Monday, February 27, 2017

Final Four Emerges in Our Beer Bracket Challenge

Posted By on Mon, Feb 27, 2017 at 10:35 AM

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We have our Final Four.

Ghost River and Wiseacre have two beers apiece in our remaining matchups. Those beers — and those breweries — go head to head as we enter the final days of voting in our 2017 Beer Bracket Challenge.

Emerging in our Final Four is an achievement in its own. Those beers won their categories. In our bracket, those categories were light beer, dark beer, IPA, and seasonal.

• Ghost River’s Golden Ale is the best light beer from our Big Four breweries, according to our readers.

• Wiseacre’s Gotta Get Up To Get Down is the best dark beer.

• Wiseacre’s Ananda is the city’s best IPA.

• Ghost River’s Grindhouse Cream Ale won our seasonal category.

Monday’s voting pits Golden Ale against Gott Get Up To Get Down. The winner there moves on to our final matchup and will be a contender for the “Best Beer In Memphis.”

Tuesday’s votes for either Ananda or Grindhouse will decide the other finalist.

Those two beers will square off in our final day of voting Wednesday. We’ll announce the winner of our challenge Thursday.

We’ll wrap up our bracket challenge results and some fun beer news and stories in our March 9 issue.

If you don’t know by now, you should TOTALLY go vote!


Friday, February 24, 2017

The Beer Bracket Challenge heads to the Round of 8

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2017 at 12:48 PM

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We are down to the Elite 8 (Can we use that without getting sued? Guess we’ll find out.) in our 2017 Beer Bracket Challenge.

Hundreds of votes have been cast in the Challenge, hosted by the beer-thirsty folks at the Memphis Flyer and graciously sponsored by the beer-friendly folks at Aldo’s Pizza Pies.

The Challenge started with 16 beers when voting opened on Wednesday. Those two days saw voting on light beers, dark beers, IPAs, and seaosnals from Ghost River, Memphis Made, High Cotton, and Wiseacre.

Match-ups in the categories were picked out of a hat (my Bass Pro drinking hat), by me, wearing a tie (my tie) over my eyes, at Aldo’s Downtown, drinking a beer (a Southern Prohibition Crowd Control IPA), on Facebook Live.

There’s no doubt that Wiseacre and Ghost River have emerged as powerhouses in our Challenge. Their beers represent seven of the remaining eight slots left on our bracket. Plaid Attack, from Memphis Made, is the only beer not from Ghost River or Wiseacre that’s left.

Its unclear how the two breweries have dominated. Their size may dictate their fanbase. Or, have the breweries ignited their fans to log in and mash their buttons?

Voting is going RIGHT NOW and those votes will determine what beers move on the Final Four (Again, sued?). That’s exciting here because our Final Four will be the winners of their respective categories.


That is, after the votes are tallied, we’ll know what out readers think is the best light beer, dark beer, IPA, and seasonal beer from our Big Four breweries.

So, look, it’s so nice out today and tomorrow the high is going to be, like, 50. I’m not much on giving advice but here’s some: Take off early, find a patio, grab a local beer, pull up our Challenge, and vote for your favorites! (I promise we won’t tell your boss.)

Point your browser back here Monday for an update on our Challenge and see who made our Final Four!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

All-day Breakfast Bar, More, Planned for S. Main

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 11:47 AM

Marcus Dorris has big plans for a suite of storefronts along S. Main.

Dorris owned Evergreen Grill on Overton Park, which was famous for his lobster burger. Three months ago, he opened Cajun Grill in the former spot of DejaVu (and most recently Pink Diva Cupcakery and Cuisine) downtown on Florida.

Cajun Grill
  • Cajun Grill

Dorris plans to resurrect Evergreen Grill at 302 S. Main in the old Ray'z Dr. BBQ space. He's also planning an all-day breakfast/juice and coffee bar at 300 S. Main and a serve-yourself wine loft at 306 S. Main.

The breakfast bar will be called Early Mornings and will feature an extensive selection of mimosas (including grapefruit). There will be pancakes and crab omelets and crab benedict and lobster croissants. There will also be a healthy component will the juices, so, Dorris says, if your friend wants pancakes, you can stick to your diet with a juice. "I want to give everybody something."

The wine loft will be called Shaken & Corked and will be like Greencork, Dorris says. Guests will serve themselves from a selection of 15 wines from a system set in the wall. He says there will be a light menu with a number of bruschetta and sandwiches.

