Drake’s opens for business in Danville

Published 3:00 am Friday, October 20, 2023

By Fiona Morgan


A new Drake’s restaurant has officially opened for business on the Danville bypass near Walmart.

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Drake’s leadership, with help from the Boyle County Chamber of Commerce, held a ribbon cutting on Monday, their first day open. Almost 100 people were in attendance, including city and county leaders, Drake’s executives, and many Drake’s employees.

Danville is the 23rd location of Drake’s, with other locations in Lexington and Nicholasville, and in other surrounding states. The Danville location is a partnership between Bluegrass Hospitality Group, which owns six restaurant chains including Drake’s, and the Greer Companies.

Mark Thornburg, COO at Bluegrass Hospitality Group, said this is their first joint venture for Drake’s, and they are happy to do it with the Greer family.

“Greer Companies is a family-owned hospitality and commercial real estate development company headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky. Greer has developed, owned and operated over 60 full service independent and national chain restaurants, and several fine casual eateries. It is also a franchisee and operator of multiple hotel chains including Marriott, Hilton and InterContinental,” according to the Greer Companies website.

Lee Greer, president of Greer Companies, explained that they have worked on different ventures in Danville that have been successful, including Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen. He said they love the town and thought it would be a good place for Drake’s.

“Danville has been really special for us, we franchise with Cheddar’s, it did very well; we secured this land and started talking with [Bluegrass Hospitality Group] about joining forces for a Drake’s joint venture, and we always thought this would be a perfect location for it,” Greer said. “I’m more excited about it than I have been for anything else I’ve done in the restaurant business.”

Greer said he thinks it’ll do well, and that people are ready for Drake’s in Danville.

“We’ve gotten some great support from the community, and they’ve let us know they’re ready for Drake’s,” Greer said.

Boyle County Judge Executive Trille Bottom welcomed the Drake’s team to Danville, saying they are excited to have them.

“Thank you for your vision of coming to Danville and we are going to enjoy having you all here for a long, long time,” Bottom said.

Drake’s is in a brand new building that they started construction on about six months ago. Greer said it’s nice to have a new building, since Drake’s has a specific environment that can’t always be recreated in an older building.

Thornburg said they had huge success with hiring. They had employee training sessions last week for about 200 new employees. They started hiring in August and are now fully hired. Thornburg said they still have 400 applications sitting in their files.

“What’s really cool is that we have a lot of servers that have been at it for 15 or 20 years, and they haven’t worked anywhere else than where they’re at,” Thornburg said. “This is their first opportunity to be able to have something fresh and new, and they’re all excited about it.”

Greer said they have a great team, and the employees are very excited to start.

“The orientation was like a pep rally in itself, with the first day and everyone in the building, Greer said. “The energy and excitement among the staff is overwhelming.”

The Danville location’s managing partner is Jared Kling, who started working at BHG restaurants in 2015. He has been a manager at Drake’s Nicholasville, and a managing partner of Drake’s Hurstbourne.

Kling presented a check for $3,000 for the Head Start program at BGCAP from Drake’s Danville.

Greer said part of what sets Drake’s apart is their unique menu and fun environment.

“Where else are you going to get burgers, beer, salads, a variety of things, and sushi?” Greer said. “I think that’s what makes Drake’s special and what everyone here is excited about.”

Drake’s is located at 2596 South Danville Bypass. Their hours are 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday to Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The kitchen closes one hour before closing time.