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Varmint

Raleigh: New Restaurant in North Hills

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I just received a press release that Kevin and Stacey Jennings, owners of Frazier's, Porter's and Vivace, will be opening up a new southern-inspired restaurant in the old Savannah spot in North Hills. To be called "South," this restaurant will "feature updated versions of classic Southern dishes – from Shrimp & Grits and Fried Chicken to Cobblers and Mint Juleps – in a lively, urban setting."

The Jennings have clearly developed a strong recipe for success, and when this new place opens in early February, I'm confident it'll be another great place to eat.


Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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I just received a press release that Kevin and Stacey Jennings, owners of Frazier's, Porter's and Vivace, will be opening up a new southern-inspired restaurant in the old Savannah spot in North Hills.  To be called "South," this restaurant will "feature updated versions of classic Southern dishes – from Shrimp & Grits and Fried Chicken to Cobblers and Mint Juleps – in a lively, urban setting."

The Jennings have clearly developed a strong recipe for success, and when this new place opens in early February, I'm confident it'll be another great place to eat.

How long was the "old Savannah" place there. Didn't it just open in the last year?

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Restaurant Savannah opened at the end of 2005, so it had a very short life. It'll be interesting to see what the Jennings do with the space.


Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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I just received a press release that Kevin and Stacey Jennings, owners of Frazier's, Porter's and Vivace, will be opening up a new southern-inspired restaurant in the old Savannah spot in North Hills.  To be called "South," this restaurant will "feature updated versions of classic Southern dishes – from Shrimp & Grits and Fried Chicken to Cobblers and Mint Juleps – in a lively, urban setting."

The Jennings have clearly developed a strong recipe for success, and when this new place opens in early February, I'm confident it'll be another great place to eat.

FYI, the working name for this restaurant was Clementine's. Southern indeed! I like the way that Kevin and Stacey work at a focused pace in their growth as the Urban Restaurant Group and within each of their restaurants. They have quality operations that begin modestly and become successful. The only fault I have ever found with their establishments was their conspicuous wine list at Vivace.

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The only fault I have ever found with their establishments was their conspicuous wine list at Vivace.

Please explain. I thought Scott Luetgenau's wine selections were one of the things that distinguished Vivace from some of the other Italian offerings in the Triangle.


Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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"South" is open for dinner beginning today. Here's the press release that I just received from the Jennings' publicist:

The highly successful Urban Food Group that brought Frazier’s, Porter’s City Tavern and Vivace to North Carolina’s Triangle has opened South, a contemporary Southern bistro (4351 The Circle at North Hills Street in North Hills, Raleigh, NC; 919-789-0606; opened February 12, 2007). Diners will recognize the best of the South, old and new, including Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Pimento Cheese Beignets, and the Jennings’ signature stylish design revealing an urban backdrop for Southern comfort food.

To lead South, the Jennings’ tapped celebrated chef Jeremy Sabo as their Executive Chef, and named him Executive Chef of the Urban Food Group and managing partner of the restaurant group.  “Sabo has been a major contributor to all of our restaurants’ success; as we open new restaurants, we want him on our team,” explained owner Kevin Jennings. As chef of Frazier’s in 2004, Sabo elevated the menu from tavern to European bistro; then, before earning 3 ½ stars from The News & Observer for his take on contemporary Italian cooking at Vivace, he revised the menu at Porter’s City Tavern. Sabos’ cleverly updated menu at South proves not only his love for the Southern palate, but also his flexibility and skill in the kitchen, distinguishing him as one of the most talented young chefs in North Carolina today.

Lunch and dinner at South begins with warm bacon-cheddar biscuits and hushpuppies. Starters ($6 - $10) range from Lump Crab Cakes with sweet corn relish to Grilled Quail with a Stone Ground Grit Cake and apple slaw. With a nod to the Jennings’ tenure in the Lowcountry, Sabo offers a Charleston style She Crab Bisque with a crispy crab fritter. Entrees ($14 – $21) include Country Fried Steak, Braised Pork Shoulder & Fresh Bacon, Carolina Shrimp & Grits, Frogmore Stew, and a gracious plenty of sides ($3) that will encourage even the carnivore to build their own vegetable plate of Collards, Pole Beans and Mac & Cheese. No Southern meal would be complete without a sweet; Pastry Chef Eric Akbari tempts us with updated classics in his Blueberry Cobbler and cosmopolitan take on Coconut Cream Pie ($7 - $8), though the Peanut Butter & Banana Montecristo is an original, and not to be missed.

