The Hen House Wine Bar has a new chef. Memphian Cole Jeanes has taken over the helm of the kitchen at this popular East Memphis wine bar.
Hen House owner Michaela Dockery said she is excited to have Jeanes on her team. “He worked with us for a few months, and we quickly noticed the beautiful detail with everything he did,” she said. “You can truly taste his passion for food — it’s in every dish.”
Jeanes comes to The Hen House, 679 S. Mendenhall Road, from Comeback Coffee, where he developed its food program and worked as its chef. Prior to that, he had been the chef de cuisine at P.O. Press Public House & Provisions in Collierville. He quickly became known for the cake-like herb biscuits he baked for P.O. Press’ brunch. Those same biscuits had been the foundation for Kinfolk, a small food stand Jeanes ran in South Main Market before it closed.
Dockery said Jeanes’ menu focuses on locally raised ingredients and partnerships with local food artisans. “It’s the vision I had for the menu originally,” she said.
“What you will see is a lot of straight-from-the-farm ingredients. What’s in season,” said Jeanes. “I like to get out of the way of the ingredients. Whatever comes from the farm, we let that ingredient shine.”
THINGS TO DO IN MEMPHIS:Here are 12 Memphis food festivals and events you don’t want to miss
NEW MEMPHIS RESTAURANTS:Here’s what to expect at Chef Kelly English’s new Spanish-inspired restaurant, Panta
He said he has also partnered with local food artisans to provide ingredients for dishes.
“The small size of our kitchen allows us to make use of local products,” he said.
Over Yonder ice cream and charcuterie from chef Jimmy Gentry of Paradox Catering are just two examples of local foods that will appear on the wine bar’s food menu.
The offerings will include a selection of shareable small plates, as well as larger entrée size dishes.
Jeanes said he is grateful for the kitchen team at The Hen House and how smoothly the transition has gone. “I wouldn’t be able to do anything without them.”
Jeanes is also working closely with bar manager Tony Nguyen.
“We collaborate on everything,” said Dockery. “Cole and Tony work together on ingredients so there is no spoilage. It’s neat to see the creative working together.”
MEMPHIS RESTAURANT NEWS:Ecco owners to open new restaurant in Evergreen neighborhood. Here’s a look at Tonica.
Jeanes’ interest in wine and spirits was also a reason Dockery recruited him for her team. She explained that as a wine bar, she wants the food to pair well with wine and spirits.
“Cole is such a team player, and is so humble. The entire team has so much respect for him,” said Dockery.
The Hen House opened in December 2020.
When Michaela Dockery and her husband, Dee, would travel to the Wine Country in California, they often found themselves asking, “Why don’t we have tastings rooms like this at home?” The couple decided to make their dream a reality and open their own spot.
Matt Schweitzer was the opening chef for The Hen House.
Jeanes quietly started at the restaurant in mid July and now has officially debuted his new menus.
Jennifer Chandler is the Food & Dining reporter at The Commercial Appeal. She can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cookwjennifer.