If you ask anyone from New Orleans where they were the night of August 29, 2005, they could probably tell you without hesitation. But for Big Easy native Kelly English, who had been living in Memphis since 2004 while running a John Besh restaurant in Tunica, Mississippi, there was more brewing besides Hurricane Katrina! That night, his path would cross with the woman who would become his wife, Memphis native Angela Brignole. Angela describes their meeting as a love-at-first-sight encounter. Later that night, she would tell her friends: “I really like talking to that guy, that’s the kind of guy I want to marry … yep, I think I’ll marry him.”
The restaurant biz and those crazy hours are all this couple has known. They moved to New Orleans where Kelly was consistently working 16-hour days in the kitchen at Lüke. On Halloween night, with ring box in hand, he got down on one knee in Angela’s kitchen. “I thought he had fallen so I got down on the floor to help him, and then he opened the box!” She said yes, of course, and six months before their wedding they opened a little restaurant in Memphis called Restaurant Iris that would mean great acclaim for a young Chef Kelly and help put Memphis on the foodie map for more than just BBQ. While her work at Iris has primarily been behind the scenes supporting her superstar chef husband, managing his busy travel schedule and often accompanying him, many fans might not know that her stout Chocolate Martini has been on the menu since they opened Iris in April 2008. But perhaps the menu item most reflective of her personality would be the Happy Enchiladas. As she says, “It’s kind of an inside joke between Kelly and me regarding a John Prine song.”
“We travel a lot, maybe 10 to 12 trips a year. The best trips are festivals such as Atlanta Food and Wine, Big Apple BBQ Block party in New York and the Five Star Sensation in Cleveland, where all of the chefs cook together, and their wives or partners are present and it’s a big family reunion. I always joke around the end of festival season that the “Kelly English traveling road show is over!” My favorite destination thus far has been Rome. It was a true homecoming.” Seeking to support a philanthropy, both passionate about what touches our community and beyond, they chose LeBonheur Children’s Medical Center. Every other year, the couple hosts the Lebon Appétit Culinary event with the LeBonheur Club. They recruit 10 to 15 chefs from around the country to cook with Memphis chefs, and all of the proceeds go to the LeBonheur Club. The next event will be held April 5, 2014.
Today’s photos of Kelly’s lovely bride were taken at their newest venture, the Second Line, set to open later this month and give you a glimpse into the comfortable, artistic and thoughtful interior with a clear nod to New Orleans. “We have wanted to open another place in Memphis for a long time and when Dr. Benitone decided to close his practice, we knew it was the ideal location,” says Angela. Designer Jackie Glisson has interpreted Kelly’s vision for the new space, and all of the artwork depicts the true story of the Second Line by multiple artists from New Orleans. A Second line, by the way, is part of the parade tradition in New Orleans. The “main line” or “first line” is the main section of the parade where permit carrying members of carnival krewes parade through the streets. Those who follow the band just to soak up the energy and enjoy the music are called the “second line.”
Second Line, located at 2144 Monroe Ave. next to Restaurant Iris, will be open for dinner seven nights a week and for lunch on Saturday and Sunday-we can’t wait! Thank you Christen Jones Photography for these lovely images of a beautiful Memphis woman!