As for the new Evergreen Grill, Dorris says the lobster burger will be back and he's planning on offering his inventive takes on cheesecake, including red velvet, blueberry muffin, and banana pudding.

At Cajun Grill, they're serving up seafood po'boys with alligator, lobster, shrimp, and oysters on 12-inch "legit" bread. There's house-made remoulade, pasta with Cajun cream sauce, crab cakes, a porkchop sandwich, smothered fried chicken, bread pudding and more. And, says, Dorris, "the best seafood gumbo in the city."

Dorris says he's been a longtime friend of Gary Williams, owner of DejaVu. Williams hooked him up with the building for Cajun Grill, because he wanted to keep the building alive, according to Dorris.

Dorris hopes to have the S. Main restaurants open sometime before May.


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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Popper Throwdown Set for March 25

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 9:00 AM

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Seth Agranov, the founder of the Best Memphis Burger Festival, is now the founder of the 901 Popper Throwdown.

"Really, why not?" says Agranov.

Aganov says the whole thing started as some "chest-bumping on Facebook" over poppers. Talk of a contest bubbled up — something small, maybe in someone's backyard. But, then, no one really wanted to play host, and so ...

The 901 Poppers Throwdown will be in front of High Cotton Brewing on Saturday, March 25, noon to 7 p.m. It will be on the smallish side with 10 to 15 teams competing in two categories: anything goes; and anything goes in poppers using High Cotton beer. There will also be a pickled jalapeno eating contest.

We all know poppers, right? The general format is a jalapeno pepper stuffed with cream cheese and some other stuff. They whole thing is usually wrapped in bacon.

But Agranov says there are many approaches to the popper. One can deep-fry them or bake them. Some swear by the bacon, others bread them. Sometimes peppers other than the jalapeno are used.

Agranov, who says he makes poppers mostly by request, favors the sliced in half take, with a cream cheese mixed with cheddar cheese. He says his secret is the honey-butter glaze he uses and he smokes them for about an hour over low heat.

At the event, there will be live music and a kid's area (though no kids inside High Cotton), maybe some burgers. One thing that won't be found at the Popper Throwdown are peppers hotter than jalapenos. Those aren't allowed.


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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Beer Bracket Challenge Launches Wednesday

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2017 at 12:36 PM

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Can you get a little weird about your local craft beer? Do you find yourself in full-on preacher mode when discussing the best seasonals or high gravities? Well, friends, do we have the bracket for you!

The Memphis Flyer and Aldo's Pizza Pies have teamed up to present the Beer Bracket Challenge, which launches at memphisflyer.com on Wednesday, February 22nd.

Sixteen local beers, divided into light, dark, IPA, and seasonal categories, vie against each other in a seeded bracket. All of the beers, from Wiseacre, Ghost River, Memphis Made, and High Cotton, are widely available at bars and restaurants and grocery stores. Seeding selection was done at random.

There will be an elite eight, final four, etc., with the winner getting "bragging rights" and what Toby Sells, news editor for the Flyer and the man leading the charge on the bracket, calls a "personal treasure": a small bottle of beer-flavored Jelly Bellys that expired in July 2016.

Winner will be revealed in the Flyer's special beeriffic issue on March 9th.

As sponsor, Aldo's will have flights of all available beers for $7 during the bracket.

"I like beer," says Sells. "Hopefully, this is a fun, engaging, interactive way for our readers to show how much they like beer too."

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Area 51 Ice Cream Coming to Crosstown

Posted By on Mon, Feb 13, 2017 at 1:51 PM

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Area 51
, the ice cream shop based in Hernando, announced today that it will open a second location in the Crosstown Concourse.

Here's the press release:

Area 51 ice cream, a leading maker of luxury hand-made artisan ice creams and sorbet today announced it will be expanding to Crosstown Concourse in Memphis, TN. The company, which prides itself on crafting unique one-of-a-kind ice creams, will open a new shop in conjunction with the Crosstown Concourse opening celebration on May 13th, 2017!

"We are thrilled to be a part of such a unique and historic project in the city," says owner of Area 51 ice cream, Steve Cubbage. “Once we had our initial meeting with Todd Richardson, we knew that we wanted to be a part of this project. Our core mission and Crosstown's mission were perfectly aligned.”

