What a Site 

Craig Blondis and Roger Sapp, owners of Central BBQ, are getting ready to open a second location. It's the same name, same concept, same food just in a different part of town and much, much bigger.

Blondis and Sapp are taking the new Central BBQ to the next level by transforming the former Red Lobster on Summer into a barbecue paradise. The restaurant can seat 200 people, and the kitchen, part of which will be designated for catering, appears to be larger than all of Central BBQ number one. Inside, you'll find a bar that serves beer and wine, flat-screen televisions, and a labyrinth of booths and tables.

Another holdover, besides the food and name, is the ordering system. You walk up to the counter, place your order, take a number, and find a seat. Then you'll wait for the food runner to bring you your goodies.

Central BBQ is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Central BBQ, 2249 Central (272-9371), 4375 Summer (767-4672)

For those of you who've been waiting for the Blue Monkey downtown to rise from the ashes, it's not going to happen. Instead of rebuilding the pub at G.E. Patterson and Front, where the building was destroyed by fire in September 2005, Mike Johnson and his partners have decided to go with Plan B. Blue Monkey is moving into the space that once housed Alice's Urban Market and eventually expanding into the Blue Sky Couriers space.

"It looks like the guys from Blue Sky are looking for a bigger place and won't renew their lease," says Johnson. "We just don't know when that's going to happen. So for right now we started renovations on the side that's vacant but hope to have the whole thing up before Memphis In May."

"The whole thing" -- Alice's and Blue Sky -- is about 3,500 square feet, a bit bigger than the former Blue Monkey location.

Blue Monkey, 513 S. Front Street (527-6665)

The first Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q was opened in Birmingham in 1985 by father and son Jim and Nick Pihakes. Jim recently passed away and has left Nick the task of making a legendary barbecue restaurant "world famous." Toward that end, the 19th Jim 'N Nick's just opened on Germantown Parkway.

While you can find Jim 'N Nick's in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Colorado, it's still a family-owned enterprise that prides itself on quality ingredients and food that goes straight from "pit to plate."

"Southern hospitality and foods made from scratch are something we emphasize here," says general manager Stephen Williams. "The restaurant doesn't have a freezer, so you know that everything here is really, really fresh."

Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q is open 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Jim 'N Nick's Bar-B-Q,2359 Germantown Pkwy. (388-0998)

This weekend at the Memphis Botanic Garden you can drink with purpose at the 12th annual Sip Around the World wine tasting, which will benefit the National Kidney Foundation of West Tennessee. More than 100 wines will be available for sampling, and featured wineries include Stag's Leap, Patz and Hall, Hess Collection, Robert Hall, and others. Live music, silent and live auctions, as well as hors d'oeuvres are part of the evening. Tickets are $55 in advance and $65 at the door.

Sip Around the World, Memphis Botanic Garden, Friday, November 3rd, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. For more information and tickets, call 683-6185.

Encore Restaurant will host an Australian wine dinner with Chris Fennett from the Australian Premium Wine Collection on Wednesday, November 8th.

The three-course menu includes warm asparagus with morel mushrooms, beef tenderloin with roasted winter vegetables, and warm tapioca pudding with Grand Marnier, marinated strawberries, and pistachios. The price for the dinner is $65 per person. Call the restaurant for more information and to make a reservation.

Encore, 150 Peabody Place (528-1415)

siba@gmx.com

Speaking of Central BBQ, Blue Monkey

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