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Renovate, Celebrate

Out east; downtown: a new name; reason to party.

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A favorite Germantown breakfast spot has had a facelift and a name change. Owner Ron Bishop is happy to introduce the new and improved City East Bagel and Grille, formerly the Bagel Company.

"While we are very proud of our bagels and want to increase that business, we wanted to get bagels out of the headline because we do so much more," Bishop says.

Not only has the restaurant added beer to their offerings, they've expanded the dinner menu, available Sunday through Thursday. Highlights include the house-smoked salmon plate, served with capers, flavored cream cheese, red onions, and seasoned bagel crostini; braised pork barbecue sliders topped with mustard slaw and served on corn fritters; smoked-salmon salad served, like salade Niçoise, with green beans and potatoes; prime rib; rosemary chicken; and a new casserole every day — with the holiday favorite, green bean casserole, securely in the rotation. Patrons also can bring their own wine.

City East Bagel still has 18 varieties of their signature New York-style bagels, from banana nut to jalapeno cheddar and their delightful house-made bagel chips. They've added a heart-healthy section to the breakfast menu, with oatmeal, turkey sausage, turkey bacon, oatmeal pancakes, and eggs salmon Benedict.

If it's lunch you're after, City East features the same sandwiches, melts, soups, and salads as before, including matzo ball soup. (It is a lamentable fact that in Memphis, Jewish delis with good matzo ball soup are so hard to find.) The price is right too. The most expensive sandwich is $7.95. There is a standard reduced-price kids' menu. And at dinnertime, a salad, entrée, and drink is under $20.

City East is open for breakfast and lunch every day from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and for dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m.

City East Bagel and Grille, 6698 Poplar (754-2660)

The annual Harvest Celebration fund-raiser for the Memphis Farmers Market takes place on November 7th, and this year, the stakes are even higher.

"It's our largest annual fund-raiser, and typically the funds jump-start our budget for the following year," says Maryanne Lessley, market manager. "This year, we've also got an expansion project going on."

The Memphis Farmers Market has received a $100,000 matching grant from the Department of Agriculture to expand their pavilion. So far they have secured the matching funds and received generous funding from the Hyde Foundation, vendors, and market patrons, but they still have to raise $119,000. The Harvest Celebration is a key part of this endeavor, as construction on the pavilion is set to begin in December and finish by the market opening in April.

"The event itself traditionally has about 400 people attend," Lessley says. "We have live music. Maria Spence is going to be there, and she's a market favorite. We have about 15 to 17 restaurants: Felicia Suzanne's, Mesquite Chop House, Amerigo, Sole, Interim, Restaurant Iris, and that's just a few. Felicia Willet with Felicia Suzanne's and Mac Edwards are working on the menu to make sure that it's well balanced. It will be a harvest-type table."

La Vielle Ferme will provide the wine, and Ghost River will provide the beer. In addition to ticket sales, the market will raise funds from live and silent auctions. What's up for grabs? Full-season CSA shares, produce from three Jones Orchard peach trees, dinner in McEwen's wine cellar, breads and spreads from La Cucina and 20/20 Diner every week of the 2011 market season, several food-oriented gift baskets, progressive-dinner certificates, cases of wine, a cookie platter from Big Ono Bake Shop, and a gallon of local honey. ("You know what they say about local honey," Lessley says. "You're supposed to take a teaspoon a day. So a gallon should last you.")

The celebration takes place at Hudson Hall in Central Station on South Main Street from 4 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $45 in advance, $55 at the door, and $35 for Friends of the Market, market volunteers, vendors, and children under 12. For more information or to purchase your tickets, visit memphisfarmersmarket.org.

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