Area 51 ice cream has been producing hand-crafted ice cream and sorbet for North Mississippi clientele since May 2014. Made from scratch daily in Hernando, MS, they truly believe that the best ingredients make the best ice cream. That’s why theirs is always made with natural, in-season produce and ingredients. They work closely with other small local businesses, and frequent the Hernando Farmer’s Market, to make sure their ice cream is always the freshest, and will help to benefit the community.

"Our passion for ice cream started from childhood, when a sweet scoop could make the rest of the world melt away. We want to bring that same joy to our customers, every time they get a taste of our rich, specialty ice cream." says owner Karin Cubbage.

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Lisa's Lunchbox to Go in Tuscany Space, etc.

Posted By on Mon, Feb 13, 2017 at 12:03 PM

Lisa Clay Getske - JOHN KLYCE MINERVINI
  • John Klyce Minervini
  • Lisa Clay Getske


Lisa's Lunchbox will move into the Tuscany Italian Eatery space on Front street. Owner Lisa Clay Getske says they were seriously pursuing the Front Street Deli spot, but things didn't work out.

"Everything happens for a reason," says Getske, noting that the Tuscany space seems like a better fit. The Front Street Deli is so small that Getske was concerned that much of the food would have to be made off-site. The Tuscany space will accommodate the full Lunchbox menu, including panini and cold sandwiches and smoothies. They plan to offer frozen dinners for take-away as well.

They are shooting for a March 1st opening to coincide with the 10th birthday of the original Lisa's Lunchbox in East Memphis.

Old Dominick Distillery began filling whiskey barrels last week.

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From the press release:

Old Dominick Distillery is pleased to announce that it started filling whiskey barrels with its carefully crafted Memphis TN Whiskey.

Old Dominick Whiskey was a known label from 1866 until prohibition. The D. Canale family has now restored this 150 year-old family business into a full service grain-to-glass spirits distillery.

In the last few days, Alex Castle, head distiller and her team distilled whiskey made from their own mash, from grains milled, cooked, malted and fermented all in house. They put it through the mandatory TN whiskey maple charcoal filter and it was time to start filling the whiskey oak barrels.
It felt like a historical moment for the Canale family and the Old Dominick team.

“It is an exciting day for our company, and fitting that we are aging Old Dominick Whiskies for the first time since Tennessee Prohibition forced us to stop precisely 100 years ago in 1917.” Said Chris Canale, Old Dominick Distillery owner and great-great grandson of Domenico Canale, founder of the Old Dominick Brand.

Beyond bringing true craft production to Downtown, Old Dominick Distillery will welcome guests for tours, tastings, events, and retail spirits sales. Old Dominick opens this year, in the spring.

Old Dominick is shooting for a spring opening. According to a rep, vodkas and a bourbon base heritage drink will be released when they open their doors and will be available at liquor stores and bars. The whiskey will take three or four years to age.

Burgerim, the Israeli franchise, is now open on Highland Strip. They offer mini burgers in duos, trios, or party boxes. Options include wagyu beef, lamb, turkey, veggie, and chicken.


• I tagged along to this tasting at City Silo Table & Pantry.

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Highlights include the Foxy BBQ, a dish inspired by Flyer friends The Chubby Vegetarian. This is a BBQ sandwich made with spaghetti squash. The barbecue sauce, made for City Silo by the Rendezvous, is a perfect accent — not too sweet with just the right kick of spice. Great bun, too.

More thumbs ups: Buffalo Tempeh + Sesame Cauliflower Wrap, the cauliflower wings, and the Matcha, Matcha, Matcha Wellness Latte.

For those vegans and vegetarians who are bummed that City Silo has veered from its Cosmic Coconut roots and is serving eggs and chicken, take heart: The menu at City Silo is, by far, mostly vegan, more extensive than Cosmic Coconut's, and is thoughtful and inventive.

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Friday, February 10, 2017

The Vault Going in Double J Space

Posted By on Fri, Feb 10, 2017 at 1:48 PM

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A new restaurant/bar called the Vault will open in the space previously occupied by Double J Smokehouse on GE Patterson downtown.

The Vault will be run by Duncan Aiken, John Kalb, Tyson Bridge, and Michael O'Mell. The name is a nod to the building once being a bank, and, yep, there is a vault inside.

If the Aiken name seems familiar, it is: Aiken ran two pizza places in Midtown called Overton Park Pizza Stone and Skunx.

