Monday, January 13, 2020

Memphis Ranked Best Barbecue City in America

Posted By on Mon, Jan 13, 2020 at 2:15 PM

JUSTIN FOX BURKS
  • Justin Fox Burks
Ribs. Pulled pork. Brisket. Memphis is synonymous with barbecue, so it should surprise no one that we’ve just ranked #1 on yet another national BBQ list (eat your heart out, Nashville).

A new report from Apartment Guide has named Memphis the #1 Best BBQ City in the US. As the home of barbecue nachos, fries, pizza, and even spaghetti, it’s clear that Memphis is the place to be if you’re a barbecue fanatic.

The Apartment Guide report ranked every U.S. city by the percentage of barbecue restaurants to all restaurants to determine the top 10 best barbecue cities in the country.

The study recognized 6,300 cities across the U.S. with at least one barbecue restaurant each (based on a database of more than 8 million commercially available business listings.) They then weeded out cities with less than 50,000 people and divided the number of barbecue restaurants by the total number of restaurants in each city to determine the percentage of barbecue establishments for each. The cities with the highest percentage of barbecue restaurants were then deemed to be the best barbecue cities in the country.

Memphis tops the list at #1, with the highest percentage of barbecue restaurants (12.09%), followed by Minnetonka, Minnesota, at #2 and DeSoto, Texas, at #3.

According to the report, “Not only does the River City have the highest ratio of barbecue restaurants in the nation, but it also has the third overall most barbecue joints behind only the much larger Houston and Chicago.” The report lists the world-famous Central BBQ, Payne’s, and Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous as quintessential examples of our city’s best ’cue.

So there you have it: Memphis might not be the biggest or most populous barbecue city, but we sure do take our barbecue the most seriously –– proudly touting roughly 142 total barbecue joints in the city limits alone.

Read the full report at apartmentguide.com.

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Thursday, January 2, 2020

Trolley Stop Market to Close

Posted By on Thu, Jan 2, 2020 at 10:29 AM

tsm.jpg
Jill Forrester, owner of Trolley Stop Market, announced yesterday via Facebook that the restaurant will close on January 10th.

Forrester said, in part, of the closing:
“Keith and I need a lifestyle change. Owning a restaurant in Memphis and farming produce in Arkansas is chaotic, and at times, extremely stressful. We're eager to focus solely on our farming operation in Arkansas, and most importantly, spend much more time with our 8-year-old son.”

Forrester added that they’re assisting the “faithful team of employees” in the search for their “next work home.”

Read the full announcement below:
trolleystop.png

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Sunday, December 29, 2019

Sushi Jimmi Joins Saltwater Crab

Posted By on Sun, Dec 29, 2019 at 3:33 PM

Jimmy Sinh
  • Jimmy Sinh

Sushi Jimmi — the man not the restaurant — will become chef/kitchen manager at Saltwater Crab.


Jimmy “Sushi Jimmi” Sinh, owner of the now defunct Sushi Jimmi Asian fusion restaurant at 2895 Poplar, will become chef/kitchen manager at Saltwater Crab beginning January 15th, says owner Gary Lin.

Saltwater Crab, which opened in July, serves a range of fare from seafood to steaks. It also served sushi. “I took sushi away and people complained,” Lin says. “They wanted more sushi. I needed somebody hard working in the kitchen to take it to a different level.”

Why Sinh? “A lot of people in the whole city know him,” Lin says. And, he added, “All my servers, bartenders, know him. They wanted me to bring him back.”

Sinh initially closed Sushi Jimmi on May 23rd, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family. He said he put too much money ($250,000) into the restaurant, though he says it was successful. He planned to move to Florida, but his family didn’t want to let the restaurant go. He reopened Sushi Jimmi June 15th, but it closed for a second time at the end of July.


“I just shut my restaurant down,” Sinh says. “I didn’t want to be bothered for a while. I spent six months in someone else’s kitchen, just trying to get my mind straight for a little while. I wanted a little more time with my family. Gary approached me about two weeks ago and we talked about it.”

Sinh will bring back sushi favorites from Sushi Jimmi, but he says he also will be in charge of the entire Saltwater Crab menu. “I’ll be tweaking the menu. Redoing everything. Making it better.”

