Serving Up Dishes in 2021

The pandemic has ravaged nearly every industry, but few as hard as hospitality business and particularly restaurants. This month, the Lexington Forum invites several panelists to discuss the ever-changing regulatory landscape, adaptations and lessons learned from COVID, and what 2021 might hold for many local restaurant owners and employees. Join Lesme Romero (owner of Lexington Pasta Garage), Becca Self (Founder and Executive Director of FoodChain), and Debbie Long (owner of Dudley's On Short) as they discuss the trials and tribulations of 2020 and what needs to happen to make this year a successful rebound.


You are invited to a Zoom webinar. 

When: January 7, 2021 08:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada) 

Topic: Serving Up New Dishes in 2021

Register in advance for this webinar:


Perry & Perry State Farm Insurance is proud to sponsor this meeting of the Lexington Forum.   Stewart Perry has been a member of the Lexington Forum almost since its beginning.   He knows the value of this group of community leaders and the value of a healthy discussion of issues that affect central KY.    Perry and Perry values its customers and provides a warm professional environment that offers smooth efficient seamless service for most any insurance needs.   We offer Auto, Home, Renters, and Commercial Insurance and in addition we are a leader is providing Life and Disability Insurance to the Central KY area.  Call us today for a quote and give us a chance to earn your insurance business.

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Lesme Romero, owner of Lexington Pasta and Pasta Garage, is living the American dream. He moved to the United States from Venezuela to attend college, where he met Reinaldo Gonzalez. The two had similar backgrounds and shared a passion for cooking, often making pasta together. After college, they went their separate ways but stayed in touch. Lesme and Reinaldo eventually teamed up to launch a pasta business in Lexington, KY called EZ Foods, Inc., which originally was located in a one-car garage. They quickly outgrew the space, relocating to a small street-level retail site with a tiny manufacturing center in the basement to produce pasta.

Becca Self is a Lexington, KY native who left town for MIT, but she eventually returned home to work as a science teacher at Montessori Middle School of Kentucky. From teaching, she moved into the nonprofit sector, first as Education Director at Seedleaf, then as founder of FoodChain, a nonprofit that connects the local community to fresh food. Having grown up in a family that loves to eat coupled with her time spent in the classroom, her interest was piqued in how food can be used to engage students in learning. Since its inception in 2012, FoodChain has been working to connect the community to fresh food through education, their aquaponics farm and the soon-to-open Teaching & Processing Kitchen. Becca has dedicated herself to the growth of this nonprofit, and alongside husband and founder of West Sixth Brewing, Ben Self, the pair are also raising 3-year-old twins. Welcome Becca Self as today’s FACE of the South!

Debbie Long's love affair with the hospitality industry emerged after college, when she spent 8 years working in restaurants in Colorado ski towns. In 1981 she and a business partner opened the original Dudley's in Lexington's historic Dudley's Square building. The menu was combination of southern tradition with the fresh, western influence of her time in Colorado. During those early years Dudley's brought a fresh new American cuisine to the palates and plates of Lexingtonians. Debbie ushered in a new era of Dudley's with the 2009 move to the 1889 Northern Bank Building on Short Street in the heart of downtown Lexington. A culinary trailblazer, an astute business woman, and an exemplary hostess, Debbie has been the much-loved face of Dudley’s for all 35 years. .


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