Aiken says the menu is "everything from my vault." It's an eclectic mix of Creole and Italian and this and that. Expect fresh oysters from the East Coast, crab cakes, jambalaya, and, of course, pizza. Aiken says they're planning on doing $10 express lunches.

Aiken describes the Vault as an upscale bar. Everything's been renovated. There are two granite bars in the two-level space. They'll have a cold rail on one of the bars, which develops frost and keeps drinks icy cold. It will seat about 130.

There will also be 26 TVs. But, Aiken says, the Vault is no sports bar. Instead, each booth will have its own TV, which can be controlled by the patron.


They hope to be open as early as March 1st.



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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Yep, Hattie B's Coming to Midtown

Posted By on Thu, Feb 9, 2017 at 3:07 PM

Nashville-based Hattie B's Hot Chicken will open a location in Midtown Memphis late summer or early fall, according to Nick Bishop Jr., who co-owns the restaurant with his father Nick Sr.

In fact, says Bishop, Memphis was the first city considered when they began talking of expansion. Hattie B's has two locations in Nashville and one in Birmingham, Alabama. Another location will open in Atlanta.

Originally, they looked at Overton Square, but then were told that the Curb Market location on Cooper might be available, so they jumped.

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Bishop estimates that the new restaurant will seat 120. He envisions outdoor seating as well and doing something cool with the large sign on the building. He's thinking about cornhole.

The point, he says, is "to make it fun, make it an experience you don't forget."

Hattie B's in Nashville is, indeed, an experience. Folks line up for the chicken and sides like black-eyed pea salad, collard greens, and pimento mac and cheese.

Hattie B's is considered a newcomer, alongside such stalwarts as Prince's, having opened in 2012. It all began at Nick Sr.'s Bishop's Meat & Three restaurant. Hot chicken was added to the menu in 2010 and did so well as to prompt its own spinoff.

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Like Memphis has barbecue, Bishop says Nashville lays claim to hot chicken with each place having its own spin to the dish, so  that you might go to Prince's for this, or Bolton's for that. Hattie B's chicken, says Bishop, is designed so "the youngest, oldest, and bravest can try." They have undoctored fried chicken for folks that like things on the mild side. Then the dish is ramped up bit by bit, with options being from "hot" to "damn hot" to "shut the cluck up." (The latter, says Bishop, is for "thrill seekers and bet losers.")

Bishop says that, via chicken, he sees himself as sorta an ambassador of the city, which is not a bad gig at all. He notes, "Gus's is different, but in a great way. We complement each other." Ultimately, Bishop says, "Fried chicken — it's the universal food."

Bishop also says he's quite aware of the Memphis vs. Nashville thing, and he's ready. "We're very pro-Memphis on the Hattie B's team," he says. "We're looking forward to meeting our neighbors."  

Images: Joseph Woodley

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Curb Market Moving On, Hattie B's Moving In?

Posted By on Tue, Feb 7, 2017 at 12:04 PM

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Manager Pamela Rains confirmed this morning that Curb Market on Cooper will be be closing on Sunday, February 12th. The market is preparing for its move to the Crosstown Concourse.

Curb Market opened in March of last year and has specialized in local goods.

Rains says they're currently having a moving sale and are hoping to be open in Crosstown by April.

Word is that Hattie B's, the famed Nashville-based hot chicken restaurant, is moving in.

In related news, David Scott of Dave's Bagels, which were sold at Curb, announced on Instagram and Facebook that he's secured another space and will make an official announcement later this week.



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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Front Street Deli for Sale

Posted By on Thu, Feb 2, 2017 at 1:45 PM

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Owners of the iconic Front Street Deli announced on January 28th, that they are putting the business up for sale.

Carol Silkes, who owns Front Street with her husband Lance, said running the restaurant, along with a food tour business had become too much. (Carol is also an instructor at the U of M.) They are looking to simplify and to pass the business to the right family.

The Silkes took over the space from the Lee Busby estate in 2013. Busby was a much-beloved downtown figure. Front Street was known for its egg salad, its lack of a credit-card machine, its appearance in The Firm, and for Busby.

Lance Silkes told the Flyer back in 2013: "'In 1976, when pretty much everybody was leaving downtown, [the Busbys] ran in,' says Silkes, crediting the deli with helping kickstart downtown's resurgence. 'Letting it go seemed like a bad idea.'"

