Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Korean BBQ To Open in Cooper-Young, etc.

Posted By on Tue, Aug 23, 2016 at 11:42 AM


Jun Lee says the original plan was to open the second DWJ Korean Barbecue in Oxford, but then real estate agent Robert Taylor turned Lee on to the old Greencork space in Cooper-Young. 

The original DWJ is on Hacks Cross and is three times bigger than the Greencork space. Lee estimates that the new restaurant will seat between 30 and 40. Lee and his brother/business partner are doing much of the work on the new space themselves while still running the Hacks Cross restaurant. 

Lee says the Cooper-Young DWJ menu will offer about half the dishes that the Hack Cross one offers, but diners should expect such signature dishes as the Korean pancake, pajeon, and, of course, barbecue. And while Lee says he doesn't plan to compete with his Cooper-Young neighbors cocktail-wise, he does plan to serve soju, which he describes as a liquor that is like "a sake-slash-vodka." 

Tables will be outfitted with a grill/warmer that were ordered specially from Korea. 

"We'll try to follow a similar footstep as the old restaurant," says Lee. "It's a different scene here [Cooper-Young], a different crowd. We'll be as authentic as we can, but the style of service will be slightly different, a bit more faster-paced." 

Lee hopes to have the restaurant open in time for the Cooper-Young Festival on September 17th. The restaurant will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. 

• Cristina McCarter of City Tasting Tours is looking to expand. She wants to offer the tour during weekdays and is looking for someone to help lead the tours. Interested? You can contact McCarter through her website, citytastingtours.com. The ideal candidate, says McCarter, is "somebody who loves the city." 

McCarter is also hoping to add a supper club on Thursday nights. 

Indian Pass Raw Bar, based out of Florida, is opening its second location in the old Chiwawa space on Madison. 

From the press release: 

Ralph Roberson and Ralph Rish (managers of the McNeill’s Indian Pass Raw Bar) along with two silent partners, with the agreement of the McNeill family decided that Memphis is the perfect setting for bringing a piece of old Florida history to Tennessee. The mix with Memphis cuisine and music will be a great combination. The Chiwawa building location on Madison Avenue at Overton Square will be the perfect place to re-create the rustic atmosphere of an old Florida seafood dive, and to treat Memphis to a great, fun experience. Seafood, music and sports in a great, fun, casual place. The Chiwawa building already has a rustic appearance and with modest renovations we can create a great atmosphere for a raw bar. The deck is a big part of why we selected this building. The outside deck is important to our raw bar concept. A place in the outdoors where we can enjoy great seafood, live music, sports on big screen TVs and other events. This will be more than just another place to eat.

We are still in the planning stages for design and hope to begin renovations within the next few weeks. We hope to open around the first of December.

There is an old family tie to Tennessee. Mr. James T. McNeill Jr. (family patriarch – deceased 2010) attended the University of Tennessee while training to be a bomber pilot in WWII. The McNeill legacy returns to Tennessee.

The Farmer is now open in the space formerly occupied by Just For Lunch. Check out my vegetable plate above. 

Porktoberfest is set for October 7th-8th at the Memphis Botanic Garden. The event will feature a barbecue cooking contest, food trucks, and pork-centric dishes from 20 area restaurants.


• Hollywood Feed Bakery recently opened at the Union Avenue store. Offered are fresh-baked biscuits, cookies, and cakes, such as the strawberry almond cake ($20) pictured above. Everything is wheat- and white sugar-free. 


* The 2nd Annual Wine on the River is set for October 1st. The event benefits Youth Villages. and features a "World Tour" of wines. Tickets are $49. 

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Guess Where I'm Eating Contest 109

Posted By on Mon, Aug 15, 2016 at 10:56 AM

Something a little lighter for these hot summer days ... 

The first person to ID the dish and where I'm eating wins a fabulous prize. 

To enter, submit your answer to me via email at ellis@memphisflyer.com

The answer to GWIE 108 is a) Gay Hawk Restaurant and b) Loflin Yard, and the winner is ... Actually, no one got this one. I think this is the third time this has happened.  

