Referring to the number of wooden stave pieces needed to form a full-sized oak barrel used to distill bourbon, 33 Staves in the Origin Hotel is letting their passion for both bourbon and southern hospitality shine with their seasonally crafted, Southern-inspired farm-to-table menu. While the restaurant and bar are located in the lobby of the hotel, the area feels hip, modern and bright, yet cozy. With leather couches available to curl up and sip on a craft cocktail and the large family-style dining table designed to make everyone feel like they're at home, the team at 33 Staves has though of literally every detail when it comes to hospitality. "Our people genuinely care about the guests and the experience they have when visiting our hotel and restaurant." shares GM Michael Russel. "People come to visit from all over the world as well as people from Lexington just wanting a staycation. They enjoy the hotel and restaurant and want to hang out there," comments Russel.
Driven by three pillars, community, life and balance, the team is eager to show off all the things Lexington has to offer. Team members want to share their passion for bourbon, horses and everything in between. “We serve local beer on tap, have a partnership with Buffalo Trace, we use as many local elements as we can in our cocktails and on our menu. We put a lot of thought into the curation of what we serve here and work to showcase bourbons and whiskeys that are a little harder to find,” comments Russel. You’ll also find a wine list curated by restaurant manager and sommelier, Katy McDaniel, which features unique wines that you won’t find on every menu in town.
And while the name may reflect their love of bourbon, they put just as much attention to detail when it comes to the menu. Described by Russell as “simple done well” the menu is a diverse collection of mouth-watering dishes such as Smoked Jumbo Wings, Cayenne Bourbon Honey Bacon Grilled Cheese, Charred Cauliflower and Chicken and Waffes.“ The Lexington food scene is growing tremendously, and I am so excited to be involved in building this new brand and contributing to that,” shares executive chef Bret Hall, who spent ten years with the Bluegrass Hospitality Group and previously worked with the Tin Roof.
When it comes to the menu, Hall highly recommends the chicken wings. “We take whole jumbo wings with both joints and rub them with an old family rub recipe before baking and smoking them, so they’re packed with flavor and juicy. We serve the wings with horseradish if you like heat and a bourbon-soy sauce that uses a local BBQ sauce as the base. It’s both sweet and tangy and balances the heat of the wings perfectly.” Another visitor favorite includes the Cayenne-Bourbon Honey Bacon Grilled Cheese with melty fontina cheese on sourdough topped with bacon and drizzled with a bourbon honey glaze served with peppery arugula and juicy tomatoes. “We use Mad Dog Jams from Georgetown and change up the jam daily based on what we have,” comments Hall. The grilled cheese is served up with housemade fresh-cut fries and best paired with local Cougar Bait on tap.
For an Asian-influenced flavor profile, the Harvest Bowl combines quinoa and farro with roasted sweet potato, sauteed onions and kale, and toasted pumpkin seeds tossed with a spicy sesame sauce made in-house, a dish that’s loaded with complex umamiflavors. The dish is a great vegetarian option or can be topped off with chicken or fish. It’s best served with their signature cocktail, the Summit, a spicy-sweet bourbon-based cocktail topped with a red wine float. “We have happy hour daily from 3-5pm and offer bourbon flights at 5pm on Thursdays and host fun events like cocktails and candle-making that you can learn more about from our instagram @33staves,” shares Russell.
Whether you are looking for a cool place to grab a craft cocktail, want to enjoy a southern-inspired meal or are looking to soak up a little southern hospitality, 33 Staves is the perfect place to plan your next visit.
Recipe: Fall Refresher
Fresh Orange Juice
Gent's Mule Cocktail Mix
Muddle rosemary in rum, carrot shrub, orange juice and Gent’s Mule Cocktail Mix. Strain into cocktail glass with ice. Top with a splash of ginger beer. Top with sprig of rosemary and serve.