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Saloons and Speakeasies

Hitch your wagon at Double J Smokehouse; grab a bite at Blind Bear.

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Got a hankering for something a little more 19th century? Double J Smokehouse and Saloon is now open on G.E. Patterson and has brought a totally different ambience to the former home of Beignet Café.

"It's Old West meets Memphis," says chef Demitrie Phillips. Along with owners and pitmasters John Harris and Jeff Stamm (the double Js), Phillips is turning out plates of baby back ribs and pulled pork sandwiches in the Memphis-style barbecuing tradition. A variety of steaks, from a 24-ounce bone-in rib-eye to a 10-ounce filet, bring the Western steakhouse to the table, and a range of house-made sausages on the sausage and cheese appetizer plate make this a carnivore's delight.

Phillips says Double J is only serving beer for now, but a liquor license is in the works. With a small stage already built, this saloon is set to become another live music venue for South Main.

If you're looking for vegetarian options, Phillips has a number of side items in his wheelhouse, from garlic sautéed button mushrooms, to fresh broccoli crowns, to buttered rice pilaf. But steer clear of the Roadhouse Beans (they're made with bacon like traditional chuck wagon beans) and the twice-baked potato (which has pulled pork and cheese baked into the potato).

Double J Smokehouse is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and on Sunday, 10 a.m. to midnight. While a special lunch menu might be available in the future, for now Phillips says they're serving the same menu all day.

Double J Smokehouse and Saloon, 124 G.E. Patterson (347-2648)

doublejsmokehouse.com

Blind Bear, Speakeasy on the Main Street Mall has begun serving lunch on Wednesdays and Fridays and hopes to grow its mid-day business from there.

If you read "speakeasy" and start dreaming of a liquid lunch, you should set your drinking cap aside until happy hour. This lunch menu dishes up your basic bar and home-style food, trotting it out with fancy names from the '20s, like Hotsy Totsy Soups, Cat's Meow Sides, and Bee's Knees Sandwiches.

And that's just the way owner Jeannette West wants it: comfort food dressed up in Prohibition-era clothing.

"Downtown already has the fine cuisine and gastro pub covered," she says. "I just wanted something for when I'm hungry for bar food or a good vegetable plate."

The vegetable plate comes with four sides, and you can get banana pudding as one of your four, if you're the type who likes dessert as soon as you can get it. Otherwise, the offerings are fairly typical, with mashed potatoes and gravy, salad, white beans, green beans, black-eyed peas. Things get a little more exciting when you delve into the macaroni-and-cheese options. There are three different kinds to choose from — cheddar, white cheddar, and pepper jack — and as far as West is concerned, there's no telling how many mac-and-cheese renditions the future holds.

Other treats include the Jäger BBQ Bologna sandwich, made with a giant slab of baloney and topped with Jägermeister barbecue sauce, and strawberry and chocolate cakes, served by the slice. Grilled cheese, burgers, chicken tenders, and a fish sandwich round out the offerings.

The dinner menu is the same as the lunch menu, so if you aren't able to make it by during your lunch hour, you can always pop in for dinner before midnight or for appetizers before 2 a.m. They also have a separate brunch menu, served solely on Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m. It's called the "Hungover as a Bear Brunch," because, as West puts it, "If you went out the night before, you usually miss brunch the next day. I made a brunch you won't miss."

Blind Bear, Speakeasy, 119 S. Main (417-8435)

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