A Sushi Jimmi steak? “Mine is not just a salt-and-pepper steak. Mine is more well seasoned. A lot thicker. A thick cut of meat. I want the quality to be better.” Sinh added, “I want a very strong team. In about three weeks we want to come out strong and we want to give Memphis something to remember.”


That will include “great atmosphere, live music," he says. "We’re thinking about doing live music — more specials, more drinks. We’re going to give Memphis everything they want. It’s going to be a very stressful three weeks. I’m going to be sleepless. But it’s good for you. I’m a chef. We’re going to start 2020 off with Sushi Jimmi back in town.”

Saltwater Crab is located at 2059 Madison.

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Thursday, December 5, 2019

Facebook: Elwood's Shells Has Closed

Posted By on Thu, Dec 5, 2019 at 2:41 PM

food_03_07_19_i1_elwoodsshells_46a8472_extended-teaser.jpg

Elwood's Shells, the newly opened restaurant in Cooper-Young, is closed for business, according to a Thursday Facebook post.

The restaurant opened in the former Jasmine Thai restaurant spot on Cooper in March.

We have no further details on the closing yet. So, stay tuned to the Hungry Memphis blog — we'll update when we find out more.

In the meantime, read our full rundown of the restaurant back when it opened here.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Bishop Restaurant Slated to Open in Mid-December in Central Station Hotel

Posted By on Wed, Dec 4, 2019 at 10:24 AM

Bishop dining room - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Bishop dining room



Meet “Bishop,” the newest restaurant brought to you by Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman, chef/owners of Catherine & Mary’s, The Gray Canary, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Hog & Hominy, and Josephine Estelle in New Orleans.

Bishop, a 3,500 square-foot space in the Central Station Hotel on the corner of South Main and G. E. Patterson, is slated to open to the public in mid-December.

It was named Bishop after the late Church of God in Christ Bishop G. E. Patterson.

The food will be French brasserie style served in a “more upscale environment,” says assistant general manager Pablo Villarreal. But still in a “more casual setting.”

Guests will start with "le comptoir" (the counter), which are "snacks high in acid and salt that will be great to start off to cleanse your palette and get you ready to enjoy the menu," Villarreal says. These will include tinned seafood, which are "delicacies common in France - baby eel, baby squid, and calamari."

They then will move on to "petite plats" (small plates), which include escargot and oysters, and "grand plats" (large plates), which include steak au poivre, chateaubriand, and lamb chops.

Desserts, including crepe cake, will be made in house by chef Kayla Palmer.


Ticer and Hudman always wanted to open a French restaurant. They worked under chef Jose Gutierrez (River Oaks chef/owner) for five years at Chez Philippe in The Peabody. “We learned our palette from him,” Ticer says.

He and Hudman fell in love with the French “philosophy and approach to food” when they went to cooking school in Southern France.

Bishop seats 130, the bar area seats 18, and a private dining room seats 18, says general manager Emily Stanford.

The interior, with its black-and-white Cathedral style flooring and lots of windows, is a perfect accompaniment to the food. The approach was “keep the old train station feel,” Villarreal says. As if you’re “still in a train station having a drink.”

Natalie Lieberman of Collect+Curate Studio with the help of art consultant Anna Wunderlich designed the interior of Bishop.

Lieberman says she “started with a story” when she began work on the restaurant. “The only info I had was the name ‘Bishop,’” she says. She began to “create a narrative.”

Earthly elements, including leaves and mushrooms, combine with objects, including keys and bells, that go along with “Bishop,” Lieberman says.

There’s also a “spiritual underlying theme” with the stars, beads, and tarot cards, she says.

A bishop’s cape from France is in a frame on one wall.

Butch Anthony of the Museum of Wonder in Alabama created the hand painting in the dining room.

“Moody and rich and textured” was the feel she was going for at Bishop, Lieberman says.

She succeeded.

Diners will agree.

Bishop - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Bishop
Bishop - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Bishop
Bishop - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Bishop
Michael Hudman and Andrew Ticer at Bishop. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Michael Hudman and Andrew Ticer at Bishop.
Natalie Lieberman, Pablo Villarreal, and Emily Stanford at Bishop. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Natalie Lieberman, Pablo Villarreal, and Emily Stanford at Bishop.



