If you pride yourself on being street-food savvy, you should saunter (or better yet, sprint) over to St. Matthews, where Diamond Street Grub & Hops opens its doors today.
What you’ll discover is the sort of globe-trotting menu you’d expect to find while prowling the streets, markets, and food courts in one of those great culinary crossroads where everybody in the world comes to dine. (Think Singapore!).
Some members of the F&D staff got an advance look at Diamond Street’s soft opening a couple of days ago and were impressed by what Matthews and his team have pulled off. In just two months since Mellow Mushroom closed, they’ve completely remade the space at 3922 Shelbyville Rd.
“It’s been crazy,” Matthews said in a phone interview. “I don’t really know how we did it. It helped that the building was in good shape, so we just had to paint. And put in equipment. And create the menu. And hire the staff…” (At that point Matthews laughed and ran out of breath.)
What we can say is that Matthews and his crew haven’t missed a single design or culinary note in riffing on the street-food motif implied by the restaurant’s name.
The menu reads like a stroll through a neighborhood: First Street, Main Street, Side Streets, and End of the Road. Graffiti and wall paintings (including a large mural depicting food trucks and stands) express the boisterous pleasures of street food.
And despite the road trip design of the menu, none of the items are treated like detours.
Korean Namdaemun meatballs were fried into globes with a crisp outer layer; gyros were wrapped in fresh, pliable pita bread; a touch of celery seed livened up an order of slaw.
By our count, every inhabited continent is represented on the menu – with the exception of Australia. But Matthews says, “Don’t worry, we’ll get there. I love researching and exploring the world’s street food traditions, and the menu will be changing up as we go along.”
The cocktail list highlights some roadworthy flair with names like Sing A Pour and The Italian Job Negroni. Cultural references show up in selections like Dr. John’s Orleans Grenade and the Antonio Banderas Sangria. The beers on tap haven’t been renamed to match the theme, but with 40 handles, ranging from gose to barley wine and porter to IPA, the list is not what you’d call pedestrian….
Here are the details:
Address: 3922 Shelbyville Road
Grand opening: Friday, June 28, 5 p.m.
Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 11 a.m.-2 a.m.; Friday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-4 a.m.