In its former lives, the space now occupied by J'Ollies Restaurant was a biker bar, a seafood restaurant, and a pub. When J'Ollies moved in, though, that space was transformed into a family-friendly restaurant where diners can feast on pancakes and waffles straight from the griddle, or homemade biscuits bathed in sausage gravy. They can even create their own omelet, filling a hearty three-egg and cheese package with meat and veggies. Later in the day, lunch and dinner options include American classics such as beer-battered cod, meatloaf, and grilled cheese sandwiches.
Drawing on Southern traditions, Red Hot and Blue’s delectable menu satisfies barbecue cravings with smoke-ringed eats and authentic Southern recipes. Pit masters stoke low-and-slow fires kindled by hickory logs to smother top-quality meats in a smoky infusion, granting tenderness and depth of flavor normally only found in funk albums. Like a puppy’s nose, the restaurant’s St. Louis–style ribs come in wet, dry, and sweet iterations, each wooing taste buds with toothsome hunks of meat laced with secret-spice blends and accompanied by barbecue beans and creamy coleslaw ($14.99 for a half slab; $21.99 for a full slab). Fresh-made burgers and sandwiches range from beefy patties heaped with pulled pork and onion-ring straws ($9.49) to golden-fried Delta catfish fillets with tartar-sauce sidecars ($11.99). Cooks slather pulled shoulder with a poultice of Mojo mild sauce before piling its pork onto a soft bun aside Grandma’s potato salad ($7.99). Protein-pairing platters sync sea and land with fried shrimp and ribs ($14.99) or ribs and catfish ($14.99), all of which wind up in the drink thanks to chilly tidal waves of freshly brewed sweet tea.
A product of longtime best friends and entrepreneurs Lonnie Moore and Mike Malin, whose The Dolce Group has launched successful eateries across the globe, Ketchup reinterprets childhood favorites in a sleek, contemporary atmosphere. Diners saunter through a space alive with a red, white, and black color scheme, relaxing in curvy, red banquettes or futuristic-looking chairs designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The tabletops and slatted room dividers boast comic-book-style pop art, ready to transfer onto any on hand Silly Putty, and the walls talk with whimsical portraits of ketchup and mustard bottles holding hands and Heinz bottles fading into clouds of pointillism.
Meanwhile, in the kitchen, chefs spin memories of Shake ’n Bake and macaroni washed down with Kool-Aid, creating gourmet masterpieces. Lobster finds its way into mac ‘n’ cheese, and hot dogs benefit from Kobe beef—both in the dog itself and in the chili on top. And there are plenty of options when it comes time for french fry dipping. Ketchup flavors such as root beer, ranch, and chipotle pay homage to the restaurant’s moniker, livening up Angus burgers topped with market-fresh heirloom tomatoes and Irish cheddar cheese. Moore and Malin's jazzed-up comfort food has even caught on at a sister location in Saudi Arabia, and the duo is opening another site in Istanbul, Turkey.
At Henry's Soul Cafe, the smell of crispy, lightly breaded chicken mingles in the air with the sweet scent of signature sweet-potato pie—just as it's been doing since 1968. Amidst this mouthwatering perfume, chefs concoct down-home southern soul food such as fried fish, smoky ribs, smothered pork chops, and mounds of creamy mac 'n' cheese. Each day, they lovingly bake their specialty sweet-potato pie, which is as wholesome, famous, and orange as Santa Claus after a bad spray tan. When Henry's green T-shirt-clad staff isn't doling out plates of rib-sticking fare, they strive to better their community by supporting charities that help the homeless, the blind, and children in need.