Tolly-Ho Restaurant first opened its doors in November of 1971 at what used to be 108 W. Euclid Ave. (This is now named Winslow St.) In May of 1987, one of the founders – Bob Holopeter – relocated the restaurant to its second location at 395 S. Limestone. We rented that building for many years and waited for the right opportunity to purchase a building of our own. We made what we considered substantial offers on properties in the past but it turned out we are just a little fish in a mighty big pond. But eventually, the time was right and we were able to move to our third and last location.
We’ve looked for a place of our own for years. We were like that young married couple that had been renting and saving and was finally able to buy our own home. Never mind that we were 40 years old – we were young at heart! On May 19, 2011, we officially opened our new location and permanent home at 606 South Broadway.
If you haven’t been to Tolly-Ho Since your college years, you’ll still find the same great food and atmosphere; but now you can park right beside the building!
The name “Tolly-Ho” was formed from the names of the founders, Bob Tolley, and Bob Hollopeter.
Tolly-Ho gained a reputation, and soon became the surrogate home of UK students, and Lexingtonians alike. Bob Hollopeter became known simply as “Papa Ho” because he not only served his customers good food, he treated them like family. In May of 1987, “Papa Ho” relocated Tolly-Ho restaurant to its current location at 395 S. Limestone.
In January of 1991, Bob retired, and sold the restaurant to its current owner, who has continued Bob’s tradition of quality food at a reasonable price in a unique atmosphere. New traditions began. (Like the way that we welcome new customers) Just tell us if you’ve never been here before, and we’ll give you a proper Ho welcome.
How do we serve quality food? We buy high quality, name brand foods, like Kraft, Pillsbury, Tyson, General Mills, Quaker, Fisher, Pioneer, Heinz, Hunts, French’s, Oreo, Reese’s, Hershey’s, Smucker’s, T. Marzetti’s, and many, many, more. We cook everything to order – None of that “heat lamp” stuff here! Our Burgers are made with beef from a local meat company, where it is ground fresh daily, and never frozen. Our eggs are cooked to order from fresh, whole eggs. We use fresh cut veggies on our sandwiches, and only “REAL” cheese. Roy and Sandra have owned the restaurant for over 13 years now. (They purchased it from the founder in 1991.) They both make sure that the consistent quality that they desire is being served. They do this by actually working in the restaurant. She is the head cook in the daytime, and he is the main cook at night.
How do we keep our prices so reasonable? By having such an involved owner! First, have you ever seen an advertisement for Tolly-Ho? No! Because here at Tolly-Ho Restaurant, we never advertise. Not in papers, on the radio, or on TV. So why have we been in business for over 30 years??? Because when people enjoy a restaurant… they talk about it. Other restaurants spend millions on advertising, and pass the cost on to you through higher prices. We rely on happy customers and word-of-mouth advertising. Second, because the owner actually works the restaurant, he doesn’t have to pay someone else big bucks to run it for him. Imagine how much money you would have to spend to pay someone to run your business the way you would run it! Another way that we keep our prices down, is our close relationship with our suppliers. We are constantly watching the market, buying bulk shelved items, and looking for manufacturers’ rebates and specials. We do everything we can to keep low prices without sacrificing the quality.
What about our atmosphere? We can’t really take credit for our unique atmosphere. We owe that to our unique customers, and the traditions they continue. One of our most famous traditions is the way that we welcome new customers. Our returning customers bring in a friend and “initiate” them in the rites of the Ho. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, just come in and say, “Someone told me to tell you that I’ve never been here before”. We’ll show you. Another of our customs is the hanging of the Greek paddles on our line. These are all donated to the Ho by Fraternity and Sorority members. We would also like to contribute some of our exciting atmosphere to our Touch-Tunes digital jukebox, and our pinball and video games. They just make the it even more fun to hang out at Tolly-Ho! But the biggest part of our atmosphere is our customers. Our customers are a mix of just about every personality type imaginable. Anybody will fit in at the Ho, from a formally-dressed party, to a Seattle grunge rock group. We have had such famous visitors as The Judds, The Harlem Globetrotters, Fred Savage, and of course, most of the UK Basketball, Football, Rugby, Swimming, and other UK sports teams. We’ve even (gasp) had Indiana, Duke, Louisville, and Tennessee teams and fans visit on a regular basis. And of course, we’ve had a visit or two from Coach Cal!