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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Report: Thanksgiving Day Dinner Costs Up 1 Cent Over Last Year

Posted By on Wed, Nov 27, 2019 at 7:00 AM



Thanksgiving dinner will cost one penny more this year than it did last year, according to an annual survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).

The agriculture advocacy group tapped more than 250 volunteer shoppers for the survey. They reported prices at grocery stores in 38 states for this year’s survey. AFBF has conducted the survey since 1986.

This year, the average American Thanksgiving Day dinner for 10 will cost $48.91, or less than $5 per person, according to the AFBF survey. This dinner includes a 16-pound turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers, the survey says.
“The average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is essentially unchanged from last year, after three years of decline since 2015,” said AFBF chief economist Dr. John Newton. “Americans continue to enjoy the most affordable food supply in the world, but most don’t realize only 8 cents of every dollar consumers spend on food goes to farmers.”

There were some price changes this year on individual items. Prices increased on dinner rolls, sweet potatoes, and milk. Prices decreased on turkey, cubed bread stuffing, and canned pumpkin pie mix.

The price for Thanksgiving dinner is down by 1 cent this year. - AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION
  • American Farm Bureau Federation
  • The price for Thanksgiving dinner is down by 1 cent this year.
“Celebrating Thanksgiving is a family tradition for millions of Americans, but the rising costs of meat, dairy, and fresh produce can be a big concern,” said Ann Berry, professor and family economics expert with University of Tennessee Extension. “Seeing such a small increase [on Thanksgiving staples] is a big encouragement to many people. Budgeting for the big Thanksgiving meal can be burdensome, but prices holding steady will help many through the holiday.”

To make Thanksgiving celebrations more affordable, Berry suggested asking friends and family to bring an item and limit the number of dishes served.

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Monday, November 25, 2019

Corky's and Penny Go For "All the Smoke"

Posted By on Mon, Nov 25, 2019 at 3:08 PM

3pennysauces.jpg

Corky’s Ribs & BBQ just announced a partnership and a co-branded barbeque sauce with University of Memphis head men’s basketball coach Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway.

According to the press release, "Penny’s All the Smoke BBQ Sauce" will be available at the four Memphis-area Corky’s locations for $4.99 per bottle and can be shipped nationally online in bundles of three for $24.99 or 12 for $59.99 at corkysbbq.com beginning Wednesday, Nov. 25th. The All the Smoke sauce will be available in Memphis-area grocery stores soon.

“Corky’s has been in Memphis serving barbecue to Memphians and visitors for over 35 years, and we believe there’s not a better spokesperson for the city, or for Corky’s, than Penny Hardaway,” said Barry Pelts, co-president of Corky’s BBQ, in the press release. “What Penny has done in a short period of time with the men’s basketball program is nothing short of exceptional. We couldn’t be prouder or more excited to have him working with Corky’s, and we are looking forward to a great partnership."

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Thursday, November 21, 2019

Moxy Bar & Hotel Slated to Open Early December

Posted By on Thu, Nov 21, 2019 at 4:08 PM

Moxy's public space. The hotel, which is slated to open in early  December, still is under construction.
  • Moxy's public space. The hotel, which is slated to open in early December, still is under construction.

Someone with a lot of moxie came up with the concept of Moxy.

The slogan for the bar and hotel, which is slated to open in early December at 40 North Front, is, “If you got guts, you got Moxy,” says general manager Curtis Pandes. "It’s Marriott’s response to Airbnbs and independent hotels.”

Moxy, which is a chain of Marriott hotels, is a “disruptive brand,” says operations manager Ryan Marsh. “We go against trends, norms. Moxy is for the fun seeker.”


Just about everything is the opposite of what you’d find in a conventional hotel. There are no “bellmen,” “deskmen,” or other hotel job titles. All employees are referred to as crew members. Their uniform consists of jeans, T-shirts, and tennis shoes.


Moxy crew members have a “smart-casual approach to service,” Pandes says. “Everyone is on a first-name basis.”

