Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Beer Bracket Challenge: Finals

Posted By on Wed, Feb 28, 2018 at 9:33 AM

click image beerbracketchallenge_2018_03_08_18.jpg

The results are in, and a newcomer has advanced to the final round of our Beer Bracket Challenge presented by Aldo's Pizza Pies! In the final matchup of the whole dang bracket, Meddlesome 201 Hoplar faces off against Wiseacre's Astronaut Status. Vote now for your favorite and help us crown a champion!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Beer Bracket Challenge: Final 4

Posted By on Tue, Feb 27, 2018 at 11:00 AM

We're down to the last four beers in our Beer Bracket Challenge presented by Aldo's Pizza Pies!  Shoutout to our category winners:
  • Wiseacre Tiny Bomb (light)
  • Meddlesome 201 Hoplar (IPA)
  • Wiseacre Gotta Get Up To Get Down (dark)
  • Wiseacre Astronaut Status (seasonal)
The four category winners now face off in the semifinals as we keep trying to determine the Memphis Flyer's Beer Bracket Champion!

Vote now for your favorites! Voting for this round closes at midnight.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Beer Bracket Challenge Quarterfinals

Posted By on Mon, Feb 26, 2018 at 9:47 AM


We're on to the next round of our Beer Bracket Challenge presented by Aldo's Pizza Pies! The people have spoken, and now two beers in each category are left standing: Wiseacre Tiny Bomb and High Cotton ESB in the Light category, Wiseacre Ananda and Meddlesome 201 Hoplar in the IPA category, Wiseacre Gotta Get Up To Get Down and High Cotton Scottish Ale in the Dark category, and in the Seasonal category, Wiseacre Astronaut Status and High Cotton's Christmas Stout.

Vote now in the quarterfinals to determine the final four! Voting closes at midnight Central.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Beer Bracket Challenge, Round 2

Posted By on Fri, Feb 23, 2018 at 1:12 PM

click image beerbracketchallenge_2018_03_01_18_1_.jpg
It's time for round 2 of our Beer Bracket Challenge, presented by Aldo's Pizza Pies! Voting for the round of 16 happens from today until 11:59PM on Sunday (2/25). In this round, our category winners from last year are introduced: Ghost River Golden Ale, Wiseacre Ananda, and Wiseacre Gotta Get Up To Get Down. In the Seasonal category, Crosstown Boll Weevil Saison got a first round bye by random draw.

VOTE NOW in the second round!

Muddy's Bake Shop Turns 10

Posted By on Fri, Feb 23, 2018 at 10:05 AM

Kat Gordon
  • Kat Gordon
Next week, Muddy's Bake Shop marks its 10th anniversary of making this city a little sweeter. And owner Kat Gordon, with her always upbeat and can-do attitude, is the model of civic pride.

The spot named after Gordon's grandmother is known for its Prozac cupcake and Nancy's Boy pie.

Gordon took some time to answer some questions.

It seems like way more than 10 years. How does it feel for you?
It feels amazing. When I opened, I NEVER thought that we'd one day be celebrating ten years. It's so incredible; every time I stop and think about it I'm swept away in a tidal wave of gratitude for this incredible community of customers, coworkers, suppliers, and even competitors. We've got an awesome thing going in our town and I've seen so much of the talent, grit, and love that's here intersect across every piece of Muddy's. It feels like a miracle every day.

What would 10-years-ago you say to now you?
Buckle up! :)

What's next for Muddy's?
We've always been really keen on growing deep more than wide, so what's next is more of that. Of course we hope for a few more visible growth projects over the coming years, (we just got mail order started so we're working on that and we've recently begun sharing our staff training workshops with some other local places) but we're putting a lot of our energies into sharing what we've learned with each other and folks in our community, getting better at training and communicating, and revisiting some favorite recipes to explore ways to make something great even better!

Muddy's will mark the occasion with a special champagne toast at midnight next Wednesday, February 28th.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Beer Bracket 2/22-3/1

Posted By on Wed, Feb 21, 2018 at 12:53 PM

Last year's bracket, round 2
  • Last year's bracket, round 2

Around this time last year, a name was engraved on an old gray ice bucket and presented to the winner. This year, the same thing will happen, another (same?) name on the same ice bucket. It's like the Stanley Cup.

The Flyer's annual Beer Bracket Challenge launches tomorrow. 28 beers going for glory.

Last year's winner was Ghost River's classic Gold, the old reliable of Memphis Beers.

This year, three new breweries are heading into the fray: Meddlesome, Crosstown, Brewing, and Boscos. Toby Sells explains that Boscos, while not new, wasn't included last year because he featured only breweries with beers readily available in stores and bars/restaurants. But this year he figured, "You like beer, you need to have Boscos."

