Food Critic Morgan Murphy Visits Olive Bean On Signal Mountain

Friday, August 8, 2014
 Morgan Murphy with Olive Bean co-owner April Handy
Morgan Murphy with Olive Bean co-owner April Handy

When Morgan Murphy heard about the avocado mash at Olive Bean on Signal Mountain, he knew he had to visit.

“I am constantly searching the South for the most inventive and creative fare—
and does Olive Bean have it,” joked Murphy.  The Southern Living food critic and TV personality was in town to visit Olive Bean 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," says Murphy, who describes his four Southern food groups as, “bourbon, salt, bacon, and PIE.”

“It’s worth a drive up signal mountain to this new spot that’s tops in my book,” Murphy said.

How did he choose Olive Bean?  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.”

Murphy’s work has been read by millions, and he has been featured on many popular television programs, including the Today Show and Fox & Friends. He’s become a regular on QVC, and this summer, he’s making his Travel Channel debut as a judge on “American Grilled.”

“They’re just lucky I didn’t accidentally burn down the set,” Murphy said with a laugh.

How did the Bama boy and Navy reserve officer become one of the most popular food critics?  “I just write about the food people really like to eat.  Who cares about whether the coriander was milled by Polynesian virgins during a lunar eclipse? Does that dish taste good?”

You can order signed copies of his book directly from www.morganmurphy.co

 






Wizard Needs Food Badly: Lunch On The Porch At Public House

It was a lovely, warm weekday and I was out and about downtown, dipping in and out of a few eclectic, local stores. Walking down Market Street, I noticed the porch at Public House, packed with people enjoying the sun and a late lunch. I decided to stop by. With a pale wooden floor and white napkins already set in place at the tables, the vibe inside the restaurant was classy. ... (click for more)

Wizard Needs Food Badly: A Lazy Sunday At Bea's

After a late Saturday night out at the drive-in, Lionel and I decided to enjoy the beautiful weather on Sunday and take it easy. The idea of a late home-cooked brunch was enticing, but neither of us was up to the task of actually getting off the couch and into the kitchen. “We could always try Bea's,” he suggested, looking up from his homemade VHS cleaning contraption. ... (click for more)

Mayor Berke Pledges $6 Million For New Recreation Center At Avondale

Mayor Andy Berke announced Thursday that he plans to include $6 million in his upcoming budget for a new Recreation Center at Avondale. He said at a press conference at the current center on Dodson Avenue, "We want to make an investment in Avondale." Mayor Berke said the current center by Wilcox Boulevard was built in 1949 and last remodeled in 2002. The new center, which ... (click for more)

Developer Plans Single-Family Homes, Townhomes, Apartments, Retail On 7.5 Acres At South Broad Street

A developer is planning single-family homes, apartments, townhomes and retail on a 7.5-acre South Broad Street site. The development by South Broad LLC and DEW LLC is located within several blocks between South Broad Street, W. 26th Street, Long Street and W. 27th Street. It would include a 3-story U-shaped apartment building with ground floor retail at the north end of the ... (click for more)

Thankful For The Vital Role Teachers Played In My Life

Re: Roy Exum: Teachers Day Tomorrow Roy, I am especially appreciative of your poignant column written in tribute to teachers.  It made me tear up, as I have encountered both as a student and a career educator-- teachers like the second-grade teacher who said, "I wish you were my little girl" and teachers like Mrs. Poindexter.   My teachers have played such a vital ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The DA’s Cold-Case Quest

It is clearly a job nobody can do for over an hour or two, but Neal Pinkston, working in hand with precise professionals from the county’s auditing department, is intent on doing the right thing. As I watched a revolving team of four people at a time open and study envelopes of autopsy photographs on Tuesday, the scene would have made a fascinating television documentary. But ... (click for more)