When Crumpets closed in December, Mac Edwards, the original restaurateur behind McEwen's on Monroe, jumped at the opportunity to open a new restaurant in the space. The Elegant Farmer, a name that highlights Edwards' farm-to-table vision, will bring "elevated comfort food" to Highland near Central.
Edwards (who no longer is associated with McEwen's), also was involved in the revival of Bon Ton Café, will now focus his efforts on the Elegant Farmer and using locally sourced goods as much as possible. He already has identified a number of local purveyors he hopes to do business with: Neola Farms for larded pork roast with cornbread pudding and red bean cassoulet with ham and sausage; Sparkling River Pepper Company for red chile sauce; Lake's Catfish Company for pan-seared catfish with smoked tomato broth and macaroni and cheese; Delta Pecans for a chunky pecan butter and jelly sandwich. Tortillas, pita bread, and all other breads will be local as well.
"I'm not sure exactly whose bread I'll use the most of," Edwards says, "but it will be Shoaf's Loaf and Cucina Breads."
Edwards and his chef de cuisine Gannon Hamilton also are working on dishes such as salmon patties with spicy remoulade, an old-fashioned chicken pot pie, an oven-roasted caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes and homemade ricotta, and potato pancakes with homemade applesauce and blue cheese crème fraîche.
Because there are only a few aesthetic changes to be made to the former tearoom, Edwards hopes to be open by mid-March. He also plans to apply for Project Green Fork certification.
The Elegant Farmer will serve lunch Monday through Saturday and may extend the hours to include dinner in the future. Entrées will run from $10 to $12.
The Elegant Farmer, 262 S. Highland
Tim Foley, formerly of Blue Fish and The Reef in Cooper-Young, has taken over as the new head chef at Sharky's Gulf Grill in East Memphis. Foley brings a more streamlined menu and a fresh start for Sharky's, which opened in 2009.
In just three months, Foley has reined in the menu, keeping it more in line with his personal style: more comfort food, fewer fried items, light on sauce, and healthier. "I consider myself a seafood chef," he says. "The biggest thing is to highlight the seafood. Too many people cover it up with heavy flavors."
Foley says all his plates and sauces are made to order, and he does all his own cuts in-house from the whole fish. Some of his signature dishes, which will be new to Sharky's patrons, are jambalaya, a more traditional shrimp and grits, and his home-style macaroni and cheese. He also has expanded the sushi menu, adding 10 new rolls. His favorite? The OMG roll made with shrimp tempura and cream cheese and topped with smoked salmon, masago, green onions, eel sauce, and spicy mayonnaise.
"For not being a sushi bar, we have an expansive menu for sushi," Foley says. "It's in the realm of 30 to 40 rolls."
Sharky's Gulf Grill, 6201 Poplar