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We're Open: Carson's eager to start serving dining customers again

Posted at 10:29 PM, May 18, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Later this week, restaurants in the state can begin seating people inside at a limited capacity and outside for patio seating. A popular downtown Lexington restaurant is prepared and eager for the changes.

The restaurant business isn't a one-size-fits-all model, but as Carson's Food and Drink owner Mark Fichtner will tell you, it can boil down to some simple ideas.

"You can go into a restaurant and have great food, and great service, and great cocktails," Fichtner said. "But the reality of it is it's the people that make the energy in a restaurant work so well."

Fichtner has decades behind him in the restaurant business. Carson's has been open for about three and a half years.

"We are what we call elevated American; from steaks to seafood to pastas to salads to seared Ahi tuna. You name it, we have it," said Fichtner.

He says he loves being a part of the Lexington restaurant scene. He knew Carson's needed to stand out.

"I wanted to fit a niche, that, you can come as you are after a workout or on a date. The building transitions really nicely from casual to elegant in the evening," says Fichtner.

For the last two months, though, that energy he talks about that people bring wasn't there. Fichtner was able to keep staff on, paying them and paying their tips. On Friday, May 22, Carson's and other restaurants can open up inside dining at 33 percent capacity and can seat tables outside six feet apart.

"Take out's been OK," Fichtner says, "I mean, we're still losing money, but hopefully with this opening up of 33 percent capacity plus the patio, we'll do ok."

Though eager to welcome people inside, Carson's Food and Drink will still do curbside take-out like they've been offering. They will also continue to offer the family dinners suitable for four to six people. Plus, they will still have the raw, ready-to-grill steaks called Carson's Cuts. The popular brunch menu and a new wine and cocktail list will be waiting for the weekend, for the welcoming of people once again.

"Carson's really thrives on the guests, and we have such amazing people that come in here and that just creates that energy in here," said Fichtner.