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CBHS grads take Memphis culinary world by storm

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen. Hog & Hominy. Tamp & Tap. Yolo. Sweet Grass. Next Door. Southward Fare. Chiwawa. Interim.

If you're trying to get a reservation at one of Memphis' hot new restaurants, chances are there's a Christian Brothers High School connection.

The Class of 1998 that is.

In this one class, you find some of the most successful restaurateurs in Memphis.

Taylor. J.D., Andy, Michael, Jackson, and Ryan are six guys who operate nine of the most successful local eateries in town. Well, actually 12 eateries, if you count all four Yolo locations.

Yolo is a venture by Taylor Berger, who has also recently opened Tamp & Tap downtown, and Chiwawa, a joint venture with J.D. Sledd.

Sledd also owns a concession business, Sleddog. Ryan Trimm recently opened Southward Fare after seeing huge success at Sweet Grass and Next Door.

Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman are the chef/owners behind Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Hog & Hominy. Interim's executive chef is Jackson Kramer.

All of them are in the restaurant business and all the restaurants opened in just the last few years. But the guys say there's really no competition between the high school friends.

In fact, they all say they support each other and eat often at each other's restaurants.

"Everyone's like, I go to New Orleans for food," Trimm said. "I go to Charleston for food, Atlanta for food. But Memphis is starting to get on that map. I'm really proud of what we're doing here."

When the guys were in high school, only Ticer and Hudman said they ever talked about opening restaurants.

The rest got here by chance and say there was no push at Christian Brothers to get into the business. In fact, CBHS is not exactly known for the food.

"I always joke, there's no cafeteria at Christian Brothers," Kramer said. We had food out of vending machines everyday.  I don't even think I ate at lunch, so maybe that inspired us."

"Maybe it was the cafeteria," Trimm added. "It was slim pickings in the cafeteria. Maybe that forced us to want to make better food."

But they also say it's no accident. What they learned at Christian Brothers has helped them get to where they are today.

"I think what Christian Brothers did was just instill a lot of hard work. The restaurant business isn't the easiest business but it's a lot of fun," Ticer said.

"You have to have a strong work ethic and Christian Brothers played a major role in that for sure," Hudman added.

The number of restaurants these guys have a hand in is only going to grow. Several of them told FOX13 News they have new projects on the horizon.

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