Folk-rocker Emily Saliers has a few things to clarify.
First, she’s truly happy to be touring again with Amy Ray, her singing-songwriting partner in the Indigo Girls. They play The City this week with a full band, backing their rootsy new 14th CD, “Beauty Queen Sister.”
She also is overjoyed to be singing the paeans she penned for the album, such as “Gone,” “Birthday Song” and “We Get to Feel it All.” They’re variations on themes from “A Song to Sing, A Life to Live: Reflections on Music as Spiritual Practice,” a book she co-authored with her Methodist-minister father, Don Saliers.
Yet she has been a tad distracted. With her old Decatur, Ga., restaurant Watershed re-opening in a swank Atlanta location, she says, “It was really hard to leave, because I am sooo proud of it!”
Watershed is known for smoky Southern cuisine, a modern farm-to-table mindset, and a Louisiana chef named Joe Truex, says Saliers, who has partners in the project. Its fried chicken was voted the best in Atlanta, and the recipe is so renowned it’s been woven into a huge quilt adorning one of the dining room walls.
“We only serve fried chicken once week,” she says. “Because it’s a three-day process of brining, soaking it in buttermilk, then frying each piece by hand. It. Is. To die for. One guy came in with a camera, just to photograph that recipe quilt.”
Over its 13 years, Watershed has been covered by Martha Stewart, NPR’s Kitchen Sisters, and the Food Network. But Saliers never planned on becoming a famous restaurateur. “I was just always interested in food, but I had a weird palate as a kid,” she says. “I didn’t like eggs for breakfast, so my parents would make me grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken noodle soup instead. And the clam strips at Howard Johnson’s? The best, ever.”
Watershed’s menu features Gladys’ popcorn balls and jumbo sea scallop schnitzel. Saliers would eat there every day if she could. “So it’s a good time to be on the road, working out and playing shows again,” she says. “I can literally say it would be pretty dangerous for me to be around Watershed too much.”
Like church and state, the Indigo Girl wants to keep her music and food separate. “But I guess if Amy and I ever come to the end of our road — which won’t happen any time soon, God willing,” she says, “then maybe I’ll sit up in the corner of Watershed with a microphone and a guitar. And I’ll play for tips!”
Where: Slim’s, 333 11th St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday
Contact: (415) 522-0333, www.slimstickets.com