The lobby, called the “public space,” features a 360-degree bar which serves as the front desk, a spot for morning coffee, and the place to go for drinks later, Marsh says.

When guests check in, they are given a complementary Moxy cocktail made with Bacardi dragon-berry vodka. They're also greeted with Moxy’s own aroma. “There’s a scent machine on all the entrances that gives you that Moxy smell,” Marsh says.


That Moxy smell, in case you were wondering, is “wood and jasmine infused and features a burst of Italian and zesty lemon invigorated by a green floral heart with nuances of creamy woods white amber and musk.” It's also available in Moxy candles.

Marsh says Moxy will also serve smoked cocktails, including a “smoked hemp cocktail with CBD oils." There will also be a "curated selection of wines, spirits, and regional craft beer unique to Memphis.”


A variety of espressos are available, including ghost pepper, aged-barrel rum, maple syrup, and whiskey, as well as in-house-made doughnuts and local Mexican pastries.


The public space includes pinball machines, as well as foosball and shuffleboard. Social media is displayed on the giant “Moxy Board” above the shuffleboard table.

Pandes says Moxy’s public space and patio aren’t just for guests; the public also is invited to hang out and play.


The meeting room is called the “collaboration room” and includes a “communal table”  and two barn doors to close it off from the public space. The 1,500-square-foot porch overlooks Court Square and includes two large fire pits and music speakers, plus a 700-square-foot bocce court.


Moxy features 115 rooms and four suites, with room numbers crafted by the National Ornamental Metal Museum. Bedrooms feature king-sized or double beds and "the fastest WiFi in Memphis." Another local touch are the drink coasters made by ARCHd Memphis.

Moxy wants guests to get out, come downstairs and play, or get out in the city. Or go to the gym, which includes a punching bag and a stationary bicycle that’s a converted city cruiser bike.


“Whether you’re 19 or 99, if you love to have fun, this is the place for you,” Marsh says.











MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
Ryan Marsh and Curtis Pandes at Moxy. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Ryan Marsh and Curtis Pandes at Moxy.

MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue

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Sunday, November 17, 2019

Spencer McMillin Steps Down as Caritas Chef de Cuisine. Matthew Schweitzer is New Chef De Cuisine.

Posted By on Sun, Nov 17, 2019 at 8:31 PM

Kristin and Spencer McMillin - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • MIchael Donahue
  • Kristin and Spencer McMillin
Matthew Schweitzer - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Matthew Schweitzer

Conrad Phillips - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Conrad Phillips


Spencer McMillin is stepping down November 18th as chef de cuisine of Caritas Community Center and Cafe. Matthew Schweitzer will be the new chef de cuisine.

McMillin says he will now “assume more of a mentoring role in café operations effective Monday November 18th.

“I will work with the new team to ensure continuity of the Caritas culinary and community missions, which are both to serve the highest quality food to those who can afford to pay and to those who can’t and to nurture the human spirit through meaningful interaction,” McMillin says.

“The reasons for this tough decision were numerous. I have severe tendonitis in my left arm which makes it difficult to give 100 percent and the pain has gotten incrementally worse over the course of the last few months. Unfortunately, my knees are not far behind.”

McMillin says he’s going to return to teaching part time at the Kemmons Wilson Culinary Institute. “Which is less taxing on my body and quite enjoyable.”

And, he says, “I am also currently in the middle of writing recipes and narrative for The Caritas Cookbook which I hope to have completed and for sale by January 2020. There will be stories, action photos and recipes.

“Additionally, I will still partner with my chef buddies for the Chef Partnership Dinner series and be a Walmart greeter of sorts at the café but my days of fighting daily battles in the Caritas kitchen (as documented in the Edible Memphis piece A Day In The Life at Caritas Village) are drawing to a close.

“My wife, Kristin (Caritas executive director) and I have chosen a capable successor in Chef Matthew Schweitzer and we look forward to seeing how his youthful energy and love of farm to table cooking takes the Caritas culinary mission to the next level. In that spirit, the Caritas menu will reflect the past with dishes Mac Edwards (former Caritas executive director) and I made popular and look toward the future with dishes that reflect Matthew’s philosophies and cooking style. Customers should expect the cuisine to be both familiar and exciting in the days and months to come.”

