Windy Corner Market and Restaurant sits north of Lexington amid some of America’s most legendary horse farms. In her newest venture, chef/owner Ouita Michel aims to create another legend with a restaurant that honors local farmers and great food.
We use Kentucky ingredients in our recipes, we have Kentucky foodstuffs for sale on our shelves.
Windy Corner’s menu features Po-Boy sandwiches on locally made brioche, burgers, salads, seafood, breakfast, bakery goodies, soft-serve ice cream and more. Dinner specials range from meatloaf to steamed lobster, from local pasta to catfish. Wine and beer, including Kentucky-produced favorites, are available.
Windy Corner is fashioned after an old country store. “We knew we wanted a new place that felt as old as the wonderful historic buildings that house Windy Corner’s sister restaurants, Wallace Station Deli and Bakery and Holly Hill Inn in neighboring Woodford County,” Michel said.
The siding and floors are made from reclaimed wood; there’s beadboard on the walls; the roof is red; lilacs and lavender dot the landscape; and a screened-in porch sits out back.
Our aim for Windy Corner is to provide a market for Kentucky farms. We invite you to join our quest to build our local farming and food communities and economies by eating and buying local foods.
Mark began working in the restaurant business at age 18, after graduating from Henry Clay High School. He started at Arby’s. “I was ready to get a job and to stand on my own two feet, and this was the first job available to me.
“It happened to be the one I fell in love with,” Mark said.
He also cooked at Bennigan’s, Rafferty’s, the Marriott Griffin Gate and for 13 years at the Holiday Inn North in Lexington, where he began as a line cook and worked his way up to chef.
Being a hotel chef is different than being chef at Windy Corner.
“It’s more relaxing at Windy Corner. I like staying busy and working hard every day, Mark said. “Hotel work is more paperwork, paperwork, paperwork. I didn’t have to get my hands dirty except for big parties.”
Mark had also worked throughout the years in construction, tobacco and grocery business, but the love of cooking always brought him back to restaurants.
He left the hotel and told his wife, Maryann, he wanted to return to school to study cooking. “I figured it was something I needed and could learn more than what I learned on the job.”
Mark contacted Sullivan University in Lexington about its culinary arts program.
“They took me on a little tour, I saw the kitchen, the students, and talked with them and the chefs, and liked it.” He graduated with an associate’s degree.
“I very much learned more. I wish I had done it years ago.”
Through a fellow student at Sullivan, Mark applied for a job as line cook at Windy in 2010. He auditioned for then-chef Cameron Roszkowski on a busy Sunday morning, and was hired. Ouita named Mark as executive chef in 2012.
“We work well together here; we are like a family. It makes the hard work really easy.”
“Off time, me and my boys hit the pond. Wherever there’s water and we can get our poles in, that’s where we’ll be.
“We are not catch-and-release unless they’re too small. We eat and share with the neighbors. We have a good time when we go.”
Mark also enjoys following his two youngest children in sports: Markiara, who plays high school softball and basketball at Bryan Station Middle and High schools. Mark Jr. plays football for Bryan Station Middle School and baseball. He and Maryann also have five grown children.
Jennifer Morrison has a thing for the elderly and babies.
“I love all the little babies who come here,” she said. “The employees here call me ‘Mama.’”
Jennifer became a mother right after high school in Prestonsburg, marrying and having her first child at 16.
Jennifer’s own mama, Virginia DeRossett, lives with Jennifer and her husband, Bud, in Lexington. Jennifer moved her mother and father, Robert, from Prestonsburg — Robert owned a Ford dealership there — when their health began to decline a few years ago. “We used to go to Prestonsburg three times a week to get her hair done and go to the grocery.” Her parents continued to have health problems, so she sold their house and moved them to Lexington. Her father died in 2007. Her mother celebrated her 90th birthday with a big party in 2011.
Before she began working in restaurants, Jennifer was a nurse’s aide, working in a nursing home, hospital and home health care.
Before she and Bud moved to Lexington from Prestonsburg in 1998 — “We knew we wanted to live in Lexington” — Jennifer took a job as a server at Cracker Barrel, driving from Prestonsburg while Bud looked for a job. After moving, she worked at Shoney’s and became a manager. She then worked three years at Golden Corral, then left her job as day-shift manager to care full time for her parents.
After seven years, Jennifer wanted to return to work. Manager Frank Bickel hired her soon after Windy Corner opened in October 2010.
Jennifer’s favorites on the Windy menu are the fresh salads and the Kentucky Combination Po-Boy. She enjoys working at Windy Corner. “The customers are friendly, we all get along good and I love working out in the country.”
In her off time, her favorite activity is going to see her grandbabies in Prestonsburg, Lexington, Wisconsin and Connecticut.