March 27, 2023

Bog & Barley Gets Opening Date for Its Elevated Irish Fare in East Memphis

Memphis Business Journal

Bog & Barley is scheduled to open April 7 at the Regalia Shopping Center at 6150 Poplar Ave. in the former Great Wines & Spirits space.

The restaurant —owned by DJ and Jamie Naylor of Celtic Crossing Irish Pub & Restaurant — will serve elevated Irish fare.

Reny Alfonso serves as director of culinary operations for the Brazen Restaurant Group, which owns both Celtic Crossing and Bog & Barley.

Alfonso was the chef de cuisine at Chez Philippe from 2005 to 2010. After he left Memphis, he kept in touch with DJ Naylor.

“Even when I lived here, we talked about doing something together,” Alfonso said. “So, he flew me out to Memphis to look at the space. And that’s pretty much all it took.”

Alfonso said that the menu is designed to be authentic and modern.

“We all have in our minds what traditional Irish food is. It’s not necessarily what they eat over there. I wanted to take a modern approach to a lot of this food, and even a healthier approach. We just wanted to bring it up and make it fresher and more relevant to the times,” he said.

Dishes will include a pimento cheese toastie — a Southern take on the Welsh rarebit. They’ll have fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, corned beef made in-house, and oysters raised in British Columbia.

For dessert, there will be an apple cake, which Alfonso called a play on apple cake and tarte Tatin. They will also have a lemon posset and a Guinness chocolate cake with a coffee brown butter sauce.

“I looked at classic Irish dishes and attacked them one by one,” Alfonso said.

Bog & Barley will be differentiated from Celtic Crossing by the elevated cooking techniques. The kitchen will be led by chef Joel LeMay.

The 7,100-square-foot Regalia site underwent a $2.5 million renovation and has a capacity of 250. The booths, tables, chairs, and bars were sourced from Ireland.

Alfonso stressed that Bog & Barley will not be upscale.

“We’re not trying to make it fancy. We’re just trying to bring it up,” he said. “If you go to Ireland, you have your staple pubs, which is what Celtic Crossing is. And then you have your slightly elevated ones, which is more in line to a bistro.”

The restaurant will employ 100, and they are now busy putting finishing touches in the run up to the opening.

“The location sells itself,” Alfonso said. “It’s very beautiful.”