Monday, December 31, 2018

Details on Second Line's Day of Warmth

Posted By on Mon, Dec 31, 2018 at 2:04 PM


On New Year's Day, the Second Line is serving breakfast for anyone in need.

Details below ...

For the second year in a row on New Years Day morning, Second Line Memphis will open its doors for breakfast to people who need a hot meal free of charge, from 9am to noon. They will serve breakfast, give free haircuts, and hand out coats to the guests alongside a team of volunteers and city officials.

MATA buses will have two pick up locations in midtown (Living Hope Church 815 North McLean) and downtown (The Carpenter’s House Room in the Inn 212 N Second Street Memphis) starting at 8:30AM (last shuttle at 11:30). Any mission group, ministry, etc. (who work with the homeless community) that would like to be involved that day should bring people to one of those locations. Anyone wanting to donate coats, jackets, socks, etc. can bring them to the Second Line now until the New Years Eve.

“Everyone deserves to feel special, to be given the basic dignity we all deserve. We want to be a part of spreading that kindness to others.” - Chef Kelly English

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Ysaac Ramirez to leave The Gray Canary

Posted By on Wed, Dec 26, 2018 at 4:56 PM

  • Michael Donahue
  • Ysaac Ramirez

Ysaac Ramirez will leave his post as chef de cuisine at The Gray Canary on Dec. 31.

Ramirez, 38, says he’s leaving to “pursue another opportunity and possibly open my own restaurant in Memphis, hopefully.”

When he was 15, Ramirez moved from California to Memphis, where he graduated from Bartlett High School and L’ecole Culinaire.

Nine years ago, he went to work for Jackson Kramer at Interim. He then began his long tenure at restaurants owned by Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman.

He was one of the opening cook at Hog & Hominy before becoming a pasta cook at Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen.

Ramirez then moved to North Carolina, where he worked for Colin Bedford at The Fearrington House Restaurant & Village. He then worked in the restaurant at The Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill.

Rameriz was back working for Ticer and Hudman when he moved to New Orleans and helped open Josephine Estelle, where he was sous chef. He then became executive chef at the Ace Hotel in New Orleans.

After two years, he moved back to Memphis and helped open The Gray Canary, which opened Jan. 23, 2018.

When he opens his own restaurant, Ramirez would concentrate on Latin cuisine. “Going back to my heritage,” he says. “My dad is from Mexico. Just going back to my roots and incorporating not just Mexican cuisine, but various Latin-style cuisines. And dealing with a lot of seafood.”

Thursday, December 13, 2018

PETA At It Again

Posted By on Thu, Dec 13, 2018 at 11:44 AM

PETA, the animal advocacy group, is trying to start some shit, y'all.

The group recently posted a billboard on Summer depicting the three Wise Men. It reads, "Be Wise. Have Faith in Veganism."

Justin Fox Burks
  • Justin Fox Burks

The billboard was placed near two churches at Christmastime.

From PETA's press release:

"Going vegan is the perfect way to honor the Christmas message of peace on Earth and goodwill to all members of creation," says PETA Vice President Colleen O'Brien. "PETA is encouraging everyone to celebrate with compassion by choosing a delicious vegan roast for the holiday table."
That may be a tough sell in this city. But... but(!) ... in sorta related news, the newly elected Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris held a VEGAN BARBECUE on Wednesday for staff and media as part of a kick off for his "Health and Fitness Initiative." 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Vault Unlocks New Menu

Posted By on Wed, Dec 12, 2018 at 1:30 PM

Zane Wilson, Aaron Winters and Zane Wilson in the kitchen at The Vault - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Zane Wilson, Aaron Winters and Zane Wilson in the kitchen at The Vault

Ring out the old “The Vault on G. E. Patterson” and ring in “The Vault Gastropub.”

Beginning Dec. 31, “Gastropub” will replace “G. E. Patterson” in the name of the restaurant at 124 G. E. Patterson Avenue.

But that’s not all that’s happening.

“New year, new menu, kind of a new branding,” says The Vault’s executive chef/owner Aaron Winters. “We’re freshening up South Main a little.”

Or, as he says, “We’re having a little transition at The Vault. We’re going to have new hours, new menus for the lunch, dinner and the bar menu. And just changing up a lot of the dishes. We’re going to keep a lot of the favorites, but have a lot of vegetarian options and more small plates.”

The favorites will include the Smashburger. “It’s an Oklahoma style burger. It’s a ball of meat. You smash it on the grill, cover it with thinly-shaved onions, press the onions into the meat. We sell a ton of them.”

The Smashburger recently was featured on Late Night Eats on the Cooking Channel.

“For dinner, we’re keeping our Steak Frites - sous-vide ribeye with compound butter and string French fries.”

New items will include salt and pepper catfish. “We do a buttermilk pickle and hot sauce brine and it’s fried with corn meal that has roasted peppercorn and sea salt in it. And it’s served with green onion ranch.we make in house.”

Another is the charred beet salad - roasted beets with goat cheese, arugula pesto and lemon with an arugula salad with candied pecans.

“The new menu is going to be active in the restaurant Jan. 4, which is a Friday. We’re open for dinner and lunch. Our hours are going to be changing Dec. 31. We’ll be open seven days a week.”

