The Mane on Main could be the most unique event space in Lexington, Kentucky. It is located on the 15th floor of the Chase Bank Building on Main Street. The sweeping views of the city give it an exciting, big-city vibe.
You might remember this 12,500-square-foot location as the Lafayette Club, which was a private lunch and dinner club, or more recently as Bakers 360, which was a restaurant and nightclub. There’s a reason that it continues to be a popular location for events and dining. From the floor-to-ceiling windows you can see the twinkling lights of Lexington.
Dupree Catering, which is co-owned by Azur chef Jeremy Ashby and Tom Evans, along with their business partners, operates The Mane on Main. Both the catering expertise and the location make it a great option for private events.
The farm-to-table concept has become very popular these days. The Mane on Main offers the concept for catered events. You don’t find many catering operations that offer farm-to-table options. That’s a really nice touch.
Tom Evans, who is the Owner/Chef Operating Officer at The Mane on Main is no stranger to the hospitality industry. He worked in his family’s catering business in Washington, D.C. for more than 30 years before coming to Lexington. Tom was instrumental in opening Azur Catering and later merging operations with Dupree Catering. The Mane on Main is their newest venue space.
Last week The Mane on Main presented a pop-up dining experience. The idea was to recreate an iconic restaurant from Lexington’s past.
Dining has always had a rich tradition in Lexington. You may remember the New Orleans House from the mid-80’s. The restaurant was open for a little more than 10 years. It was first opened in the Southpark shopping center and later moved to Griffin Gate Plaza in 1989. The New Orleans house featured a signature seafood buffet.
I can remember that when I was in college my Uncle Buddy would come in from Alabama and would take us to eat at the New Orleans House. I got to take my best friend, Gina, and we thought we were the cat’s meow! I always looked forward to going there.
Frog legs were one of the house specialities. I can remember shrimp, oysters, frog legs and crab legs on the buffet. Bananas Foster for dessert! It makes me smile just thinking about it.
I happened to see a Facebook post a couple of months ago from Chef Jeremy Ashby asking for comments regarding The New Orleans House. He wanted to know everybody’s favorite dish and comments that people had of the restaurant. Of course, I replied! How could I not share my fond memories!
The Mane on Main hosted the tribute dinner to The New Orleans House a week or so ago. Hats off to the marketing team! I think it’s a great idea to host events like this for the community. Not only do you get to experience great food, but you get to do it in a terrific setting!
When we stepped off the elevator to the 15th floor we were greeted by a very friendly, hospitable staff. They welcomed us to the event and made sure we were informed about the night’s festivities.
A lovely jazz band was playing in the corner of the room. They had a great sound and were playing all the classics.
The New Orleans House was well known for specialty cocktails. The dinner included a cocktail of your choice. Of course, I picked a French 75! …..and, Champagne…. please!
The Mane on Main bar is a lovely mix of stone, glass and wood. It’s really pretty and a nice backdrop for a reception area. Diners mingled and enjoyed their cocktails and the live music before dinner.
The friendly catering staff passed Oyster Rockefeller and frog legs before the dinner started. The Oysters Rockefeller were really good. Just the right amount of butter, parsley and bread crumbs. I’m not a big frog leg fan, but you know what they say, tastes just like chicken!
You could hear people telling stories of their dinners at the New Orleans house and the fun times they had. Everybody was having a great time.
The event space can be configured a variety of ways but for this event there were buffet stations set around the room. The New Orleans House was a seafood buffet, so it made sense that we eat buffet style.
Of course the first station included a lovely salad. But it also included shrimp, oysters on the half shell, and a seafood salad. It’s hard to beat fresh seafood! The shrimp was really fresh, not watery like some shrimp that you may find, and the oysters were meaty and tasted like the sea.
The next station consisted of cooked seafood. Now you might not be familiar with this dish, but it was really tasty. The dish was a Maque Choux and Shrimp Cake that was finished with a remoulade and chow-chow. Think about a crunchy hash brown that has shrimp in it. It really had a splendid taste, and the presentation was great.
On the other side of the table was a deviled crab in a cute little serving dish that was shaped like a crab. There’s nothing better to me than lump crab!
Have you ever tasted turtle soup? Turtle soup used to be very popular and it was usually available at the New Orleans House. But going back even further, the soup used to be one of the most popular and most sought-after dishes in American history.
Turtle soup is still a speciality and can be found in many fine dining restaurants in New Orleans. Restaurants such as Commander’s Palace, Brennan’s and Galatoire’s still serve the delicacy.
I didn’t try the turtle soup, but I’m sure it was delicious. There was so much food that I needed to pick and choose. My tablemates said it was tasty.
Crawfish is another bayou tradition. Chef Jeremy was hard at work boiling the crawfish. Of course, like a traditional crawfish boil, there was potatoes and corn to accompany the fish.
Did I mention that they also had baby back ribs, Trout Almondine, and smoked salmon? Also, a dish called Angels and Devils on Horseback. I admit I had to look it up, I wasn’t quite sure what it was. Evidently the oysters are the angels and the scallops are the devils. Both were wrapped in bacon (how can you go wrong!) and were in a creole mustard piquant. They were very good.
All of this and I haven’t even gotten to dessert yet!
The Mane on Main offered several choices for dessert. Choices included fresh fruit (almost was too pretty to eat), strawberry almond shortcake complete with whipped cream and mint, and of course, bread pudding! Bread pudding is a traditional New Orleans dessert. The topping for the bread pudding had plenty of Kentucky Bourbon it. The dessert was really good!
Following the dinner, the dance floor was full. Everybody had a great time experiencing the bayou favorites and The Mane on Main!
See you soon. xoxo