Since moving from the Midwest to Memphis more than 20 years ago, Scott Tilton has dreamed of a butcher shop like the ones he frequented in Chicago.
Last year he decided he should build his own. Tenero Cafe & Butcher is his dream come true.
“I just want really good meat like I get in the Midwest,” Tilton said, explaining that he often stocked up on meat when he got home.
Just as he was starting to look for a location, Southall Café came up for sale. He took ownership in November and took on the rebranding and reimagining of the nearly two-year-old breakfast and lunch cafe.
The change is nearly complete and signs for Tenero Cafe & Butcher were installed Friday on the building at 669 S. Mendenhall Rd.
The restaurant is now open while final touches to the building are underway. Expect to see full changes to the old Southall Café by the first week of May.
What to expect
Tenero Cafe & Butcher will be a combination full-service butcher and cafe.
The right side of the former Southall dining room is transformed into a butcher’s shop with an 18-foot counter.
In addition to premium cuts of beef like rib eye and tenderloin, expect to find items like house sausages, kebabs, bacon-wrapped asparagus, and twice-baked potatoes.
Mike Conklin, a butcher with over 25 years of experience, moved to Memphis from Iowa to become head butcher.
The shop will also offer a wide variety of homemade kids. “Jalapeno-cheddar, beer brats, blue cheese brats, even a pork and hash brown breakfast brat,” Tilton said.
The beef will come from Kansas and Nebraska, while the pork will come from Iowa. “It’s all farm-raised and antibiotic-free,” Tilton said.
Chef Tom Hughes, who previously worked as head chef at Chickasaw Country Club and TPC Southwind, has taken over the kitchen.
Tilton said Hughes had already improved the existing Southall menu.
“We have the best French toast and our pancakes are light and fluffy,” Tilton said. “Plus, we now have our own applewood smoked bacon and sausages. That’s the beauty of having a butcher at home.
Due to Village of Williamsburg parking constraints, the restaurant will continue to be limited to breakfast and lunch. The only exception will be dinner on Sunday evening.
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On Sunday nights, Tilton said to expect dishes like a traditional Iowa pork tenderloin sandwich, a smash burger menu and appetizers like homemade pimento cheese with fried pork rinds.
The Sunday evening dinner service begins on April 24.
“We are excited for patio season. With the lights on the patio, it will be a great place to dine on Sunday nights,” said general manager Jena Black, adding that she can’t wait for guests to see the changes. at the restaurant.
How it happened
Tilton teamed up with longtime friend Larry Whitty to create Tenero Cafe and Butcher. It’s a concept the two hope to one day cross.
“Larry had always tried to get me to open a restaurant with him,” Tilton said. “I started telling him about two years ago that I wanted to open a butcher shop, but I wouldn’t unless he came to help me. Finally, he said “I’m coming”.
Whitty grew up in the restaurant business. His father Joe Whitty created the Happy Joe’s Pizza & Ice Cream chain in 1972. It now has more than a hundred establishments around the world.
Tilton added that he knew if they were going to open a concept, they had to turn it into something that could be franchised. Whitty was the perfect partner to make it happen. “It was his idea to have a restaurant as part of the butcher shop,” Tilton said.
The name has personal meaning for Tilton.
“Tenero means ‘tender’ in Italian,” he said. “My wife is Italian and her grandfather had a butcher shop in Chicago.”
Jennifer Chandler is the food and restaurant reporter at The Commercial Appeal. She can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cookwjennifer.
In one look
Tenero Cafe & Butcher
Or: 669 S. Mendenhall Rd.
Cafe opening hours: 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Monday to Friday; 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. on Saturday; 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Sunday
Butcher shop hours: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., daily