High Cotton Brewing Co. will grandly open its Monroe Avenue Taproom Saturday at 4 p.m. with food, music, and the brewery's lineup of tasty (and even daring) beers.
The taproom has been under construction for months and will open pretty close to the brewery's first birthday. Anticipation for the event has been high.
Like Willy Wonka to the golden ticket winners, the High Cotton owners opened the taproom doors to the Memphis press Thursday. (No one got stuck in a tank of beer, turned into an enormous pint glass, and the bartenders did not sing self-righteous songs against gluttony or anything else.)
The taproom is located right across Monroe Avenue from Kudzu's, the Memphis institution known for live music and a laid-back attitude. One bartender remarked that the proximity will be great for any taproom guest looking for a cocktail and he pointed right across the street to Kudzu's.
The taproom itself is has a warm glow, lit by huge bay windows that face Monroe. It's also spacious with tons of room at the long bar (right out of a Hollywood western), and plenty of high-top and low-top tables. High ceilings make the whole space feel airy and comfortable. Not airy enough for you? High Cotton offers a big covered patio right outside the bar area for a good mix of light, breeze, and shade.
The taproom aesthetic is a spot-on blend of High Cotton's agrarian branding and good-time approach. Reclaimed wood surrounds guests from the tables, the walls, and the ceiling (much of the wood was reclaimed from older parts of the Cotton Exchange building). The wood, the concrete floor, and deliberately un-fancy fixtures create a back-to-basics vibe, bereft of modern-day distractions. It makes it easy to focus on good beer and good company.
A giant, light-bulbed sign that reads, "BEER!," makes it easy to find High Cotton's main event behind the bar. The company's beer has been in Memphis restaurants and bars for a good long while now and many by now are familiar with its mainstay Biere de Garde, ESB, Saison, or Scottish Ale. All of those are present on the tap wall at the Monroe Avenue Taproom, of course.
But High Cotton has always had the creative space to try something different. On tap Thursday was the brewery's delicious, refreshing, and rose-colored Sow & Reap Saison made with with cherries and smoked beets. Try it. You'll like it, especially in the heat. Owners said to expect a wide array of limited-edition beers at the taproom as seasons change or bolts of creativity strike them.
Saturday's grand opening will feature music from Dead Soldiers and food-truck food from Rock 'n' Dough and Stickem. Doors open at 4 p.m. and close at 10 p.m.
High Times At High Cotton
High Cotton invited the Memphis press for a preview of its new taproom.
Cafe Pontotoc, so named because it's near the corner of Pontotoc and S. Main, will open in mid- to late-June, according to owner Milton Lamb.
Lamb says the restaurant will feature a great wine list and beer from local brewers. While the menu is still being worked out, Lamb says it will include a selection of small plates.
Cafe Pontotoc will be in the old Corked Carrot space at 314 S. Main. Lamb says that the space is much the same, though he's brought in some new tables and redid the back bar.
Lamb says the restaurant will initially be open Tuesday to Saturday, starting at 4 p.m., and will eventually expand to 7 days a week. He's also considering having a Sunday brunch.
Lamb calls Cafe Pontotoc a "nice neighborhood hangout." It will be a place, he says, "to sit down and have a conversation."
Owner Demarcus Woodard says that ongoing concerns about the condition of the building, particularly a leaky roof, have prompted the move.
The restaurant opened last fall in the old site of the Neely's barbecue restaurant at 670 Jefferson. The new restaurant is at 1329 Madison near Cleveland, in the former Southern Belle space.
Woodard says there will be seating for about 20 to 30 in the new location and that he is currently busy re-creating the old restaurant's black-and-white decor and French ambience for the new site. He thinks the new space will be open in two weeks or so.
Woodard says that the menu, which focuses on both sweet and savory crepes, will stay mostly the same, but that the new spot on Madison will be more casual, with an eye toward drawing students at nearby schools. Price points will be lower as well.
According to Woodard, the Crêperie had two sets of diners, younger folks looking for a good deal, and those coming for the cuisine. He's aiming to satisfy both at the new restaurant. At the same time, he's been looking at another space in East Memphis for a fine dining restaurant.
I wasn't real pleased when Petra closed its Midtown location, but I am excited to try At's-A-Pizza, which opened in the Petra space at 1560 Union two weeks ago.
At's-A-Pizza is related to the restaurant of the same name in Collierville that closed a few years ago, but only sort of, according to owner Sam Rodriguez.
