Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Restaurant Iris to re-open in August

Posted By on Wed, Jul 25, 2018 at 5:58 PM

click to enlarge Restaurant Iris - JUSTIN FOX BURKS
  • Justin Fox Burks
  • Restaurant Iris

Restaurant Iris is slated to be in full bloom in August.

The restaurant, which has been closed, will reopen in August with a new look and a new menu.

People familiar with the restaurant “are going to walk inside and say, ‘Wow,’” said chef/owner Kelly English.

The restaurant is going to be “quite different on the inside,” he said.

Take the floors. “I love the charm of the old, creaky floors, but there was never a flat surface in the whole building. Never. Those floors are 112 years old. So, we’ve got all new flooring. We took it down the earth and built it back up.”

The renovation is something he’s wanted to do for a long time, English said.

There will continue to be art in the restaurant, he said. “We’re going to have art on the wall still from local artists.”

But, he said, the restaurant is “going to feel a little different. A little more modern than you remember it. Less walls in the space. I feel like we’re staying exactly true to ourselves by changing. It’s going to be the same focus of what we’ve always done: to tell the story of who we are. Just a little more modern approach to it.”

There will be a bar. “It’s in a separate room. You’re going to walk into the bar when you walk into the restaurant.”

The little bar near the entrance is gone, English said. The new bar will have 12 seats and a couple of tables. There will be bar snacks and diners also will be able to order from the full menu.

As for the food, English said, “The story of Iris has always been, ‘What if the people that settled in New Orleans had settled in Memphis? What would they cook? What was available here?’ That narrative hasn’t changed. But we’ve pulled in more groups of people that are represented around town.

“There’s a large portion of people who live here that have come here to make our community better and we take notice of that.”

The menu isn’t finished, English said. But, as for vegetarian options, he said, “There’s going to be more plant-focused dishes on the menu than there ever has been.”

When Restaurant Iris opens to the public, guests will see “a beautiful restaurant that’s very welcoming and hospitable to everyone.”

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