Round One is tomorrow, February 22nd, with the Final Two starting Wednesday at 8 a.m. and running through March 1st, midnight. The winner will be announced in the Flyer's March 8th issue.

Sells says he has plenty of favorites among the 28, though he's not rooting for one beer over the other. "There's so much good stuff out there. We'll see how it goes."

In addition to revealing the winner, the March 8th beer-iffic cover will examine the state of the Memphis beer scene. Can Memphis accommodate more breweries and beers from outside the area? Have Memphis beer-drinkers changed since the scene exploded in 2013?

Check it out and stay tuned for Beer Bracket-related events.  

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Grocery in Spaghetti Warehouse?

Posted By on Tue, Feb 20, 2018 at 10:16 AM

Sources say that a grocery store may be going into the Spaghetti Warehouse building on Huling.

The space, which is 21,000 square feet with ample parking, would be ideal for a smaller-sized store like Sprouts.

Jennifer Oswalt, president and CEO of the Downtown Memphis Commission, said, "The Downtown Memphis Commission is definitely interested in the future development of the old Spaghetti Warehouse site. The space and location make the property interesting for a wide range of potential adaptive re-use. And developing additional grocery and retail options in downtown is something that is always on our radar."

Spaghetti Warehouse closed in November after 30 years of operation.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Lucky Cat featured at City Block Salumeria dinner

Posted By on Mon, Feb 19, 2018 at 4:45 PM

Zach Nicholson of Lucky Cat and Fortunato Oliva will be cooking at the second City Block Salumeria Butcher's Dinner. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Zach Nicholson of Lucky Cat and Fortunato Oliva will be cooking at the second City Block Salumeria Butcher's Dinner.

Zach Nicholson, owner of Lucky Cat, will team with Memphis chef Fortunato Oliva for the monthly City Block Butcher’s Dinner March 8 at Alchemy Memphis.

“The idea is going to be five to six courses of Japanese-inspired Lucky Cat-influenced food that is going to be utilizing meat products from City Block Salumeria,” Nicholson said. “We’ve got some real interesting things. We’re going to use some nice ingredients like California sea urchin, Wagyu beef and some house made sausages and salami from City Block. It’s going to be a very nice dinner.”

Phillip Ashley of Phillip Ashley Chocolates will assist with the desserts, Nicholson said.

Former Hog & Hominy bartender Aaron Hanna and Jon Neizer of Hog and Hominy will create saki cocktails that will be available for pairings with each course.

The monthly dinners were begun by City Block owners Nick Scott and Brad McCarley to “raise awareness” for City Block Salumeria, Nicholson said.

Each month, a guest chef will prepare a five-to-seven course dinner that will highlight charcuterie from City Block Salumeria. Scott kicked off the series with a dinner in February at Porcellino’s.

Nicholson is happy to be working with Oliva, who was “one of the main inspirations for me. I cooked under him when I was at Erling’s (Erling Jensen: The Restaurant).”

Oliva encouraged Nicholson to “move to Austin and challenge myself.” Nicholson worked at Olive & June, The Carillon and Vespaio restaurants in Austin.

Oliva also worked at the James Beard-award winning Uchi in Austin.

The dinner will be a “great stage” for both City Block and Lucky Cat, NIcholson said.

The dinner will be $75 and $25 for cocktail pairings. 


Rise Opening March 10th

Posted By on Mon, Feb 19, 2018 at 1:48 PM


Biscuits and donuts? Where do I sign up?

Rise, the biscuit and donut-centric North Carolina-based chain, will open its first Tennessee location in Germantown on March 10th. It's located at 7535 Poplar Avenue in the Shops at Saddle Creek.

From the press release:

Germantown, TN (February 19, 2018)— Rise Biscuits, Donuts & Righteous Chicken, Durham, NC’s award-winning concept featuring both sweet and savory breakfast and lunch options, will open its first Tennessee location in Germantown on Saturday, March 10th. The store will be in the Shops at Saddle Creek at 7535 Poplar Avenue.

To celebrate its grand opening, Rise Germantown will be donating 10% of opening day sales to Riverdale Elementary School PTO. For those who can’t wait until the grand opening, Rise Germantown is offering its Facebook followers the opportunity to try free biscuits and donuts in a special preview event at the store. Simply like and follow Rise Germantown on Facebook ( for more details on how to enter.

“We are thrilled to be bringing the best dang biscuits and donuts to Germantown,” said Fred Fordin who owns and operates the franchise with his partner, Spencer Burgon. “Community-building is at the heart of everything we do at Rise, and we’re excited to be putting down roots in Germantown and supporting Riverdale Elementary School.”