Rodriguez worked at the Collierville At's-A-Pizza, but he says he has changed the menu for this restaurant.
The menu is extensive and includes paninis, such as the Neapolitan with chicken breast, prosciutto, spinach, and provolone ($8.99); Italian dinners, from baked lasagna ($9.25) to eggplant parmigiana ($9.95); pasta dinners such as linguini with clam sauce ($11.95) and spaghetti and meatballs ($9.85).
There are strombolis, calzones, and sub sandwiches as well. And, of course, At's-A-Pizza offers pizza. Pizza prices start at $2.50 for a slice to $25.95 for an 18-inch specialty pizza.
Among the specialty pizzas are Bacon Cheeseburger, pork or chicken BBQ, Steak and Cheese, and Buffalo Chicken.
At's-A-Pizza runs a lunch special on weekdays, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Diners have six options, ranging from one slice of pizza, a salad, and a drink for $8.25 to a stromboli with two toppings and a drink for $8.75.
Rodriguez is working on a website for the restaurant now, so I scanned the menu for you:
At's-A-Pizza is open Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
The Holding Pen, the bar on the back porch of Hog & Hominy, kicks off its second season Sunday, March 16th, with a crawfish boil.
Sunday's event will unveil the Holding Pen's new theme. Last year's theme of dive bar is gone, and in its place is a raw bar theme.
And with the new theme comes a completely new menu. That means the beloved John T. Edge burger is no more. Gone, too, are the Frito pies and boiled peanuts.
According to Hog & Hominy's manager Matt Farmer, "The menu will feature a variety of different fresh seafood options including but not limited to razor clam ceviche, peel 'em & eat 'em shrimp, oysters, crudo, and multi-tier seafood towers."
As for Sunday's event, the fun begins at 2 p.m. and will last until 5 p.m. when the raw bar will be unveiled. There will be all-you-can-eat crawfish and all-you-can-drink local beer for $15 ($10 for service industry), plus cornhole and bocce ball tournaments. A Selection Sunday watch party follows.
Regular hours for the Holding Pen's raw bar are 5 p.m. to midnight, every day but Sunday.
The original Lost Pizza was launched in Indianola, MS, by Brooks Roberts and Preston Lott in 2007. There are now six locations in Mississippi. Franchise rights for the Memphis store were bought by Will McPherson and Jones McPherson of JJ Brothers.
Among Lost's signature pies are the Lucille with grilled chicken, bacon, and ranch, and the Happy Hippie with spinach, artichoke hearts, black olive, and onions. Lost's menu also features chicken wings, sandwiches, salads, and pasta dishes.
The Memphis restaurant takes over the old Ronnie Grisanti's space in Chickasaw Crossing. According to Jim Hunter Walsh, director of operations for JJ Brothers, extensive work has been done to the interior. The bar has been moved and the kitchen updated. The floors are new, as are the finishes.
The restaurant will seat about 140 inside. An outdoor patio, seating 25 to 35, has been created from two parking spaces and the sidewalk along the west side of the building.
Prior to the March 21st opening, Lost Memphis will be having "invite-only" seatings on March 18th, 19th, and 20th at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., 6 p.m., 7 p.m., and 8 p.m.
Proceeds from the days' sales up to $10,000 will go to the Junior League of Memphis.
As to the "invite-only" of the March 18-20th preview, Walsh says if you show up at the seating times sans invite, you in most likelihood won't be turned away.
Loeb Properties issued a press release this morning announcing that a lease has been signed for Schweinehaus, a German restaurant that will go in the former Paulette's site in Overton Square.
From the release:
A lease has been signed at 2110 Madison Avenue in Overton Square for Schweinehaus, a restaurant by Chef David Scott Walker featuring Bavarian cuisine with a local flare. Touting the tagline “A Celebration of Pork and Bier,” Schweinehaus will offer full table service by wait staff in Germanic dress and communal, handmade wood tables in the style of a classic Oktoberfest beer hall. …
Walker aims to source as many ingredients as possible from local purveyors. The beer selection will offer an equal mix of traditional Bavarian beers and locally made brews. “The focus will be to bring guests together through sharing tables, telling tall tales over a liter of lager and enjoying a grilled wurst or a hot pretzel,” says Walker. “We aim to provide an atmosphere that feels like Germany in Midtown Memphis.”
The restaurant is slated to open in late summer.
Loeb Properties issued a press release this morning with news about a new restaurant, Belly Acres, coming to Overton Square.
