by Damon Noisette // photos by Agnes Lopez
There weren’t many tears shed in Avondale when the building at the corner of Park and Dancy streets that was Yesterday’s Sports Bar met the wrecking ball. Okay, some were sad to see the old pool tables vanish but the property sat idle for years and had fallen into disrepair. So after restaurateur Jason Motley acquired the property and hired former Orsay chef Brian Siebenschuh as managing partner, an entirely new structure was built in its place, opening in late September as South Kitchen + Spirits.
With capacity of 230 guests, South is a behemoth of a restaurant that is smartly split into distinct spaces. The main dining room is subtly lit and clad in wood, while the bar area is bright and airy; a patio wraps around with a mix of covered seating options, a section of the bar opens out to the street, and is an excellent spot to sample from the impressive selection of bourbons, whiskeys and ryes.
As the name implies, the cuisine is a mix of Southern classics and American standards, which are served for lunch and dinner daily. Chef Sam Sottile’s menu is surprisingly dense, with a long list of starters, salads—both small and large (with vegan and vegetarian dressings)—sandwiches and wraps, entrées and family-style large dishes. No true Southern meal would be complete without staples like biscuits and cornbread with butter and jam ($4.95), a side of collard greens ($3.95) and mac and cheese ($5.95).
South does fried foods very well, with dishes like the half-dozen oysters ($6.95) and spicy buffalo chicken salad ($12.95) standing out as solid options for light eaters. And the cheekily named Fil A. O. Chick sandwich ($9.95) gives a wink and a nod to the fast food joint just down Roosevelt Boulevard. The South Cuban ($11.95) mixes pork shoulder, country ham, BBQ sauce, Swiss cheese, house-made pickled cucumbers on a pressed Cuban roll.
Another unique preparation is the “chicken pot pie” ($15.95), which comes deconstructed with a big chicken-shaped biscuit in the middle of a bowl of pulled rotisserie chicken, peas, carrots, mushrooms, and gravy. That’s definitely not how mom used to make it.
As a note of caution, be ready for some heavy char flavor if you opt for the short ribs ($10.95) or the smothered steak ($22.95), a filet with mashed potatoes, green beans, mushrooms and a Duke’s Brown Ale jus.
It’s fair to say that Southern cuisine tends to sit heavy in the belly and often leaves little room for dessert. If any remains, the flourless chocolate cake ($6.95) is a worthwhile finisher along with the banana pudding ($6.95).
Take A Seat South was built with high demand in mind, and has 90 seats in the main dining room as well as a private dining room that accommodates 60.
Warm Up The outdoor spaces at South are inviting, so grab a cocktail from the bar and pull a chair up to one of the three gas-fed fire pits on the patio.
Park & Walk Parking spaces are at a premium in the area, but at least Avondale is a nice neighborhood to walk. Don’t be afraid to park down one of the side streets.
South Kitchen + Spirits • 3638 Park St., Avondale • 475-2362 south.kitchen