Jefferson Davis Inn reopens near campus

By Will Wright | @KyKernel

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The Jefferson Davis Inn was a bar and grill that burned down mysteriously in 1996, but one family is giving the Lexington establishment new life.

The Morgan family wants the new JDI to be a tribute to the original, Jason Morgan said. Jeffrey Morgan developed the structure, Jason Morgan and mother Karen Morgan will operate the restaurant and the father, Ken Morgan, brings his North Carolina knowledge to help with the food and barbecue.

The original JDI was located at West High and Limestone streets, where JeffersonDavis lived while attending Transylvania University.

An historical marker still exists on the original building.

“My brother and I, my identical twin, went there as students,” owner Jason Morgan said. “We danced and we had good times. We drank cheap beers and it was a great atmosphere, a great time.”

Though it is a tribute to the old bar, the new JDI, which sits on the corner of Cedar and Broadway streets, is equipped with new technology and new bars.

The JDI has the warm atmosphere of your local pub, but the technology of a sports bar.

It’s the kind of place you can comfortably watch the big game and still “remember the good times” of the old JDI, Jason Morgan said.

The family tried to build the structure in a way that is reflective of a type of architecture people “just don’t build anymore,” Jason Morgan said.

The brick and limestone design was used to give the building more charm and character, Jason Morgan said.

A dumbwaiter elevator system takes food from the basement kitchen to each of the three floors of the restaurant.

Each floor has its own special atmosphere. The first floor was designed to cater to students, and the second floor to an older crowd, but Jason Morgan says he thinks there will be a mix of people on each floor. The third floor will be used primarily for private parties.

Live music will be a held regularly and game day specials for appetizers and drinks, said Miles Owens, assistant general manager.

“It’s a great place to watch the game, and we’re open late on weekends,” Owens said. It’s a good location and a great building, Jason Morgan said. “We want to become the number one bar in Lexington.”