Memphis Magazine: The Second Line by Kelly English Brings Authentic New Orleans to Memphis

Chef Kelly English tried to down play the opening of the Second Line, slipping out a tweet the Friday after Thanksgiving. His strategy didn’t work. So many people flocked to the refurbished bungalow on the corner of Cooper and Monroe that the kitchen ran of food on the restaurant’s first day.

The most anticipated new restaurant of the year, the Second Line shares a kitchen with its acclaimed big sister Restaurant Iris, but the similarities between the siblings stop there (except for an exceptional fried oyster salad served on both menus).

Trim the color of cooper patina and warm rust walls make the Second Line feel like a seasoned haunt for the workers of New Orleans and the food they love to eat. So does the menu, a simple one-sheet kicked off by appetizers that earn the heading “Eat These Things First.” Try a pair of meat pies or a skillet of slender skin-on fries loaded with crawfish, Andouille sausage, and pimento cheese.

While the appetizers mate well with drafts from local breweries, stay attentive to the menu’s mainstay, a genuine rendering of the po’boys English ate growing up. “People try to make po’boys too fancy,” English said. “A po’boy is tomato, mayo, lettuce, pickle, and the right bread. It’s the same sandwich over and over with a different filling.”

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