(Photos by Justin Fox Burks)
On a mid-summer afternoon at Loflin Yard — a charming bar, restaurant, and hang-out space in downtown’s South End — Chef Andy Knight was excited about mushrooms. He was waiting for a delivery of chanterelles, 16 pounds of burnt yellow beauties, trumpet-shaped and foraged locally. “That’s a lot of mushrooms,” said Knight, laughing. “So I pickled them.”
A veteran of Memphis restaurants including Interim and Bounty on Broad, Knight tossed the mushrooms with tomatoes, basil, and Southern field peas, a refreshing salad for a pitch-perfect menu serving the venue’s sprawling site. While seasonal produce inspires sides day-to-day, a smoker and custom grill in an open-air smokehouse shape the menu’s core. For lunch and late-night, irresistible brisket smoked 12 hours is layered with tomatoes and horseradish aioli into po’boy rolls from La Baguette. For dinner, sandwiches morph into family-style plates. Pork tenderloin pairs with fire-roasted potatoes, and tarragon-stuffed trout — cooked on the grill in a cast iron skillet — snuggles next to charred Broccolini, a customer favorite.
For drinks, select a chilled bottle of chardonnay from a cooler in the Safe House, the former home of Loflin Key & Lock, for which the restaurant is named. Or pick a barrel-aged cocktail like the Rested Martini, and then wander outside to a shady patio table where a waterfall and the Gayoso Bayou bubble along nearby.
To be honest, I thought I had aged out of Loflin Yard with its hipster vibe and live music every other night. But I couldn’t have been more mistaken about a creative approach that respects the lay of the land and welcomes people of all ages. Says general manager David Moore: “We love kids. We love dogs, and we are constantly growing into something more.” Up next: outdoor movie nights and tree lighting for the winter holidays.
7 W. Carolina Ave. Closed Monday and Tuesday. (901-249-3046) $$
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Barrel-aged cocktails include the Vieux Carre made with George Dickle Rye, Benedictine, cognac, and vermouth.
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Seasonal produce, like these locally foraged chanterelle mushrooms, inform the restaurant’s soups, salads, and sides.
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“We think it’s the best beef brisket po’boy in the city,” says Andy Knight, who smokes the brisket for 12 hours.
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Both lunch and dinner menus include daily specials, such as gazpacho served with toasted baguette.