New Restaurant Alert

Okra: Crudo Team to Open Southern-Inspired Second Restaurant in Central Phoenix

We've got three words for you, Phoenicians: Tennessee Hot Chicken.

That's right, chef Cullen Campbell and the team behind Crudo and Bar Crudo plan to open a second restaurant this summer that will blend Southern cuisine with a hint of the Italian-influenced fare for which the chef's become known. Called Okra, the new restaurant will, of course, feature craft cocktails from award-winning mixologist Micah Olson, who's also behind the newly-opened Counter Intuitive bar in Old Town Scottsdale.

And here's more good news. Though Okra isn't expected to open in summer 2015, you don't have to wait that long to get a taste of what Campbell's got cooking. Next month Crudo will host two Okra preview dinners, featuring a three-course, cocktail-paired menu of dishes and drinks that will appear at the new restaurant.

See also: DeSoto Central Market in Downtown Phoenix to Open on April 11: Here's a List of the Restaurants You'll Find There

Okra, which is currently under construction, will be located at 5813 N. 7th Street, inside The Crown on 7th, a midcentury modern strip in north-central Phoenix. The 100-seat restaurant comes from of a trio of familiar faces: chef Cullen Campbell; wife/co-owner, Maureen Campbell; and co-owner/mixologist, Micah Olson.

The restaurants's lunch and dinner menus will include Southern Fried Chicken served two ways, either Buttermilk-brined or Tennessee Hot, as well as Pig Pot Pie, Ham Hocks, and a Redneck Burger. And you can count on traditional accoutrements such as Mississippi Comeback Sauce, a classic Mississippi dipping sauce, and Alabama White BBQ Sauce. The menu will have some Italian influences, including focaccia bread pizzas and Southern Fried Chicken topped with Umbrian meat sauce.

For Campbell, the restaurant represents a return to his family's roots; the chef grew up splitting time between Phoenix and his family's cotton plantation in Arkansas, and went to college in Memphis.

On the drinks side, Okra will offer wines, craft beers, and cocktails -- to include a seasonal selection of Mint Juleps featuring small batch bourbons created by Olson.

Next month Crudo will host two Kentucky Derby Dinners on Friday, May 1 and Saturday, May 2, 2015, both of which will feature dishes from the forthcoming Okra menu. The events will include a Tennessee bourbon tasting and three-course cocktail paired dinner, and cost $65 a person. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 602-358-8666.

Kentucky Derby Dinner

Course 1 Biscuits w/ dates & honey lardo butter Micah's Julep (Weller Reserve)

Course 2 Pig Pot Pie w/ market veggies Manhattan (Elijah Craig 12 year)

Course 3 Ham Hock w/ black-eyed peas, spiggarello & hoe cake Old Fashion (Four Roses small batch)

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