Amy Word was certain the universe was showing her a sign. During the summer of 2019, while in talks to sell her restaurant Dapper Pig in Haynie’s Corner, she was mulling over the thought of opening another venture along Franklin Street where her well-established tavern and music bar Lamasco was thriving.
It was then Andy Davidson, former owner of the Tin Man Brewery called her. While the main Tin Man Brewery building was purchased, the smaller building at 1418 W Franklin St. (former home of PG restaurant) was up for grabs. Davidson asked Word if she was interested in it.
The answer was absolutely yes. From that conversation, Amy’s on Franklin was set into motion. Today, Amy’s features a traditional dining setting and bar, with a back patio open in warmer months. Upstairs, space can be rented for private parties.
“I will always love what Lamasco does, and we’ve got the best tavern, but in terms of creativity, food creativity, cocktails, this place has a totally different kind of atmosphere,” says Word.
That atmosphere is created by combining a trendy dining space with a menu that changes the script on traditional recipes. It’s here where the other piece of Amy’s success comes into play — head chef Jeremiah Galey.
As Amy’s was in the works, Galey shared that he too was ready for a new culinary chapter. Word and Galey knew each other from the music scene (Galey is a member of the band Gentleman and Scholars). Starting his career in the food industry when he was 17, he was working in the kitchen at the Hornet’s Nest before he came on board at Amy’s.
“I’m kind of a freak about taking a standard, staple dish and then elevating it with upgraded proteins or just a different take on it entirely,” he says. “Here, I can pretty much do whatever I want and our clientele kind of expect it.”
The cuisine at Amy’s is a mixture of several different southern and south of the border flavors.
“It’s not really a creole theme but draws from that entire scene — the French Quarter, Mexico, Texas-style smoked meats and barbecue,” says Galey. “Even though you could get some of these staple dishes, you can’t get what we’re doing around here.”
Amy’s menu may seem like a few other restaurants in town. There are appetizers like Baltimore Blue Crab Cakes, shrimp cocktail, and French onion soup. There are salads and sandwiches, steaks, and even a version of a hot brown stack. However, dive a little deeper and it’s easy to see Galey’s creativity coming to life.
Jeremiah’s Hot Chicken sandwich isn’t just another fried chicken sandwich. The centerpiece is a creole dry-brined chicken thigh, breaded and fried up to a perfect crisp. It’s then built with pickles, shredded purple cabbage, a spicy mayo, and placed on a potato bun. The heat of the creole brine is matched perfectly with the fresh cabbage and extra kick with the mayo.
And you can’t beat a side of Brabant fries, Galey’s take on a tasty Louisiana treat. These slices of potatoes are fried and then tossed in a mixture of clarified butter, creole seasoning, fresh garlic, and parsley.
Another dish not likely to be anywhere else? The Linguine La Porpora. This pasta dish may raise a few eyebrows from appearance alone, with its pile of purple linguine noodles.
“We had to do a purple pasta and I said I would figure it out,” says Galey with a grin. “So that comes from a blueberry beet butter.”
Along with the blueberry beet butter, the linguine is tossed with extra virgin olive oil, toasted hazelnut, LaClare chevre goat cheese, sweet soppressata, cracked black pepper, and parmesan. The combination creates a wonderful, slightly sweet yet distinct tangy taste. It also can be topped with blackened chicken for an even more fulfilling meal.
While many of the brunch, lunch, and dinner selections sets Amy’s apart, the one that stands above the rest is the AOF Ribeye. Amy’s offers six cuts of upper choice black angus beef steaks, each with its own special preparation. The AOF is a 16-ounce steak that starts its process by being dipped and smothered in cold smoked butter before it is aged anywhere from 30 to 45 days. It’s then cooked in a cast iron skillet before being served with a choice of one side.
“We kind of went out on a limb with the AOF Ribeye and it’s a really unique option — nobody around here is doing that at all,” says Galey.
It’s a chance that paid off — customers who try the AOF Ribeye come back for more. And you don’t have to sit down at the restaurant to enjoy Amy’s great cuts — those looking to cook their own recipes with in-house cut meats can utilize the AOF Market. The list includes smoked brisket, Berkshire bacon, St. Louis Duroc pork ribs, smoke brisket pastrami, and much more. Customers can call Amy’s or email Galey to place an order.
“We’ve got people who are devotees to our bacon. And Jeremiah’s barbecue is just so exceptional. He’s got such a unique, creative way that he does that,” says Word.
That could be the end of the restaurant’s individuality, but it’s not. Amy’s also offers an extensive list of bourbons and whiskeys as well as a cocktail menu of drinks including takes on the Old Fashioned. And what goes great with a glass of good bourbon? A fine cigar outdoors on the balcony, of course.
“We have a huge antique humidor upstairs,” says Word. The piece houses a selection of 22 cigars. “We actually worked with Cigar! Cigar! here locally to source our offerings.”
For Galey and Word, the success of the restaurant doesn’t come from just exploring new flavors. It comes from their patrons, who keep coming back for more for unique dishes and knowledge on what’s cooking at the restaurant.
“We want people to just sit and relax and be,” says Word. “Get to know your server, take advantage of the experts we have here. Have this nourish your soul in all possible ways.”
To Galey, the purpose isn’t to just be different, it’s to be different and do it well.
“I’m unabashedly out of the box,” he says. “We’re just trying to do something that’s a little bit unique and the response has been pretty good on that.”
Location: 1418 W. Franklin St.
Dining Hours: Closed Monday and Tuesday. 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday 4 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.
Adult Beverages: Yes
Prices: $5 to $58
Payment: All major credit cards accepted