You wake up in the morning before your first class. You're hungry but don't necessarily feel like going to the cafeteria. Instead, you decide to go to The Rafskeller. You eat your breakfast while chatting with friends and glancing at the TV overhead.
The Rafskeller offers more than just breakfast. Open from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., the menu at the “Raf" also includes lunch and plenty of choices for mid-day snacks. Its location in the Mitchell Fine Arts Center is perfect for stopping in to eat and talk with professors or grabbing some food for the road.
Enjoy traditional grill items for lunch, including burgers, grilled cheese, grilled chicken, chicken strips, and fries. Or you might prefer a personal pan pizza or a made-to-order sub sandwich. During the cool-weather months, you can choose from homemade chili or a different soup every day. The grab-and-go coolers offer salads, cold sandwiches, and drinks. And there’s always a basket of fresh fruit.
As if the food selection isn't enough, what makes The Rafskeller so unique? Here's a little bit of trivia for you.
The Rafskeller was named after Constantine Rafinesque, a professor of botany, natural history, and modern languages at Transylvania from 1819-26 who published scientific names for over 6,700 species of plants and hundreds of animals and identified 148 prehistoric Indian sites in Kentucky.
Legend has it that Rafinesque was frequently absent from his classes, and the University fired him. Rafinesque left Lexington, cursing the university and its president, Horace Holley. In 1827, Holley died of yellow fever and in 1829, the main building on campus (then located in Gratz Park) burned to the ground. Despite his stormy departure, Rafinesque holds a place of honor in Transylvania’s history and is now entombed in Old Morrison, the administration building.
Two other legends associated with the Raf have to do with the wood partitions that divide the eating areas.
The first says that a former Transylvania trustee donated them. The wood was taken from his barn before it was demolished because he wanted the students to appreciate the rural roots of the Bluegrass state.
The second rumor says that the partitions came out of the very first Long John Silvers Restaurant, which happened to be right here in Lexington, Kentucky.
Which is the true story? We'll just let you decide.