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VOL. 130 | NO. 80 | Friday, April 24, 2015

Porcellino’s Finds its Rhythm

By Andy Meek

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The Porcellino’s restaurant in East Memphis has been open for about four months, but it’s established itself on the local restaurant scene in short order – so much so that foodies don’t even have to step inside the doors to enjoy something from chefs Michael Hudman and Andy Ticer.

Porcellino’s influence is being felt in other local restaurant businesses, including Cafe Eclectic on McLean Avenue in Midtown and City & State on Broad Avenue. 

(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

In recent days, for example, the Broad Avenue retailer City & State, which also has a coffee and food component to the shop, announced that it’s teamed up with Hudman and Ticer to offer a new breakfast and lunch items.

In a similar vein, Porcellino’s is behind some menu changes at Café Eclectic. Thanks in part to a long friendship between the two enterprises, the Porcellino’s butchery felt like a natural choice to turn to when Café Eclectic recently decided to upgrade some of its ingredients, said Rachel Boulden, who wears several hats at Café Eclectic in addition to managing the Harbor Town location.

As a result, the Porcellino’s chefs haven’t created dishes for Café Eclectic but rather will sell it ingredients, as a local supplier.

Porcellino’s head butcher Aaron Winters also helped train Café Eclectic’s staff.

The Café Eclectic menu additions include the availability of new ingredients as well as chicken biscuits that are coming to the menu, for now, at the eatery’s Midtown location on McLean Avenue. Meanwhile, all three locations soon will carry certified humane Newman Farms pork bacon as well as Faroe Islands vodka-cured salmon by Porcellino’s.

Meanwhile, Café Eclectic’s hamburger also is getting an upgrade, with, among other things, Winchester Farms angus beef.

Boulden said the new menu items, including the revamped burger, will debut the week of April 27.

Porcellino’s itself has a newly expanded dinner menu, with additional menu sides including green beans with charred lemon and dijon vinaigrette, mint and toasted almonds. On April 26, Porcellino’s is teaming up with Hog and Hominy and Wiseacre Brewing Co. for a collaborative beer dinner. Attendees will gather to enjoy Wiseacre’s Cucumber Tiny Bomb and oysters. The group will then split up for two courses and two beers at one of the restaurants, meet in the middle for a Wiseacre “Gotta Get Up to Get Down Jell-O Shot” and then switch restaurants for two more courses and two beers before dessert.

Hudman told The Daily News shortly before Porcellino’s opened, at 711 W. Brookhaven Circle, that he had an expansive vision for the place. He saw it as, for example, a place where someone like Tony Soprano could enjoy a cup of coffee or an espresso, as well as a place “where dads could come hang out.”

Porcellino’s, which in Italian means “little pig,” is actually a few things rolled into one. It’s a craft butcher shop and café that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, among other things.

“We wanted not necessarily a one-stop shop but to also be able to scratch a bunch of itches,” is the way Hudman described the vision. “We thought this would be a cool place for a café, but we also want to do things like showcase pastry, showcase bread. We kept thinking, ‘Let’s do this, and let’s do this...’ We also want to try and keep it consistent and not overextend ourselves with too many things.”

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