Schweitzer, 32, is excited about his new position. “If I wasn’t a chef, I would be a social worker,” he says. “I want to help people.”

He previously worked at restaurants, including Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Restaurant Iris, Interim, and The Beauty Shop Restaurant.

Schweitzer began working in the Caritas kitchen November 11th. He helped out at the Nov. 14th Chef Partnership Dinner, which featured McMillin and Kelley English from Restaurant Iris and The Second Line.

“We feed people not based on their ability to pay. So, if someone’s in need of a plate, they can come up and get a meal for free and it would be comparable to most fine dining restaurants in the city.”

On Schweitzer’s first day McMillin says, “I need you to make soup, an entree with two sides, a vegetable and starch.”

Schweitzer made a curried butternut squash soup, coq au vin (wine-braised chicken), with rigatoni and collard greens. “People loved it,” he says.

Schweitzer describes his style as “thought provoking. Definitely locally inspired. Utilizing what I have around me but putting a modern touch on it. The majority of everything we use is from the farmers. We have these really great relationships. And he (McMillin) is going to introduce me to these other farmers I don’t know and we’ll go from there.”

Conrad Phillips will become sous chef. “(He) is also a very skilled carpenter and has updated the cafe’s look in recent days with reclaimed wood,” McMillin says. “He’s also a hell of a cook. The two of those guys with little direction from me will kick the cuisine up a few notches.”



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Friday, November 15, 2019

Say Hola to the New Pancho's Man

Posted By on Fri, Nov 15, 2019 at 10:54 AM

The new Pancho Man mingles with the old Pancho Man on the shelves at Midtown Kroger. - TOBY SELLS
  • Toby Sells
  • The new Pancho Man mingles with the old Pancho Man on the shelves at Midtown Kroger.

Pancho's quietly rolled out its new Pancho Man recently, a decidedly less cartoon-y version of the Pancho Man who has been the face of the beloved cheese dip since 1956.

Pancho's announced a change to the logo last month with a cryptic tweet, reading "get ready to meet the new Pancho." An image of the new logo accompanied the tweet with only a silhouette where the new Pancho would reside.

The new Pancho's man. - TOBY SELLS
  • Toby Sells
  • The new Pancho's man.

The old Pancho is a smiling, mustachioed, and sombrero-ed cartoon. The new Pancho is a smiling, mustachioed, and sombrero-ed cartoon, too. Or, maybe you could call him a drawing? But he's decidedly less cartoon-y than the old Pancho, whose years of service on the lid of the city's favorite cheese dip made him an easily recognizable Memphis icon.

TOBY SELLS
  • Toby Sells

Ben Fant, principal and creative director at the Farmhouse marketing firm, has stayed fresh on the Pancho-Man beat. I'll give him a huge, digital hat tip here for finding the new Pancho in the wild first (to my knowledge) and posting him to Facebook (which is where I saw it first).
As of Friday morning, neither Pancho's Cheese Dips nor Pancho's restaurant had formally introduced the new Pancho online. But the company has been clear on any reference to the new Pancho — the cheese dip recipe will remain unchanged.

Last month, Rafael Rangel asked Pancho's on Twitter why the company wanted to change the logo. "Why mess with something so perfect?" he asked.

"We just want to make sure our logo looks as great as the dip tastes!" the company responded. "New look, but always same taste!"

There's a new logo in town, amigo. - TOBY SELLS
  • Toby Sells
  • There's a new logo in town, amigo.

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Monday, November 11, 2019

Grind City Coffee Hosts Caffeine Crawl this Weekend

Posted By on Mon, Nov 11, 2019 at 11:27 AM

PHOTO BY NATHAN DUMLAO ON UNSPLASH
  • Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
Grind City Coffee is bringing Caffeine Crawl to Memphis on Saturday, November 16th, with three caffeinated routes.

Caffeine Crawl is designed to be a fun, educational, pub-style crawl from venue to venue that allows participants to taste, learn, and talk about different kinds of coffee with like-minded java enthusiasts. Stops on the crawl include Dr. Beans at Puck Food Hall, Comeback Coffee, Vice and Virtue, INSPIRE Community Cafe, and Ugly Mug Coffee, among many others.