Carol says they have already received a lot of interest and hope to have things in negotiation mode in about 2 weeks.

"We take care of the neighborhood and the visitors who come in," says Carol. "We're loyal to Lee.

"We're basically here to tell Lee's story. We just wanted to keep that historic restaurant in business," she says, noting that "it takes a lot."

Carol says prospective owners "must love Memphis, must love food, and must love people."


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Monday, January 30, 2017

On the Scene at Soup Sunday

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2017 at 2:15 PM

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Youth Villages held its popular annual fund-raiser Soup Sunday this past weekend, drawing roughly 2,000 to the FedExForum.

Babalu took home the prize for Best Soup, while Nothing Bundt Cakes nabbed Best Dessert. All winners listed below.

Soup Sunday Winners 2017

Best Gumbo
eighty3
⁃lelvin's eighty3 Gumbo

Best Bread
The Peabody Memphis "Ducks out of Water"
⁃House Made Cheesy Cornbread

Best Soup
Babalu Tacos and Tapas
⁃Chicken Tortilla Soup

Best Dessert
Nothing Bundt Cakes
⁃Assorted Bundtinis

Best Specialty Item
Hope Church Memphis
⁃Pimento Cheese with Crackers

Souper Spirit Award
A Moveable Feast & HOG WILD Catering Companies
⁃Chicken and Waffle Fritter with North Memphis White Sauce

VIP Best Presentation
Tuscany Italian Eatery

VIP Best Overall
Nothing Bundt Cakes

VIP Soup
Tuscany Italian Eatery
-Tomato Bisque Soup

VIP Dessert
Rizzo's Diner
-Blueberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding




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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

New MemPops Store in Crosstown

Posted By on Tue, Jan 24, 2017 at 2:05 PM

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Here's some yay! news: MemPops' owner Chris Taylor confirmed today that he will be opening a second store in the Crosstown Concourse.

MemPops has been throwing out hints via social media for the past couple days.

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Taylor says the store will be near the loading dock by Mama Gaia. At 650 square feet, this location will be smaller than the one out east, but Crosstown will serve as a MemPops central of sorts — all popsicles for both locations will be made in the Church Health Center kitchen.

Late last year, Todd Richardson of the Crosstown Concourse told the Flyer that they were in talks to bring in an ice cream place. Taylor says MemPops is not what Richardson was referring to.

Taylor says he approached Crosstown with the idea. "I live like two blocks away," he says. "I always thought MemPops would work [in Crosstown]."

Taylor says the Crosstown location will serve all MemPops staples, but he doesn't count out creating Crosstown-specific pops. He's shooting for an April opening.


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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Cafe Brooks Debuts, etc.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 18, 2017 at 3:32 PM

Cafe Brooks by Paradox, at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, opened today.

The cafe is in the space that was once the gift shop. The old Brushmark is now a gallery.

Brooks partnered with Paradox Catering for the venture. Paradox includes chefs Jimmy Gentry and Jessica Lambert.

The menu is aimed for at the patron looking for a quick bite in order to get back to absorbing all the Brooks' art. There is a selection of salads and sandwiches, plus pastries and coffees. Prices top out at $12.  
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• The first local PizzaRev is set to open next Thursday, January 26th.

The restaurant, at 6450 Poplar near International Paper, is an artisan build-your-own pizza place.

And and and ... according to a press release from PizzaRev, it will be the first place in the city with a iPourIt system, which is self-serve beer (!).

To demo the system, PizzaRev is hosting an event on Saturday, January 28th, 5 to 10 p.m. Guests (21 and older) will receive a free pizza with the purchase of a 16-ounce beer.

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• The owners of Sports Junction have finally unveiled its new name: Growlers.

• A permit has been pulled for Philippine Restaurant on Germantown Parkway.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Oshi to Rebrand

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2017 at 11:17 AM

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Oshi closed yesterday and will reopen in the spring as a new concept, according to owner Jeff Johnson.

Johnson says he's excited about the move, but won't go into too many details until everything is "on paper."

Johnson will say that he and Farmhouse Marketing started with several ideas for the space and have narrowed it down to one. He says he sees it as a casual place with counter service and grab-and-go.

Johnson wants something "good for downtown," something with "expanded offerings," and not just burgers, which are plentiful downtown.

But don't count Oshi out yet. "We love the concept of Oshi — the design, the menu," Johnson says. They are considering a move. "Out East might work better."

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