Those looking for the perfectly prepared Southern fare with a modern twist need to go no further than downtown Canton, where restaurateur Zach Kell has opened his latest offering in a lively, bright space that welcomes diners to sit a spell and unwind.
written by Rebecca Johnston | photography by Erin Gray Cantrell
Queenie’s, A Southern Restaurant and Bar serves up delicious Southern staples and dozens of fresh side items feature a full bar and an array of mouth-watering desserts.
From perfectly browned biscuits served with sorghum butter to crispy chicken fried chicken with gravy to bacon braised greens, the stand-out menu is designed to both comfort and tempt.
Guests choose a mouth-watering main dish and then pick two sides from a selection that includes whipped potatoes, a creamy twist on mac and cheese, slow-cooked green beans, a southern-style potato salad, sautéed kale, Brunswick stew and more.
Entrée options include chicken and dumplings, smoked meatloaf sausage, country fried filet with herb gravy, pork chops, braised pot roast and rainbow trout. Kell’s new restaurant also offers a 45-day dry aged 16-ounce rib-eye, smoked pulled pork, and St. Louis ribs available in a half or full rack.
The chef who brought Canton the popular Downtown Kitchen and Goin’ Coastal restaurants named the latest venture for his mother and “Queenie” will have a hand in preparing fresh pies, cobblers and various other desserts for guests, with daily selections featured on a board at the front of the restaurant.
“We’re doing a Southern-rooted restaurant with some familiar favorites with a modern take,” he said.
The full bar, he said, will include “lots of bourbon,” a large wine selection, craft beer and craft cocktails.
Kell said he won’t just focus on lunch and dinner service but expects much of his new restaurant’s business to come in the form of to-go orders.
“Our slogan is ‘eat it here or take it home,’” he said. “We’re going to offer a large takeout program that people can order from their phones or online.”
Those who want to pick up their dinner can order online.
Along with Kell, Chef Brett Ashcroft had a hand in developing the items on the menu, which brings that farm to table philosophy of using the best available and freshest ingredients.
The chef is a farmer and his family is a generation of farmers, Kell said.
“He understands the whole from the dirt to the plate aspect of Southern cuisine,” Kell said.
Lunch is now being served from 11:30 to 3 p.m. Monday to Saturday and features a different menu, including sandwiches and burgers.
Bunker Design Collaborative was a major contributor to the look and design of the restaurant, Kell said.
The design firm is the brainchild of Kandace and Rob Walker-Bunda, both Savannah College of Art and Design grads. They developed Bunker Design Collaborative in 2009 with the intent of using their combined design backgrounds to create meaningful brand solutions for businesses.
Rob painted and designed the mural that gives the restaurant its unique identity and features a rooster that is the iconic symbol of what is happening at Queenie’s.
“I love the Southern aspect of the rooster, we bandied about a number of ideas and that is what stuck as the best representative of the restaurant,” Kell said.
The restaurant is family friendly and offers an inviting outside seating area as well.
The addition of Queenie’s to the downtown Canton dining scene is a welcome addition.