“I think this is going to showcase that Memphis is more than just Beale and barbecue,” says Rachel Williams, co-founder of Grind City Coffee. “We are growing a lot. We have a lot to offer.”

Williams explains that not everyone is aware of the coffee scene in Memphis, and Grind City Coffee is trying to change that through events like Caffeine Crawl and Grind City Coffee Expo.

“A lot of people sometimes get a little nervous to kind of step out of their comfort zone," she says. "So being able to have something more approachable that’s introducing people to this, whether it be through a caffeine crawl or through the [Grind City Coffee] expo, there's something for everybody."

Co-founders of Grind City Coffee, Daniel Lynn and Rachel Williams, love to promote a “community over competition” mentality when it comes to showcasing and celebrating local coffee spots.

“This is just another example of that,” Lynn says. “Plus, you know, people like to have non-alcoholic alternatives sometimes, so this provides that as well.”

Williams and Lynn see an opportunity for more and more people to get involved in local coffee culture, so bringing Caffeine Crawl to Memphis was a natural next step for Grind City Coffee in serving that mission.

“Every time I look on social media, there's another home roaster or coffee shop. So, it's fantastic to see all the growth,” Lynn says. “But that's also what we're hoping for this as well as other events to keep putting the voice out there about what we have right here in Memphis.”

Tickets are currently on sale at caffeinecrawl.com.

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Thursday, November 7, 2019

UPDATE: Bardog (Once Again) Reopens

Posted By on Thu, Nov 7, 2019 at 2:35 PM

BARDOG TAVERN/FACEBOOK
  • Bardog Tavern/Facebook
Well, that sump pump officials with Bardog Tavern bought yesterday must have worked. The bar is open, once again, after a flood in the basement closed the popular Downtown spot yesterday. (See original post below.)
 
(PREVIOUS POST) Bardog Tavern is, once again, temporarily closed as bar owners and city officials deal with issues related to a collapsed sewer line, according to bar owner Aldo Dean.

The closure is the this bar's fifth since September 21st. Dean said in a Facebook post Thursday the restaurant's basement flooded after a city contractor damaged a water main.

Dean said the whole situation "has been disheartening to say the least." It was unclear on Thursday afternoon when the bar would re-open.

See Dean's full statement in this Facebook post:

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Monday, November 4, 2019

Slider Inn - South Main Slated to Open in Mid November

Posted By on Mon, Nov 4, 2019 at 6:19 PM

"The Llift" at Slider Inn - South Main - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • "The Llift" at Slider Inn - South Main

The main bar at Slider Inn-South Main - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • The main bar at Slider Inn-South Main


Aldo Dean’s new Slider Inn - South Main, which is slated to open in mid November, can be characterized as “clean, minimal, industrial, modern,” says Eric Bourgeois, marketing director for Packed House productions, which also includes Dean’s other businesses: Aldo’s Pizza Pies, Bardog Tavern, the original Slider Inn in Midtown, and Momma’s.

The bar/restaurant encompasses about a block at the corner of Talbot and Main. The address is 363 Mulberry - the street that runs behind Slider Inn.

The building, which dates to 1946, previously housed a storage space for vintage trucks and automobiles. Original neon truck signs from “Kisber Auto Parts,” which also occupied the space at one time, will be reinstalled.

Entering Slider Inn, guests will see the “Wow Wall,” which will feature a mural of the neon sign at the original Slider Inn.

Looking up, they’ll see the illuminated 2000 Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycle with custom features, including a “suicide shift.”

Looking up, people also may see Dean’s dad, Aldo Ragnacci, doing some construction work on the place.

Robert Johnson, master woodworker, executed Dean’s vision for the wrap-around black walnut bar, which is the centerpiece of the room. The bar is mounted on top of a modular die bar system, which supports all the under bar appliances, Bourgeois says.

The lighting fixtures above the bar were inspired by New York designer Lindsey Adelman. They feature curved hand-blown glass shades with industrial clamps and Edison light bulbs.

