CLOSED: Southern Hospitality
1460 Second Avenue at 76th Street, Upper East Side, (212) 249-1001
Getting There: 6 to 77th Street
Restaurant Review: Southern Hospitality
(This restaurant has since CLOSED)
Although the upper east side boasts of bevy of different barbeque spots, few opened amidst more fanfare than Southern Hospitality, a rumored creation from the mind of pop icon and part owner Justin Timberlake and friends. The term Southern Hospitality speaks to a certain warm and welcoming demeanor perceived to be the norm by those residing below the Mason Dixon line- pulling chairs out for ladies and using phrases like “Sir” & “Madam” when addressing others. While manners do in fact go along way, does the food at this joint cut the proverbial barbeque sauce?
Inside, the restaurant is decorated like an old school saloon. The long bar leads to the dining area equipped with a wooden floor and exposed brick walls, covered in countless Jack Daniels and liquor signs, and multiple odes to rock music history. The place also doubles as a sporting event haven with 14 HD televisions throughout the space. Make no mistake however, the restaurant is lively. Coupled with music, the frenzied patrons inside bring the sound of the restaurant to a fever pitch making us shy away from recommending the eatery as a first date spot. But a lively night out with a group of friends gets a thumbs up from us.
The menu is intentionally mirrored from a Memphis style neighborhood restaurant, so the flavors and offerings are likely to differ from the barbeque you’re used to. The “chicken and waffles” ($14.95) and “home style southern fried chicken platter” ($16.95 deliver a nod to time-honored down south cooking, while the “over the top combo platter” ($49.95) provide enough food to anchor a boat with. It should be noted that if you can finish this pallet of food, you are promised a picture on the place’s Wall of Fame.
Opting for some reasonably lighter fare, we at LocalBozo thoroughly enjoyed the “pulled chicken platter” ($15.95), tender half dry-rubbed smoked chicken coated with some sweet and tangy barbeque sauce and served with two sides- vegetarian baked beans and collard greens. The “sliced brisket platter” ($17.95) was delivered with six slices of the smoked meat, and again served with two creamy sides (cole slaw & creamed spinach). Admittedly, although the portion sizes of our entrees failed to match the hiked up price of each dish, the flavors were tasty. As there were two of us, we divided up and conquered the plates of meat and the four sides evenly, dipping biscuits intermittently between gulps of brew. Overall, the meals were acceptable- delicious meat, and sides which served as perfect compliments to the Cue. Rather than sing its praises and proclaim this the best barbeque restaurant on earth, the food inside is what it is: typically solid.
Unfortunately for some, this restaurant is incredibly divisive- from it’s love him or hate him celebrity creator to it’s widely fluctuating meal reviews. Like any place, some patrons will have good experiences and bad. Yes, the restaurant can get loud. Yes, the service can be spotty. And yes, the Memphis style barbeque might be different than what you’re used to. But if you know what you’re getting into going in, the energy inside is infectious and the place is fun. And the food isn’t nearly as bad as critics would have you believe.