Swanky's Coming Downtown



Look for later hours and a new dinner menu when the new Swanky’s Taco Shop opens Downtown in the old LYFE Kitchen space in The Chisca on Main. The restaurant, which will become the third Swanky’s location, is slated to open in April, says owner/founder/managing partner Matt Wilson.

“I would anticipate us staying open probably on the weekends,” he says. “Probably the bar open until until 12 or 12:30. Something like that. The kitchen open till 11 on the weekend and probably 10 during the week.

“We will be providing our casual, quick lunch option, which has been shown to be successful for us for almost 14 years. Nighttime table service and a different dinner menu will be unveiled at that location. You won’t consider it a lunch spot, if you know what I mean. A more refined atmosphere.”

And, he says, the new location offers “a great patio opportunity.”

The old LYFE space is only three years old, so Wilson says, “For the majority of it, we’re not going to change a whole lot. Do some demolition of walls and things to open up our queue.”

But, he says, “It’s in really good shape. They took really good care of it.”

They will move into 3,885 square feet, which includes the interior of the restaurant, the dining room and bar, says Chase Carlisle, managing partner of The Chisca on Main. The space also comes with a 1,200 square-foot-patio.

They haven’t set a date for the opening, but Wilson hopes it will be in April.

Wilson says, “So much happening in Downtown. It’s going to be our third store in Memphis. We looked Downtown for years and years and we haven’t found the right spot. And timing wasn’t right. We looked at One Commerce Square probably seven year ago. It didn’t work out.

“Now I feel there’s so much momentum for our great city and what’s going on Downtown. We cater to all sorts of clients, who have been asking for Swanky’s to come Downtown for a long time. Chase Carlisle brought the opportunity to my attention and we started talking about it late last spring.”

David Delapav, who ran Salsa for 14, 15 years, will be “the man in charge Downtown. And we’re already hired some folks and got them training at the Swanky’s on Colonial. We’re fired up. We anticipate a bigger bar business there than we have at our other stores.”

What sets Swanky’s apart? “It’s a commitment to serving the freshest food that we possibly can. We get produce delivered six days a week. And everything we do there is as fresh as possible. It’s certainly not fancy, but we feel we can deliver some healthy alternatives and no MSG garbage. We keep that stuff out and offer fresh flavors.”

Their catering business, with their fajita bars, “continues to grow at leaps and bounds.”

“Tenn Mex” is how they describe their food. “This concept was born in Memphis. Whether it’s our pretty sizable variety of bourbons we offer to some different things we’ve done dessert-wise, we feel like we’ve kept our connection to the Mid-South when we can.

“The whole deal is not possible without having a big crew of folks that are great team members. And we’re only as good as our frontline.”

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