Craving some Southern food in the Philadelphia area, with great ambiance and live jazz music? Well look no further then Philly’s own SOUTH restaurant. 2017 was filled with a lot of great food experiences, but for my first blog post of 2018 I want to reflect on one of my favorite dining experiences that came out of last year. If you’re like me and LOVE southern comfort food and a good ole shot of whiskey, then trust me when I say you’ll want to check this place out. The SOUTH Kitchen and Jazz Parlor is a hidden gem located at 600 N Broad Street. Perhaps not so hidden anymore as it boasted a pretty packed restaurant on the Wednesday night that I visited. I had the pleasure of being invited to check out their Women & Whiskey night which highlighted speciality cocktail concoctions derived by SOUTH’s whiskey connoisseurs.
During my time at the Women and Whiskey night, I think that I not only fell in love with SOUTH restaurant, but with whiskey as well. I am not an avid whiskey drinker, to be honest it’s not usually my go-to drink. However, I loved this idea that whiskey is not just for the men and their cigars, it can be for women too. There’s a saying out there that “whiskey is for real men” and I really appreciate the SOUTH trying to squash that stigma with their Women and Whiskey night by demonstrating that whiskey is not only for real men, but real women and real people. Besides, nothing warms you up on a cold winter night like some whiskey. Featured drinks included Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon, Old Forester 86 Proof Classic, and Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style. Wow oh wow were these drinks good, but I’ll get into that a little bit later.
The SOUTH includes three distinct spaces and experiences: a warm and inviting Dining Hall, a Jazz Parlor with a center stage for exciting jazz performances, and an elegant, yet comfortable Bar/Lounge. There’s a homey feeling to the place as soon as you step inside. I opted for a seat at the bar, but honestly it’s hard to go wrong with any area in this beautiful yet relaxed dining experience. Luckily a seat at the bar allowed me to interact with the awesome mixologist, Wyatt, who lended his expertise when it came to picking out my drinks. On to the good stuff: my first drink of the night was the Kentucky Sunset which is an orange infused Woodford Double Oak Bourbon. It’s a take on a tequila sunset (minus the tequila). This was one of my favorite drinks of the night, as it has a very refreshing and citrus taste to it that is perfectly cut by the rich, almost sweet oak flavor of the bourbon. I knew I liked tequila sunsets, but Kentucky ones might be my new favorite. My second drink was called ‘Stairway to the Stars’ and is composed of: Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style Bourbon, Yellow Chartreuse, eggs whites, lemon, Demerara syrup, and garnished with Angostura bitters. That is not a typo people, I had an alcoholic beverage with egg whites in it… it was a first for me and I was surprisingly enamored with it. This drink was so good, great taste and the egg whites added just the right amount of froth. Now while these two items were featured drinks for Women and Whiskey night, they are not currently on the menu (yet), you may see them in the future though. However, I did try one of their signature cocktails that is on the menu, the Orchard Martini which combines Stateside Vodka with the flavors of fall highlighting crisp apple, brown sugar and warming cinnamon. It’s like mixing my favorite things about fall into a martini glass, I mean how could you not like that? I have to give a big shoutout to the amazing mixologist who not only made our drinks perfectly, but also elevated our experience 🥃🍸🍹🙌🏽.
I had heard from numerous friends that SOUTH has amazing food so I felt it was time for me to try it out for myself. For a starter I got the skillet Southern style cornbread and it was AH-MAZING, I probably could’ve just eaten that all night and been fulfilled. The Duck Confit Flatbread was good as well though with pimento cheese, white bbq sauce, and peppadew. I finished up with a round of raw oysters 😋, so good. If you’re a fan of oysters, like myself, you should keep in mind that on Wednesdays SOUTH has buck-a-shuck oysters! Everything was delectable, I can’t wait to go back and sample more items from the menu. While I didn’t sit in the Jazz Parlor area, I did go back to check out all areas of the restaurant. They have live jazz music almost every night, be sure to check the website for the full-list of performers. The Bynum brothers, owners of Warmdaddy’s and the former highly acclaimed Zanzibar Blue, are hoping to make their mark on Philadelphia’s food scene and also the jazz world as a whole.
With an ever-evolving menu, the SOUTH restaurant aims to only get better and better in the years to come. I spoke with the manager, Harry, who expressed how much he believes in SOUTH and what it stands for. In its core, it is a jazz bar through and through, “We understand that this scene [jazz] isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. What we would like to do here is constantly grow and expand our reach.” He explained to me how the owners travelled up and down North Carolina to ensure their menu would be just as good as real southern cooking. They even had Charleston artist Douglas Panzone paint three large-scale murals inside and out. They are making strides in becoming Philly’s premier jazz bar and welcoming people of all ages to enjoy an authentic southern meal in the heart of Philadelphia. So if you haven’t already go check out the SOUTH!
Stay tuned for more adventures…