By Aaron Boatright
Gather on Main is one of the best coffee, sandwich and beer spots around. Gather is owned by Jason Elsea and his wife Megan. Jason and Megan are both originally from Danville, KY but are University of Kentucky graduates, and they never really left Lexington. It is safe to say that they love their business and they love Lexington. As a student at UK, it is really cool to see how two alumni have invested back into the community and brought something so special to Lexington. UK is a big part of Lexington and it is really good to hear them talk about being tied to UK after graduating. So I thought it would be a great idea to sit down with them and pick their brains about the business and downtown Lexington.
One thing Jason said to me that stuck out was, “there is so much the community doesn’t know about downtown Lexington.” I believe this is true because I feel like I learn something new about the downtown area each time I visit. The whole downtown area has such a local feel to it that keeps Jason and Megan investing in the area. The idea behind Gather stems from the idea that coffee, food and beer are three things that people love to gather around. Gather has a very faithful customer base, as many of the same customers come by every morning to grab a coffee on their way to work.
Jason and Megan have grown to know some of these customers by name and know a good bit about their personal lives. Having these conversations and getting to know their customers is very important to Jason and Megan. Megan said she feels like a part-time concierge, because customers come in and ask for downtown recommendations. I asked Megan for a few and she offered that they love Girlsgirlsgirls Burritos.
If you’re like me, food is important. Gather’s menu is top-notch! The club sandwich is the most ordered food item, and Jason said it is a “beast.” The inspiration behind the “beast” club sandwich actually comes from Jason and Megan’s favorite deli in Danville. They had this deli serve sandwiches at their wedding, and they liked it so much they asked the owner if it would be alright to take the basics of the club sandwich for their restaurant. The owner gave them permission, and with a little twist from Jason and Megan, the “beast” was born. It is their favorite sandwich on the menu, and I can’t wait to give it a try.
There is also a full-service coffee menu and they are able to make you almost whatever you want; all you have to do is ask. Another plus is that they stay local with their coffee beans, as they get them from Magic Beans Coffee Roasters in Lexington. One of the most popular coffees right now is the Ethiopian blend which is more of a light roast. If you want to get seasonal, you can try one of Megan’s favorites – the Pumpkin chai coffee.
After your morning coffee and your lunchtime sandwich, you have to come back for Gather’s ever-changing beer selection. They have an awesome bar with kegs that change all the time. Jason said they mainly focus on what’s in season, and what is popular at the time. If you want to try a beer you probably have never heard of then I highly recommend you sit down at Gather’s bar. One of their favorite beers right now is called “Hazy and Juicy and Hoppy and Fresh” by Hi-Wire brewing. If you aren’t sure what you like then Jason will talk with you and give a great recommendation on what he thinks you might enjoy the most.
Outside of Gather, Jason and Megan love the downtown area. A few of their all-time favorite spots are Corto Lima, Carson’s, Pearls Pizza and OBC Kitchen. Recently they enjoy going to West Main Crafting, as they have great cocktails and food. Jason and Megan also enjoy other downtown activities such as Central Bank Thursday Night Live, Fest of Ales, The Farmers Market and the Woodland Art Fair.
The vision these two have for Gather is a great one, as they strive to be “the spot” in downtown Lexington. As a student, I immediately thought that it would be a great place to study and do homework. Jason also told me to follow Gather on Instagram and stay tuned for specials around finals time for students. Gather is a place you can walk in and gather more information about downtown, or to gather around your friends after work for a drink. The experience of being there is something that is very important for Jason and Megan, I encourage all of you to gather at Gather.