Over-the-top sandwiches and wraps in an historical setting
Inside the narrow corner store, “Wanted! Dead or Alive” posters line the brick wall. A newspaper clipping details the $2,000 stolen from this building by Jesse James and the James-Younger Gang when it was The Alexander Mitchell and Co. Bank in downtown Lexington. While the history of the place might draw you in, the food will have you coming back for more.
Charlie and Cathy Laizure opened The Heist II on the main drag in Lafayette County’s seat in 2021. Inside the 172-year-old building Charlie and the crew in the kitchen dish up memorable appetizers, sandwiches, wraps and desserts with plenty of historical nods to Lexington’s rich past.
The Laizures first got into the food business in 2016 when they opened a Mexican-barbecue fusion food truck. That food truck turned into a restaurant in Pleasant Hill and a smaller restaurant in Lexington. The old bank came available, and they decided to jump into a larger restaurant with a new concept.
“We’ve always liked the fresh, cooked-from-scratch food, and we’re just drawn to a small town,” says Cathy. “We love the rustic charm of this building and downtown Lexington is kind of like a Hallmark movie waiting to happen.”
Charlie prides himself on the work that goes into his food even before you place your order. He says originally he looked at having some products brought into the restaurant, but the quality just wasn’t what he wanted. “I found myself trying to doctor it up to what I wanted it to be,” he says. “So we just decided to make that stuff on our own. I didn’t want to count on someone else to bring me an inferior product when I can make it the way we want it.”
Items such as their ranch dressing, southwest and house barbecue sauces are all freshly made. Charlie found the perfect pickle to make their hand-battered and deep-fried pickles. Smoked meats are a constant on The Heist’s menu, and all of that gets done in a small smoker behind the restaurant. Charlie uses hickory and cherry for smoked chicken and pulled pork that is used in the sandwiches and wraps.
For a unique start to your meal, order the Cannon Balls. Bite-size pieces of fresh-cut chicken are paired with slices of jalapeno, onion and Swiss cheese. The whole thing is wrapped in a slice of hickory-smoked bacon and takes a swim in a deep-fryer. It’s served with housemade jalapeno ranch.
“It’s kind of our version of a boneless chicken wing,” Charlie says. “The jalapenos are cooked so it mellows it out a little bit and balances with the cheese and hickory flavor from the bacon.”
The popular appetizer is named after the cannonball that is embedded in a column at the Lafayette County Courthouse. The cannonball has been there since a Civil War battle in the town five years before Jesse James robbed the bank.
If you’re in the mood for a wrap, you’ll have plenty from which to choose. The popular Southwest Chicken Wrap features house-smoked and shredded chicken, bacon, onion ring, lettuce, shredded cheese, tomato and the house southwest sauce, which Charlie describes as more of a spicy mustard. That smoked chicken also is used in the Chicken Que Wrap along with Swiss American cheese, barbecue sauce and pineapple chunks. The wrap is grilled before hitting your table.
Sandwiches are the star of the show here. The Reuben is a favorite among Lexingtonians, but if you’re hungry, opt for The 1866, named for the year of James’ heist. The sandwich is a Reuben-Philly cheesesteak mashup. Corned beef and finely sliced sirloin are cooked on the flattop along with sauerkraut. The meat and kraut are placed between slices of toasted marble rye with Swiss cheese and a generous portion of Thousand Island dressing.
“It’s really a huge sandwich,” Charlie says. “It’s like a Reuben on steroids, so good.”
One mashup menu item that remains from the old food truck days is the Boss Hog, which Charlie created with his son. The dish starts with a one-third pound burger cooked to your liking. The patty is topped with Swiss American cheese, smoked pulled pork, bacon and doused with barbecue sauce. All the sandwiches are served with one of The Heist’s six sides.
Got a sweet tooth and saved room for dessert? Cathy bakes delicious pies, cobblers, cakes and more daily.
If you’re looking to imbibe before or after your meal, impress your friends by ordering the signature drink: The Smoking Gun. The drink is their take on an Old-Fashioned. It starts by muddling a sugar cube, bitters and a little water into a rocks glass. An oversized ice cube is dropped in the glass along with Bulleit bourbon and a smoked orange slice. The glass is topped with a round, wooden block and hit with a small kitchen torch. The top is taken off the smoky drink tableside.
Whether you stop by The Heist for the history, the food or the drinks, the Laizures want to make sure you leave happy and full. “Seeing our customers is what stands out to me,” Cathy says. “The smile on their face when they tell you how good the food was or you ask them and their mouth is so full they can’t say anything. They’re always really happy they have a fresh food option here with us.”
The Heist II
Specialties: Appetizers including Cannon Balls and fried pickles. Sandwiches and wraps including The 1886, Boss Hog and Porkarito. Housemade pies, cobblers and cakes.
Price: Appetizers from $6.95 to $12.95. Sandwiches and wraps from $8.95 to $14.95.
Details: Open Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Sunday to Tuesday. Cash and credit cards accepted. Located at 827 Main St. in Lexington. Contact at 660-259-2692.