Late Night Eats and Catalan Cocktails at Pantá In Memphis

Ed. Note: Kim went to investigate Pantá, a Spanish tapas restaurant and cocktail bar in midtown, and chat with owner Kelly English. I really love how this interview goes beyond the menu and finds the heart of what inspires Chef Kelly and his team.


It’s got the buzz. It’s got the style. And, it’s been a hit in the local foodie scene since it opened in October 2021. I recently stopped by the Overton Square restaurant Pantá.

Spanish Restaurant In Memphis

Living and working in Barcelona in his early twenties inspired renowned Chef Kelly English to re-imagine the old Restaurant IRIS space into Pantá, a Catalan inspired cocktail and tapas bar. Kelly partnered with local designer David Quarles, IV to bring bright, bold colors and textures reflective of the Catalonian culture to the space. 

warmly lit dining room with floral wallpaper and frame collage and tables
Kim Thomas
gray house with turrets that's been turned into a restaurant, shrubs all around, patio with red furniture out front
Kim Thomas

In addition to the delicious Spanish-themed dishes and drinks, the energy that flows through the restaurant is unique, vibrant, and inviting, which is exactly what Chef Kelly set out to create. 

Pantá Is Open Late

Open later than most restaurants (until midnight Thursdays through Saturdays) Pantá also fosters a nightlife vibe that you find in most metropolitan cities; so while you come for the menu, you also stay for the art, style, and music. 

restaurant seating area - bar and table with bright red walls
Kim Thomas

Before we get into the interview, here’s some quick info…

Panta Hours, Reservation, and Menu Information

Pantá is open for dinner and late-night Thursdays through Saturdays and for a Sunday afternoon “siesta service” where the full drink, dinner, and late-night menus are available. 

They host album listening parties on Thursdays 10 p.m. (recent albums included Paramore’s Riot and Beyonce’s Renaissance) and offer 25 percent off food purchases after 10 p.m. for teachers, college students, military, nurses, and first responders. 

Reservations via Resy don’t hurt, but aren’t required. There is plenty of bar seating and weather-permitting patio seating, too! See the menu on Pantá’s website (drink menu, food menu). 

cocktail with luscious green mint leaves
Kim Thomas

Q&A with Kim and Kelly 

I caught up with Chef Kelly to learn more about what inspired him to open Pantá (and inspires him as a chef in general), and what guests can expect when they visit. 

Kim: Which dish showcases your creativity the most? 

Kelly: I love the way the Catalan people eat and live. One of my favorite parts of Pantá is watching our Chef Patric Kee keep a grasp on half of the menu being hyper traditional [Catalan dishes] and the other half with Memphis heavily influencing the food. 

two men standing in a restaurant with floral wallpaper
Kim Thomas
Aaron Ivory (left) and Kelly English

My favorite dishes to eat at Pantá are the Pork Secreto, which is a very specific cut of pork that you just can’t find everywhere, served with melted leeks and almonds with sliced peppers…or the Brava Burger from the late night menu. Chef Pat made an incredible burger with homemade olive pickles from sliced cucumbers and olive brine. 

Kim: What would you recommend for a first time visitor to Pantá?

Kelly: I would recommend stepping out of your comfort zone and grabbing some octopus, that pork secreto, and some patatas bravas…and I would get whatever Aaron Ivory is mixing up behind the bar. 

Kim: What’s your favorite ingredient to work with?

Kelly: Salt. Salt is the most underrated and important ingredient in every dish. Nail the salt on a plate of food and the rest takes care of itself.

stylish bathroom with black sink, round mirror, colorful wallpaper
Kim Thomas
bright red-orange wall with colorful floral artwork, foreground is table set with menus
Kim Thomas

Kim: Where do you find inspiration in the culinary world?

Kelly: My answer has changed dramatically since March of 2020. My inspiration for everything comes from employing people and providing them with the best jobs that I can, full stop. I will never forget realizing that I couldn’t take care of the people who worked for us anymore…it will drive me until I die. 

Kim: If you weren’t a chef, what would you do for a living?

Kelly: I would want to make a difference- that could be in politics, it could be in the world of nonprofits, it could be in a lot of places. I really like what I do and the team I get to do it with though. 

collage of details from a resturant including artwork, cocktail, doorway, menu
Kim Thomas

Kim: The way that Pantá has tapped into music and pop culture with the #pantalatenight is unique-and fun! How did this come about?

Kelly: Late night is a natural part of service for a Catalan joint…people there stay up late and restaurants don’t even open until 7pm or 8pm. Aaron Ivory was the first person I really talked to about Pantá when it was in the idea phase. I wanted him to set the vibe. I think Aaron is an incredibly talented human with a gift for bringing different arts and expressions together. The late night menu is fun and it is lively. 

white oval plate with grilled vegetables and grilled beef
Kim Thomas

Kim: Are there any fun events or menu updates we need to know about?

Kelly: The menu is always changing. Fall is coming, so we will certainly have a lot of new offerings soon. We are planning a porron dinner (porrons are really interesting and fun wine vessels that are prevalent in that part of the world), we have a listening party for a different album every Thursday, and we have been scheming with the local theater community for some big things that will start soon.

Kim: How can people keep up with all things Pantá?

Kelly: Follow us on socials @pantamemphis and just come by…we always have something up our collective sleeve.

Go There:

Pantá
2146 Monroe Ave, Memphis, TN 38104

Hours: 

  • Thursday-Saturday 6 p.m. - midnight (dinner menu until 10 p.m., late night menu after that)
  • Sunday 4 p.m. - 8 p.m. (full dinner and late night menu served 
  • Monday-Wednesday Closed

About the Author

Created by Kim Thomas, KPFUSION is a fashion and lifestyle blog that covers of the moment fashion, style and beauty tips + trends with a little Memphis, TN flavor thrown in. This is life through my lens.

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