Ten years after opening, Elwood’s Shack is celebrating the milestone with the opening of a second location. The new restaurant at 4040 Park Ave. opened Sept. 18.
The original Elwood’s Shack is in an old cinder block tractor shed adjacent to a Lowe’s parking lot. It was an unconventional location choice for a restaurant that proved to be a brilliant decision.
The East Memphis restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner has developed an almost cult-like following for dishes like Philly brisket wraps, steelhead trout fish tacos, Reubens piled high with house-made pastrami and over-the-top pizza and hot dog creations.
The second location of this popular eatery is located in the Normal Station neighborhood of East Memphis in a free-standing building that has been home to everything from a Leonard’s Pit Barbecue restaurant to most recently a consignment music store.
“I think people will love the atmosphere,” said Keri Perkins, the general manager of the new Elwood’s Shack. “Memphis is very artsy, and I think people will love all the murals, lighted signs and the 610-gallon fish tank. They are all fun photo experiences to share with others.”
“Oh, and be sure to check out the mural on the side of the building. Those are all our pets,” she added, of the expansive mural painted by Memphis artist and chef Emily LaForce.
Here are five things to know about the new location.
A bigger Elwood’s Shack
The second location is much larger than the original shack — which is not hard to do since the original Elwood’s is housed in what is basically a 1,000-square-foot shack. At 4,887 square feet, the second location is almost five times bigger than the original restaurant.
The dining room is brighter thanks to higher ceilings and larger windows. Seating is at upholstered booths, versus the café tables at the original shack. There is even a “living room” for a weekend live music series owner Tim Bednarski calls “Elwood’s Unplugged.”
The additional space will allow the restaurant to expand its offerings, including catering.
The new Elwood's Shack menu: 'The same and more'
“The same and more,” is how Bednarski described the menu.
In addition to the core Elwood’s Shack menu, expect to find a few new items, as well as an expanded dessert selection.
White chocolate banana cream pie, freshly baked cookies, crème brulee, key lime pie, daily bread puddings in flavors like pineapple and assorted cheesecakes will be offered.
“We will also be making old fashioned milkshakes,” said Bednarski. “In flavors like vanilla, chocolate and the soon-to-be-famous Elwood’s banana shake.”
A fryer — finally!
The new Elwood’s will have a fryer — a piece of equipment that is not at the original restaurant.
“You always know someone is at Elwood’s for the first time when they ask for fries,” Perkins said.
Fried chicken will appear in new dishes like a Memphis “Tiger Blue” Chicken Sandwich (a buffalo fried chicken breast with blue cheese crumbles and pickles), a fried chicken-topped salad and a fried chicken breakfast biscuit.
Also on the menu are “Bull Poppers.” Perkins described them as green onion cream cheese and brisket stuffed jalapenos that are battered and deep-fried.
Brisket (and more smoked meats) sliced to order
“I am from Texas and there brisket is sliced to order,” said Bednarski, adding that the additional space will allow from a dedicated carving station. “People can order there brisket lean, or fatty.”
Bednarski said at Elwood’s they cook brisket the “Texas-way.”
“We smoke it long and slow. It goes on at 8 p.m. and we take it off at 11 a.m. the next day,” he said. “I don’t trim it prior to smoking so that the fat melts into the meat.”
Elwood’s Shack also makes most of its own sandwich meats in-house, including smoked turkey, roast beef, pastrami, roast pork and corned beef.
At the new Elwood’s, customers will be able to purchase these meats by the pound to take home.
What’s to drink? Coffees, mocktails and organic sodas
Elwood’s Shack has partnered with Dr. Bean’s Coffee Emporium to bring an upscale coffee bar to the restaurant. Now when you pop in for a breakfast sandwich, you will have more to choose from than a plain cup of joe. Cappuccinos, lattes and cold brews are all on the menu.
There is also a menu of mocktails. “We are calling it a ‘Moxie Bar,’” said Bednarski. “We have over 100 Monin syrups and will be running it like a real bar. Choose from signature mocktails like the “Cherry Bomb” or “Love Potion.”
Bednarski has also opted to serve a selection of Tractor organic beverages and sodas. “We will have 16 flavors — all of them all-natural with no GMOs,” said Bednarski.
Jennifer Chandler is the Food & Dining reporter at The Commercial Appeal. She can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cookwjennifer.
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Where: Two locations: 4040 Park Ave. and 4523 Summer Ave.
Hours: 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday