Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Crosstown, Memphis Made Will Brew Resilience IPA

Posted By on Wed, Nov 28, 2018 at 1:46 PM

I heard about this fund-raiser on the radio yesterday, so it's pretty cool to see that Crosstown Brewing is picking it up.

Sierra Nevada is brewing Resilience IPA as a fund-raiser for the California Camp Fire relief effort, donating 100 percent of beer sales. In addition, they've asked brewers to join them and have gathered malt, hop, and yeast donations as well to help. So far, more than 1,000 breweries have stepped up.

From the release:

In our first year at Crosstown Brewing Company, we’ve learned a lot about the impact that breweries can have on our communities. We’ve been thrilled to see local groups and charities use our space and our products to make this city a better place. When we saw that one of the largest and oldest craft breweries in the United States, Sierra Nevada, was taking steps to bring the American brewing community together to help the victims of the California fires, we knew we wanted to be a part of it. We will brew Resilience IPA and serve the beer in our taproom in the coming weeks. All proceeds will go directly to Camp Fire relief efforts in Butte County, California. So far, more than 1,000 breweries nationwide have heard the call and are taking action. Helping the victims of this tragedy reminds us that we can help people in any part of the world and reinforces the strong bonds and generosity that attracted us to the brewing community in the first place. Please join us in showing the people of California that they have friends here in Memphis, Tennessee.
UPDATE: Memphis Made announced yesterday they will brew a 10-barrel batch of Resilience IPA. The beer will be available in the taproom by the middle of next month, Memphis Made said on Facebook, "with 100% of the proceeds going to the Sierra Nevada Camp Fire Relief Fund."

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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Best Bets: Mortimer's gumbo

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2018 at 2:43 PM

Gumbo at Mortimer's Restaurant - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Gumbo at Mortimer's Restaurant

I was in the mood for something hearty, so I ordered a bowl of gumbo at Mortimer’s Restaurant. I’d eaten gumbo there before, but, this time, after I took a bite I verbally exclaimed how great it was. It had a kick to it. I’ve always liked the taste, but this added zip was wonderful.

After I made my announcement, I noticed the people on either side of me suddenly ordered it, too.

I asked owner Christopher Jamieson what was up with the gumbo.

“We’ve been selling gumbo since 1981,” he says. “We’ve built on the same foundation or the same base gumbo, but it’s evolved into what it is now.”

The gumbo includes smoked oysters, clams, shrimp, and sausage.

Former kitchen manager Larry Smith “started tinkering with it and re-did it.”

But that’s not where the additional spiciness came from. The gumbo recipe, which is “two pages long," already has “about 40, 50 things in it,” Jamieson says. Assistant kitchen manager Kevin Sykes accidentally substituted an ingredient for another ingredient. Hence the tangy taste.“He was putting crawfish seasoning in it,” Jamieson says. “He thought it was cayenne.”

It was crawfish seasoning or crawfish boil, which, accidentally, was put into the tub where the cayenne was kept. The crawfish boil is “a whole blend of a bunch of different spices,” Jamieson says.

“People have said something’s a little different and I couldn’t figure it out for the longest time ‘cause, with Larry, I wrote down exactly all the measurements and typed it all up for Kevin.”

People kept saying they liked it. And they said, “It’s got more flavor to it.”

“This past season I ordered some extra crawfish boil from my vendor,” Jamieson says.

He served the gumbo at the recent Spirit of SRVS event at the Memphis Hilton.

Jamieson and his wife, Ashley, transported the gumbo in their car. It took him about two weeks to get the smell of gumbo out of their car, he says. “And I didn’t even spill. Just it being in the air getting from my car to the Hilton.”

Old Zinnie's Is Closed

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2018 at 1:48 PM

  • Justin Fox Burks

Is there a drink large enough to "pour one out" for Old Zinnie's?

The mainstay Midtown bar is set to close December 31st.

According to Adam Lafevor, owner Bill Baker's lawyer and onetime OZ bartender, "The lease is finally up. That's it — no fines, no violations, no hard feelings."

Lafevor said, "Old Zinnie's wants to say thank you to its loyal customers. We're sad to see everybody go."

Old Zinnie's opened in 1973.

The space is owned by the Barrasso family and Malkin Management.

Arthur Malkin of Malkin Management says he learned of Zinnie's closing at 1 p.m. via a faxed letter. He says the rent was not raised and he was not approached to renegotiate.  "Malkin Management worked with Zinnie's for years, and we just received notice from their attorney today (this afternoon) that they were closing their doors and cancelling their lease. We had no prior knowledge and are just as sad to see them go. They have been a great tenant and fulfilled all of their obligations over the years. My understanding from Zinnie's attorney (we spoke today) is that the ownership was simply ready to close and retire, end of story. They will be missed, and truly are irreplaceable. We love Memphis and have no influence over their decision to close. Anyone interested in carrying on the tradition is more than welcome to reach out to us or call. Warmest respect and regards to all of our fellow Memphians."

Malkin says he would be willing to talk to Baker about a new lease. He thinks that Baker may simply be ready to retire.

"He's an institution," says Malkin of Baker. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Lamplighter Now Serving Lunch

Posted By on Wed, Nov 21, 2018 at 3:21 PM

The venerable bar in Midtown, The Lamplighter, launched its lunch service over the weekend during a festival

"That was nice," says Laurel Cannito, who is a partner in the business with Chuck "Vicious" Wenzler.

She notes that day Lamplighter is not like night Lamplighter. For one thing, it's kid-friendly and it's non-smoking before 8 p.m.

The pair, who took over last spring, say it's not as much about changing the Lamplighter as making it a little better. The kitchen and floors were redone, the whole place cleaned from top to bottom.

"It's the same but cleaner," jokes Cannito.

Cannito says her path was always to where she is now. She and Chuck are longtime friends, and her goal was to open a cafe or a food truck. In fact, she was saving for a food truck, when Ann Bradley, the owner, mentioned she was ready to retire.

Cannito and Wenzler consider the place community-supported.

As for the food, the favorites like the burger and the grilled cheese are still there. The menu isn't typical bar food, and they are still tweaking it. Cannito hopes to shape something that is vegan by default but doesn't have to be.

Right now it features the Hangover Helper, a Vegan sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit; sandwiches, tacos, bagels, chicken, and curries.

And, let's not forget the cheap beer.

Wenzler hopes to eventually add a window to the south, front-facing wall; Cannito a garden out back. "Really?" asks Wenzler to the news of the garden. "You'll have to water it."

Curry with tofu
  • Curry with tofu

Friday, November 16, 2018

Zopita's on the Square to open Nov. 19

Posted By on Fri, Nov 16, 2018 at 5:24 PM

Zopita's on the Square opens Nov. 19 in Collierville. - ANNA PALAZOLA
  • Anna Palazola
  • Zopita's on the Square opens Nov. 19 in Collierville.

Zopita’s on the Square will open at 11 a.m. November 19th, says owner/operator Anna Palazola.

The new restaurant, which will feature Italian as well as other dishes, is at 114 North Main on the town square in Collierville.

The idea of the restaurant is for people to pick up food to take home or eat at the restaurant, which will have seating for 26 people.

The restaurant, named after Palazola’s Italian grandmother Anna Zopita, will feature a variety of food, including Italian. She’ll offer homemade pastas, soups, specialty sandwiches, salads and good coffee. And she will carry baked goods, including hot croissants, pastries, cookies and cakes.

“It’s exactly a year since we found the building,” Palazola says. “I fell in love with the building. It’s an old building. It used to be a bank. We have the vault in here. The vault is so massive it cannot be taken out.”

As for the decor, Palazola says, “I went for the industrial look. The chairs are metal.”

The tables, which she had made, are built of repurposed wood.

Zopita’s on the Square will be open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

They will hold a soft opening the first week. “We may not have the full menu,” Palazola says.

Zopita's on the Square - ANNA PALAZOLA
  • Anna Palazola
  • Zopita's on the Square
Zopita's on the Square - ANNA PALAZOLA
  • Anna Palazola
  • Zopita's on the Square

Little Italy Opening Downtown

Posted By on Fri, Nov 16, 2018 at 2:35 PM


The third Little Italy will open in South Main Downtown sometime in December, according to owner Giovanni Caravello. It will be in the old Scoops site at 106 GE Patterson.

“It was a good opportunity,” says Caravello, noting the coming movie theater and hotel. “In that part of Downtown, there’s not really authentic pizza.”

By authentic, Caravello means New York-style, which is what he specializes in. He says what makes their pizza so good is their high quality ingredients — the best cheeses and finest flour. His lasagna, he swears, is “like my mom made it.”

Caravello says that the menu for the Downtown restaurant will be smaller. He’s thinking of offering fresh mussels with marinara sauce, imported cold cuts, and a cheese platter.

There will be seating for 35 to 40 inside, with an additional 20 to 25 seats outdoors. Caravello hopes to host games outside.

Ultimately, he’s feeling pretty confident about this latest venture.
“We’ve been in business 15 years,” he says. “People know what we can do.”

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Nine Now Open

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2018 at 2:52 PM


The Nine, in the old Bangkok Alley space at 121 Union Downtown, opened November 1st. Owner Chalee Timrattana says the Burana family, Bangkok Alley owners, helped him by providing the space free of charge and have been nothing but supportive.

Timrattana worked for Bangkok Alley for 16 years and has served as kitchen manager for all the locations.

The nine of the Nine refers to the king of Thailand, who recently passed away. Timrattana is using it as a lucky number.

Construction and the upgrade took longer than expected. The inside looks much like it did before, with a bar at front with some seating and banquet seating along the walls.

Also similar is the menu with such Thai favorites as Pad Thai and Drunken noodle.

Timrattana says he doesn’t have a specialty, per se. “I can do it all good,” he says.
Drunken noodle with tofu
  • Drunken noodle with tofu

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Gordon Ramsay's in Memphis to Save a Restaurant!

Posted By on Wed, Nov 14, 2018 at 1:11 PM

Just when you think it's going to be another typical Wednesday in Memphis, snow starts to fall from the sky, and you look out your window to see Gordon Ramsay's "Hell on Wheels" 18-wheeler rounding the corner of your office building. The truck is part of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares reboot: 24 Hours to Hell and Back
  • Matthew Preston

Gordon Ramsay's revamped restaurant renovation/intervention show is essentially the same as the original Kitchen Nightmares, but the makeover has been consolidated into a single day, replete with a countdown timer for good measure. The show purports to be a simple kitchen renovation show, and installs known and hidden cameras to record the restaurant in action. Some time later, Gordon Ramsay will show up with a group to dine at that restaurant, in a prosthetic makeup disguise, only to reveal his identity and berate the awfulness of the food mid-meal.

The "Hell on Wheels" truck dishes education and shame in equal measure. It unfolds to become a kitchen where Ramsay's team teaches the chefs of the restaurant in question how to cook the new menu, and produces a large video board where the restaurant's staff and patrons witness the hidden footage captured before Ramsay's arrival. Those videos typically feature pretty gross things, ranging from unsanitary kitchen practices to toxic workplace exchanges, outbursts at patrons, animal infestations, and structural issues with the building.

The Flyer isn't aware of the restaurant that'll be featured on 24 Hours to Hell and Back, but candidates on Ramsay's show tend to be restaurants that were once considered good, located in a desirable and lucrative part of town, and frequently have a strong-headed owner or chef that's in denial about the business failing, and contributing to that failure with their apathy or toxicity.

As a big time Gordon Ramsay addict, I'm thrilled for Memphis to get airtime on the show. As a dude who works downtown, I'm hoping to become a lunch regular at a revamped restaurant nearby.

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Monday, November 12, 2018

Old Venice to Morph into Venice Kitchen

Posted By on Mon, Nov 12, 2018 at 9:33 AM


Old Venice Pizza Company is getting a makeover. It will now be Venice Kitchen. The revitalized Venice is set to open November 19th.

"We became dated," says Ben McLean, who is partnering in the project with David Buescher. "It's time for a refresh."

If McLean's name is familiar, that's because he founded Belly Acres and Tennessee Taco Company.

Part of that refresh is a revamp of the menu. Pizzas have been pared down to 11. New menu items will be added as well.

The space has been opened up, with walls removed, new fixtures, and a new color scheme.

Rob Ray will be in charge of the kitchen. New ovens, ranges, and a grill for steaks and salmon have been put in the kitchen. Ray emphasizes high quality and fresh ingredients.

"We're not doing this for us," says McLean, "we're doing this for our customers."

Friday, November 9, 2018

Church Health's Jewish Cooking Classes

Posted By on Fri, Nov 9, 2018 at 2:18 PM

Next Thursday, November 15th, Church Health will host a Hanukkah cooking class as part of its Jewish Cooking series. Cutoff to sign up for the class is Monday, November 12th.

Church Health's Jenny Koltnow took some time to answer questions about the class.

What will be the structure of the class?
The Jewish Cooking Series is set of five, mini cooking classes designed to introduce and expose participants to the history, traditions, and food associated with major Jewish holidays. Each 90-minute class consists of an introduction to the holiday, a discussion of the foods and reflection on their symbolism, and a hands-on cooking experience. Participants taste test and enjoy pre-prepared items while there, then take home the items they made to enjoy at home!

What will the students be making?
The November-15 class is focused on Hanukkah, so participants will make latkes and brisket. YUM.

Is there a trick to Jewish cooking?
It depends on who you ask! But honestly, the “trick” is “enjoy with friends.” I marvel at the community, connections, and hospitality so natural to our Jewish brothers and sisters. It seems, no matter the meal, food is always better enjoyed in the company of others.

