When Morgan Murphy heard about the fried green tomatoes at Cotham’s Mercantile, he knew he had to visit.
“I am constantly searching the South for the most inventive and creative fare—and hot damn, does Cotham’s have it,” joked Murphy. The Southern Living food critic and TV personality was in town Tuesday to visit Cotham’s Mercantile for his series.
Murphy is known for his hilarious stories and the amazing recipes he pries out of mom-and-pop restaurants. His books include the best-selling Off the Eaten Path series—and coming this fall: Bourbon & Bacon.
“When you cook as badly as I do, you’ve got to have a sense of humor,” cracks Murphy, who describes his four Southern food groups as, “bourbon, salt, bacon, and PIE.”
How did he choose Cotham’s Mercantile? Murphy says he picks all his restaurants based on three criteria: the food, the service, and the ambiance, “But shoot, the ambiance and the service can be broken if the food is good enough,” says Murphy, “Who doesn’t love a great BBQ shack that looks like it might fall in on you?”
The Southern food writer says he gets his restaurant tips mainly through fans to his website, morganmurphy.co or directly on Twitter @_morganmurphy. “I love to get tips from readers. They’re the ones who know the best spots,” says Murphy. And Murphy always follows up in person, often driving his huge 1956 Cadillac, “I research restaurants the old-fashioned way: I go there. Google just can’t take the place of actually being there.”