Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 26, 2012

TIM PRESTON: Spanish Grill, Fank's, Fat Patty's and more

Tim Preston
The Independent

ASHLAND — I popped into The Grill Spanish Mix restaurant, which should be opening any day in the former location of the Mandarin restaurant at 915 13th St. in Ashland, last week and the place appeared to be ready to welcome diners. A follow-up visit with the owner at nearby Bella Fonte Restaurant confirmed the place is nearly ready, with a few plumbing issues as the last hurdle before illuminating the “OPEN” sign.

Even before it has opened, The Mix has generated a lot of talk due to the love-it-or-hate-it bright orange exterior, as well as speculation about the nature of Spanish food as compared to Mexican food. I’ve certainly heard many comments that the Ashland area has an abundance of Mexican restaurants, although insiders say The Mix will be an entirely different style of cuisine. My only experience with Spanish food would be tapas, which is a variety of appetizers that have evolved into full-blown entrees. I’m not sure if tapas will be in the mix at The Mix, but I certainly look forward to giving the place a try.


I received a nice gift certificate from the folks at Mugsy’s Pizza Plus in South Point along with an invitation to give them “a chance to earn” local business, and I intend to give them a try as soon as I can get across the Ohio River.

I did a quick computer search and had no trouble finding a menu for Mugsy’s Pizza Plus, located at 6733 County Rd. 1. The place has an excellent variety of choices and some delicious sounding specialty pizzas including “The Don,” “The Enforcer” which is their all-meat pizza, “The Moll,” which is an all-vegetable version, “The Consigliore,” “The Angel Pizza” with five cheeses, alfredo sauce and a choice of grilled chicken or shrimp,” and “The Don Ho,” along with a choice of sandwiches, salads, wings, and desserts. They also have “The All American Cheeseburger Pizza,” which sounds like a great combination.

If you make it by there before I do, tap me a note and let me know what you think. For more information or to place an order call (704) 894-3800, and visit their website at mugsyspizza.com on the Internet.


A fellow fan of the magic “hippie soap” I wrote about a few weeks ago dropped me a note last week which included a review of a trip to the recently opened Fank’s restaurant in Grayson, at the former Rudy’s Roadside location.

“Since we go to Grayson at least once a week we decided to try Fank's. It really threw us for a loop at first because the only sign is an old auto dealer one on a shed next to it. There's no sign on the building at all except for an open sign in a window besides the door. It's right across the street on U.S. 60 from a Mexican restaurant between Rite Aide & Carter Nursing Home,” the reader wrote. “It kinda reminded me of some of the dives my parents liked to eat in when I was young because they had bingo and such in the back.

“Anyway, everyone was friendly, including strangers. That was fun. There was a big screen TV I never even noticed until we got up to leave because of cutting up with the couple sitting at the table next to us. My husband ordered the pork tenderloin breakfast that included eggs, biscuits, hash browns & gravy. There was so much on the plate they had to bring the biscuits and gravy out separate. He said it was the best breakfast he had eaten since he was a kid and that the tenderloin was so tender he didn't even need a knife. He raved about it the whole time we were eating. The waitress was very attentive and filled up his coffee cup several times as soon as it was halfway empty.

“I ordered a small open face roast beef sandwich and so glad I ordered the small as I can't imagine how large the large is. For the first time in years I had the roast beef with the dark brown gravy like it was originally created to have. The food covered my entire plate almost to the edge. The green beans were cooked in bacon grease (another missed treat from my childhood). They filled up the equivalent of a cereal bowl with them. The entire meal with drinks was around $15.”

The writer, a former chain smoker who kicked the habit a few years back, apologized for getting on her “soap box” about smoking being allowed inside Fank’s, although she did say her husband appreciated being able to enjoy a smoke after his meal instead of having to leave immediately after they finished their dinner.

Fat Patty’s

I also made a pop-in visit to the new Fat Patty’s at the corner of 15th St. and Winchester Avenue in downtown Ashland just before filing this week’s column.

Owner Clint Artrip has stated people who were familiar with the former decor and layout at C.J. Maggie’s will be pleased with the interior renovations, and even with many of the finishing touches remaining to be complete I can testify he is correct. The “opened up” space would be nearly impossible to recognize, and the restaurant promises to be a true sparkplug for downtown Ashland.

I spoke with Artrip’s “right hand man,” (a guy whose name is so tough to spell he swears it almost kept him from graduating college), and he said the last of the interior work should be complete by this Friday, with staff training to begin the next week. Artrip did give me a “worst case scenario” opening date, but I’ve promised to keep that out of print until he confirms it.

I’ll also admit I got a little overexcited on my way out when I noticed a couple of guys unloading what I believed to be bar signs from a van with the words “Yuengling” all over it.

Knowing that is a brew which can’t be bought on this side of the Kentucky/West Virginia border, I waited around until one of the guys came back to the van and asked if we can expect that option from the Fat Patty’s bar.

The nice man said it is available at the other Fat Patty’s locations in Huntington and Barboursville, but added “It will be a while before they get it in Kentucky.”

And ...

I noticed stockpiles of construction materials and heavy equipment on the ground at the recently demolitioned former location of Paradise Bowling Lanes on my way into the office last week.

Of all the stories I’ve written in recent weeks, I have to say I most enjoyed the reaction to an article remembering the role of Paradise Lanes in the lives of local families and individual bowlers.

If anyone knows what is being planned for the property, shoot me a note or give me a call.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.