Ain't It Grand? 

click to enlarge Local's sea bass with asparagus risotto - JUSTIN FOX BURKS

Meatball sliders at 2 in the morning? Check. A quiet dinner with pan-seared sea bass and fire-grilled Tuscan rib-eye? Double check. A cold brewsky with a friend anytime after 4 p.m.? Got that too.

Local, downtown's newest eatery on South Main, opened two weeks ago in the former location of Sauces, but the similarity between the restaurants stops with the address.

Fashioned after an English gastro pub, owner Jeffrey Johnson hopes to attract both drinkers and diners with a casual bar and restaurant on the main floor and a smoke-free bar and more formal dining room downstairs.

"We are a perfect blend," said Chris Armes, a longtime bartender at Celtic Crossing who is now managing Local. "You can hang out and have a few drinks, or you can sit downstairs and have a great piece of fish at a table with a white linen table cloth."

click to enlarge Owner Jeffrey Johnson and manager Chris Armes - JUSTIN FOX BURKS

The same menu is served upstairs and downstairs from 4 p.m. until the kitchen closes at midnight Sunday through Thursday and until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. It is an elaborate spin on pub grub. Appetizers include house-smoked salmon ($9), mozzarella caprese ($8), and goat cheese and spinach salad ($5). Pub plates include seared sea scallops ($12), chorizo bacon burger ($11), and championship wings ($8). Entrées include a full range of steaks, chops, and seafood: sweet Italian sausage ragu ($14), grilled bourbon-marinated flank steak ($19), and Creole shrimp and grits ($19).

If you'd rather drink than eat, the bar stays open until 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday and until 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Better yet, sample food and drinks on Friday, January 22nd, when Local hosts a grand opening party.

Local, 95 S. Main,


The second Dunkin' Donuts in Memphis opened Wednesday on Poplar in Germantown, offering the restaurant's trademark assortment of donuts, breakfast sandwiches, and coffee drinks.

I stopped by a few days early with my husband Tony for a sneak peek and tasting. He tried the restaurant's new turkey, cheese, and bacon flatbread; I went for the cheese and egg English muffin and a few donuts to go. We both got cranked up on lattes, a caffeine high Tony swears is unique to the brand. He should know because he's been visiting Dunkin' Donuts since the Fifties. "My grandfather would take me to this little Dunkin' Donuts near Copley Square in Boston," he reminisced. "There were donuts and coffee. That was it."

He is right about the dates. The first Dunkin' Donuts opened in Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1950. Today, the company is the largest donut franchise in the world, with a dozen more stores slated for Memphis.

Here's one more piece of donut trivia. Nationally, the most popular Dunkin' flavor is Boston cream, but in Memphis, it's glazed and chocolate.

Dunkin' Donuts, 9077 Poplar, (753-1153)

David Meredith, manager of Blue Fish in Cooper-Young, understands that a great Bloody Mary is more than vodka, Clamato, and a stick of celery. That's why his Bloody Mary bar, offered during the restaurant's new Sunday brunch, includes Old Bay seasoning, horse radish, wasabi, Worcestershire sauce, dill pickles, green tomato pickles, olives, pepperoncini, pickled okra, and pickled green beans.

"For $5, you can build quite a drink," Meredith said. "We wanted to do something different and have a little fun."

Served from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the restaurant's Sunday brunch includes a full roster of libations, food, and a kid's menu for $6.95. On the breakfast side, there's banana-bread French toast ($14.95), steak and crab Benedict ($21.95), and chicken and waffles ($15.95). Feeling more like lunch? Try mac and cheese with shrimp and scallops ($16.95) or oyster Caesar salad ($9.95).

In addition to brunch, be on the lookout for upcoming changes in the dinner menu at Blue Fish, along with a free-appetizer card being distributed door-to-door in nearby neighborhoods.

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