Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sissy's Southern Kitchen & Bar: Come Sit a Spell

Lisa Garza with Cynthia Smoot
Well, fiddle dee dee! I do declare that I have found a new place to sit a spell and sip a mint julep.

Lisa Garza, a former contestant on The Next Food Network Star and owner of Lisa Garza Taste Studio, opened the doors of Sissy's Southern Kitchen & Bar to the public on Monday, February 27th.

I got a sneak peek/taste last Thursday at this exciting new dining experience that features authentic Southern cuisine, cocktails and décor at a media luncheon hosted by Garza.

“The concept is inspired by my Southern roots. I was born in Memphis and raised by an old-school Southern daddy,” Garza says. “I have worked in and around the fine dining scene for almost 20 years—Sissy’s will be a slight departure. I want to build a fun place that feels like home in the South with great food, awesome drinks and friendly service.”

(left) Chef Jeffery Hobbs  (right) Grandma's Layered Salad, Fried Okra and Shrimp & Grits

Garza hand-selected Chef Jeffery Hobbs, her dear friend and partner at Suze for seven years, to execute her culinary vision. If you only order one thing - you MUST get Sissy’s fried chicken: a choice of white or dark meat prepared in a house-blended brine and soaked in buttermilk. It is so damn good that we were literally fighting for pieces at our media luncheon.  And at the grand opening event, Drew Ginsburg ate at least 5 pieces right in front of me and then lamented about how he was going to have to call his trainer first thing the next morning. But, it was so worth it, wasn't it Drew...

At the grand opening on Friday, February 24 I spied Amy Vanderoef and LeeAnne Locken who had skedaddled over from A Night at the Karaoke Lounge benefit for Turtle Creek Recovery Center. DJ Jen Miller and Bri Crum were caught noshing on squash puppies and deviled eggs and Barney's Jackson was cruisin' the crowd working the room is his usual debonair style.  If you wanted to find Lisa Garza... you only had to go as far as the makeshift dance floor where she spent most of the night dancing to the sounds of 70s disco and 80s rock.

(left)  Jen Miller & Drew Ginsburg  (top right)  Rhonda Sargent Chambers & Daniel Winson Lewis
(bottom right) LeeAnne Locken & Rich Emberlin

Expect other Southern staples like corn fritters with whipped honey butter, whole fried okra, chili fried oysters and rémoulade, shrimp and white cheddar-green onion grits, Low Country gumbo, chicken and waffles topped with black strap molasses, and slow-cooked beef short ribs. The desserts were my least favorite part of the menu.  Nothing blew my skirt up.  Keep to the apps and entrees and you will not be disappointed.  The bar program features old-school Southern cocktails and a vodka “tea bar” that consists of crystal urns filled with signature tea-infused punches.

Sissy’s Southern Kitchen & Bar is located at 2929 North Henderson Avenue and will be open for dinner Monday through Wednesday from 5 p.m. to midnight, and Thursday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.  Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made by calling 214.827.9900. For more information, please visit www.sissyssouthernkitchen.com.