Back in July, some of the air was let out of DeSoto Market when The Larder + The Delta closed. The favorite vendor was off to a new spot with more space. But Jeremy Armstrong, sous chef, stuck with the the market — where he now oversees all food — as well as the The Larder + The Delta's former space.
That space is now home to The Provisionary.
Like its esteemed predecessor, The Provisionary, opened in late summer, prepares a strong slate of Southern food. "That's my background and that's what I'm comfortable cooking," Armstrong says. "The Larder was more Southern influence, and this is more of a sandwich shop."
The Provisionary sure puts the pedal down with its sandwich offerings.
Choosing one isn't easy. Armstrong's team makes an espresso-rubbed pork with pickled onions and charred onion aioli on a brioche bun. They plate Noble ciabatta stuffed with eggplant from Crooked Sky Farms, tomato sauce, and fried mozzarella. Some sandwiches plunge deeply Southern, some merely nod south.
Some have refinements beyond what you see in old-school Southern and soul-style cooking. There's avocado mousse on a turkey melt. On The Provisionary's most outlandish and ambitious sandwich — fried chicken topped with a fried egg all served on a biscuit — you will find popcorn and caramel sauce. Sandwiches come alongside crunchy rounds of golden, house-fried chips.
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Armstrong sources produce from Crooked Sky, Maya Farms, Blue Sky Organic Farms, and others. Menu items will change with the seasons.
Sides are more A-B-C Southern, with the exception of lobster mac and cheese. If you have room for a biscuit, you should try one. They are fluffy and soft with a little density and chew, and a heist for $3. But don't show up until after noon if you want a biscuit (for your fried chicken sandwich or as a side). That's when the pillowy discs emerge from the oven in an enormous cast iron vessel, taunting the rest of the market with their gnarled crust and glorious scent. Biting into a warm, fresh biscuit is a joy that can make your day.
The Provisionary. 915 North Central Avenue; 602-680-7747
Sunday to Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
*Brunch served until 3:00 on Saturday