In February 2019, Chef Andy Knight joined a team of brilliant food minds at Midtown’s favorite joint for Memphis craft beer, ping pong, and great eats. Railgarten’s new menu offers tasty fare that captures the same bold flavors found in Knight’s other Memphis menus; his flair for southern cuisine lies behind the success of local hotspots like Interim, Bounty on Broad, Loflin Yard, and Carolina Watershed. Knight’s new menu at Railgarten reflects a creative knack for coupling fine dining with casual ambiance. Chef Knight chats about his role as Chef de Cuisine for a rustic, backyard gathering space and foodie hub.
How would you describe the new Railgarten menu?
I’m stuck on the idea of street eats, like finger foods. This menu is based on “get something in your belly and just keep hanging out.” It has character.
What’s your favorite item from the new menu?
Pork Rind Nachos. We also kept the Hot Chicken from Loflin Yard. It’s simple but it’s good. That’s really my background with cooking. Take the easy stuff and make it great.
What would you consider your signature style as a chef?
Almost everything I cook has Sambal chili garlic sauce. It’s not necessarily southern, but it’s something I do differently. Every chef has one thing that they do to every dish, and that’s probably the one weird thing I do.
Would you consider yourself a southern chef?
I’m really true to southern style cooking. I’ve always been true to it. I like long cook times, braised meats. Southern cooking is where I’m at.
Where do you like to shop?
The Agricenter. I have a lot of personal relationships with the farmers. Peach World I’ve been going to for probably seven years and they take care of me. I love farmers markets.
Are you a big proponent of eating local?
I’d say so. I forage in the summertime. I pick Chanterelle mushrooms and sell them here. Last year I got five different types of garden beans. I made a cold salad out of it; I mixed them with the Chanterelles, spring mix, shallots, garlic, and red wine vinegar.
How does local produce play into the menu you’ve created for Railgarten?
Our gyros are baked at the Jerusalem Market here in Memphis. It’s the best pita bread I’ve ever had. Once the weather gets warm, I’m going all local. When it’s summer, everything will be pickled here, in house. The pork for the carnitas and the tortillas will come from somewhere local too.
Interview by Lydia Podowitz