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Kooky Canuck Announces Move

Posted By on Fri, Aug 12, 2016 at 11:06 AM


The owners of Kooky Canuck announced they are moving their downtown restaurant after 11 years. 

The restaurant is moving next door, to 87 S. 2nd.  

From the press release: 

The Dankos expect to make the transition to the new location at the end of October. The new restaurant space requires a full build out and Graham Reese Design Group will play a large role in the design. The Dankos plan to keep many of the original lodge elements of the restaurant while giving it a more updated look. There are plans to expand the number of draft beer offerings which will include more local brews and there will be some menu changes along with the addition of a brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays. The new space will also feature several large doors which open up to Second Street creating a patio-like environment. 

The Dankos will be hosting several large events to launch the new location. 

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Sushi Jimmi To Open Restaurant, etc.

Posted By on Wed, Aug 10, 2016 at 4:12 PM


Sushi Jimmi
's Jimmy Sinh confirmed plans for a new restaurant at the old Wendy's on Poplar across the street from Senses. 

He hope to have the restaurant open by October or November. 

Sinh says the restaurant's menu will be the same as the food truck, but there will be more wiggle room. He envisions having a Taco Tuesday or throwing in specials like fajitas. 

Sinh is also starting a second food truck that will serve Vietnamese sandwiches (!). He hasn't settled on a name for the venture yet, but he's been busy training staff, so expect to see it on the road soon.

Pink Diva Cupcakery and Cuisine is switching its focus and will now concentrate on catering and its food truck. The restaurant on Florida is now closed. 

Pink Diva's Cassi Conyers says she hopes to have the food truck operating in the next month. She says that traffic to the restaurant was often slow. With the truck, she can go to the traffic. 

Also in the works is a vegan cupcake mix. She says a mix is much easier to ship than a cupcake. 

"I'm taking it in a new direction," says Conyers of Pink Diva. "In the last year and a half, I've accomplished a lot." 

Pink Diva caters corporate events, birthday parties, etc. More info here

Frost Bake Shop will hold a ribbon cutting for its second location in Collierville at 1016 W. Poplar on Tuesday, August 16th, 11:30 a.m.

The new shop is considerably bigger than the East Memphis location, and there are plans for classes as well as private parties in the space. 

Celtic Crossing recently announced some changes, including the installation of a new mosquito repellant system (!). 

They also have a couple new menu items (Irish nachos!), a seasonal wine menu, and a new manager, Christopher Darling, who has an eye toward efficiency. 

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

4 Dumplings Closed, more news

Posted By on Wed, Aug 3, 2016 at 1:15 PM

4Dumplings has shut its doors. 

From restaurant's Facebook page: 

After a year's preparation and two and half years of operation, we have decided it's time to close 4Dumplings. We are proud of what we had done for our community, proud of the small impact we had made for eating clean, but we also realized that being the restaurant owner/ operator is a little too much of a job for us... We have sacrificed too much meaningful family time together. We are sad that we started something wonderful, but couldn't carry it to the end, but we know we need a more balanced life so we can do some other things that could be even more important and more rewarding from many levels. 4dumplings has taught us so much and we will always be grateful. Last but not the least, we want to thank all our guests for allowing us the opportunity to serve you!!!
Another Broken Egg opens its second Memphis location on August 8th, but biscuit beignet lovers can get an early and free (!) taste on Friday, August 5th, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and Saturday, August 6th, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. 

Both days are set as fund-raisers. Friday's proceeds go to the Ronald McDonald House and Saturday's go to St. Jude. You can book reservations at NewATABE.com

$15 at Pho Binh
  • $15 at Pho Binh

• The second BreakFest has been set for September 24th, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., on Broad. Includes a bloody mary contest and a waffle bar (!). 

Proceed go to the Urban Bicycle Food Ministry. 


• Have you checked out Blooming Bubble Tea at the Wolfchase Mall? 