Info on Church Health cooking classes

Thursday, November 8, 2018

5 Memphis Food Scandals!

Posted By on Thu, Nov 8, 2018 at 11:48 AM

Y'all sure do like a good scandal — with its accompanying sputtering WTFing.

So, today, friends, we look back at 5 Memphis food scandals.

1. Gibson's Donuts and Marsha Blackburn

Who doesn't like a good donut? Apparently, hate merchant, newly minted senator Marsha Blackburn loves them. So much so that she made a stop Tuesday morning at the beloved Memphis fixture Gibson's Donuts. Welp, folks let owner Don DeWeese know they did not appreciate it, and DeWeese responded that he did not invite her and everybody deserves a donut.

So did the donut clinch Blackburn's win? Only the devil knows for sure.

2. Taylor Berger vs. Midtown Nursery


Taylor Berger's plans for his Truck Stop at the corner of Central and McLean were doomed from the start. First, to some controversy, the plan ousted Midtown Nursery, then the plans met with resistance from the neighborhood and Code Enforcement.

Ultimately, Berger and his partner ditched the plan after working on it for two years. As for Midtown Nursery, it got booted from its next location due to plans for apartments.

3. Kelly English denies Tony Parker service

Restaurant Iris owner Kelly English raised a ruckus (and affection from Grizzlies fans) when he suggested he denied NBA player Tony Parker a seat at his restaurant.

Ultimately, this scandal fizzled out when it was reported that the restaurant was booked up anyway and couldn't accommodate the request.

4. Imagine Vegan Cafe's Butthole problem


Ah, Butthole Gate. Such fond, fond memories. Imagine Vegan Cafe's owner Kristy Jeffrey reacted badly to a reviewer who noted that a child's dirty feet and bare bottom were not appetizing. Also, yodeling was involved.

The furor raged on for days and made national news. Jeffrey tried to capitalize on the situation, but the situation ended like many on social media, it faded away.

5. That Creep Jason Doty


Local baker/foodtruck owner Jason Doty was always present on the food scene and he was a known abuser. With every new project he undertook, critics took to social media to decry his continued opportunities. A project with Cash Saver was cancelled after such an effort.

He was sentenced to 25 years in prison early this year after an incident that harmed his infant child. 

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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Vote, then Go Eat

Posted By on Tue, Nov 6, 2018 at 10:41 AM

Farm Burger, the burgeriffic chain with a location in the Crosstown Concourse, announced last week that it's opening late today, 12:30 p.m., to allow its employees to vote. That's cool. Cooler still, customers who show up with an "I Voted" sticker get free fries.

Those who stop by Celtic Crossing with an "I Voted" sticker can enter to win a $25 gift card.

Chef Kelly English is also encouraging his employees to vote. In an article in Food & Wine last week, he writes,

They are us and they don’t know it yet, so it's our duty tell them that they are. Challenge them. Ask them what the single biggest political or social issue is to them. They don’t have to answer, but make them think about it. Let them know that as hard as it is on you to be down a set of hands, that in 27 states (including my own state of Tennessee) they can be paid for time if they are scheduled on voting day. Get your team together to hammer out a schedule that works for everyone, so that people have a chance to vote and no one gets too badly in the weeds. Show them that business and humanity can coexist.

In our restaurant group we have made an agreement with Sweetgrass, another restaurant here in Memphis, to give a gift certificate to each other’s employees who vote, to encourage our communities and to give them a place to go that isn’t where they work. Make sure the people you work with know this is their (sometimes first) opportunity to feel seen and to be part of a huge decision. Encourage them to share their thoughts with a vote the same way they share their culture with your team to make it stronger. These types of sharing and strength are no different from each other. Tell your teams that they are you, and you are going to vote.
Socially responsible? Count us in. And go vote, then go eat. 

Monday, November 5, 2018

A New Asian Restaurant - fam - to Open Downtown

Posted By on Mon, Nov 5, 2018 at 4:54 PM


A new restaurant - fam - a fast, casual Asian restaurant, is slated to open November 13th at 149 Madison.

The name is short for “family,” says Ian Vo, an owner.

He describes the restaurant, which is staffed by veteran Memphis sushi chefs, as a modern, fast-paced take-out restaurant, which will be open for dining in or for curbside service. The restaurant also will deliver. And catering will be available.

They’ll serve a variety of rolls and bowls, including sushi hibachi-style grill rice bowls, noodle bowls, sushi rolls and spring rolls.

Their sushi will be in half rolls so customers can choose more options.

“Everything is roll or bowl,” Vo says.

Orders will only take 10 to 15 minutes, he says.The restaurant, which will serve beer, will be open for lunch and dinner and will be open Monday through Saturday.

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