Text by Lee McAlister | Photos courtesy of Pontotoc
The newest and coolest spot in the thriving South Main Arts District, the Pontotoc Lounge, is offering patrons a trendy and sophisticated eatery centered around jazz music. Located in the former Café Pontotoc location at 314 S. Main, the new Pontotoc has advanced the sturdy concept of the former restaurant by adding a new atmosphere and a creative cocktail-and-tapas-style menu.
Inside newly renovated space, the elegant décor and Italian marble balance nicely with the building’s exposed brick and butcher-block bar. These contrasting design aesthetics harmonize to create the perfect blend of rustic and lux. One of the most stunning elements is the spectacular crystal chandelier.
Jazz is another integral element of Pontotoc. The sounds of jazz are always in the air in the cafe, either recorded or from a live ensemble. The music and decor create the feel of a modern-day speakeasy.
Although the newly renovated establishment has only been open since October, Cafe Pontotoc is already in full swing, open for lunch, dinner and Saturday and Sunday brunch. Owners TK are “all in” as members of the Downtown Memphis community, having participated in monthly South Main Trolley Nights and Downtown Dining Week.
Pontotoc’s cuisine, Southern-inspired tapas, eliminates the need for diners to choose a single entree—no need for tough decisions between tempting dishes like Mississippi pot roast served with jalapeno cornbread, alligator fritters with Tabasco remoulade, and duck confit with a pomegranate reduction and loaded potato croquette. The bar menu features handcrafted cocktails that also offer a twist on a classic. A Sazerac with French cognac or a Letherbee Absinthe Spritz will complete the fantasy of dining in a swanky speakeasy.
When it’s time for dessert, the cafe’s Sister Schubert Beignet is not to be missed. Comprised of two fried Sister Schubert’s yeast rolls with sour cream gelato sandwiched in between and garnished with a blackberry coulis, it is worth every calorie. Its petite size makes it the perfect after-dinner bit of decadence.
Weekend brunch at Pontotoc caters to those who enjoy a laid-back weekend vibe. The menu includes Southern staples like shrimp and grits and biscuits, as well as a Chorizo Scrambler for a little south-of-the-border flair. And, of course, the cocktails feature classics with an interesting twist, like Mimosas and Bloody Marys made with local products Crazy Good Sauces and Old Dominic spirits.