Restaurant updates: Restaurant Iris, The Second Line temporarily closing

By , Daily Memphian Updated: March 16, 2020 6:22 PM CT | Published: March 16, 2020 5:04 PM CT

Editor’s note: Due to the serious public health implications associated with COVID-19, The Daily Memphian is making our coronavirus coverage accessible to all readers — no subscription needed.

It’s a time like no other in the restaurant business, here and nationally. The Daily Memphian will use this blog to publish updates on restaurants on bars in the Memphis area, which will likely change over time.

Below are the latest on changes at area restaurants in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

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With business down, restaurants look at meals to go

4:00 AM CT, March 16

If you’re wondering what restaurants offer to-go, curbside or delivery, the answer is yes. They do. You don’t need a list – you just need to call your favorite place and put in your order, because I can’t think of one restaurant that doesn’t have one or more to-go options available.

Uninsured Tennesseans will depend on safety net, charity for coronavirus treatment

Restaurants are going to be hit hard as we all practice social distancing, a phrase we’ll tire of but one we’ll also all be using. Some have reduced the number of tables in the dining room to give you more space, offering extra distance from your neighbors. Others, such as Huey’s, for example, are seating every other table (and putting the kibosh on toothpick-blowing for now).

Restaurants will pack food for you if you don’t want to eat in a dining room, and most will bring your food to your car. Many restaurants will continue to use meal-delivery services such as UberEats, PostMates, GrubHub and others.

Read More


Destination: Delicious Podcast: Hard times for restaurants

10:39 AM CT, March 16

Jennifer Biggs & Kelly English talk about how the local restaurant business is faring under fears of coronavirus.

Produced by Natalie Van Gundy

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.


Restaurant Iris, Second Line to temporarily close

6:00 PM CT, March 16

The dining room Restaurant Iris, one of the city’s premier restaurants, is temporarily closed, as is its sister restaurant, The Second Line, though plans for it could change to include a takeout option. Chef/owner Kelly English also owns Fino’s, which will remain open for takeout only during lunch. All three restaurants will offer delivery services.

He made the decision just this afternoon, March 16, after hearing President Trump’s press conference urging people not to convene in groups larger than 10 and to avoid restaurants, bars and food courts.


Rules of the road: March 16

5:58 PM CT, March 16

At present all in Memphis are free to operate on their own schedule, but that the case across the country and in Nashville, bars have been shuttered and restaurants cannot exceed 50% capacity.

While there are no such restrictions in Memphis, Mayor Jim Strickland said in a press release on Monday, March 16, that the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is expected to rise as testing becomes more widespread. Whether more confirmed cases results in further action to any business, including restaurants, wasn’t stated.

So restaurants are self-governing. Many have taken the step of removing tables to give diners more social distance between their table and a table of strangers. Others are leaving tables in place but are seating patrons at a distance — which is not hard to do as crowds are sparse.

They have added hand-sanitation stations for customers and are following or exceeding the Center for Disease Control’s hand washing guidelines for food service workers. 

There is an increased focus on sanitation and each restaurant will not be addressed. Here we’ll keep up with new services offered by local restaurants, with ones that change hours, those that close or suspend service, with special services and other COVID-19 coverage related to restaurants and food service. Assume that all or most of these steps are being taken for customer safety:

  • Removing condiments from the table (they will be served upon request, often in disposable containers).
  • Using paper menus that are disposed of after each use.
  • Not pre-setting tables.
  • Rolling silverware instead of placing it flat on napkins.
  • Using disposable cups and in some cases, utensils.

Delivery and/or to-go meals are available at virtually every restaurant in town. UberEats and GrubHub are waiving their fees for independent restaurants for right now and some restaurants have started or will soon start delivering their own food.


Temporarily closed as of March 16

5:54 PM CT, March 16

117 Prime, 117 Union, is closed until at least Wednesday, March 18, while the owners re-evaluate whether to stay closed for the foreseeable future.

Bosses, 5030 Poplar, a wings restaurant in East Memphis, temporarily closed last week.

Calvary Waffle Shop closed early for its annual Lent service after lunch on Thursday, March 12; it will not reopen this year.

Chef Tam’s Underground Café, 668 Union, will reopen on Thursday, March 18, after a thorough cleaning.

Earnestine & Hazel’s, 531 S. Main, closed last week and will remain closed for the rest of the month.

The dining room is closed at Fino’s, 1853 Madison, but takeout will be available during lunch.

The Four Way, 998 Mississippi, will be closed Tuesday for a deep cleaning. It will reopen Wednesday, operating regular hours.

The dining room is temporarily closed at Inspire Community Café, 510 Tillman, but the restaurant is open regular hours for takeout (including curbside) and delivery.

When Mosa Asian Bistro, 850 S. White Station, reopens this week, it’s for to-go orders only for now. The dining room will be closed except for folks to come in to pick up orders. They will also deliver orders that are $50 or greater and will charge a 15% fee delivery. Curbside service is available upon request.

The dining room at Restaurant Iris, 2146 Monroe, is temporarily closed. Delivery options that started Monday, March 16, will continue, but the restaurant will not be open for takeout.

The Second Line’s dining room at 2144 Monroe has also temporarily closed. Because of the quick decision, English has not decided yet if it will be staffed for take-out or if it will only offer delivery.

Mayor Jim Strickland said on Monday that parking enforcement on Midtown and Downtown streets will relax while diners go to restaurants to pick up meals. Don’t park in restricted areas such as emergency zones; you can still be ticketed or towed for that.



coronvirus COVID-19 Restaurants
Jennifer Biggs

Jennifer Biggs

Jennifer Biggs is a native Memphian and veteran food writer and journalist who covers all things food, dining and spirits related for The Daily Memphian.