South Main Market: Downtown Memphis Food Hall
Ed. Note: Stacey’s been exploring downtown’s new South Main Market for a few weeks now, and here she reports back on the seven vendors inside. For now, check out each place’s Facebook page and the Market’s Instagram for hours.
Hungry? Thirsty? Even if you’re not, the South Main Market is worth a visit just to see how lovely it is. The inside features a bar, a coffee shop, a bagel stand, a full service restaurant, and a plant nursery. There’re several different seating areas, from a cozy living-room-type corner with couches to communal tables to a more secluded third floor dining area.
I especially love the space at night when I can have a cocktail and relax. It’s a great place to take a date, the family, or friends. You can spend the whole evening, or pop in before or after dinner or an event. The space is welcoming and the perfect place to gather.
General Market hours are Tuesday – Thursday 8 am – 10 pm, Friday & Saturday, 8 am – 11 pm, and Sunday 10 am – 5 pm. Individual vendors have their own hours, which may vary.
Let’s talk about the vendors! We have:
Right inside the door is Civil Pour. It opens at 3:00pm daily and it very popular in the evenings. The bar features two local beers on tap, four wines on tap, and several cocktails. The bartender is super friendly and knowledgeable. We had a whole discussion about bourbons while he steadily mixed drinks.
I tried the Wintersprung cocktail, which features rye, pink peppercorn and cynar. I have no idea what cynar is, but the drink was delicious and went down waaay too easy and led me to explore some straight bourbon options, of which there were many.
The rest of the first level is seating—mostly lounge-y. First up on the second level is Java Cabana West. The menu is the same as the Cooper Young flagship, but the vibe is totally different. They serve fair-trade coffee, cappuccinos, lattes, homemade cocoa, specialty drinks, as well as hot teas. Vegan drinks also are available.
Java Cabana downtown’s sweets include vegan cookies, brownies, & ooey gooey butter bars. As of now, they close at 6pm, unless it’s trolley night. On Sundays they close at 5pm. I tried a Mystery Train with my lunch. It’s hazelnut, vanilla, espresso, steamed milk and whipped cream, though I said no to the whipped cream. It was lovely.
Across from Java Cabana is Wallflower Memphis, which is on a bit of a hiatus, but still lovely to look at thanks to the eye-catching custom arrangements on display.
Then there’s City East Bagel & Grille which you may know from East Memphis. Fresh bagels are delivered daily and can be served with a number of flavored cream cheeses or as the base of a sandwich. They also have traditional Jewish deli offerings.
Finally, there’s the Cole Jeanes trifecta.
Cole, 28, graduated from L’Ecole Culinaire in 2014. He trained at Acre Restaurant and Hog & Hominy. He helped open Porcellino’s Craft Butcher and revamped the menu at Silly Goose. The South Main Market allowed him to launch three restaurant concepts that he developed in school—Kinfolk, Coco, and Magnolia.
When I first visited the market, I expected to see three separate booths—one for each restaurant. However, all three concepts are in one booth. The different menus are available at different times. For the most part, Kinfolk is available for breakfast and lunch and focuses on biscuit sandwiches. Magnolia’s menu is available for dinner, and Coco is on a temporary hiatus until Cole can source farm fresh ingredients.
Kinfolk’s menu was inspired by the breakfast sandwiches and fried chicken Cole ate as a child at a gas station called Gurkins on the way to hunting trips with his dad in Somerville, TN. There’s a choice of standard breakfast offerings—eggs, ham, sausage, gravy & jam—as well as fried chicken and pork chops.
Or you can get the Coop Le Fleur, the “everything” biscuit with fried chicken, gravy, bacon and a two egg omelet. The breakfast sandwiches are served all day, and there’s a special lunch sandwich with hot honey fried chicken and tangy slaw.
Let’s talk about the actual biscuits. They are unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. I asked Cole what the secret was, and he replied, “Whole lotta love!” Upon further questioning, I determined that he defines love as house blended herbs de provence, plugra (high fat butter), and whole fat butter milk. Um, no wonder they taste so good!
The food at Magnolia is elevated and clearly a result of Cole’s fine dining background. Magnolia’s menu was inspired by Cole’s memories of eating at Mikasa with his family. He loved the attention to detail in the restaurant and that’s where he had his first bite of gyoza (pork dumpings that are steamed and then pan seared). Magnolia features three dumpling options—Pork & Negi, Kabocha & Ginger, and Pork Belly & Kimchi.
I tried the kabocha squash dumplings a few weeks ago and have been dreaming of them ever since! Magnolia also has a selection of vegetables that will blow your mind—try the roasted carrots! And there’s a shrimp toast and a panko crusted pork loin toast.
Coco was named for Cole’s wife, Courtney, and inspired by her love of fresh foods and a trip to the jungles of Panama. He hopes to offer fresh salads, yogurt bowls and juices in the Spring.
One more thing! The Buttercream Bunny makes specialty cakes for sale at both Kinfolk and Magnolia. I shared a yuge slice of Matcha Cake with three friends and really regretted not getting another piece to go.
About The Author
Stacey Greenberg is a freelance writer who lives in Cooper Young with her two teenaged sons. She’s a contributor to Thrillist.com, Edible Memphis, I Love Memphis, and Memphis Travel. She’s also the author of the award winning blog, Dining with Monkeys (diningwithmonkeys.com). A lifelong Memphian, she loves the fact that she’s never met a stranger here.