“I would put our BBQ up against any in NYC” – Josh Livesay General Manager, Southern Hospitality
One special thing about New York City is the melting pot of cultures and styles of food it has to offer. Southern Hospitality Restaurant & Bar is giving you a mouthful of Memphis, Tennessee. A dash of history on the southern-style restaurant; It was created from three friends Justin Timberlake we all know so well from the pretty boy group N’Sync, along with his other friend from Memphis Trace Ayala, and Eytan Sugarman from the city who they wanted to show some Southern Hospitality. They wanted to show their friend from the city some southern hospitality and that’s exactly what they did. From there the three created “Southern Hospitality.”
Walking down 9th Avenue I smelled the hickory smoke as I was coming down from Time Square. I knew I was close so I picked up my pace, snapped a photo and made my way to the wooden restaurant bar on the corner with the yellow and red neon lights. There were tables outside allowing people to dine in the heart of the city. A perfect experienced for a tourist or for an everyday routine.
Upon entering the wooden and glass double pane doors, a well sized room almost packed with people with a bar behind me and steps that leaded down to what I found out was a lounge area used for scheduled parties and a comfort space for eating with flat screen t.v.’s vintage southern chairs and fireplaces. Giving the gracious hostess a name to check in for your reservation, because that will be needed just to ensure you have a spot at one of the best restaurants in town. Southern Hospitality is located on the corner at 645 9th Avenue and has been there strong in its spot since February of 2011. Southern Hospitality is a very spacious restaurant offering dining outside, a lounge that seats 60+ people, parties dinner up to 150 people!
Flat screen t.v.’s for the customers enjoyment, yes that’s two floors of dining in southern hospitality. There are seats outside to enjoy dining in the NYC scene, perhaps for a date. Sounds awesome. The bar when you enter is to your left and offers beer on tap or top shelf drinks fit for any New Yorker, or anyone coming from the South just alike. My reservation check-in was smooth and I was seated by the nice Hostess in a soft set booth that ran along the wall right in from of a view of NYC. There were tables booths and bar seats for which ever you prefer and tables to accommodate your party at almost any size.
A big tool in deciding where to eat out in New York City, NYC’s Restaurant grading system. Southern Hospitality has an A grade with the New York Restaurant Inspection. The Health Department conducts unannounced inspections of restaurants at the minimum once a year. Inspectors check for compliance in food handling, food temperature, personal hygiene and vermin control. the lower the score, the better the Grade. The biggest pet-peeve about any restaurant is the tidiness of the bathroom. I had no complaints from S. H., theirs was spectacular. No doubt in my mind with a General Manager like Josh and the close-knit staff that he has…overall tightly well ran ship.
So let’s begin with the very conscious menu that targets everything down how you would need it. Everything was well priced even from my opinion of a mother of two boys. The restaurant and food looked “kid friendly”, which is another plus. General Manager Josh Livesay was the most hands on manager I have ever seen! You are sure to catch him there if you visit making sure the customers are ok and his staff has everything they need. This is a very important key to the restaurant business, which Southern Hospitality has mastered perfectly.
Okay, so I started off with bottled water from Saratoga it was so good I drank it all. Then I was brought a mint Zaggot, it tasted like a mint fruit smoothie with a bit of alcohol. It was great. My waitress’s name was Piera and she insisted that I try the Lobster Hushpuppies. They were breaded with lobster mix inside with a side of cocktail sauce. Eating about two or three started to fill me up and I definitely wanted to save room for the entrée.
Josh the General Manager told me a lot about the brisket and the baby back ribs, so I had to have those. Telling you even in this review is not enough, so you have to go for yourself and experience the comfort food of the South. The brisket was so juicy and tender you could pull it apart easily. The baby back ribs were up to par and very meaty to say the least. My whole meal consisted of; Texas Brisket, Fried Rice, Corn bread, a hearty biscuit with honey butter. The whole biscuit melted in my mouth and the honey butter is awesome. The Macaroni and Cheese, Bourbon Baked Beans, are all so flavorful that it knocked my socks off. I was so full just from reading the menu, I was scared I may not have been able to actually eat it lol.
Though I didn’t get a chance to sample the famous pecan pie, that is something that will definitely be on the list of things to do when I return. Fact is that’s probably what the menu is designed to do. For dessert Josh recommended ice cream soufflés, they said it tasted like banana, with pecans. Only one way to solve this…I have to go back and get more…then I’ll tell you for sure.
Depending on where you are from may affect how you critique their BBQ. The best Brisket, and baby back ribs with Texas fried rice. Everything here is made fresh and the meat is smoked over night. The scenery was love with a Hickory smoke feel of the south and comfort. Light music playing and talk and laughter of NYC. Not far from Times Square, a great ideal location keeps S.H. busy and popping in business from brunch to dinner. Leaving you only with one task…show up with an empty stomach and leave two notches back on your belt, feeling like you just left Justin’s Grandma’s dinner table…but happy. I am definitely returning with my family and you should too!
General Manager: Josh Livesay
645 9th Avenue, Hells Kitchen
New York, 10036