Neil’s to Relocate to East Memphis

By Sarah Baker

Neil’s Bar is moving to East Memphis, across town from its Midtown home of nearly 20 years that was destroyed in a fire last year.

The longtime Memphis bar and grill is setting up shop at 5727 Quince Road in Yorkshire Square, in the 6,000-square-foot space formerly occupied by Whole Hog Café. The shopping center is owned by Loeb Properties Inc. and includes tenants MemFish, ARC of the Mid-South, First American Bank and Yorkshire Liquors.

Neil Heins, owner of Neil’s, said he’s shooting for an opening by the end of February. He said build-out is minimal because it is a second-generation restaurant space.

“It’s all a done deal,” Heins said. “We’ve got to do a little work to it, but most of (the equipment) is already in there because when they moved out, they left a whole bunch of stuff so there’s not really much to do. We’re just trying to get our final paperwork done and all of that kind of stuff.”

The property on which Neil’s previously stood, 1835 Madison Ave., was destroyed by a fire in August. After owners of the space, Don McCormack and Ceylon Blackwell, decided rebuilding the 7,373-square-foot restaurant didn’t make sense economically, the property was demolished in December.

East Memphis certainly will have a different feel than Neil’s familiar spot at Madison and South McLean Street, Heins said.

“To be honest with you, we wanted to stay in Midtown, we just couldn’t find anything,” Heins said. “We’ve looked for a long time. We looked at Overton Square and (Loeb) wasn’t really ready and we had to go ahead and do something.”

Neil’s new digs will be “exactly like” its previous location, Heins said, with pool tables, a full-service bar and kitchen, and entertainment space. Its square footage is slightly smaller but includes a side room for Neil’s stage area and a large kitchen.

“It was appealing to us, we liked the location and liked that little strip center where it is,” Heins said. “Of course, it’s not far from my house, so that’s a good deal. It also had a lot of stuff in it. A lot of our stuff got burned up, so it was a good deal for us.”

Yorkshire Square is 71 percent occupied, and Loeb Properties is currently working toward attracting a restaurant to the fill the former Thyme Bistro space to complement Neil’s, said vice president brokerage Aaron Petree. Thyme Bistro closed in June after about a year in business.

“We envision Neil’s continuing its tradition of being a great neighborhood bar known for music and hospitality,” Petree said. “Yorkshire Square is surrounded by a stable neighborhood and lots of rooftops. This should be a good fit with their concept and their previously established reputation.”