Moving twenty hours away from home to attend graduate school was a big decision and one that I knew would be difficult from time to time. Although I’ve dealt with the requisite homesickness and living off of a (very) small bank account, what I’ve missed most (besides my family and friends) are the culinary delights of the South.
Although New York does have food stuffs I was otherwise unaware of in Arkansas (Kosher pickles are sooo much better) there is a lack of some of my favorite things.
Fried chicken just isn’t the same, there is no Shiner to be found either in a bar or in a liquor store, and the barbeque is pitiful, despite the fact that Dinosaur BarBQue pretends to be great and has somehow duped people into agreeing with them.
My Southern taste buds are not fooled.
Even though Syracuse does not have much to offer this wayward Arkie when she is craving Southern food, New York City is a different story.
With entire neighborhoods of the city dedicated to different nationalities, New York City is a foodie dream. From Chinatown to Astoria, Little Italy to Brighton Beach, it is difficult to become bored with the culinary attractions. Luckily, this includes Southern offerings.
I met up with two U of A alum friends in New York last weekend, and nestled within our itinerary of Broadway shows and holiday sights, was a stop at Southern Hospitality, the Memphis-themed restaurant and bar that Justin Timberlake partially owns.
On the subway to Southern Hospitality, the three of us talked about what we hoped they served. My friends, who are currently living in Washington, D.C., were hoping for SoCo (Southern Comfort) and Dr. Pepper.
I was praying that somehow a distribution deal was worked out with Shiner.
When we arrived, every SEC game being played that night, as well as a brutal UFC fight, was broadcast on a high definition television, but there was a surprising lack of patrons for a Saturday night in NYC. Although the menu at Southern Hospitality seemed legitimate in their offerings, the bar was disappointing. There was no Dr. Pepper nor Shiner.
So, we settled for a round of beers–Magic Hat 9, Newcastle, and Blue Moon respectively.
After our round, we decided to tab out and venture back into the cold, windy streets of Manhattan. Luckily, we did not have to walk for long because we spied a neon sign across the street that read Brother Jimmy’s BBQ.
As soon as we walked in the door, we knew that this was the place for us.
The decor consists of exposed hard wood floors, Southern license plates adorn the walls, and the staff wears t-shirts with the slogan “Put Some South in Yo’ Mouth.” A sign over the bar informed us that on Wednesdays a Southern ID gets you 10% off and it doubles as Ladies Night. Unfortunately for us, it was Saturday.
Like Southern Hospitality, Brother Jimmy’s had the football games on, but the difference was that there were actually people in the bar. We pushed our way to the bar and ordered PBR — maybe not the tastiest choice, but a cheap one.
After awhile, we found a table and were approached by the too-cute-for-words waitress, Katie. She let us know about the drink specials, which included Swamp Water (served in a fish bowl with many straws), Bourbon Lemonade (my choice for the night), Plantation Punch, and The Battle of Antietam Bloody Mary.
Brother Jimmy’s Bourbon Lemonade
At the end of the night, when my friends and I were already convinced that Brother Jimmy’s is a great bar, we saw a sign that read “Y’all Now Leaving Hog Heaven.”
We are officially fans–even if we only had the drinks.
So, if any of y’all are heading to NYC anytime soon, I highly recommend that you find one of the six Brother Jimmy’s Manhattan locations. You’ll feel right at home.