The new year has already brought a new restaurant and entertainment venue to Winston-Salem. The Rhythm Lounge & Grill opened Jan. 3 in Marketplace Mall at 2101 Peters Creek Parkway.
The Rhythm offers a Caribbean-themed menu for lunch Tuesday and Wednesday, dinner Thursday through Saturday and brunch on Sunday. The club plans to offer live music Thursday through Saturday nights and during Sunday brunch.
The Rhythm is in a 7,000-square-foot space in the middle of Marketplace Mall that used to house a Burlington Shoes store. It has a maximum occupancy of about 450.
Georjean Mahario and Lee Tompkins are partners in the new venture. Mahario used to own Irie Rhythms, a Caribbean-themed restaurant in Silas Creek Crossing shopping center near Hanes Mall. Irie Rhythms operated from 2014 into 2019. Last summer, it changed its name to Sea Breeze when Mahario’s daughter, Brianna Mahario, took over as owner. Brianna Mahario closed the restaurant this fall when she decided to relocate.
Mahario already had plans for another restaurant when she met up with Tompkins, who has worked in the music industry for many years. “I was a rap artist in the ’80s. Then I was a producer with Melba Moore’s company. And I was a soundman on the road for years,” Tompkins said.
“I wanted to do something different with music,” Tompkins said, “and (Mahario) wanted to do something with food, so we said, ‘Why not do something together?’”
For lunch and dinner, Mahario is offering many of the same entrees that Irie Rhythms was known for, including oxtails $16), jerk chicken ($10) and curry shrimp ($12).
A new entrée is the grilled salmon with mango salsa ($12).
The appetizers are almost all new, except for Jamaican beef patties ($4). Appetizers include beer-battered fish bites ($8.50), sweet and sour meatballs ($8), trio of chicken wings ($13.50) and yucca fries with house-made “rhythm” sauce ($4.25).
For brunch, The Rhythm’s menu includes shrimp and grits ($14.95), brown stew chicken ($10) and whole fried red snapper with a choice of sauces ($16.95). There also is The Rhythm wrap ($8), with eggs, cheese and more in a spinach or tomato-basil tortilla wrap.
“We always have vegetarian and vegan options because I am one,” Mahario said.
At brunch, the vegetarian breakfast bowl ($9.50) consists of grits or potatoes topped with scrambled eggs, sautéed vegetables and cheese. At lunch and dinner the veggie “rundown” ($8.50) consists of sautéed vegetables in a sweet and spicy coconut curry sauce.
The Rhythm has full ABC permits, offering beer, wine and cocktails. Specialty cocktails include tropical rum punch ($9) with guava, strawberry and banana puree; pineapple juice; and rum. The mango tea ($8.50) combines tea with mango puree, mango chunks and vodka. The Rhythm sangria ($7.50) mixes wine with mango, pineapple and strawberries.
Tompkins said he plans to offer a wide variety of music, including country, jazz, reggae and older hip-hop.
“It will be all old-school, music I have in my record collection that I’d like to hear,” he said.
“The music at night will be for people ages 35 and up — we won’t be playing anything done after 2000,” Mahario said.
Though the music genres at night may vary a lot, they said, brunch usually will be jazz or gospel.
Local trumpeter Joe Robinson played The Rhythm’s first brunch on Jan. 5.
Upcoming acts at The Rhythm will include Winston-Salem bands the Phase Band, playing R&B and funk, on Jan. 16 and West End Mambo, playing salsa and Latin jazz on Jan 18. The Rhythm will present hip-hop duo Das EFX and rapper Mr. Cheeks on a double bill on Jan. 24.