Serving: Truly chef-driven Southern cuisine in Boston’s hip South End.
Chef Jason Cheek, alum of lauded nearby hot spot Toro, culled inspiration from his North Carolina upbringing for Southern Proper, opening March 1 at 50 Malden St. on the ground floor of The Girard, a new luxury apartment building. Cheek is steering clear of the kitschy vibes and barbecue focus that characterizes most Yankee interpretations of American South cuisine, opting for less overexposed, Low country-oriented fare such as Carolina-style seafood, pig’s heads and chicken liver parfait, washed down with cool brown spirits — stressing cocktails like the Pinochle (peanut-washed rye whiskey and Coca-Cola, poured on draft into vintage bottles), based on his grandmother’s favorite refreshment. Wide windows flood the tobacco barn-inspired space with natural light, showcasing light pine woods, Cheek personally curated antique tchotchkes and cool details like a bar wrapped in tin from an old movie theater.
“There’s nothing like this here,” said Cheek. “I’m taking the techniques I’ve learned over the years and applying them to the food I grew up with.”