Thursday, January 18, 2018

A new Midtown hot spot; Winterfest returns

Posted By on Thu, Jan 18, 2018 at 5:48 PM

click to enlarge Camp Lo with Slice of Soul Pizza Lounge owners Anthony D. Latiker Sr. and Howard L. Bell IV. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Camp Lo with Slice of Soul Pizza Lounge owners Anthony D. Latiker Sr. and Howard L. Bell IV.

If I’m not mistaken, the new Slice of Soul Pizza Lounge on Madison is housed in a space - or near - The Last Laugh, a bar where I used to play the piano (some of the black keys would come off while I was playing) Thursday nights in the mid-’70s. A bunch of us also got together to listen to Crawpatch play bluegrass there on Fridays and to hear Don McGregor perform during the week. It was the first place I heard the Hank Williams classic “Hey Good Lookin” on the jukebox. On Tuesday nights we’d go hear Furry Lewis at nearby Peanuts on Cleveland.

So, I’m happy this snazzy new establishment at 1299 Madison is continuing the live music tradition in the area.



I went to a grand opening night for Slice of Soul Jan. 11. I loved it.

The hip-hop duo Camp Lo headlined the evening. They’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of “Uptown Saturday Night,” their debut album that includes “Coolie High” and “Black Notaljack.”

The opening act was c’beyohn a.k.a. Corey ‘c-beyohn’ Bailey. “He’s our deejay,” said Howard L. Bell IV, who, along with Anthony D. Latiker Sr. owns Slice of Soul. “He’s our music liaison. He’s our dot connector. He’s in that scene. So, he knows those people.”

Bell and Latiker, who came up with the idea of the lounge, said they wanted Slice of Soul “to really bring back the Memphis that we knew when we were kids. When we were younger. When Memphis had live radio shows. When Memphis had old school music on Sunday nights from 6 to midnight and that’s all you heard. We wanted to bring back the Memphis vibe that we felt as kids and both being ‘band heads’ at Westwood High School. Something we felt was missing.”

Bell played trumpet and Latiker played saxophone in the band at Westwood, where they graduated in 1989. “We went on to Tennessee State University and played in the college band as well.”

The two have been friends “probably since fourth grade. We went to Doubletree Elementary.”

Music genres will include soul, hip hop, funk, jazz and “rare grooves.” ”Sllce of Soul also features Tonya Dyson’s “The Word” open mike night on Mondays, karaoke on Wednesdays and art exhibits on occasion.

Asked what makes Slice of Soul special, Latiker said, “It’s just the ambience, the vintage furniture, the album covers. Just getting back to that old ‘90s retro feel. It’s a homey environment. And the food is cooked with love. It’s just a great place to be.”

I tried a bite of Slice of Soul’s flatbread pizza. It was delicious. “We’re the chefs,” Bell said. “We wanted to come up with something first of all that was easy that we could make. We know Memphis is a whole wing city. Anthony has decades of experience from doing Southern Heritage Classic, TSU homecomings. He’s cooked at all of these events, so he handles a lot of the wings and the pizza.”

The entire menu is “named after neighborhoods, icons and just streets,” Bell said. “We have a Cooper-Young cheese pizza, one of our signatures. On the wings, the flavors are Haven Honey - for Whitehaven.”

Other food titles include “Wild Wild Westwood, LeMoyne Loaded Fries, Pyramid Parmesan Chicken, Cordova Caesar, Mitchell Mile, Al B. Greene, Fairley Fries and Memphis Meat Mafia.”

Asked what makes Slice of Soul special, Latiker said, “It’s just the ambience, the vintage furniture, the album covers. Just getting back to that old ‘90s retro feel. It’s a homey environment. And the food is cooked with love. It’s just a great place to be.”

A lot is going on at 1299 Madison. Check it out.


click to enlarge Pete & Sam's was represented at Italian Winterfest. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Pete & Sam's was represented at Italian Winterfest.

……………..

click to enlarge Michael Bomarito and Katie Stone at Italian Winterfest - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Michael Bomarito and Katie Stone at Italian Winterfest

Pete & Sam’s, one of my all-time favorite restaurants, currently is closed after a recent fire. So, I was very happy to see Sammy and Michael Bomarito and some of the gang from the restaurant at a Pete & Sam’s food station at Italian Winterfest Jan. 14 at the Racquet Club of Memphis.

The served penne pasta salvatore - one of my go-tos - and their fabulous spinach.

I wasn’t too surprised Pete & Sam’s was represented because the late Sam Bomarito was one of the founders - along with Tony Barrasso and the late Angelo Lucchesi - of the annual benefit for the Ave Maria Home and the Catholic Education Fund.

The restaurant was one of 13 restaurants (including Dinstuhl’s Fine Candies) at the benefit that drew more than 700 people.

Dr. James R. Downing, president and chief executive officer of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, was the Honored Guest. Mayor Jim Strickland, last year’s recipient, presented the award.

Also honored were James and Linda Gattas of James Gattas Jewelers. They received the Italian Winterfest Outstanding Service Award.

Barrasso played accordion table side and deejay Michael Spano played tunes, including the theme from "The Godfather."

Getting back to Pete & Sam’s. The renovated restaurant, which is slated to re-open in April, is going to have a bar for the first time. And some of the menu items, which people don’t order very often, are going to be removed. The also will be adding items. The owners of Ciao Bella are investors in the “new” Pete & Sam’s.

I recently heard Pete & Sam’s served a whole flounder - bones and all. I’m on a fish kick lately, so I asked Sammy if they were going to keep it. He didn’t give me a definite answer. So, I’m lobbying for the flounder. It sounds so good.

I also want them to keep the old-fashioned shrimp cocktail. And I’m sure I can think of some other things….



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