Bar side, guests will wash down complimentary pork rinds with cocktails that tell Southern tales – Mint Juleps served in traditional silver tumblers and an artisan bourbon flight showcasing the best from Kentucky. South’s wine list speaks of the South as well, showcasing wines from North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and Alabama, and throughout the United States. 15 wines will be available by the glass, and 100 by the bottle.

Stylish and cozy, South’s dining room has a warm bistro feel. Canvassed chandeliers illuminate suede panels in chocolate, latte and cinnamon hues, and deep club-style booths and banquettes are comfortably contemporary. In the bar, high cocktail tables and an elevated window seat banquette are ideal for lingering with your bourbon of choice and telling a few tales of your own.

South is open for dinner daily, and will begin serving lunch February 19th and brunch February 25th.


Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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"South" is open for dinner beginning today.  Here's the press release that I just received from the Jennings' publicist:
The highly successful Urban Food Group that brought Frazier’s, Porter’s City Tavern and Vivace to North Carolina’s Triangle has opened South, a contemporary Southern bistro (4351 The Circle at North Hills Street in North Hills, Raleigh, NC; 919-789-0606; opened February 12, 2007). Diners will recognize the best of the South, old and new, including Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Pimento Cheese Beignets, and the Jennings’ signature stylish design revealing an urban backdrop for Southern comfort food.

To lead South, the Jennings’ tapped celebrated chef Jeremy Sabo as their Executive Chef, and named him Executive Chef of the Urban Food Group and managing partner of the restaurant group.  “Sabo has been a major contributor to all of our restaurants’ success; as we open new restaurants, we want him on our team,” explained owner Kevin Jennings. As chef of Frazier’s in 2004, Sabo elevated the menu from tavern to European bistro; then, before earning 3 ½ stars from The News & Observer for his take on contemporary Italian cooking at Vivace, he revised the menu at Porter’s City Tavern. Sabos’ cleverly updated menu at South proves not only his love for the Southern palate, but also his flexibility and skill in the kitchen, distinguishing him as one of the most talented young chefs in North Carolina today.

Lunch and dinner at South begins with warm bacon-cheddar biscuits and hushpuppies. Starters ($6 - $10) range from Lump Crab Cakes with sweet corn relish to Grilled Quail with a Stone Ground Grit Cake and apple slaw. With a nod to the Jennings’ tenure in the Lowcountry, Sabo offers a Charleston style She Crab Bisque with a crispy crab fritter. Entrees ($14 – $21) include Country Fried Steak, Braised Pork Shoulder & Fresh Bacon, Carolina Shrimp & Grits, Frogmore Stew, and a gracious plenty of sides ($3) that will encourage even the carnivore to build their own vegetable plate of Collards, Pole Beans and Mac & Cheese. No Southern meal would be complete without a sweet; Pastry Chef Eric Akbari tempts us with updated classics in his Blueberry Cobbler and cosmopolitan take on Coconut Cream Pie ($7 - $8), though the Peanut Butter & Banana Montecristo is an original, and not to be missed.

Bar side, guests will wash down complimentary pork rinds with cocktails that tell Southern tales – Mint Juleps served in traditional silver tumblers and an artisan bourbon flight showcasing the best from Kentucky. South’s wine list speaks of the South as well, showcasing wines from North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and Alabama, and throughout the United States. 15 wines will be available by the glass, and 100 by the bottle.

Stylish and cozy, South’s dining room has a warm bistro feel. Canvassed chandeliers illuminate suede panels in chocolate, latte and cinnamon hues, and deep club-style booths and banquettes are comfortably contemporary. In the bar, high cocktail tables and an elevated window seat banquette are ideal for lingering with your bourbon of choice and telling a few tales of your own.

South is open for dinner daily, and will begin serving lunch February 19th and brunch February 25th.


"Gentlemen: Madame Dodin-Bouffant."

So, when there is the slightest doubt, Marry the Cook!

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"South" is open for dinner beginning today.  Here's the press release that I just received from the Jennings' publicist:
The highly successful Urban Food Group that brought Frazier’s, Porter’s City Tavern and Vivace to North Carolina’s Triangle has opened South, a contemporary Southern bistro (4351 The Circle at North Hills Street in North Hills, Raleigh, NC; 919-789-0606; opened February 12, 2007). Diners will recognize the best of the South, old and new, including Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Pimento Cheese Beignets, and the Jennings’ signature stylish design revealing an urban backdrop for Southern comfort food.