Blooming Bubble offers an extensive list smoothies and milk teas, plus sno cones and macarons. You also get a choice of tapioca pearls or popping boba (and, yes, these pop in your mouth!). 

• The first Fourth Bluff Friday is set for August 12th, 4:30-9 p.m., at Memphis Park near the law school. There will be a pop-up beer garden courtesy of Tap Box and food from Monkey Train and Stick'em. 

Continues on the second Friday of the month through October. 

Paradox Underground is a new dining club from chef Jimmy Gentry. The first event is set for August 26th, and the dinner will include five courses plus wine, cocktails, and beer. 

There will be at least five dinners a year, with special guest chefs cooking with Gentry. 

More info here

99 cent Soul Food Express is now open. All dishes are served a la carte. Guests make their way through line, pointing out what they want, sorta like Picadilly. 

Seen above is the lima beans, mac n cheese, fried green tomatoes, and a corn bread muffin, about $6. 

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Monday, August 1, 2016

Guess Where I'm Eating Contest 108

Posted By on Mon, Aug 1, 2016 at 10:03 AM

A two-parter this week. One old, one new. 



The first person to guess BOTH places where I'm eating wins a fabulous prize. 

To enter, submit your answer to me via email at ellis@memphisflyer.com. 

The answer to GWIE 107 is Gus's fried chicken, greens, and mac n cheese at Gus's, and the winner is ... Elizabeth Ennis!

Thanks to Cristina for the image! 

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Relevant Roasters To Become French Truck Coffee

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 3:48 PM

Geoffrey Meeker of French Truck Coffee
  • Geoffrey Meeker of French Truck Coffee

Geoffrey Meeker of the New Orleans-based French Truck Coffee has entered into a partnership with Jimmy Lewis of Relevant Roasters

Relevant Roasters will be rebranded French Truck Coffee, with Lewis in charge of the Memphis operation. The rebranding is set for September. In addition, they will open a roaster and cafe in the Crosstown Concourse building. 

Meeker started French Truck out of his home in 2012. He says he got into coffee via his cousin.

"She brought me a bag of coffee from a San Francisco roaster that was roasted the day before she got on the plane, and it was an epiphany," Meeker says. "I couldn't understand why coffee could be so good and I had never had it before. I then set about reverse-engineering to see how it could be done."

Meeker, who has a background as a chef, started the micro-roaster out of his laundry room. The coffee was delivered to customers' homes via a vintage truck. 


French Truck outgrew the laundry room. The business was moved into a warehouse with a coffee bar like Relevant's. There is now a French Truck Cafe as well.

It sells 14 types of coffee — 8 single-origin, 6 blends. 
According to Meeker, Lewis first contacted him to compare notes on the roasting business, and, eventually, Lewis asked him he was interested in a partnership. Meeker initially told him no before reconsidering what combining the brands might mean. 

As for the rebranding of Relevant into French Truck, Meeker explains the reason, "It's twofold: We feel, and Jimmy is of this opinion, that our brand is a really strong brand and it's got a lot of legs. And number two, if we were to remain two separate entities as far as naming goes, we wouldn't be able to capitalize on some of the efficiencies of having a larger operation because we would be buying two kinds of bags, two different websites, etc., etc., etc."

"Some of the steps that we've already taken and some of the lessons we've already learned get added into what Relevant was doing. We wouldn't have done this if Jimmy hadn't stayed on board," Meeker adds. 

The Crosstown Concourse French Truck will be a roaster/cafe with large windows on all sides so customers can get a peek into the roaster. The cafe will serve a European-inspired menu and beer and wine. Meeker envisions for the space coffee-centric education events, pop-up restaurants, and cuppings. 

Says Meeker of the partnership, "Jimmy already has amazing equipment. With our background in buying coffee and his background in roasting and us putting all that together, it just means that the Relevant Roaster product when it becomes French Truck is going to take one step forward as far as quality goes and the coffee that we're going to be selling in Memphis is world class, on par with what you might find in San Francisco and New York." 

