In a year, Wildcat Market has become a local staple

Frank Bargo, co-owner of the Wildcat Market on Columbia Ave., tenders a transaction with UK Business Senior, Patrick Sermershein. Photo by Adam Chaffins

By Judah Taylor

On the corner of Columbia and Oldham avenues you can get the scoop on Lexington concerts, get your groceries and buy more than 125 different flavors of beer all while being greeted at the door by a friendly dog.

Owned by Lexington businessman Frank Bargo, the Wildcat Market opened in 2011.

Its goal is to “bring the students and community together,” said manager and operator Tim Wick.

The market is nestled in the streets of the Columbia Heights neighborhood, between North Campus and the Kroger on Euclid Avenue.

Its windows are scattered with posters for 18-plus concerts and shows in the Lexington area. Its freezers are full of ice cream and its shelves are stocked full of all the food a student could need, such as cereal and milk and peanut butter and jelly, all for about the same price as Kroger.

“(The market) is more than a store,” said Kelly Fink, an architecture junior, “it’s got its own stories and culture.”

Wick said much of the culture comes from the homemade food his wife, Beth Wick, brings in and sells, including blazin’ Asian barbecue pork sandwiches, THC (turkey, ham and cheese) wraps and kush curry wraps.

Game day means a special menu, and when UK plays Florida Mrs. Wick sells homemade alligator jambalaya right at the counter.

The market isn’t known just for Mrs. Wick’s recipes, though.

On Thursday nights the market hosts weekly cornhole tournaments, and on Fridays it has live music.

Acts such as 23 String Band and Afroman have stopped by the market before playing at Cosmic Charlie’s, Al’s Bar or Busters, according to Nick Totini, an agricultural economics junior.

“It’s hard to find good folk music,” Fink said, “here you can find people playing the saw or the banjo. And if you’re looking for someone to play with Tim (Wick) can find you a guitarist or whoever you need.”

People from France, Germany, Croatia, China and England come to play music and hang out, Wick said.

“It’s also a diverse group,” Fink said, “there’s people from every generation and race relaxing here.”
The market also sells UK apparel, homemade tie-dyes and occasional treats such as homemade beer cheese.

“Overall, you feel at home when you’re there,” said Scott Miller, an integrated strategic communication junior. “(The market) has a great country style and a friendly vibe.”

The market accepts UK Plus Account and has free Wi-Fi for students.

It is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day except Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, when it is open until midnight.