The 75-seat restaurant, which is still unnamed, will be located on a spacious residential lot at 688 S. Perkins, where Impact Marketing and Media was formerly located.
"We looked at this property some time ago, but it wasnt for sale," said Joe, who has been scouting East Memphis for a property to purchase since leaving Wally Joe Restaurant, now operated by different owners as Interim. "We were thrilled when we got a call saying the owner was ready to sell."
Joe, who directs food operations for the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, is partnering with his longtime chef de cuisine, Andrew Adams, to renovate the 3,000-square-foot home, now painted white with wood-stained shutters. "We are still working on the design," Joe said, "but the look will be contemporary with a warm, elegant, and inviting atmosphere."
Renovations at the site should begin within four to six weeks and continue throughout the summer.
"We are hopefully optimistic for a fall opening," Joe said. "But construction is unpredictable, so that time frame could be delayed."
To maintain interest in the restaurant's renovation, design, and upcoming menu, Joe plans to blog regularly on porkbellyheaven.blogspot.com starting next week. "We think the blog will help keep the excitement going for our friends and loyal customers," he said.
Joe is particularly enthusiastic about the property's mature oak trees, which will provide a shady cover for the restaurant's lush landscaping and outdoor dining. "The first time we looked at the property it was summer and about 95 degrees outside, but the back yard was still quite comfortable," he explained.
When the restaurant opens, Adams will work as executive chef and Joe will oversee the operation as general manager. "I will have more of a presence in the front of the house," Joe said, "doing everything I can to make our guests feel important and pampered."
In addition, both Joe and Adams will continue working with the Brushmark at the Brooks. "We want to maintain the great relationship that we've built over the past two years," Joe said. "We are definitely going to stay."