New Restaurant Alert: The Lobbyist

Photos of apps from The Lobbyist (tamales, corn hash & pork belly)

Downtown Memphis has a new restaurant but the face behind it is a familiar one.

The Lobbyist is open for business! This new modern restaurant is all about bringing in natural and local ingredients to bring out extraordinary flavors. Their mission is to provide food that is a reflection of who we are and where we come from with a melting pot approach of culture and global styles.

Food from The Lobbyist - carrots, potatoes and cauliflower
Jalyn Souchek

You may recognize the name behind The Lobbyist..

We can thank owner and chef Jimmy Gentry for bringing his talents to downtown. Gentry’s name may sound familiar to many of you. He was behind the beloved restaurant P.O. Press Public House and Provisions in Collierville that closed only due to issues with the building.

Since then, Gentry has searched for his new location and he found it on the first floor of The Chisca on Main, formerly where Swanky’s was. The carefully renovated space is a breath of fresh air with a modern but elegant style. Expect a dimmer environment with a glow from the open kitchen. It’s a fitting design with the history of The Chisca building.

Let’s talk the eats

I tried quite a few menu items for my first meal at The Lobbyist. The menu breaks down as shareables, pastas, produce and proteins. I was immediately impressed with how Gentry’s menu uses creamy sauces and dressings to highlight the flavors of each dish. Note that the menu will change with availability with a focus on seasonal produce.

For shareables, we devoured corn mash, pork belly and lamb tamale. The corn mash, served up with roasted squash and bacon jus, was a hit and a favorite for the whole table. It was buttery and delicious and something I will be ordering just for myself on my next visit. The lamb tamales were paired with a green pea harissa that just made for a divine flavor.

Gnocchi dish at The Lobbyist
Jalyn Souchek

For the next round of shared plates we went with the gnocchi, charred okra, cauliflower, carrots and potatoes. The gnocchi is a smaller dish with a light, fresh flavor credited to the ingredients and creamy dressing: celery root, brown butter, fennel verde and leeks. 

As a huge fan of fried okra, I was excited to see Gentry’s take on the charred okra which was a bright bowl of flavors with a buttermilk creme fraiche. I personally loved the fresh approach. Carrots aren’t always a sexy menu item choice but Gentry’s are delicious – again he pairs it with a creamy kimchi sauce that elevates the flavors.

The charred okra dish at The Lobbyist
Jalyn Souchek
A photo of the beef plate at The Lobbyist
Jalyn Souchek

The Lobbyist also has a variety of cocktails that focus on the classics but with a modern twist. Again it relies on the fresh, natural flavors approach to the food menu.

I’m also very much looking forward to the additional outdoor patio space that's expected to open later this year which will feature a bar too. A happy hour and early bar is in the works for early 2023.

Visit The Lobbyist:
272 S. Main St.

Monday - Thursday (5 p.m. to 10 p.m.)
Friday - Saturday (5 p.m. to 11 p.m.).

How to get a table:
Online reservations currently are not up yet. Give them a call at 901-249-2170.


About the Author

Hello! I'm Jalyn Souchek, the Director of Content for I Love Memphis Blog! I love calling the 901 home. When I'm not running the blog you can find me cheering on the Grizzlies, at a concert, exploring a new restaurant or kicking back at one of our breweries. I hope you'll love experiencing Memphis with me.

Build your perfect Memphis meal:

I love to eat so if I were to have only one meal left.. I’m going all out. I’d start with an app of Gumbo Fries from Blue City Cafe or Bayou Fries from Chef Tam, wings from Good Fortune or Central’s (honey gold and Jamaican Jerk), potato salad from Fat Larry’s, side of bbq spaghetti from Bar-B-Q Shop, and fried okra from Soul Fish. All paired with a Beale Street Brewing Space Age Sippin’.

Your most memorable Memphis moment:

College GameDay on Beale Street. That was an electric and perfect morning. I was still working in news then and was able to take it in up close and on the stage at some points. The fun and joy of everyone down there that morning is unbeatable.

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