From the release:
Belly Acres, a new farm to table burger restaurant concept by Ben McLean, signed a lease for 3,894 SF of space at 2102 Trimble Place in Overton Square. The restaurant will be located on the east side of the new Tower Courtyard with a patio overlooking the area. McLean, who has previously worked with Huey’s, Soul Fish and Alchemy, is also assisting in the opening of Lettuce Eat in Germantown. ….
Belly Acres promises to be an energetic, environmentally responsible restaurant. Operators will source ingredients locally and offer a variety of burger options to accommodate all dietary preferences from carnivorous to vegetarian to gluten-free. McLean plans to work with at least three local farms to provide the restaurant’s ingredient supply
The restaurant, slated to open in May, will have a kid-friendly design, “a mix between Willy Wonka’s farm and the City Museum in St. Louis.”
If you've been driving by 585 S. Cooper hoping to find the Midtown iteration of Muddy’s Bake Shop, or at least a reassuring construction zone, don’t panic.
As Hungry Memphis originally reported in August, owner Kat Gordon hoped for a February opening. Instead, pending approval of architectural plans, construction should begin in February with a best-case opening in June.
Among the elements conspiring against Gordon: maternity leave for a key employee, a typical holiday bog down for construction projects, and most of all, her sense of duty to the brand. (That’s code for perfectionism.)
Gordon plans to open the store early — perhaps 6:30 a.m. — and offer an extensive selection of coffee, an expanded muffin menu, seasonal fruit scones and quiche to accommodate morning commuters. (The current location at 5101 Sanderlin opens at 11 a.m.)
Work on the restaurant, called Tyboogie's Cafe, began in November 2012, according to its Facebook page. Progress has continued since then to remodel the former grocery store at 101 North Main Street.
"We are making tracks to get the restaurant open," read a Monday post. "We all hope you like country cookin' at its best!"
"A considerable" amount of the produce used in the dishes at Tyboogie's will be grown at Whitton Farms, the Forrester's farm, the post said. The same farm-to-table philosophy is the backbone of the Forrester's Trolley Stop Market in Memphis on Madison.
In addition to opening the restaurant, the Forresters plan to open their farm for public sales six days a week.
Restaurateur Taylor Berger and attorney Michael Tauer, the duo behind the Truck Stop restaurant concept planned for the corner of Central and Cooper, held a standing-room-only community meeting tonight at First Congregational Church to discuss their plans and answer questions.
The Truck Stop is a hybrid concept that combines a restaurant serving small plates, adult beverages, and desserts with parking space for a rotating cast of three food trucks. Diners place their order for any menu item at the restaurant or from the food trucks' menus at one counter so no one has to stand in line at a food truck. The trucks will stay on the lot for several hours at a time, and when they leave, other food trucks will take their place.
There are plans for an indoor dining area and a patio seating area in the back facing the existing rail line. The restaurant will be created using 12 to 16 metal shipping containers that will be cut up to create open spaces and areas for natural lighting. Customer parking on the small lot will be kept to a minimum (only 16 parking spaces) to allow for a more pedestrian-friendly design.
While many in attendance expressed support for the concept, concerns were raised about the industrial look of the shipping containers. Tauer and Berger are currently seeking a zoning variance to use the containers on the property. Although the space is currently zoned for industrial use and does allow shipping containers for such uses, a variance must be sought to use shipping containers for commercial use.
Others expressed concern that the Truck Stop would increase traffic at the already busy intersection of Cooper and Central. Currently, the Truck Stop's design has one entrance (on Central) and one exit (on Cooper) for cars. But many residents said the exits and entrances should be switched so that cars exit on Central instead because the lane under the exiting railroad trestle on Cooper becomes clogged during rush hours.
Currently, that property is occupied by Midtown Nursery, and owner Michael Earnest was out of town when Loeb Properties, who owns the property, allowed Tauer and Berger to sign their 10-year lease for the Truck Stop. Earnest's lease was up for renewal, and he claims he had a verbal agreement to renew. Tauer and Berger said they were not made aware that Earnest was being forced out of the property until after they'd signed the lease.
Several residents spoke up about that situation, asking if the Truck Stop could move to another location and allow Midtown Nursery to stay where it is. But Tauer said they have a legal obligation to stay at Central and Cooper now that the lease has been signed.
An especially tense moment came when Earnest, who was at tonight's meeting, and Bob Loeb, owner of Loeb Properties, had a conversation in front of the meeting's audience about the situation. Loeb offered to meet with Earnest in private to discuss the matter further. But Earnest's daughter Whitney Taylor directed her concerns at Tauer and Berger.