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Music, Food, Fun at First Caribbean Jerk Festival

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2016 at 3:39 PM


The first annual Memphis Caribbean Jerk Festival took place at the Water Tower Pavilion on Broad Street last Saturday. The festival featured jerk food vendors, live music and/or a deejay all day, face painting, and vendors selling clothing, jewelry, cigars, and fragrances.
At the Memphis Caribbean Jerk Festival
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At the Memphis Caribbean Jerk Festival

Frank Chin took in all the action at the first Memphis Caribbean Jerk Festival. 

By Frank Chin

Click to View 20 slides

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Guess Where I'm Eating Contest 107

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 11:38 AM

People dodge traffic for this stuff ... 


The first person to correctly ID the dish and where I'm eating wins a fabulous prize. 

To enter, submit your answer to me via email at ellis@memphisflyer.com

The answer to GWIE 106 is the scrambled eggs, hash browns, and biscuits at Barksdale, and the winner is ... Leslie Thompson! 

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Vintage 901 Wine Fest, etc.

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 2:55 PM


Vintage 901, a new wine festival, is set for March 10-12, 2017. 

The three-day event will include dinners, live music, and food trucks. It will be hosted by Laurie Forster, sommelier and author of The Sipping Point: A Crash Course in Wine. 


Cosmic Coconut is closed while they remodel, but no worries, juiceheads, the CC juice truck is operating outside the Sanderland site, 7:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. 

A limited menu of juices, smoothies, and wheatgrass and ginger shots are being served. 


• I would buy this wine for the bendy straw alone. Available at Miss Cordelia's


Memphis Flyer Burger Week runs through Tuesday. This here is the Bluff City Burger from Huey's. 

McAlister's Deli is offering locals a free 32 oz. sweet tea all day long on Thursday, July 21st. 

To prepare for the day, according to a press release, McAlister's conducted a survey, which found that more than half of those surveyed would rather give up chocolate than a cold glass of sweet tea. This couldn't possibly be true, but ... FREE SWEET TEA! 

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Sacred 8 Dinner Series, and more news

Posted By on Thu, Jul 7, 2016 at 4:22 PM


• Friends, this may be the only culinary event in Memphis, if not the world, inspired by the movie Point Break — and not the infamous Patrick Swayze/Keanu Reeves vehicle but the remake. 

Chef Phillip Levy has created a series of eight supper club dinners called Sacred 8, which is a nod to a Japanese philosopher character and his eight feats of nature in Point Break, Levy says.

The dinners will be titled — "Master of Eight Lives," "Emergence of Ice," "Illuminating Earth," "Ultimatum," etc. Each will have a menu reflective of the season. For example, Levy says he's considering for the first dinner, held on August 13th, serving as one of the courses a quail egg with the yolk representing the sun. 

The dinners are limited to 35 guests. Location and menu will be revealed on the day of the event.


Levy, who is 27, trained under Andreas Kisler at the Peabody before moving to San Diego and then making his way back to Memphis. He now works as a personal chef.  

The tagline for Sacred 8 is "Are you ready for the challenge?" and the last dinner is called the "Ultimatum."  It's at the beginning of the summer, and I'm thinking of serving a tricky dish you don't want to try." 

• Attention barbecue lovers, Chef Shuttle announced Tuesday that they are now delivering Rendezvous. 

* Boscos Squared will reopen tomorrow after being closed since July 4th for renovations. A rep calls it a freshening up with new paint for the bar and the floors redone. 


• Picked up this big little cake from Bluff City Coffee. I guess it's about 3 or four slices. They have chocolate, carrot, and strawberry. Cakes are $10. 

Y'all must not want Mrs. Winner's, after all. The crowdfunding campaign has raised only $285 out of its $32,000 goal. Nine days are left in the campaign. 


• Sammy Hagar sighting at Sammy Hagar's Red Rocker Bar & Grill. (Is that bear Sammy Hagar too????) 

Hagar was in town to present checks, totalling $50,000, to the local charities the Mid-South Food Bank, The Boys and Girls Club of Crittenden County, and the Steudlein Learning Center. 

