He's Bringing Gravy Back

When Justin Timberlake has a craving for pecan pie, he just pulls up a chair at his 64-year-old grandmother Sadie Bomar’s table in Memphis. For those not related to Sadie, Timberlake, 26, and pals Trace Ayala and Eytan Sugarman launched Southern Hospitality—a new barbecue joint serving ribs, corn bread and fried chicken that promises to leave Manhattan in a permanent state of food coma.


Along with the pulled pork (his favorite), Timberlake says, “the collard greens are strong, the mac-and-cheese is great and so are the green beans.” Just don’t ask the singer to share the care packages of blueberry jam, squash relish and other goodies that Granny—who was at Southern Hospitality’s July 18th opening—sends him while he’s on the road. Says Timberlake: “I tell everybody to stay away from the mason jars in my cupboard. Do not touch!”


“We wanted it to look just like a bar back home,” says Timberlake. Adds Ayala, JT’s close pal since grade school in Memphis: “No doorman, no red rope—just beer, blues and barbecue.” Mission accomplished with a golf video game, memorabilia from Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and Jerry Lee Lewis, and an Elvis mural on the back wall. And the playlist ranges from the King to Lynyrd Skynyrd. “But there will be nights where we clear the tables out and a deejay comes in, so it becomes pretty current,” says Timberlake.


For desserts “I kept saying if it’s not [Granny’s] recipe, I don’t want it,” he says. The problem is, “a Southern woman and her recipes—they don’t part very easily,” says Ayala. JT did get Bomar to give up her secrets—for a price. “I gotta mow the lawn for like eight years,” he says. But Granny has her doubts. “When he comes home,” she says with a laugh. “But he don’t come home very often ’cause he doesn’t want to cut the grass.”

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