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Local food with a twist

Midway’s Holly Hill Inn, plus seven more Ouita Michel restaurants

Photo: Wade Harris
Ouita Michel, owner of Holly Hill Inn, Midway, and seven other restaurants in central Kentucky. Photo: Sarah Jane Sanders/VisitLex
Fine dining at historic Holly Hill Inn, Midway, Kentucky. Photo: Kentucky Department of Tourism
Trout Meunière at Holly Hill Inn, Midway, Kentucky. Photo: Jenn Jackson
Shrimp and Grits at Holly Hill Inn, Midway, Kentucky. Photo: Jenn Jackson
Sea scallops with clams and shrimp entree at Holly Hill Inn, Midway, Kentucky. Photo: Anita Travis Richter
Chef Tyler McNabb’s Pan-Fried Catfish with Louisiana Crawfish Courtbouillon at Holly Hill Inn, Midway, Kentucky. Photo: Genie Graf
Chef Tyler McNabb’s Local Greens Salad at Holly Hill Inn, Midway, Kentucky. Photo: Genie Graf
Chef Tyler McNabb’s Green Pasta, Holly Hill Inn, Midway Kentucky. Photo: Holly Hill Inn
Farm-to-table Kentucky Harvest Dinner on the lawn at Holly Hill Inn, Midway, Kentucky. Photo: Tyler McNabb
Curried kobocha squash bisque at Holly Hill Inn, Midway, Kentucky. Photo: Anita Travis Richter
Bluegrass Benedict at Holly Hill Inn, Midway, Kentucky. Photo: Jenn Jackson
The front porch welcomes guests to Holly Hill Inn, Midway, Kentucky. Photo: Rona Roberts
At Holly Hill Inn, Midway, Kentucky, guests can enjoy outdoors dining. Photo: Genie Graf

The historic Holly Hill Inn, a 175-year-old house in the heart of Midway, is a Kentucky Proud fine dining restaurant. Led by Executive Chef Tyler McNaab, a Cynthiana native, the restaurant serves farm-to-table food sourced from farmers all across Kentucky.

Holly Hill Inn is the first in a long line of restaurants under the Ouita Michel Family of Restaurants corporate umbrella, operated by the executive management team of Michel, her husband, Chris, and Chief Operating Officer Doug Mullins.

The other seven restaurants they have opened in the past five years include Wallace Station Deli, Versailles; The Midway Bakery & Cafe; Windy Corner Market and Restaurant, Lexington; Smithtown Seafood, two locations in Lexington; Honeywood, The Summit at Fritz Farm, Lexington; Zim’s Cafe, Lexington; and Glenn’s Creek Cafe, Woodford Reserve Distillery, Versailles.

From Lexington to New York City and back

Before setting off to attend the Culinary Institute of America in New York City, Michel attended the University of Kentucky 1982-1986, then moved to New York City in 1987.

“I met Chris, my husband, on the first day at chef school in New York,” says Michel.

“We moved to Kentucky and bought Holly Hill Inn in 2000.”

They now live next door and have since opened another seven restaurants in and around the Lexington area, employing about 200.

Many dishes served at the restaurants are what Michel calls “heritage dishes”—think beaten biscuits with ham, spoonbread, grass-fed burgers, pimento cheese—old-fashioned dishes with a modern twist. (Watch for her cookbook set to come out next year.)

Holly Hill Inn’s Bread Chocolate Pudding

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