To lead South, the Jennings’ tapped celebrated chef Jeremy Sabo as their Executive Chef, and named him Executive Chef of the Urban Food Group and managing partner of the restaurant group.  “Sabo has been a major contributor to all of our restaurants’ success; as we open new restaurants, we want him on our team,” explained owner Kevin Jennings. As chef of Frazier’s in 2004, Sabo elevated the menu from tavern to European bistro; then, before earning 3 ½ stars from The News & Observer for his take on contemporary Italian cooking at Vivace, he revised the menu at Porter’s City Tavern. Sabos’ cleverly updated menu at South proves not only his love for the Southern palate, but also his flexibility and skill in the kitchen, distinguishing him as one of the most talented young chefs in North Carolina today.

Lunch and dinner at South begins with warm bacon-cheddar biscuits and hushpuppies. Starters ($6 - $10) range from Lump Crab Cakes with sweet corn relish to Grilled Quail with a Stone Ground Grit Cake and apple slaw. With a nod to the Jennings’ tenure in the Lowcountry, Sabo offers a Charleston style She Crab Bisque with a crispy crab fritter. Entrees ($14 – $21) include Country Fried Steak, Braised Pork Shoulder & Fresh Bacon, Carolina Shrimp & Grits, Frogmore Stew, and a gracious plenty of sides ($3) that will encourage even the carnivore to build their own vegetable plate of Collards, Pole Beans and Mac & Cheese. No Southern meal would be complete without a sweet; Pastry Chef Eric Akbari tempts us with updated classics in his Blueberry Cobbler and cosmopolitan take on Coconut Cream Pie ($7 - $8), though the Peanut Butter & Banana Montecristo is an original, and not to be missed.

Bar side, guests will wash down complimentary pork rinds with cocktails that tell Southern tales – Mint Juleps served in traditional silver tumblers and an artisan bourbon flight showcasing the best from Kentucky. South’s wine list speaks of the South as well, showcasing wines from North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and Alabama, and throughout the United States. 15 wines will be available by the glass, and 100 by the bottle.

Stylish and cozy, South’s dining room has a warm bistro feel. Canvassed chandeliers illuminate suede panels in chocolate, latte and cinnamon hues, and deep club-style booths and banquettes are comfortably contemporary. In the bar, high cocktail tables and an elevated window seat banquette are ideal for lingering with your bourbon of choice and telling a few tales of your own.

South is open for dinner daily, and will begin serving lunch February 19th and brunch February 25th.

Anybody tried South?


"Gentlemen: Madame Dodin-Bouffant."

So, when there is the slightest doubt, Marry the Cook!

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I ate at South back on Saturday the 17th of March. Granted I believe you should never try a restaurant the first time at lunch - I figured, what the heck. Having given up red meat for Lent - there were quite a few apps and salads that appealed -but I was hungrier for more than just a salad. I selected the seared salmon on cheese grits with asparagus. On trying to find a glass of wine to go with my meal I was disappointed to initially find that there were no Pinot Noirs by the glass but instead there were at least two Cabernets. My initial reaction was that the menu was much lighter fare and the wine list did not compliment the food offerings. On commenting to my waiter he told me that indeed there was a Pinot by the Glass from the Central coast of California, an offered me a taste. It was the host who asked me about the wine and he is also serving as South's sommelier. Turns out the wine was from Willamette Valley - and yes it did go well with my lunch. We chatted for a while, turns out he is a native New Yorker recently moved to the Triangle from Orange County, California (me having just moved to Northern Virginia from Northern California) we talked about dining in California versus the Southeast - different. When my meal arrived, I was disappointed with the size of the salmon, less than the overall size of the average business card - but it was cooked perfectly, the cheese grits were clumpy and cold - obviously waiting for the salmon - the asparagus was good - although not as hot as I would have preferred. Good but the timing of the dish’s assembly could have been better. Still hungry after that, I checked the menu again and decided to try the pimento cheese beignets. These came to my table piping hot and they were very good and I could tell the pimento cheese was homemade, addictive - but the serving was one that would be better split with someone else.

All things considered, I’ll go back – but for dinner. The prices were reasonable and once they sort out their wine list to better compliment the menu, things will be synced. Overall the staff was attentive but not overly intrusive. I look forward to eating there again.


Live and learn. Die and get food. That's the Southern way.

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