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Restaurant Iron: Southern Made Modern

By Elisha Neubauer

In a world of pop-up eateries and food trucks, standing out in the food service industry is a hard feat to accomplish. But, at Restaurant Iron, a Pensacola establishment, they're managing to do just that. With a unique take on traditional servings and a fantastic atmosphere, they're in the game for the long-haul.

This Floridian Restaurant boasts what they call a Southern Contemporary Cuisine, which means they present a modern day take on traditional southern favorites. "We will take a traditional Southern recipe and use international techniques or ingredients, as well as using an International dish and putting a Southern spin on it," explained Alex McPhail, Executive Chef of Restaurant Iron. "We use locally sourced ingredients, organic when possible."

Chef McPhail spent his culinary training time in New Orleans, where he was exposed to a multitude of unique and varied cultures and their cooking methods. It was during his training that he began to realize exactly how versatile southern cooking was. "This exposure allowed me to explore the roots of Southern food and how easily adaptable it is," McPhail stated. "Take our Chicken & Dumplings for example. A dish that is so rooted in tradition is paired with locally sourced carrots, house made sauces and house made gnocci."

While the food is amazing, its rival is the atmosphere. The combination of fine dining and southern food will catch you off guard, but will delight your senses and heighten your dining experience. "I think Southern specialties in a fine dining atmosphere is an unexpected, but great fit," McPhail noted. "While traditional fine dining might be cold and stuffy to some, the Southern focus offers a more welcoming, warm, inviting environment. After all, no one has better hospitality than the South."

If you're looking to give the Restaurant Iron a try, take a few notes from the Chef, who lets us in on the most popular choices on the menu to date. "Our most popular dishes include the Foie Gras PB&J, Ancho Chili Muscovy Duck, Chicken & Dumplings & the Marcus Caesar." Of course, no matter what dish you decide on, you can rest assured your taste buds will be quite happy in the long run. That's because of Chef McPhail's personal motto.

"There's an old saying that what grows together goes together, and the dishes we put on our tables have that natural seasonal affinity," McPhail detailed. "We also tend to enjoy life at a leisurely pace. As Scott Peacock says, 'Good cooks in the South see the preparation of food as satisfying, a natural part of the rhythm of daily life.'"

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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