May 24, 2024
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One Cardinal Valley businessman shares his experience of spending 12 hours in the most diverse neighborhood of Lexington.

Alexandria Drive is home to many small businesses in Lexington. Tortilleria Y Taqueria Ramirez is well-known throughout the South for its homestyle Mexican cuisine made with tortillas that are made every day. Two young entrepreneurs are hoped to be able replicate the success of this business at the opposite end. Dip and Krupa opened Yogikrupa in Gardenside Plaza six months ago with the intention of expanding across Commonwealth.

These two images, which are connected by a single street, show the growing population of internationals in Fayette county.

Fayette county’s non-white population has increased to 30% according to the U.S. Census 2020.

Fayette county residents estimated to be Hispanic at 9.2%, a significant increase from the 6.2% recorded in 2010.

Fayette county’s diversity, however, goes far beyond this.

Global Lex, Fayetteville County Public School’s International Engagement Center, measures the languages that are spoken by the Fayetteville County public schools and city.

Fayette county has people who speak every language.

Taylor says there are 44 languages in Asia, 27 in Africa, 19 in Europe and 10 Latin American.

Spanish, according to data from cities and schools, is the second most common non-English spoken language. It’s followed by French, Japanese (an African dialect), Kinyarwanda, Mandarin, Korean and Portuguese.

According to census tract data, Cardinal Valley and Gardenside rank among Fayette county’s most diverse communities. Cardinal Valley and Gardenside form part of Lexington Fayette Urban County Council district 11, which has a Hispanic population of 20% and a Black population 17%.

Will Anglin is a redneck who serves on the Cardinal Valley Park Activity Board.

The Lexington Herald-Leader’s staff and photographer spent 12 hours in Cardinal Valley on the 28th of July to learn more.

You’ll discover the unique stories behind some of Lexington’s residents and business in one of Lexington’s most unique neighbourhoods.

The reporter Cameron Drummond translated some of the interviews conducted in Spanish for this project into English.

New Library and Meeting Space

Marksbury Family Branch, Corner of Village Drive and Versailles Road at 8:00 am

Cardinal Valley’s Village Branch Library, its heart.

Versailles Road Library, founded in 2004, offers more than just books. It is not only a place to get books, but also a meeting spot, job training center and hangout for teenagers.

There is a need for more space.

The Marksbury Family Branch Library will open in 2024 and serve diverse communities such as Cardinal Valley, Gardenside.

Before entering the still-under-construction library, Anne Donworth, director of development, marketing and communications for the Lexington Public Library, donned a hard hat.

The first floor will be occupied by conference rooms and other meeting areas. This $17.5 million facility is expected to have a total of almost 23,000 square feet.

Virtual reality will allow people to learn electrical, plumbing and other trades in the first-floor classroom.

A large beveled rooflight is located over the staircase that leads to the second level. This skylight floods the lower floor with natural lighting.

Donworth stated, “We are sharing a wall with Save A Lot. “We wanted plenty of light.”

She stated that neighborhood children requested a separate teen area adjacent to the section for kids on the 2nd floor. The teens’ section is located at the entrance of the second-floor, and will have windows that overlook the main door.

Donworth stated that several teens came here with their younger brothers and sisters after school. They can watch them from here.

Donworth stated that libraries were more than books.

She said, “It is about sharing information.”


Yogikrupa, Gardenside Plaza on Alexandria Drive opens its doors at 10 a.m.

A woman asked for a specific type of Indian blessing leaf. The store owner Krupa Paitel assured her that she would receive the leaf in time for the ceremony.

Krupa and Dip patel launched Yogikrupa six months ago.

Dip Patel, while waiting for his spouse to finish speaking to customers explained to them that Krupa was her name and yogi in Indian culture is the religious figure.

Krupa graduated in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Public Health. Dip Patel, who has been in the retail and grocery industry for over 10 years now, works on Walmart’s online platform.

Alexandria Drive has fewer people and is easier to maneuver than Richmond Road or Nicholasville road. Kroger can be found across the road. Everest is a Nepalese-Indian restaurant in Gardenside Plaza.

Krupa Patel says that many customers come to us for Indian food after shopping at Kroger.

Dip Patel stated that his customers were not limited to Lexington.

Dip Patel stated that some people travel as far as Somerset and Corbin.


Village Branch Library Gardenside Plaza at 11:00 am

Holly Brooks, Guliana Benjaminites and 19-month old Rayan Uredy all stomped their light-up sneakers on the ground as they sang.