The restaurant will be open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Gary Williams' Legacy

Posted By on Thu, Dec 6, 2018 at 10:56 AM

Sad news today. Gary Williams of DeJaVu has passed away.

Williams was a gentleman in the truest sense. He was kind and helpful. There was never an unreturned phone call. He was all positive vibes. When news came out that his restaurant DeJaVu on S. Main was closed, he said, "You know me, I'll be back." And he was. He reopened the restaurant in its original location on Florida earlier this year.

Williams has left a legacy of enthusiasm and good cooking, of being there when folks needed a little support. He will be missed.

In 2016, Williams wrote an essay for Memphis magazine about what it means to serve the community. A snippet is below, but the whole thing is worth reading.
I began my career like many chefs, learning from my mentors and developing the dream of one day owning my own restaurant. I didn’t have much growing up in New Orleans, but my life was abundant in love and support from my family and friends. I try to put a little of that magic in all that I do. Love and support goes a long way with people. It just so happens that I was blessed with the opportunity to own my own restaurants and catering services throughout the years. This career has allowed me to travel all over the country meeting athletes, celebrities, politicians, and travelers from all over the world. It also gave me the privilege to work with many young people side by side helping them grow into the wonderful people they have become or one day will be.

That is what this business is about: people, not just those who come in to enjoy the food and experience, but also the people that help make those magical moments happen. Many of us in this business spend more time at the restaurant than we do at home, so we’re a lot like family. There are so many different types of people in this business that I have had the pleasure of working with. You have college students, young professionals, career servers, and cooks, all bringing their personalities to this business. Everyone pulls together in the busy times with the sole focus of taking care of the guests that we are so blessed to have come into the restaurant. At the end of the day, we know we may have made a couple of mistakes but we did our best to make sure that our guests left happy.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Locally-made Delta Sunshine beer hits Memphis

Posted By on Tue, Dec 4, 2018 at 3:37 PM

Nate Carter, Todd Paden and Allison "Sunny' Higi of Delta Sunshine Brewery.
  • Nate Carter, Todd Paden and Allison "Sunny' Higi of Delta Sunshine Brewery.

Meet Delta Sunshine — a new line of locally brewed beers, which recently hit the Memphis restaurant/bar scene.

“We just launched here in Memphis and we’re getting ready to go in some other markets soon,” says Todd Paden, founder and president of Delta Sunshine Brewing Co. The beer is designed for craft beer drinkers as well as “people who might not necessarily be a craft beer drinker all the time. It’s a beer that’s locally made that meets what they’re looking for in terms of a great, well-made, sessionable beer.”

For now, the beer, which is being sold through Athens Distributing Co., will be served on draft in restaurants and bars. “We wanted these beers to complement what restaurants do. (They) have some good body and flavor going on. And won’t take away from the great food that these people are creating in restaurants around town.”

Later, they will go into retail, but “it’s on down the road quite a ways."

Paden’s family is from the Mississippi Delta, hence the name “Delta Sunshine,” he says. “The sunshine — the sunrises and sunsets — are some of the best in the world.”

The first three beers they’ve introduced are Hwy 61, Toll Booth Amber, and Room 414 Pale Ale.

Hwy. 61 is for beer drinkers who “want a nice, easy, clean, pilsner/lager beer.”

Toll Booth Amber is “more of a malt-based beer. We used five malts and three hops in it. So, what that creates is a nice coffee/based, bread, biscuity-type aroma when you’re smelling it. And it finishes nice and clean based on the hops that we used.”

Room 414 Pale Ale is “for the beer drinkers that like a hoppier beer. The hops that we chose build and have a nice floral aroma.”

It “finishes clean,” And it’s a hoppy beer that people can “enjoy more than one.”

Where did “Room 414” come from? “That’s the room that Robert Johnson recorded his first album in in Texas.”

The Delta blues figure as much as “sunshine” in their beer. Delta Sunshine Brewing will promote, support, and embrace blues artists from the Mississippi Delta. The brewery is committed to supporting groups that provide support and education to children in the Mississippi Delta area.

For now, Delta Sunshine beers are being brewed at City Brewery, the “old Coors, Schlitz plant on Raines Road.”

Brewers, he says, “can come in and use their equipment, basically. It’s state of the art. The best equipment you could possibly work with.”

Allison “Sunny” Higi, their brewmaster, “has her degree in biochemistry from Purdue. She was a scientist first.”

Paden grew up in the bar/restaurant business. His dad, Bill Paden, opened the original High Cotton on Cooper, South of Union. “My partner, Nate Carter, and I have spent every day since college in some kind of food service sales. We know restaurants really well and are able to go in and work with staff and talk to the customers.”

Delta Sunshine beer now is available at Central BBQ - Downtown, Local on the Square and Local on Main, The Green Beetle, Bardog Tavern, Aldo’s Pizza Pies, Slider Inn, Venice Kitchen, B. B. King’s Blues Club & Grill, Raffe’s Deli, Lucchesi’s Beer Garden, Young Avenue Deli, Amerigo Italian Restaurant, and The Casual Pint.

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