In front of the bar is a 12-foot-long community table built by Joe Boyd of Woodland Tree Service. One side of the table features a 12-foot-long foot rail for customers who like to rest one of their feet while having a sip or two. Slider Inn will feature a menu of new drinks as well as its signature drink, the Jameson Slushie - Jameson Irish whiskey, fresh-squeezed lemonade, ginger beer, and bitters.

The six enormous windows on the South side already are filling up with empty Jameson whiskey bottles. The ones in Slider Inn so far are from the Midtown location. Each window will be full of the bottles, which will be “hand decorated” by patrons after they finished the contents. That will be about 120 bottles per window or 720 total, Bourgeois says.

The kitchen is done in stainless steel. That’s just about everything - from all the appliances to the ceiling. This is where chefs will prepare all the items from the Slider Inn in Midtown as well as some new items, including “lobster popcorn.” This delicacy features tempura-battered lobster nuggets mixed in with the buttered popcorn and house-made sauce. Reuben egg rolls and Cuban egg rolls also will be served - one of each on the same plate.

Dean always wanted a mezzanine in one of his businesses, Bourgeois says. So, now he’s got one. It’s called “The Lift” - a nod to the lift that workers use in garages to get under vehicles. The Lift overlooks the bar/seating area.

The room is designed as a great hangout area or can be used for events, including birthday parties. Guests - the room can accommodate around 20 people - can relax on a long leather sofa and watch wide-screen TV. They also can relax on the custom-made “Roman Bed” with pillows that give the space a casual, “lounge-y feel,” Bourgeois says.

Vintage truck tailgates fill the area above the bed. Garage “creepers” - the boards on rollers workers use to slide under cars and trucks - also are used as decorations.

Looking up again, patrons will see a vintage 14-foot steel playground slide - the kind that used to burn your behind on hot days - hanging from the ceiling. It’s a nod to a similar slide on top of Slider Inn Midtown.

The chandelier is made from Tennessee license plates bent into a circle.

The courtyard on the North side of Slider Inn features more seating. Dean even thought of his canine friends. A dog-height drinking fountain just for Fido stands next to a fountain for adults.

On the other side of the courtyard is “The Garage Bar.” It features another bar and more seating. The sleek long tables, which are built in a waterfall design, are made of spruce pine.

Garage doors can be pulled up when the weather is pleasant.

It’s a “separate eatery,” Bourgeois says, but all food will come from the same menu and the same kitchen. Guests on both sides will be able to dine at the chilaquiles buffet during Saturday and Sunday brunch.

All that is Slider Inn.

“Slider Out” is the grassy area that fronts Main Street. It’s an “outdoor event space,” which will eventually include live music, Bourgeois says.

Or, as Dean calls it, “Prime grassy real estate on South Main.”

And - it all this isn’t enough - Slider Out will show movies outside on a wall, which will be covered with white vinyl. People can rent Adirondack chairs and blankets and “cozy up,” Bourgeois says.

Slider Inn - South Main - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Slider Inn - South Main
MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
The Garage Bar at Slider Inn-South Main - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • The Garage Bar at Slider Inn-South Main
The Garage Bar at Slider Inn-South Main - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • The Garage Bar at Slider Inn-South Main

General manager Billy Williams, Eric Bourgeois, Aldo Dean, operations director Bobby Heath, assistant manager Chelle Morgan at Slider Inn-South Main. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • General manager Billy Williams, Eric Bourgeois, Aldo Dean, operations director Bobby Heath, assistant manager Chelle Morgan at Slider Inn-South Main.
Matthew Hubbard, bar manger at Slider Inn-South Main. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Matthew Hubbard, bar manger at Slider Inn-South Main.
Aldo Ragnacci - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Aldo Ragnacci



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Best Bets: The Birdie Sandwich at Eight & Sand

Posted By on Mon, Nov 4, 2019 at 2:18 PM

Chef Dorje Meta with The Birdie sandwich at Eight & Sand. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Chef Dorje Meta with The Birdie sandwich at Eight & Sand.

The Birdie might be the most unusual sandwich I’ve ever tasted. It’s chicken, but there’s a lot going on beneath the two slices of brioche.

