Pat Neely, along with his brothers, opened his first barbecue restaurant in Memphis in 1988. Their chainlet in Tennessee has expanded since then, involving Pat’s wife, Gina. The couple became Food Network stars three years ago, so now they are poised to make a grand entrance in New York.
This time, it’s just Pat and Gina, in partnership with Abraham Merchant and his well-established New York restaurant group. Neely’s Barbecue Parlor replaces a Merchants New York on the Upper East Side. Unlike a number of New York barbecue joints, which emphasize the woodpile, the Neely’s conveys more gracious dining.
Wade Burch, who has worked at several of Mr. Merchant’s restaurants, will be pulling the pork when Nelly’s Barbecue Parlor opens on July 13. The menu will also feature barbecued mussels, cedar-planked salmon, chicken-fried steak, and beer-can chicken in addition to the usual barbecue hot buttons.
Neely’s Barbecue Parlor, 1125 First Avenue (62nd Street), (212) 832-1551, www.neelysbbqparlor.com.