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Flyer Cocktail Hour: Staff Samples New-to-Memphis Vodkas

Posted By on Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 3:23 PM

Two new vodka brands — LEAF Vodka and Khortytsa — are area available in Memphis by way of Athens Distributing.


A representative for the companies shipped the Flyer staff some samples to review, so on Friday afternoon, we had a little office cocktail hour. What can we say? Journalism is hard work, but somebody has to do it.


I tried the LEAF Vodka mixed with locally made (and incredibly spicy) Nikki's Hot Ass Bloody Mary Mix. LEAF is made with Rocky Mountain mineral water, which the company claims lends the vodka "a warm and savory impression." I've no idea what a warm and savory impression tastes like, but I can attest that this vodka is incredibly smooth. LEAF might be best enjoyed in a vodka martini, where nothing could come between its flavor and your mouth.


The Nikki's mix is great, but it's spiciness does tend to mask delicate flavors, meaning Nikki's is ideal for mixing with just about any vodka — high- or low-end. LEAF Vodka retails for about $19 for a 750mL bottle, a decent price for a vodka this good. Bonus: It's certified USDA organic.

Flyer reporter Chris Davis also had a bloody mary, and he said the LEAF Vodka "made my bloody merry." Reporter Toby Sells, who had his LEAF mixed with Simply Lemonade, said "I could hardly taste it, which means it was good vodka."


Next up was the Khortytsa vodka, an import from the Ukraine. They sent us their Platinum Vodka and their Honey Hot Pepper Vodka. Apparently, Khortytsa is the third biggest seller of vodka in the world, but they're just starting to enter the U.S. market. The Khortytsa (pronounced Hor-Ti-Tsa) Distillery was named among the world’s best distilleries at the 2014 New York International Spirits Competition. From the press release: "It uses a local organic filter containing schungite (a unique natural mineral) which allows it to get as close as possible to the structure of natural water. The filtration process is further enhanced with special birch and alder-tree charcoal and quartz sand sourced near the famous Crystal Mountains of the Urals near Yekaterinburg, Russia."

But how does it taste? I sampled the Platinum straight up, and it was smooth sailing. I could seriously just drink this stuff on the rocks (with a little water mixed in, of course). 

I didn't try the Honey Hot Pepper because, as a vegan, I don't consume products that contain honey. And while we weren't entirely sure if the honey was just an added flavor or actually in the product, I didn't take a chance. However, a few other staffers tried it, and there were mixed reviews.

Managing editor Susan Ellis tried it straight-up, and she said, while the vodka was smooth, she couldn't taste a pepper flavor or a honey flavor. IMB editor Richard Alley had his mixed with Nikki's Hot Ass mix, and he said he couldn't taste anything besides the mix, which he said was too hot for him. Flyer graphic designer Brian Rollins said the Honey Hot Pepper Vodka smelled like a hospital, and I took whiff and agreed. It had a sterile aroma, like something you might use to clean off medical equipment. I didn't notice that smell in the Platinum Khortytsa.

The LEAF Vodka was definitely the staff favorite, but I'd say the Platinum Khortytsa was smoothest vodka of the bunch.

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Friday, July 1, 2016

The Latest from DeJaVu, Kimbal Musk, other news

Posted By on Fri, Jul 1, 2016 at 11:13 AM

* A DeJaVu in Midtown? 

Not exactly, says chef/owner Gary Williams. 

The Renaissance, an event venue at 1588 Madison, is now serving Williams' Creole fare, but it is not, says Williams, an extension of the DeJaVu brand. 

The DeJaVu food truck is, however, part of the brand. Williams says the truck is ready to go and is waiting to make its debut. 

"Get out the way," he says. "We're coming." 


• Did you read the story at Eater, "Why Kimbal Musk Is Opening a $5-And-Under Restaurant Concept"?

It was um ... 

"This is a park [Shelby Farms where the Kitchen will be] that's meant for all of Memphis and the population of the city lies across the income spectrum — it's not located in a wealthy part of town," says Musk.
and er ... 