It’s the most popular item on the menu at Eight & Sand, the elegant new Andrew Ticer/Michael Hudman bar in Central Station Hotel, says Dorje Meta, executive sous chef for Eight & Sand, the hotel, and the hotel’s upcoming Bishop restaurant.

The Birdie is a “wet-batter fried chicken” sandwich, Meta says. “It’s coated in Calabrian honey. We, basically, take the oil from those Calabrian peppers and we emulsify it in the honey, so it’s super spicy. And then we have a dill aioli. We make a dress slaw out of that. And then dill pickles on a brioche. It’s pretty simple, but pretty elegant little bar food.”

I asked Meta what he liked about it. “It’s got the elements of a classical chicken sandwich. It’s got the aioli and good solid brioche. I actually grill the brioche with butter. It’s a normal brioche, but it’s elevated with the dill, obviously. And that pairs really with the pickles that are already on there.”

The “genius thing” about The Birdie is that honey, Meta says. “The honey is really intense. It’s spicy. If you took a spoonful of the honey by itself it’s not fun. It would be adventurous. But on the sandwich you’re not trying to down some milk ‘cause it’s too spicy. Everything on there has a purpose.”

The spice, he says, is “balanced by the slaw. So, it’s a very balanced sandwich. You can’t really slow down when you eat it. It’s just gone.”

The sandwich was developed by Ticer and Hudman for “Birdies & Bubbles,” the pop-up restaurant they did at the the 2019 WGC-FedEx St. Jude invitational at TPC Southwind.

So, as photographers used to say, “Watch the birdie.” But you can watch this Birdie quickly get gobbled up at Eight & Sand.

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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Eight & Sand Opens in Central Station Hotel

Posted By on Thu, Oct 24, 2019 at 3:16 PM

Eight & Sand opens October 24th. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Eight & Sand opens October 24th.

Eight & Sand opens at 4 p.m. Thursday, October 24th in Central Station Hotel.

The sleek, new bar fills up the train station’s old waiting room. Travelers still can wait in the old space, but now they can wait in groupings of four to eight people at mixed Mid-Century-style tables and chairs and sip classic drinks, including martinis and Manhattans. They also can try a “Memphis Bell,” “Hurricane Elvis,” and “Knuck if you Buck” cocktails.

They also can listen to Memphis music.

The restaurant is by Andrew Michael and Andrew Ticer, who brought you Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, The Gray Canary, Catherine & Mary’s, and Hog & Hominy restaurants. Ticer and Hudman partnered with Central Station Hotel to do the bar and the upcoming Bishop restaurant, which is slated to open November 15th.

“Eight” is the highest throttle or “top speed” on the train and “Sand” stands for the sand they used to throw on the tracks so the train wheels wouldn’t slip, says Central Station Hotel food and beverage director Evan Potts. So, the name means “wish you a safe and speedy journey.”

The also Mid-Century looking bar features 10 seats as well as seats for the disabled.

The emphasis is on cozy. The vibe for Eight & Sand is “the living room of South Main.”

The look of the room is “clean” without feeling “sterile,” Potts says. “It’s so warm and so fun.”

They want Eight & Sand to be where people stop for a drink before a show at The Orpheum or other venue and then re-visit it after the performance or game, he says.

The bar menu will include “small snacks” or “share-ables,” Potts says. These will include the pimento puffed pastry, which was a popular item at the old Ticer/Hudman restaurant,  Porcellino's Craft Butcher.

All the music is either recorded in Memphis, by Memphis artists, or about Memphis, Potts says. The console in the deejay booth is an old organ.

Vinyl records will be played by deejays, but programmed Memphis music also will be played when deejays aren’t in the booth.

So, what’s the first song to be played at the opening? “Probably 'Melting Pot,'’” says music curator/head deejay Chad Weekley. The Booker T. & the M.G.s song is “a good track,” Weekley says. And, he says, the song “sums up our city.”

Eight & Sand - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Eight & Sand
Eight & Sand - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Eight & Sand
Eight & Sand - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Eight & Sand
Eight & Sand - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Eight & Sand
Eight & Sand - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Eight & Sand

Eight & Sand - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Eight & Sand

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