Brooks began her toddler storytime with a song that was in Spanish, French, and Swahili. She said it was deliberate. Village Branch welcomes all children.

After storytime, it was Play-Doh Time. Rayan laughed as he contorted and molded his masterpiece out of the malleable dough.

A librarian spoke Spanish on the telephone to a gentleman who just came in carrying a large manila folder full of official documents.

Since Village Branch opened in 2004, the librarians have served as a resource for their community. Jennifer Smith, branch manager at the library said they could help if your child is having trouble with their homework or you are struggling to complete a GED. You need help using the Internet? She said they can also help you with this.

A woman came in carrying a donut box while the toddlers were playing with Play Doh. She gave it to Brian Hocevar. Assistant branch manager.

Hocevar said that it is because she always gets treated so well by us.


El Alazan Western Wear, Alexandria Drive and East New Circle Road, 1:00 p.m.

Cesar Ramirez has steamed and reshaped his cowboy’s hat.

El Alazan Western Wear owner El Alazan Western Wear displays the wide variety of western apparel products at his store in every direction

El Alazan has everything you need, from cowboy hats and shirts to jeans and cowboy belt buckles.

Ramirez opened El Alazan in Alexandria Drive, a restaurant that he owns and operates. He is originally from Guerrero, a state on the Pacific coast of Mexico.

El Alazan is planning to open its second store on East New Circle Road in 2022.

Ramirez said to the Herald-Leader, “I am very proud of what I do because I put a lot heart into it.” I like to see people proud of being at El Alazan.

Ramirez has dressed multiple generations in Lexington during the last decade.

Ramirez stated, “I would like to see people and young people continue certain traditions. “.

Ramirez has a number of traditions, including handmade silver belts and embroidering patterns on belts in the Mexican or Central American style.

Ramirez says that when El Alazan opened for the first time, most of its customers spoke Spanish.

Ariat is a popular brand of apparel for horse riders and workers in other industries. He estimates that English- and Spanish-speaking clients are split 50/50.

Alexandria Drive is near Keeneland Race Course, Red Mile and El Alazan.

Ramirez selected Cardinal Valley as the first El Alazan location because of its role in Lexington as a Spanish speaking hub.

Ramirez added that Cardinal Valley’s population has increased over the years. “Good parents. “Good community”


El Lounge at the corner of Alexandria Drive & Devonport Drive opens at 2 p.m.

El Lounge Ice Cream Shop, near Alexandria Drive and Devonport Drive, was busy in spite of the high temperatures.

Montzerrat Centeno, along with several other friends, opened the Latin Lex Lounge Children’s Community Center in 2014. It is located just down the street from El Alazan Cardinal Valley.

El Lounge began serving delicious Mexican desserts in Lexington by 2015.

Centeno’s sells mangonadas, a sweet-salty fusion of mango sorbet with chamoy and Tajin pepper powder.

Other popular foods include mangonadas and dorilocos.

Centeno says the best part of El Lounge, though, is their yogurt. It comes in different flavors, and it is served along with fruit cocktail.

Centeno, a Mexican food expert, said that Mexican sweets and ice cream are famous for “crazy flavors”.

Centeno: “We sprinkle spicy things on everything.” “.

It’s especially busy on Sundays, after church and in the weeks when nearby soccer matches are held.

It’s always good to have ice cream.

We are close and friendly to the Latino Community. We are there for a Latino who wants to start a business.


Tortilleria Y Taqueria Ramirez opens its doors at 3 p.m. at the corner of Alexandria Drive and Devonport Drive.

Laura Patricia Ramirez, her husband Alberto and their young son moved to the United States of America in 1985.

What is the result now, nearly 40 years later? Central Kentucky’s best authentic restaurant experience.

Tortilleria Y Taqueria Ramirez, a staple in the Mexican cuisine scene of the area, is located at the same shopping center as El Alazan & El Lounge.

Tortilleria Y Taqueria Ramirez started as a grocery store and tortilla making operation before it began to cater to the demand of Mexican food in the locality.

Laura, the owner of this restaurant, explains, “We added more menu items because people wanted to sit and eat things they wouldn’t normally eat in our establishment.”

Christian, their son who works in the restaurant said: “It is nice to see your parents’ work.” Stressful, for sure. “But I love it.”

Fresh tortillas are used to make everything from tacos de pastor al pastor, a traditional pork dish, to tortas de tripa.

Menudo, a Mexican traditional soup, is said to cure a hangover. It’s made from cow stomach and broth.

