An Upgrade

The Cove gets a new owner.

| November 01, 2012
Mary and Taylor Tanner
- photograph by Justin Fox Burks
Mary and Taylor Tanner

Mary Tanner and her son Taylor bought the Cove on August 15th with the intent of making it better. Not different, just better.

Greg Belz, who is Tanner's marketing consultant, says the idea is to transform the Cove from a dive bar to a theme bar. "Jim [Marshall, the original owner] had a great idea thematically. We're just developing it further to better fit into the Broad Avenue Arts District," he says.

 Belz brought in friend and well-known artist Jan Hankins to do a large mural and two smaller ones on the patio. He also added a small mural in the ladies' restroom and redid the Cove sign above the front door. As a surprise, he also did a wooden cutout of a pirate and mermaid for people to pose in by the front door.

"We want people to come in, pose, take a picture with their phone, and tag us on Facebook. It'll be like a souvenir from Broad Avenue," Belz explains.

Mary's first order of business was having the floors pressure-washed and sealed. She has also hired someone to clean them on a weekly basis. "I just couldn't think about anything else until I got it clean," she says.

Taylor says he and his mom had been talking about running a business for years but hadn't settled on anything.

"But when we first walked into the Cove, we recognized everything. It felt like home," Mary says. Taylor practically grew up eating at Anderton's, which was the original source of the furnishings, including the bar, at the Cove.

 Belz jokes that if Mary thinks something can be upgraded, she will do it whether it makes sense or not. She slapped a coat of high-gloss paint on everything, added ceiling fans to circulate the air, and installed additional air purifiers so the bar won't be too smoky.

In addition to the new murals, the patio has been spruced up with new concrete, new furniture, extra seating, string lights, and a small flower bed with fresh herbs to be used in the artisan cocktails.

 As for the staff, there have been no changes except for the addition of Mary and Taylor. "We still have our award-winning bartender Evan [Potts], and Adam [Petrofsky] is still running the kitchen," Belz says.

 Potts says it is nice to have an owner who lets him play around with cocktails and try out new things.

 The menu is the same, but Mary insisted on bigger portions and bought bigger plates. "The food isn't cheap, and I want people to get their money's worth. If something looks a little small, I tell them to add something to it," she says.

 Belz says there are no plans to take anything off the menu, but he would like to add a few more things, especially more seafood dishes in the spring. Overall, the Tanners and Belz are impressed by the food that comes out of the Cove's tiny kitchen.

"It's a teeny, little hole with a convection oven, a hot plate, and some crock pots," Belz says. Regardless, the kitchen staff makes all of the sauces, including mayonnaise, fresh every day.

"The Rockefeller sauce is a Justine's recipe," Belz adds.

 There is still trivia on Tuesdays, jazz on Thursdays, and live bands on the weekends.

 "It was an inspired idea for Jim to buy the stuff from Anderton's and stick it in here," Belz explains. "[And] Mary is a ball of fire. You can't find enough for her to do."

The Cove, 2559 Broad (730-0719)

thecovememphis.com

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Comments (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10

"...added ceiling fans to circulate the air, and installed additional air purifiers so the bar won't be too smoky."

Spoiler alert: the bar will be too smoky.

report 5 likes, 8 dislikes   
Posted by DaveL on 11/06/2012 at 8:31 AM

Yeah, don't look for us if there's smoking allowed at all....wake up to 2012!!!

report 5 likes, 13 dislikes   
Posted by boyOboy on 11/06/2012 at 10:36 AM

Well that was neat while it lasted . . .

report 8 likes, 2 dislikes   
Posted by J on 11/06/2012 at 10:41 AM

Yeah, too bad Memphis is loosing one of its few hip hangouts. If something is cool why do people feel like they need to ruin it? Being a dive bar is what made it cool.

report 9 likes, 3 dislikes   
Posted by Rufus on 11/06/2012 at 11:34 AM

They are going to make it feel like a suburban, big portion, chain theme bar. Cordova's idea of a arts district.

report 5 likes, 2 dislikes   
Posted by Midtown Sam on 11/06/2012 at 11:41 AM

Yeah, No smoke for me please. Make the Move to smoke free. Arkansas did it more than 14? years ago. Olive Branch has a city ordinance and Memphis....NO.

report 3 likes, 4 dislikes   
Posted by Stemall on 11/06/2012 at 1:21 PM

I agree with no smoking... I can afford the meals and drinks there, but I can't afford to get sick from spending the evening breathing tons of cigarette smoke (nor do I want to). I love the food, drinks, and service at the Cove, but the smoke is what keeps me out.
Welcome to the neighborhood, Mary and Taylor!

report 4 likes, 3 dislikes   
Posted by kat on 11/06/2012 at 2:36 PM

Are the new owners talking with the staff and customers at all, or are the just forcing they're ideas on the bar whether they're wanted or not? Midtowners like dive-bars (see P&H, Murphy's Alex's, Hi-Tone, etc). Why "fix" something that isn't broken?

report 2 likes, 0 dislikes   
Posted by Kim on 11/08/2012 at 9:29 AM

That dude's 'stache is the stuff of nightmares. Creepy.

Anyway, this place hasn't been the same since it was the beer joint. Now THAT was a bar.

report 1 like, 1 dislike   
Posted by clegg on 11/08/2012 at 10:24 AM

Love this bar!

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Posted by Mark Plumlee on 04/09/2013 at 4:13 PM
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