What’s good here?
When Jim Thompson opened a restaurant in Lexington two years ago, it was important to him that it be a place with an at-home feel and a welcoming atmosphere with good American-themed cuisine.
“We wanted to have a place that would not only be known for the quality of the food but a place where the local community could come after work to socialize in our lounge with people they knew in a Cheers-type atmosphere,” said Thompson. “Our slogan in our lounge is ‘Helping people, making friends’ which, to us, means introducing friends to other friends and so on – creating a social network.”
The end result is The Crescent Moon, a place Thompson – majority owner and managing partner – describes as “casual upscale dining” specializing in wood-fired grilled steaks, market fresh seafood and southern favorites.
Located in Wildcat Plaza at the intersection of Highway 1 and Pisgah Church Road near Lexington High School, The Crescent Moon’s fresh-made-in-house menu items include shrimp and grits with a tasso gravy, Atlantic salmon served over a bed of house-made risotto, honey buttermilk fried chicken breasts, shrimp and scallop coquille, chicken cream basil pasta, wood-fired grilled bone-in pork chops with Granny Smith apple gastrique and she crab bisque. Tuesday night diners can feast on all-you-can-eat crab legs at market price. Thompson and his wife, Susan, also buy locally grown vegetables for the menu when in season.
Another locally grown feature at The Crescent Moon is executive chef Chris Hyler, a Lexington native and graduate of Lexington High School and Johnson and Wales College of Culinary Arts.
“Chris received a lot of his influences and tastes from his experiences in the Charleston area earlier in his career,” Thompson said. “He features daily specials that usually incorporate the fresh catch of the day that is on our menu.”
Diners can also enjoy Sunday brunch each week, which includes the popular shrimp and grits in addition to traditional favorites such as bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, eggs and fried chicken and alternates a special such as fried pork chops or roast beef.
How did Crescent Moon get its start?
After owning and operating Belly’s Southern Pride BBQ across from Lexington High School for several years, Thompson helped open The Crescent Moon in the early summer of 2013.
“The Crescent Moon opened with the idea of having a local restaurant where you could get a quality steak at an affordable price,” Thompson said. “With that original concept the menu grew to items that we felt the the local community would have a demand for. Items that you couldn’t get at the chain restaurants in the area, such as, our shrimp and grits or a fried green tomato on a burger or collards.”
Who eats here?
While the restaurant side of The Crescent Moon draws in a mix of customers, including a large family draw, the lounge side welcomes professionals after work who want to join friends for drinks before dinner. Thompson describes the establishment as a “dual restaurant.”
“We have a wide variety of a customer base and I think that is because of our concept,” Thompson said. “As diverse as it sounds, it works.”
What does the place look like?
An homage to the state symbol and flag in its name and logo, The Crescent Moon features a more relaxed atmosphere during the day and transitions to a more classic, upscale feel in the evening, complete with white table cloths. Walls are decorated with the photographic artwork of local photography artist Kent Porth.
The Crescent Moon
2361 Augusta Highway, Lexington
PRICES: Most menu items range from the mid-teens to the mid-20s (the highest-priced item is a 19 oz. bone-in cowboy ribeye for $28.95) with bar food items averaging $10.
HOURS: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 5 p.m.-10p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. brunch buffet Sunday; 11 a.m.-midnight lounge hours Monday-Saturday.
Janet Jones Kendall