"Why would you see an established business there [on Central and Cooper] and think you'd like be there?" Taylor asked.
"We would love to stay. We would love to be there," Earnest told the room.
But despite the situation between Loeb and Midtown Nursery, Tauer said the Truck Stop was committed to the location. He said they were still open to tweaking the design, especially in ways that would ease the traffic congestion concerns.
Tauer and Berger plan to take their zoning variance request to the Board of Adjustment meeting in January.
Second Line, Kelly English's much-anticipated sister restaurant to Creole-swanky Restaurant Iris is set to open later this fall.
English named the restaurant after the famous "second line" parades in New Orleans, explaining, "Basically, what we have at Second Line is a more casual, rowdy parade that's following this more organized parade that we have [at Iris]."
Rowdy as in the andouille, crawfish, and pimento cheese fries, which appear on the "Eat These Things First" appetizer section of the menu. There, too, is a roasted beet and feta shwarma (!) and crabmeat and fresh corn hushpuppies.
Some of the names of the sandwiches in the "Poboys" section of the menu may ring a bell: We know already that Justin Fox Burks of the Chubby Vegetarian offered input for the Chubby Vegetarian Mushroom Debris, but what Chris Vernon did to inspire the Verno-braised Chicken Thighs & Swiss ... ????
In "Plates," there's Fried Gulf shrimp as well as Mississippi Catfish Sauce Piquant.
Finally there's the "Groceries" section, which features "Hot" Potato Salad, Fancy Ass Cole Slaw, stewed beet greens, and cheese grits.
You can check out the full "opening" menu yourself: secondlineopeningmenu.pdf
The sleek, chic Fly Lounge opened in FedExForum Wednesday and brought an experience world’s away in ambience, offerings, and attitude from the arena’s current mix of bars and restaurants.
Fly Lounge has a glitzy, major-metro feel with a clean and modern design and one meant to offer patrons a range of experiences from the communal at the long, freestanding bar to the intimate at a row of low tables along a wall.
The lounge is the Forum’s grand lobby in the same space that was the former home of the Grizzlies team store.
“The idea was to create a destination place in the Forum,” said Fly Lounge founder Steve Adelman, a nightclub maven with properties in Los Angeles and in Asia. “We wanted to build something a little bit more upscale and a little bit different so that it could be a destination - sort of sleek and simple.”
Adelman said the target clientele is really anyone looking for the kind of experience the Lounge offers but it’s clearly aimed at the hip and elite as it can accommodate VIP requests and offers a champagne menu that tops out at $400 for a bottle of Christal.
Memphis chef Kelly English is the man behind the food menu at Fly Lounge, which promises “fresh, health-inspired” fare. The seemingly ubiquitous English is the owner and chef of Restaurant Iris and the soon-coming Second Line. He’s also the chef of the Forum’s Lexus Lounge and serves up po’boys and more at his Crossroads concession stand in the arena.
Michael Hughes, the celebrated Memphis mixologist (and Flyer friend), concocted the cocktails for Fly Lounge. Hughes is the general manager of Joe’s Wines & Liquors and the winner of a long list of cocktail competitions.
“We want guests at FedExForum to begin and end their nights with a memorable experience in food, entertainment, and nightlife,” said Memphis Grizzlies & FedExForum COO Jason Wexler.
The Square Meals on Wheels truck is parked until Saturday, as Clark is now busy with the soft-opening phase of the new Square Meals Cafe at 6745 Lenox Center Court.
According to Clark, a L'Ecole Culinaire graduate and current president of the Memphis Food Truckers Alliance, he became aware of the space at Lenox Center while working in his food truck nearby. The business at that spot was leaving and he was asked if he would be interested.
"I jumped on it," he says.
The soft opening for a Square Meal Cafe continues through Friday. It officially opens on Monday, October 14th.
The menu, which Clark describes as "fine cuisine with a touch of soul," will be an extension of the Square Meal on Wheel's offerings, most notable for its lobster roll and fish tacos.
The cafe will have daily specials, such as New Orleans-style tilapia in a seafood sauce. For vegetarians, there's veggie tacos, sauteed vegetables, and quesadillas. "I cater to all appetites," says Clark.
The Square Meal Cafe will also serve breakfast, from 7:30-9:30 a.m. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Clark plans to continue running a Square Meal on Wheels Tuesdays through Fridays and bring the truck to special events. The truck's next stop is Saturday's South MEMfix event.