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10 to Watch: Chef Kelly English's Restaurant Iris & Second Line

The following is a preview of the 10 to Watch issue of our Memphis Crossroads digital magazine. The full magazine debuts on March 1, but you can click here to see past issues.

There’s a reason they are called “spectator sports.” Big moves and major plays leave us gasping one minute and cheering the next. This year, our 10 to Watch companies execute game plans and cheer as they put points on the board (or profits on the bottom line).

The companies we’re going to watch this year all play in different market sectors - dining, education, aviation, and more. The players are different, too. On our list, you have up-and-comers, seasoned vets, expansion teams, champions, and legacy outfits looking to hit major milestones. But beneath their teams’ logos, they all represent Memphis and credit our city with at least part of their success. 

If business were really a sport, consider this our scouting report.   

This week's spotlight is on Chef Kelly English's Restaurant Iris/Second Line.

Restaurant Iris & the Second Line

Chef Kelly English lit up the Memphis food scene when he opened Restaurant Iris in 2008 and did it again when he opened The Second Line in 2013. 

English is quick to note that “Memphis made us who we are as a company” but is looking to expand outside of the city for the first time this year. English will bring the wildly popular Second Line concept to Oxford, Miss. in 2015. His company operates Magnolia House inside Harrah’s Gulf Coast casino and hotel in Biloxi, Miss. But the new Oxford location will be his first ownership venture outside of Memphis. 

“What I’m really proud of is how well we have kept together most of our core group that opened Iris seven years ago,” English said. “They are what drive us to expand, because I want to help give people the opportunities that I was given.”

Also, look for English’s creative fingerprints on the new Hole in the Wall restaurant behind Ernestine and Hazel’s. He’s cooked up a menu featuring sweetbreads, po boys, and oysters.

“From the hard work to the civic mindedness to the genuine care for each other, Memphis needn’t put on a single air,” he said. “The (Greater Memphis Chamber) has been invaluable to me as a business owner in helping me navigate uncharted waters, which to be fair, are the only waters I feel comfortable in.”

Story by: Toby Sells
Photo by: Troy Glasgow
Posted: 2/18/2015 1:19:55 PM | with 0 comments
Filed under: 10, 2015, Crossroads, English, Iris, Kelly, Line, Memphis, Restaurant, Second, to, Watch

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