Memphis has had a solid group of new restaurants open up and establish themselves during the first half of 2016. I'm thinking of Loflin Yard, The Dirty Crow Inn, Tuscany Italian Eatery, Park + Cherry and The Pasta Maker to name a few, not to mention Cafe 1912's wine bar expansion and a second Fino's location in East Memphis.
Canvas art bar made its debut this year as well as 99 Cent Soul Food Express, Scoops (for savory and sweet crepes), and Jerry Lawler's Beale Street bar and restaurant. Another Broken Egg, a chain of breakfast restaurants, opened its second location in Memphis in Poplar Plaza this year as well.
Now that we've looked back at the first half of the year's food news, let's look ahead. It's time for the next crop of eateries we hope will wow us. Here's a quick run-down of restaurants that will open soon in Memphis.
DWJ Korean Restaurant In Cooper Young
Brothers Jun and Hwan Lee will open a second location of their DWJ Korean Restaurant at 2156 Young Avenue, in the former Greencork spot. The first location is DWJ Eastern Grill & Sushi Bar over on Hacks Cross.
The menu at the new place will be a smaller version of the original, but will include Korean barbecue and pa jeon - a Korean pancake as well as soju - an alcoholic beverage that is sort of like sake and sort of like vodka. They'll have lunch and dinner.
They plan to be open right before Cooper Young Fest, which is September 19.
We'd known for a while that Elwood's Shack was planning an expansion or second location to allow the owner to show off his seafood skills, and recently the Commercial Appeal announced that the Elwood's Shells spinoff will actually just be right next to the Elwood's we currently know and love.
Right now, the Shack is in, well, a sort of shack in the Lowe's Parking Lot on Summer. Shells will be in a permanently parked food truck. They're planning to serve a menu full of fresh seafood prepared grilled and fried as well as on po boys.
The opening date is now set for September 24. At first, Shack and Shells will share the Shack's seating. Say that three times fast.
Indian Pass Raw Bar
You really faked us out, Chiwawa Donut Edition. We were all told that the former Tex-Mex small plates joint with the big beautiful patio would become a pseudo Tamp & Tap, but with a focus on donuts. Well. Throw all that out the window, because a famous Florida seafood spot is taking over and turning Chiwawa into Indian Pass Raw Bar.
Known for their Appalachicola oysters, seafood, and unique ordering system, Indian Pas Raw Bar plans to make full use of the patio with live music, big screens for games, and more. This will be the second location for the restaurant.
Izayaka will be a Japanese steakhouse with an Asian influence and a whole lot of seafood, in addition to a sashimi-heavy sushi bar. The upscale midtown restaurant will be in the completely renovated 19th Century Club building on Union Avenue.
They also plan to have live music, and a bar that's open late with a special bar menu.Right now, it looks like there is quite a bit of construction still to be done on saving and reconstructing this imposing structure, but the result will hopefully be something that's stunning and totally new for Memphis.
The Kitchen Bistro
As a part of the Shelby Farms Heart of the Park improvement, Elon Musk's real food movement is coming to Memphis in the form of The Kitchen Bistro.
The restaurant will have a bar with craft cocktails and wine on tap, a menu of sustainable foods like flatbreads, oysters, turkey meatballs, and much more. The patio boasts a beautiful view of the expanded Patriot Lake and will be the perfect place to enjoy Blues Brunch on Sundays. There's also a private dining area.
In addition to the main restaurant, The Kitchen will also have two "spin-offs". The Kitchenette, which is a part of the Shelby Farms Gift Shop, will offer inexpensive grab and go food along with coffee and snacks, and The Kitchen Next Door is the casual cousin of The Kitchen Bistro. It will open likely next year, though, since it's a part of the Crosstown Concourse redevelopment in theCrosstown neighborhood.
Char, a casual upscale steakhouse, will open its second location in the University of Memphis District on Highland Row this fall. Char's first location is in Jackson, Mississippi.
They will serve lunch, dinner, and brunch, plus a full bar and wine list. The menus seem fairly straightforward, with Southern appetizers, "homestyle" sides to share, and of course, steaks. It will be interesting to see how such a concept integrates with neighborhood and other work being done on the Highland Row, i.e. the renovation of Newby's.
Memphis Food & Wine Festival
If you're looking for something completely new for your dining adventures this fall in Memphis, buy your tickets for the inaugural Memphis Food & Wine Festival, which will take place at the Live Garden at the Memphis Botanic Garden on October 15, 2016.
The evening event will feature dozens of food and wine tents featuring the best wine from around the world, and a collection of chefs from the Mid-South with a full menu of samples. There will be a stage will live music and plenty of seating and a chance to mingle. There's also a book-signing table where you can meet you favorite cookbook author and a silent auction.
The Memphis Food & Wine Festival is meant to celebrate Memphis' culinary culture, but also provide Memphians with the chance to experience food from chefs outside of our city. Proceeds will benefit Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in downtown Memphis.