Another really good restaurant website..
135 South Main Street
Memphis, TN 38103-2438
About 100 feet North of the corner of Main and Monroe in the Brinkley Plaza Building. Get off the trolley at the Monroe Street stop. If you are driving, enter the Brinkley Plaza parking garage at 20 N Front St. between Monroe & Madison. The garage entrance is on Front Street on the Northeast corner of Front & Monroe.Signs at the back of the garage will direct you to Felicia Suzanne's. Parking is $5 after 4:00pm or hourly before 4:00pm. Brinkley Plaza garage only accepts cash, but Felicia Suzanne's can add parking to your dining check if you are paying by credit card.
It is always pleasant at the bar and I do like the atmosphere. There is a great view of Main Street out of the 20' tall plate glass windows that front this restaurant. Entering the restaurant from Main Street, you encounter the hostess stand on your left. To your right are two stairs up to a beautiful and tranquil side garden - sometimes with live music. Always professional, funny (when he lets himself be) Steven Shipp runs the front of the house. This is a great people watching spot. Love the trolley's going by, the busy bar; separated gracefully from the elegant dining area. Check out the ceiling to get a vision of the old Lowenstein's Department store (Steven had to tell me) this once was. For those of you that went to school in the late 60’s and early 70’s, is this Alice's Restaurant? "You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant (exceptin' Alice)". Please substitute Felicia, where you see Alice. If you don’t understand what I’m saying, you missed a heck of a good time!Ok, for those of you that have read my stuff & are expecting something "catty" I'm sorry to disappoint you... This will be more of a love sonnet-to the restaurant.
Felicia Suzanne Willet is truly an amazing woman & i am frankly honored that she treats me as well as she does (Steven too, I think he is just as amazing). Here's how she blew me away the 1st time... I did a party in my home for about 25 on a Friday in Dec 2010. I had just moved downtown & was casting around for a caterer. I called Felicia Suzanne because I had eaten there twice. I picked out the menu over the phone off of suggestions by whoever answered (Steven? Don't remember). They said “We'll take care of everything except… can you get us good ice?” I responded, “Sure, where?” They recommended “The Igloo at Summer & Perkins.”On the appointed day- the staff shows & Felicia shows up herself! Are you kidding me!! No one does that shit!!! She starts cooking on my electric terrible-ass cooktop. What!!! WHO IS THIS MANIAC? She is pleasant, smiling, very professional, bandana covering her hair, wearing a black chef jacket, what the hell is she doing cooking in my lame-ass kitchen, an honest to goodness real chef, who has damn good creds, doing on a Friday night, when they are busy, in December for God's sake, HERE??
Yes the food was GREAT! Yes the service was GREAT! The party wasn't bad either-Pam & Terry played (more on these two in the future, more Memphis treasures in my [less than] humble opinion).So on a Friday night, I arrive at about 7:45 to sit at the bar and have a glass or three of good wine (they know their wine here), a little dinner and this is what it is like.
7:45 There is an 16 “top” at the window table in the front and they are working on appetizers. The word “top” is the number in a dining party. For example, an eight top is a dining party of eight. A three top is a party of three. It is somewhat unusual for a fine dining restaurant to accommodate large parties on Friday’s and Saturday’s especially without a prix fix menu.8:20 A 6 top & a 15 top arrive together.
8:25 A five top arrives and there are 6 people eating at the bar. I haven't ordered-I’m fascinated by the immense amount of orders about to arrive in the kitchen. Hummm, could be 32 orders arriving in the kitchen all together. That is a stretch for any kitchen!9:00 The restaurant is humming. I met a very pretty woman from Tupelo (with her date-damn!) at the bar. Why are there SO many really pretty women from that town? The 16 top is leaving-looking happy.
I find out from Steven that last night Felicia had 14 people at the kitchen table!!! The lady loves a challenge &working without a net. Plus all she does for the Make a Wish Foundation. When you go to her restaurant, read her awards posted outside the restrooms. Is Felicia Willet Memphis' most under recognized treasure?Steven Shipp-perfect (?) compliment to Felicia? Orchestrates the waiters and bussers seamlessly. Always professional & tightly controlled.
Steven Shipp is everywhere. Running orders to the bar. Taking orders. Making sure I am aware that the kitchen will be BUSY. Running desserts and organizing the servers to deliver simultaneously to the 16 top AND starting "Happy Birthday". Thankfully he stops quickly, Steven can't sing worth a crap. Steven runs the front of the house at the restaurant and may be the perfect complement to Felicia. He is always professional.Tonight I ordered…
I’ve had this appetizer a number of times at the restaurant. It is a ‘classic’ appetizer in New Orleans and it is supposedly named for the founder of the City of New Orleans. Created at Antoine's Restaurant in New Orleans and Felicia’s rendition is delicious. If you like oysters, make sure you try this one.
Cantaloupe soupI ordered this more out of curiosity than anything and wound up eating the entire bowl. Great balance in a slightly chilled soup. Loved it!
Shrimp risotto with heirloom tomatoes.OK, I do love risotto and this dish definitely did not disappoint me. One of the great things about Felicia is her use of the freshest, in season ingredients and her support of the Memphis Farmer’s Market and our local farmers. This was a wonderful, fresh tasting, well crafted dish.
Newman Farms Pork Loin RouladeReally, really great dish. Felicia takes a pork loin from one of the greatest producers of pork in the country, butterflies and stuffs it with a savory stuffing and then rolls, ties and roasts it. Wow! No kidding, Newman Farms supplies pork to the best restaurants in the country. Mark and Rita Newman are from the teeming metropolis of Myrtle, MO and I see them every Saturday at the Memphis Farmer’s Market.
Smoked Cheddar Mac & CheeseI just could not resist tasting this one. Nice crust, perfect pasta. Just this and a green salad could be a wonderful, ‘semi-light’ dinner. More!
And a ½ bottle of 2005 Eagles Trace (recommended by Steven). This wine has a great, classic cabernet nose. This tastes a lot like young Bordeaux wine from a great vintage. 75% cabernet sauvignon, 18% merlot and 7% cabernet franc, a very Bordeaux like blend. If you like big red wines, this one is delicious!Overall
Obviously, I love this place and the people. Felicia is very talented, uses local produce and producers whenever she can. She is truly a Memphis treasure and she is recognized as such outside of our city. I encourage you to try Felicia Suzanne’s early and often!!
See you at the bar!!