Laura stated, “I love cooking.”

The restaurant is popular among Lexington’s nonspeakers because of the clippings and plaques behind the counter.

Tortilleria Y Taqueria Ramirez, however, has fostered a community-like feeling among the Spanish-speaking Lexington residents.

El Lounge’s Centeno, the owner of El Lounge, spoke about Tortilleria Y Taqueria Ramirez (and other Latino owned businesses) in a glowing and unprompted manner.

Laura said that Cardinal Valley is like Mexico. You can go shopping, to the supermarket, to the baker, and to the tortilleria. All is close. “Mexington is what people call this place.


Global Lex 1306 Versailles Road at 4:40 pm

Gaston T. Ngandu Sankayi, in the conference room at Global Lex’s back office, rummaged around through some documents before his 5 pm driver education class.

As he sets up a computer screen large enough to view the class for tonight, he greets an early student: “Bonjour. “.

Global Lex’s African expert teaches several driver education courses every week. The class tonight is taught in French. This language is common among African refugee communities.

Sankayi stated that there were over 2,000 Congolese households in Lexington, though the actual number may be lower and more accurate.

After seeing African refugees in traffic accidents and committing violations, the former Fayette county attorney Larry Roberts encouraged Global Lex’s driver education program to begin.

Sankayi, with the help of University of Kentucky (UK) and Kentucky State University (KSU), is working on other projects that will assist African refugees.

Sankayi also noted the difficulty of American food to be digested.

Just before five o’clock, Sankayi is approached by five people.

Gaston replied, “Yes. They all arrived here just fine. “.

The person who answered the phone explained that the group of African refugees got lost. Sankayi, in the weeks to come, will help these African refugees find their way about Lexington. The students will practice their driving test and learn English road signs, while also learning the traffic rules.

Sankayi replied, “The Road is Speaking English. “.


Corner of Alexandria Drive and Cambridge Drive at 5:30 pm

Cynthia Buckner carefully placed fresh vegetables, ready-made meals and toiletries inside the Little Red Blessing Food Box in front of her house.

Buckner stated that he will do anything to ensure more people have food.

The paraeducator of Fayette county Public Schools created the Little Red Blessing Food Box after the Coronavirus pandemic to assist her neighbors that lost their jobs.

She and her friends built the Little Red Blessing Food Box which is more than 4 feet high. It is maintained by her and other neighbors.

Buckner reported that several kids came with a food-filled backpack and stroller from an apartment across the street.

Buckner plans to expand and turn Little Red Blessing Box nonprofit in the coming years.

The cost of the product has been recouped.

Buckner knew someone in his neighborhood who was able to do gutter repairs. The man came to the house, and then contacted her later with an estimate.

He said, “I am afraid that it will be costly.” Buckner held in her breath. He replied, “It is free.” You do so much good for your community.

Buckner says that while there is criminal activity in Cardinal Valley, the area also has many hardworking and good people.

Buckner stated, “We look after each other.” “.


At 6:00 pm, the Arthur Murray Dance Studio can be found at Gardenside Plaza on Alexandria Drive.

Gardenside Plaza and Gardenside have undergone a great deal of change in the last 30 years.

Hunter Lisle is the franchise owner at Arthur Murray Dance Studios.

He was 15 years old and a shy boy. His mother wanted to teach him how to dance. She took him to Arthur Murray at Gardenside Plaza.

Lisle continued dancing and took detours on his way to becoming a professional. It was his passion. Lisle returned to Lexington after traveling the world. In Gardenside Plaza, a new dance studio has opened. Former Arthur Murray had closed for a long time.

He opened the first space station in 2001.

Lisle stated, “We are the biggest Arthur Murray studios in the World and we’re right here in Lexington.”

Lisle, dressed in a custom-made suit and tie with a matching bowtie, chatted up new clients and Arthur Murray Studio customers as the private lessons started. Now the shy child is no more. He has been on television, and even to the White House.

He has been working with “Dancing with the Stars” for many years.

There are private lessons starting at 6 pm, multiple classes and a dance practice party at 9:15 pm.

Ozlem Eva Davis returned to the studio three months after her 13-year absence, and resumed her classes.

Davis says that the visitors to his studio are diverse and friendly.

Lisle believes that dance fosters a feeling of community and connection.

Lisle stated that people want to be connected.

Lisle’s career spans decades and he has met so many people that don’t think they are able to dance.

He said, “If you’re going to dance in the front door then you should.”

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