Rise Germantown will officially open their doors for their soft opening on Wednesday, March 7th, and will be hosting their Grand Opening Celebration on Saturday, March 10 at 7535 Poplar Avenue in the Shops at Saddle Creek. Store hours are 7am to 2pm daily. For more information please visit

Whiskey Warmer, other events

Posted By on Mon, Feb 19, 2018 at 11:28 AM


Coming up lickety split is the Whiskey Warmer, March 23rd at Overton Square.

This event is for EVERYONE who loves whiskey. A ticket gets you 15 tastes from such purveyors as Crown Royal, Johnnie Walker, George Dickel, CORSAIR, Southern Comfort,  and Old Dominick Distillery.

Event features local food and music, with benefits going to Volunteer Memphis. Be there.

* Gray Canary, the latest from Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman, is holding its grand opening next Tuesday, February 20th, starting at 6 p.m. Looks like it's going to be a blow-out.

From the release:

The night will begin at 6pm with a "Bivalves, Beer & Bubbles" reception, including passed appetizers from The Gray Canary’s Ryan Jenniges & Ysacc Ramirez while Roy Milner will be popping corks and cages and pouring Blackberry Farm Brewery's award-winning Classic Saison. James Beard Foundation Award-winning chefs Mike Lata (FIG and The Ordinary, Charleston) and Ryan Prewitt (Peche, New Orleans) will be shucking oysters at the raw bar and Enjoy AM's Nick Talarico and team will be shaking up cocktails.

After the cocktail reception, Andy and Michael will be joined by chefs Tien Ho (Whole Foods), Cassidee Dabney (The Barn at Blackberry Farm) and James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef and author John Currence (City Grocery, Oxford, MS) for a seated multi-course dinner. Each chef will contribute a course to a menu that showcases their culinary styles using The Gray Canary's wood-fired oven.

The Gray Canary's pastry chef, Kayla Palmer, will offer a sweet end to the meal while James Beard Foundation Award-winning author Brad Thomas Parsons will drive an Amaro Cart around the restaurant, dispensing after-dinner digestifs and fun tidbits about these bitter beverages.

The event will benefit the Southern Foodways Alliance.

* Soup Sunday is Sunday, February 25th, 11 a.m., at FedExForum. This one is fun and always packed. Tons of soup and dessert and bread. It benefits Youth Villages.


Friday, February 16, 2018

Arcade to expand

Posted By on Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 4:52 PM


The Arcade Restaurant is going to expand.

“We’re not touching the front room,” said Jeffrey Zepatos, an owner along with his wife, Kelcie, of the legendary South Main restaurant. “We’re not touching the outside of the building. We’re going to keep all the architecture the same. We’re going to expand the back room, make it a little bigger so we can have a real bar. You can get cappuccinos, espressos.”

They want the restaurant to be “a neighborhood location where people can come from everywhere.”

Jeffrey said they want “construction and renovation done and completed” before or around the New Year. “We’re just trying to get more seats in here. We’re talking about building a waiting area.

“This whole part of town is about to blow up. We want to be a part of that. After 50 years we’re ready to put more into the restaurant and expand because that’s what’s happening to the city.”

And, he said, he wants the expansion to be “definitely ready for our 100-year anniversary."

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Maciel's to open second location

Posted By on Sat, Feb 10, 2018 at 8:01 PM

Getting ready for the opening of Maciel's Highland: Mason Jambon, John Planchon, Taylor Berger, Lisha and Manuel Martinez and Preston Maciel Martinez. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Getting ready for the opening of Maciel's Highland: Mason Jambon, John Planchon, Taylor Berger, Lisha and Manuel Martinez and Preston Maciel Martinez.

Maciel’s Highland will open Feb. 15 on the Highland Strip.

The popular Downtown restaurant will open its second location at 525 South Highland, the former site of R P Billiards and Highland Cue.

Maciel’s Highland will be the fifth establishment included in the ITS Fine partnership of Taylor Berger and John Planchon. Their other restaurants and venues include Loflin Yard, Railgarten, Rec Room and Bounty on Broad.

Maciel’s Highland, which will serve everything on its Downtown location menu and more, will be open between 11 a.m. and 9 pm. every day except Sunday. The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner.

Customers still will be able to order their favorites, including the Cubana tortas and chipotle shrimp tacos, but chef/owner Manuel Martinez wants to eventually offer a “bigger menu” with “more seafood, a ton of different dishes.” Future plans include brunch, he said.

His restaurant isn’t the “ burritos covered in cheese” type Mexican establishment, Martinez said. Maciel’s offers “traditional cooking, which is more like everyday cooking” in Mexico. “Like people eat when they go out to eat at a taco stand.”

