The first words I heard when I arrived in Memphis many years ago still ring in my head.
“We have so many nice ways to treat you here, you are bound to like one of them.”
The lady smiled, southern accent charming me every step of the way, as advice was offered about places in Memphis that offered the very best in southern cooking.
I have never forgotten her words, or the meals that I loved every time I sat down for food in the city that Elvis called home. From pulled pork at night to red-eye gravy in the morning, from okra to hush puppies–every bite was something worth writing home about.
But frankly it is hard to find authentic southern style cooking north of Missouri. Some try to create it, most fail.
That is why I am so looking forward to the news that Julep will be soon open in Madison, and be serving traditional Southern fare. (As soon as this place opens I will be there and write a review for CP.)
This past week I attended a local community meeting where the restaurant proposal was spelled out, and as expected found favorable nods from the local neighborhood association. The former Lussier Teen Center at 827 and 829 E. Washington Avenue will be the site for this restaurant which will also include the use of a 3,600-square-foot urban courtyard.
Sarah Kinser is the force behind this idea, and there are many folks like myself wishing her well with the concept and the many details required to make a dream like this come true.
Kinser, who is originally from southern Kentucky, has been in Madison since 2004. She’s a server at the Weary Traveler who formerly waited tables at Restaurant Magnus and served as the general manager who helped open the Roman Candle in Middleton.
Southern food gets a bad rap, Kinser said.
“To a lot of people I think it means that it is really unhealthy or greasy, but it doesn’t have to be that way.”
People crave Southern food here, and there’s really no place to get it — especially really good fried chicken, she said.
With Julep, she wants to provide not only fried chicken, barbecued ribs and cornbread, but also really great salads and braised vegetables.
Kinser envisions brunch with fried-green tomatoes and baked oysters, shrimp and grits. “All that good stuff.”
She calls Julep “a really welcoming space for everyone,” with a menu priced so as not to exclude anyone.
“We’ll have a lot of good bourbon, too, and mint juleps, of course, in silver cups.”
To top all this good news off is the location is within walking distance of where we live. Why yes, I will have a slice of pecan pie!