Ryan Fernandez was born in Kerala, India and grew up in the suburbs of Dallas.
In Buffalo, he created Southern Junction, the only Texas BBQ menu in the world that blends seamlessly into Kerala home cooking.
After two years of running Southern Junction as a takeout-only restaurant at 27 Chandler Street this summer, Fernandez plans to open his first restaurant at 367 Connecticut Street, where the last Black Sheep was located.
Fernandez’s partners were fascinated by his work from the first day of surgery, bought the building and encouraged Fernandez to jump.
Last year, Vice Munchies sent a crew to delve into Fernandez’s roots and produce a sleek 11-minute video that brought Buffalo’s unique barbecue fascination to national attention. This video has been viewed 655,000 times. Buffalo was filled with sensation-seeking crowds. But at 27 Chandler Street, Fernandez had no place to welcome them, let them focus on their meal and give his culinary creations the attention they deserve.
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That should change this summer. Fernandez said all of Southern Junction’s current menu will be served on Connecticut Street, as well as strategic additions.
That means Fernandez’s supreme beef brisket, cardamom cornbread, and vegan dishes like fried smoked cauliflower pakora with masala spice. Colaches, a savory and sweet bread made by a Czech bakery and popular in Texas, will come in a variety of flavors, including sausage, cheese and pulled pork. These are already on sale at Chandler’s storefront Wednesday through Saturday.
The new space will accelerate Fernandez’s plans to make sausages, such as Texas hotlinks and biryani boudin, which Fernandez has solved conundrums for.
His girlfriend, Lydia Herr, is a baker and culinary expert at Flat 12 Mushroom, whose beef and mushroom boleks line up at the Chandler Street Winter Market on Saturdays, and is about to perfect a white loaf the barbeque can be proud of.
Another planned advance is the development of an Indian made-to-order bread program, starting with Fernandez’s parathas, whole-wheat flatbreads baked on a griddle.
Simple drinks such as margaritas, beer, and cheradas will be the centerpiece of the booze program, but a custom cocktail menu, currently in development, is also available.
Check out Southern Junction’s social media at: @gettex Follow the process and eventual expected opening on Twitter and Instagram at @southernjunction716.
“We’ll know more about the schedule once the liquor license is in place,” Fernandez said. “I can’t believe this is actually happening.”
In the meantime, you can also order and pick up your Southern Junction at Southernjunction716.com. You can also stop by 27 Chandler St. for takeout. Hours of operation are Wednesday to Friday 11am to 6pm and Saturday 9am to 5pm (or until sold out like any decent BBQ joint). Closed from Sunday to Tuesday.
Fernandez has yet to decide whether the Chandler Street take-out location will remain open when the Connecticut Street restaurant opens.
My February 2021 review of Southern Junction started like this.
The book of Ecclesiastes says, “There is nothing new under the sun.” The work was written around 300 BC, so the author’s views cannot be strictly judged. As such, the author did not have the opportunity to try the Southern Junction.
The encounter with the first dish I read is always a learning experience. A new dish devised by a thoughtful chef is a rare and thrilling reward for my culinary excellence.
What Ryan Fernandez brings to Buffalo at Southern Junction is something bigger, a blended flavor idea nurtured from the roots of his journey that could become a genre of its own.
I’m also curious to see what happens to Southern Junction at 367 Connecticut Street.
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