Restaurants can spend a ton of time and waste a lot of money trying to please everyone. Too often we see a place try to offer options that are gluten free, vegan, paleo, or whatever the monthly trend tends to be that is requested, only to see very few sales and a lot of product waste.
You could never accuse South on Main of this, they have always held to their identity. The latest dinner menu is a loud and clear example of sticking to who you are. It is unabashedly southern. We are talking fried veggies, coated with gravy, and a side of chicken livers southern. If you want vegan or gluten free here it is called a salad, and even then you can (and should) throw a fried egg on top for good measure.
It is embracing their true identity that makes South on Main great. It is a celebration of classic cuisine from across the south. It is things your old southern grandmother would appreciate like fried catfish with a side of fried okra or a pork chop with some cabbage. If you want avocado spread on gluten free toast look somewhere else, South on Main has settled nicely into their identity.
One of our favorites has always been the playful use of southern junk food wrapped into a very southern comfort dish. The last bar menu update it was their house made cheese whiz on a hot dog, this menu it is the house made corn nuts topping the cream corn risotto. It is a big hearty bowl of creamed corn topped with a dab of herb salsa for some extra flavor and crunchy corn nuts for a nice texture balance.
The chicken fried cauliflower is another great example. It is topped with spinach and onion gravy. It is wonderfully flavored and, for those of us who grew up here, exactly the way veggies were intended to be eaten. Deep fried and covered with gravy. It is how all of our parents tricked us into eating veggies growing up.
Sometimes plating sets up expectations for a dish. The hot link is a great example of this. It is served in a small cast iron skillet with kraut and pickled mustard seeds. It ends up taking you on a trip back to frying up hot links in the kitchen for a quick low key meal.
The other thing South on Main always plays well with is exploring meats outside of the normal beef/chicken/pork that you find everywhere else. The south has always been about using meats you had available through raising or hunting. The braised rabbit that has existed on the menu in some variety from the beginning and the new roasted duck breast are great examples. The duck breast is served with a side of various roasted veggies to help make it perfect.
As always their is a solid line up of items from the water. The new fried oysters, bbq shrimp, trout, catfish, and bass make up their solid lineup of dishes in this area. The best is that they cover a wide spectrum of various southern styles from the gulf coast area to the various lakes and streams that wind through the south.
South on Main does what they do well, and you either love it or hate it. They have been doing it for almost 5 years now and by this point they are old south to the core. All the yelp reviews or instagram photos in the world trying to get them to be something they are not will not change this, it will only make them do what they do even stronger. That is a good part of why we love them.