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Revamped K-Lair Seeks To Balance Modern Convenience And Tradition

K-Lair is back. The popular University of Kentucky eatery hosted its first new diners Wednesday.

Credit Josh James / WUKY
The newly redesigned K-Lair

With curious students peering through the tall, glassed-in walls of the new 6,000 square foot dining spot, K-Lair is already well on its way to reclaiming its beloved place on campus. The hotspot closed in May 2013 as part of the renovation of Haggin Hall.

"The line was literally out of the door for people on the very last day that it was open. And that was just current students," UK Student Government President Jake Ingram notes. "It was around for over five decades, which means there are generations of UK students coming back, often sending their kids or even grandkids, that are going to look to this place as - granted a little renovated - but a piece of what their experience was on campus."

The transformed dining space is nearly three times as large, seating 230, with flat screen TVs lining the walls. Still, reminders of the diner’s long history remain, from the original sign to blown up black-and-white photographs that meet visitors at the entrance.

And as for the food…

"We have a barbecued chicken wrap, we have a vegetarian wrap," General Manager Lonnie Sheets says, as he refills trays full of samples, many of which contain locally grown Kentucky Proud products.

But if all that sounds, well, not quite greasy enough,  Sheets says not to worry. K-Lair's reputation as the campus' favorite greasy spoon hasn't been forgotten. He promises the old standbys – burgers and fries – will still be on the menu.

The facility was remodeled with the help of UK’s new private dining services partner Aramark.

Officials expect the operation to be fully up and running early next week.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.