LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — By the end of 2024, The Fountains at Palomar will welcome its largest tenant: Publix.
The Florida-based grocery chain announced Thursday that it will open its first store in Lexington. The location will be its third in Kentucky, following two stores in Louisville that will open in 2023.
“I’ll be in line first trying to get that ‘Pub Sub,'” said Carson Carby, who was eating with a friend at Papi Mexican Restaurant in the Palomar Mall on Thursday.
Carby was referring to the signature Publix sandwich, which has become popular throughout the southern United States.
“Subway is like a second tier for Pub Subs,” Carby said. “I don’t know what it is, but I think it’s like the freshness and the flavors. It’s just different. It’s not like your normal sandwich.”
Carby’s mother lives in Florida, so she knows the store well.
“It really feels like a cult favorite honestly,” Carby said.
Her friend, however, has never set foot in a Publix.
“Maybe I should go to Florida to try it out,” Carson Stanifer joked. “I don’t know why everyone is doing so much, but I have to understand.”
Stanifer said the hype surrounding Publix reminded him of the opening of Buc-ee in Richmond.
“Everybody in Richmond went to Buc-ee,” Stanifer said. “We ask you if you went to Buc-ee’s.”
While Carby and Stanifer enjoyed margaritas outside, Marcos Valdes was inside, dazed by the news that Publix would soon be his neighbor.
“There will be more foot traffic,” Valdes said. “And that will hopefully mean more business for us.”
Valdes is the owner of the Mexican restaurant Papi. He opened his third location at the Fountains of Palomar about 15 months ago, becoming one of the first tenants. He heard about the Publix announcement on Thursday morning.
“I said [to our staff]”We have to have a meeting and we have to see how we are going to take advantage of it,” Valdes said. “I don’t have any ideas yet, but we’ll sit down, brainstorm and brainstorm.”