Maciel’s Highland also will feature a bar, where customers can get their favorite drinks as well as traditional Mexican mixed drinks, including the Changuirongo, tequila and lime on ice with a bottle of Jarritos Mexican soda.

A mural on the South wall painted by Nosey includes pictures of fresh vegetables and fruits that are used in the dishes as well as images depicting the career of Martinez. The rear of the restaurant opens onto a 1,500-square-foot patio.

Martinez and his wife, Lisha, opened the Downtown Maciel’s at 45 South Main on Oct. 20, 2015 with money they saved as well as money they made working at a restaurant in Olive Branch.

Business halted last July. “The ceiling fell in,” Martinez said. The restaurant was closed for repairs for three months. It reopened almost two years to the date it opened.

Berger was a fan of Maciel’s long before he thought about opening a second location. “I had been going to the restaurant since they opened,” he said. “I just loved the food.”

Berger, who had acquired the old R P Billiards space, approached Martinez and said, “I’ve got an idea for a spot on Highland.”

He knew Martinez’s food would be popular on the Highland Strip. “His food will work anywhere."

And, Berger said, Martinez “has a big heart for his customers and his staff.”

Martinez felt it was an “opportunity to grow,” so more people will learn about his food.

A native of Morelia, Michoacan, Martinez began cooking at El Solar de Villagran, a popular Mexican restaurant where he originally worked as a barback at 14. “I’ve always had a dream to open a business.”

He moved to Memphis in 2007. His first restaurant job was at a restaurant in Olive Branch, where he met his wife. He lived on Winchester. “I didn’t have money. I had to ride a bicycle to work.”

A bicycle is one of the images on the mural.

Maciel’s isn’t “just another Mexican restaurant, taco stand,” said ITS Fine director of operations Mason Jambon.

The way Martinez treats food is the same as the chefs do in “established high end restaurants,” he said.

“No pretentiousness,” Berger said.

Martinez said he’s “meticulous” with his food. He makes his 17 sauces fresh every morning. The chips are made in house. He wants people to remember his food. He wants them to say, “Oh, man, I really want to go eat those tacos.”

Martinez, whose son is named Preston Maciel Martinez, said the name “Maciel” comes from his father, Maciel Martinez, who lives in Fontana, California. A woman typed “Maciel” instead of “Manuel” on his dad’s birth certificate, Manuel said.

He named the restaurant after his father because, he said, “I felt like I never made my dad proud of me.”

Now, he said, his dad can say, “Yep. That’s my kid.”

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Peek at Dave & Buster's

Posted By on Thu, Feb 8, 2018 at 3:01 PM


It's around the time, shortly after I got my card stuck in the Miss Pac Man machine and when the staff started clapping and singing and the flashing Green Ghost cocktail kicked in, along with all the noise and lights, that I broke out in a cold sweat.

Yup, Dave & Buster's.

On Thursday, the arcade/restaurant chain hosted a media day for its first location in Memphis.

The spot, on Germantown Parkway near the Wolfchase Mall, is set to open to the public on Monday.
The food is pretty good, with options for vegetarians. We sampled a really good spicy rice, some fatty (and delicious) fries, and a good vegetarian lasagne.

We also got a couple of the "Glow Kone" drinks, which feature plastic flashing ice cubes. I saved mine for later use. The Green Ghost is Crown Royal Regal Apple whisky, Smirno ® Green Apple vodka, Monin® Granny Smith Apple, sweet ‘n’ sour and Sprite. It's very sweet and tastes like a sour apple jolly rancher. Enticing.

I would say Dave & Buster's isn't for nervous types. There are a lot of lights and a lot of noise, and your enjoyment level depends on how much you like games. If you like 'em, you'll love D&B.

Companies can hold parties and retreats at Dave & Buster's. And the games, which include bowling games and horror games and everything in between, gets changed up from time to time.


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Chef Justin Young in Midtown

Posted By on Wed, Feb 7, 2018 at 11:00 AM

You might have seen chef Justin Young these days at Cafe 1912.

Justin, who, along with his wife, Amy, own Raven & Lilly restaurant in Oakland, opened Cafe 1912 with chef Chris Dollar 15 years ago. “I was at La Tourelle at the time,” he said. “We put everything together for it.”

Young, whose restaurant career also included working at Erling Jensen: The Restaurant, has been at Cafe 1912 helping to give the restaurant a facelift. “We’re just here to help.”

Raven & Lilly found strong roots in Fayette County and he has no plans to leave that restaurant, Young said.

But he hopes to be a “permanent fixture” at Cafe 1912.

Stay tuned.

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