By JENNIFER CHANDLER, The Business Call
MEMPHIS, Tennessee (AP) – The wait is over: McEwen’s reopened on December 20.
Memphis’s beloved downtown restaurant has had a facelift over the past year and a half, with the building stripped down and reconfigured.
While it might seem a little different, it’s still old McEwen that Memphians loved, offering the same laid-back dining experience and southern cuisine from Chef Keith Bambrick.
During a smooth opening on December 17, co-owners Bert Smythe and John Littlefield were all smiles as they greeted customers at their 24-year-old restaurant.
“It’s so good to see all the familiar faces,” Littlefield said. “It’s like we miss part of the family while we are closed.”
As customers walk through the front door, they enter the spacious bar.
With wood accents and a new stone countertop, the bar invites patrons to sit down a spell. If the smooth opening was any indication, the bar will once again be a popular spot for downtown residents to gather for lunch.
The main dining room now sports the building’s original exposed brick walls, a new ceiling and new lighting.
A second dining room that can seat up to 60 guests is located in the part of the building that once housed the restaurant’s office and pantry.
ACC Design, owned by Littlefield’s wife Adrienne de Lathouder Littlefield, was the talent behind the new decor.
The kitchen has also been consolidated and enlarged, with new equipment.
“We kept as many old favorites as possible,” said Smythe.
Lunch diners will be delighted to see dishes like the Jungle of Greens Salad and the Roast Beef Sandwich with Red Wine Juice return on the menu.
At dinner, you can enjoy dishes like sweet potato crusted catfish and braised pork osso buco with Creole spices.
When McEwen’s closed in March 2020, no one (especially Smythe and Littlefield) thought for a second that it would take almost two years before it reopened.
“We planned to renovate the building before COVID,” Smythe said. “When we realized that the pandemic was not going to go away, we decided to unplug the plug. “
Smythe and Littlefield had purchased the building in November 2018.
“We didn’t know we would be shut down 20 months,” Smythe said. “We never thought that would be the case.”
But getting the building down to the poles and rebuilding it took longer than anyone might have expected due to pandemic shortages and delays.
The demolition and stabilization alone lasted from May to December 2020. The reconstruction of the space began this year.
As part of the renovation, the upper floor will be converted into six residential apartments in 2022.
And don’t worry, the basement wine cellar is always available for special events and private dinners. Regulars know this is a coveted dining spot.
Hours: Open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday to Friday. For dinner from 5.30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday and from 5.30 p.m. to 10 p.m. from Friday to Saturday. Close on Sunday.
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