Memphis isn't the most fertile ground for vegetarian and vegan dining. Many attempts -- La Montagne, the Midtown Food Co-op, One Love Soulful Vegetarian Café and Juice Bar, and Square Foods -- have failed or morphed into something else.
Bastet Ankh Re is holding down the fort with her small culinary enterprise, Lion's Bread Vegetarian Cuisine. Re, founder of the currently dormant Vegan Sisters of Memphis, used to serve Lion's Bread's 100 percent vegan food out of a storefront on Airways. Recently, she's set up shop at Precious Cargo.
Re's Lion's Bread menu is in addition to Precious Cargo's regular fare of meat and vegetable dishes and sandwiches. Re doesn't try to convert Precious Cargo's meatloaf-and-gravy eaters into vegans, but every now and then she does get one of the regulars to try her barbecue tofu with sweet potatoes and kale or her vegan lasagna.
Precious Cargo is open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. until.
Lion's Bread Vegetarian Cuisine at Precious Cargo, 381 N. Main (406-0598)
If you were sad to see Square Foods in Overton Square close earlier this month, cheer up. Although Square Foods as you knew it is gone, Jeanice Blancett, the store's owner, has been working feverishly to secure the lease for a new location and to hammer out the details for the store's somewhat different concept.
Square Foods will move into the former site of Pie in the Sky on Cooper. For the new store, Blancett and her crew will focus less on the market side of the business and more on Square Foods' popular in-house dining, including sandwiches, smoothies, and vegetarian entrées and its grab-and-go section. The store will also carry bulk foods, cheeses, and essential grocery items such as milk and bread. Blancett hopes for a May 18th opening, which was the day that Square Foods opened its doors on Madison Avenue four years ago.
Square Foods will be open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Square Foods, 937 S. Cooper (728-4371)
According to legend, Sid Fanarof was dating a French girl when he opened the first zpizza restaurant in Laguna Beach California, in 1987. The way it is with those Europeans, they have trouble pronouncing the English "th," making it sound like "ze." And there you have it: zpizza was born as a pizza parlor in an artsy, free-spirited community in California, where a few dedicated pizza lovers and a French girlfriend wanted to reinvent the pie.
Quality ingredients were very important, and that's why zpizza is now a national franchise offering hand-tossed pizzas with gourmet ingredients such as organic tomato sauce, Wisconsin skim mozzarella, cremini and shitake mushrooms, and crusts made from premium Montana winter wheat (whole wheat or regular). Additional menu items include the ZBQ Salad, the Yuppie Veggie Sandwich, calzones, and Apple Pie Pizza for dessert.
In June, zpizza will open its first area store on Germantown Parkway in Cordova. Won't guarantee that you'll find a French girl there, though.
zpizza, 1250 N. Germantown Parkway
South Philly, the downtown Philly cheese-steak shop, is now serving its fully loaded sandwiches at the Poplar Lounge. Although South Philly owners Corey Miller and Mike Dinwiddie had plans to expand their business, the Poplar Lounge opportunity came by chance. "They've always had a kitchen at the Poplar Lounge with one guy doing all the food," Miller says. "He passed away, and we got offered the spot."
The menu at South Philly "east" is the same as at its downtown location. Right now, Miller and Dinwiddie are focusing on dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, but they want to open for lunch soon.
For the cheese-steak lover on the go, the new location comes with a take-out window, and home delivery is in the works too.
South Philly in the Poplar Lounge, 2586 Poplar (324-5081)