"When we look at the restaurants that serve most people in Memphis, it's places like McDonald's and other fast food joints," he says. 
(just like every city in America). 

Those quibbles aside, what was interesting is the $5-and-under idea, which, according to the story will be tested out in Memphis at the Kitchenette.

The Kitchenette, at Shelby Farms, will be the grab-and-go off-shoot of the Kitchen. 

But says a spokesperson for the Kitchen, "The articles about Kimbal's $5 restaurant are not correct. The Kitchen at Shelby Farms Park will have a sister grab 'n go cafe in the Visitor's Center called Kitchenette. It will feature items on the menu that visitors can eat at the Visitors Center or they can "grab 'n go" to the park. Sandwiches, salads, coffee, etc. The information about $5 pricing is not accurate.

"Our Next Door concept opening in Crosstown Concourse will have simple, real food at affordable prices that are in-line with casual dining restaurants such as Chilis or TGI Fridays."

The Kitchen holds a grand opening fund-raiser on August 13th.  


Wine in grocery stores starting today. First 50 people to purchase wine at Kroger get a corkscrew. 

• The Memphis Food & Wine Festival has been announced for October. 

The event, to be held at the Botanic Garden, will be hosted by Jose Gutierrez and will feature Jean-Georges Vongerichten (huge!). 

Cuisine will be from 28 chefs, both local and nationally known.

Tickets are $200 per person, with prices to go up to $250 September 15th. 

• The Memphis Caribbean Jerk Festival is July 16th at the Water Tower Pavilion on Broad. Expect all kinds of Caribbean dishes — from jerk to veggies and more. There will also be a domino tournament. 


* Why the hell not? 
(I liked 'em.)

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Guess Where I'm Eating Contest 106

Posted By on Mon, Jun 27, 2016 at 11:34 AM

This place has lots of regulars ... 
The first person to ID the dish and where I'm eating wins a fabulous prize. To enter submit your answer to me via email at ellis@memphisflyer.com

The answer to GWIE 105 is the Pad Thai at Mosa, and the winner is ... Anita Lotz! 

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Al Kapone to Promote Hustle Vodka, Memphis Heat Cinnamon Whiskey

Posted By on Thu, Jun 23, 2016 at 8:51 AM


Bill Brooks has been in the liquor business out of St. Charles, Illinois, near Chicago, for nearly 40 years. Most of that time, he says, has been dealing in the Al Capone of the Roaring Twenties, specifically Tommy Guns vodka. And this is how he got hooked up with local rapper Al Kapone about five years ago. He enlisted Kapone to help promote Tommy Guns, which comes in a tommy gun-shaped bottle.

Their latest collaboration is Hustle Vodka and Memphis Heat Cinnamon Whiskey, produced by Dehner Distillery.

Actually, there are three products being launched: the vodka, the whiskey, and the rum-based Sassy Girl C.R.E.A.M.

Brooks tells me that C.R.E.A.M. is known to mean "Cash Rules Everything Around Me." On the label of Sassy Girl C.R.E.A.M. is a white woman on one side, a black woman on the other. Brooks reasons that liquor stores can turn the bottle any way it suits them. "It's the only product that goes after the urban woman demographic," he says. "And, if not, fine, it's cream." 

It's with the same savvy that Brooks has approached the Kapone-related brands. (Brooks says that Kapone told him to find a woman to promote Sassy Girl.)

"He was instrumental on the design," says Brooks of Kapone. The Hustle Vodka label has diamonds spelling out "hustle" against a gold nugget background. An earlier incarnation of the label was more ornate, with Kapone suggesting they make it simpler. Some versions has the rapper on the label.  

The label for Memphis Heat show a skyline of the city, including the "M" bridge, and flames. Brooks says that denotes the heat in Memphis and the "heat" in Memphis — all the cool things like Kapone's favs the Memphis Grizzlies. 

 "Al is our promoter," says Brooks. "We're using Memphis as a hub. From there, we go to Atlanta, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, and Florida." 

Hustle Vodka and Memphis Heat should be in the stores sometime around mid-July. 

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