Roosevelt, which has 48 seats. Then, he
joined hands with Richmond chef Joe
Sparatta, owner of Heritage. The two
now co-own the 160-seat Southbound
along with a local farmer.
Whipping up food inspired by South
Carolinian family dinners and reunions
where he loved eating boiled peanuts,
fried chicken and watermelon, Gregory
makes his own pasta. He smokes
salmon and makes sausage, including
green chorizo, regular chorizo, garlic
sausage and andouille. He sources food
as close to Richmond as he can. At
Southbound, they use whole animals
and support local farmers in any way
they can. Gregory’s down-home
Southern dishes are sometimes dolled
up with seemingly foreign influences. At
The Roosevelt, fried chicken skins are
served with kimchi mayo and pickles. At
Southbound, sauteed trout comes with
soybeans, Chinese black rice, sunchokes
and curry sauce vinaigrette. But Gregory
doesn’t see these ingredients as alien.
“There’s not a lot of difference between
Southern and Asian food. It’s rice,
soybeans, cabbage, pickles, plus smoked
or charred meat.”
Southbound’s Southern dishes include
crispy fried catfish with grits, coleslaw
and hot sauce butter. But the local
pork loin is served with polenta. “I
consider polenta Southern, as it is
made by Anson Mills in Columbia,”
Gregory says. Scallops are served with
peanuts, an ingredient found in both
Southern and Vietnamese cooking.
The dish’s vinaigrette uses Red Boat
Fish Sauce from Vietnam. “In limited
doses, Red Boat tastes like country
ham,” Gregory says. The curry sauce on
one of his chicken dishes draws on a
South Carolina curried stewed chicken,
Chicken Country Captain, which was
brought over by slaves. “It seems like it’s
Indian or African, but comes right out
of an old Southern cookbook.” Thanks
to Lee Gregory, the cuisine of the New
South is old and new at the same time.
left: Wagyu steak tartar, soft-cooked egg, squid ink bread
and chili oil.
right: This drink, named The
Spaniard, is made with Old
Overholt rye whiskey, Bluecoat
gin, Amontillado sherry and
Photos by Will Blunt.
Photos courtesy of Lee Gregory.