After a brief close, the restaurant in downtown's Westin Hotel has reopened with a new executive chef (Matthew Crone), a new name (Sole Restaurant & Raw Bar), and a group of not-so-new owners from Interim in East Memphis.
Some of the first to sample Sole's scrumptious menu attended a hip-and-happening preview party last week for media, downtowners, and restaurant insiders, including Rick Farmer of Jarrett's, one of Crone's mentors in Memphis.
"We are bringing something different to a fantastic location," says Ben Brock, Sole's managing partner. "People will see big changes in the restaurant's food."
"I'm a Southern boy who lived in Spain, cooked in the Northwest, and was classically trained in French cooking," Crone says. "I've picked up a lot of influences, but I like bringing all of it back to my roots."
More specifically, Crone started cooking as a youngster with his family, who had an award-winning barbecue team for Memphis in May. After working locally at Jarrett's, Erling Jensen, and Grove Grill, Crone headed for Europe to cook and travel in France and Spain. Next up was the New England Culinary Institute and jobs in Portland, including one as executive chef at the historic View Point Inn.
Family lured Crone back to Memphis, where he teamed up with Interim chef Jackson Kramer, a longtime friend. "We have tremendous respect for each other," Crone says. "Jackson cooked at my wedding, I cooked at his wedding. We share the same philosophies on food."
Read more about Sole and On the River, another new downtown restaurant, in this week's Food News by Pamela Denney.