Commercial Appeal: Best of 2013

Best of 2013: Dining

Casual ruled local scene in 2013

By Jennifer Biggs

Thursday, December 26, 2013

In April, Kelly English toasted the fifth anniversary of Restaurant Iris, and, on the last day of November, opened his second local restaurant, The Second Line, next to Iris; it was so popular they ran out of food the first night.

Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman celebrated more than the fifth anniversary of Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen. They were named on Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs 2013 list and opened the Holding Pen, the dive bar attached to the back of Hog & Hominy, the restaurant they opened in 2012 and which was featured in GQ magazine and reviewed by The New York Times this year.

Ryan Trimm, with Sweet Grass and Next Door under his belt in Midtown, went east and opened Southward Fare & Libations in Regalia. Soul Fish opened its third location, smack on Poplar Avenue in the heart of East Memphis. Sekisui, which closed on Humphreys as 2012, reopened an East Memphis restaurant in October. Mellow Mushroom moved into the former AAA building at Park and White Station. Jeremy Denno put Rock ‘n Dough Pizza in at Park and Ridgeway, and Pyros Fire Fresh Pizza later opened in the same center.

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Memphis Flyer: A Visit to The Second Line


Last Wednesday, I met up with Pam and her husband Tony at the newly opened Second Line. Our timing was perfect, as even a few minutes later would have meant a wait.

The place was hopping, the vibe was one of excitement.

This was a working dinner for Pam, so we ordered a range of dishes, including the fried oyster salad; the fries topped with andouille, crawfish, and pimento cheese; and the Natchitoches meat pies.

Of course, I had to get the Chubby Vegetarian mushroom debris poboy. It was delicious. Tony went classic and ordered the fried shrimp poboy.

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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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