backgrounds and the surrounding Central Kentucky landscape.
Bar-friendly snacks will the highlight the food offerings with prices ranging from $7-15. A thin-griddled hamburger using dry-aged beef from Kentucky farms will be among the standouts Sarbacker says. Plus buns will be be made using freshly milled flour.
The kitchen will be in a separate space with some seating but in addition to the patio option, diners can eat inside the bar. Customers will be able to order at the kitchen counter or through the their website.
A Home For Arcadium
Arcadium first opened in November 2012 after Taylor returned to Kentucky from eight years living in New York, where he befriended owners of Barcade, an arcade bar franchise with eight locations in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and California. After talks to be franchisees in the company talks fell through, Taylor and the Hinkles brought their own adaption of the business back to Kentucky.
“We took the idea and tweaked it to be more geared to a Lexington and Kentucky state of mind,” said Taylor, who now works out of San Francisco, returning to Lexington every few months to check in on the bar.
With the concept in hand, the next task at hand was to find a location to call home, eventually stumbling upon their future home on the corner of Limestone and Sixth Street by accident. According to Taylor, he and the other owners discovered the location when driving by after it leaving a meeting with their lawyer at nearby West Sixth Brewing. Taylor jotted down a phone number hanging in the window for building owner Chad Needham, who they reached out to soon thereafter to sign a lease.
Built in the 1880s, the building has a rich history, most of it centered around Spalding’s Bakery, which called the structure home from its inception in 1934 until its move to Winchester Road.
In the seven years between Spalding’s departure and Arcadium moving in, the building sat vacant, falling into a decrepit state that included floors hastily held together with plywood. Following the installation of a new wooden floor built from a fallen cherry tree acquired from a friend of Needham’s, the bar officially opened its doors in November 2012, serving up a bit of nostalgia for owners in addition to old school games and ice cold brews for patrons.
“It brings back memories for me because I used to go to school down the street from here and would always stop inside in the morning to grab donuts from Spalding’s Bakery when it was still here,” said Spears Hinkle.
Arcadium’s Current Lineup
The bar currently has nine units ready to play including Galaga and the recently acquired Mortal Kombat, which came from a retro video game collector here in town while other units have come from as far away as St. Louis.
Games, which cost $0.25 per play, can be paired with over 20 beers on tap ranging from Country Boy’s Double Barrel Shotgun Wedding and Against the Grain’s (Louisville) Clearly Everybody Wants Some IPA to Deschutes’ (Bend, Oregon) Da Shootz Pilsner and Bells’ (Kalamazoo, Michigan) Expedition Imperial Stout ‘14, among others.
The bar also boasts a bourbon collection 130 strong and growing, led by a 25-year-old Jefferson Reserve Presidential at $45 for a 2 oz pour and Willett single barrel series, which all go for under $20 according to General Manager Ricky Wells.
The drink menu is rounded out with a handful of classic, spin-off and one-of-a-kind small-batch cocktails. Options include the Perfect, Shiny and New, a riff on an Old Fashioned featuring Cointreau Noir and Princess Water, a surprisingly bitter drink concocted by some of the bar’s regulars containing gin, grapefruit juice, soda, and cranberry bitters.
According to Wells, the bar plans to roll out a regular cocktail menu split 50/50 between spins on classics and original creations with the opening of Favor.
“We feel very fortunate to have gotten on this corner with the coffee shop and Al’s Bar when we did,” said Taylor. “The last seven years have been great, and with the soon to open restaurant we’re excited to see what the future holds.”
View the full story with artwork from Herald-Leader staff photographer Alex Slitz here.
Where: 574 North Limestone
Hours: 5 p.m.-1 a.m. Monday-Thursday, 4 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Friday, 2 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Saturday, 1 p.m.-midnight Sunday