Monday, June 1, 2020

Caritas Village Closes, Hopes to Return This Fall

Posted By on Mon, Jun 1, 2020 at 1:41 PM

  • Caritas Village/Facebook

Caritas Village, the Binghamton-based community center and cafe, closed this week and will remain closed throughout the summer. Officials there plan to re-imagine the space as a kitchen for local food entrepreneurs and is shooting to re-open this fall.

The organization announced the closing in a Monday Facebook post, noting that "in the wake of the global pandemic, our organization has had to face some difficult realities."

Here's the rest of the Caritas statement in full:

"We are deeply committed to the vital mission of love and service to our community of Binghamton as created by our founder Onie Johns. With that in mind, we have decided to re-imagine the use of our kitchen, converting it from a café to a community resource for local food entrepreneurs. Caritas will remain closed for the summer while we work to strengthen partnerships with other local organizations, envision how all of our programs will continue, and ensure a sustainable future for our beloved organization.

  • Caritas Village/Facebook

We would like to sincerely thank Kristin McMillin for her leadership in shepherding the café through several challenges so capably, and, with the help of Chef Spencer McMillin, in leveraging additional resources to offer the truly above-and-beyond Restaurant Workers Unity Project and Feeding the Front Lines efforts.

We are grateful to the leadership of Brad Watkins, who offered resources valuable to residents and laid the groundwork for programming to come, and to the entire staff, who worked tirelessly to produce wonderful food and fellowship for our community.

We are grateful beyond measure for the countless people who made Caritas' mission of love and service theirs by offering their monetary support or volunteer support. To all of our customers over the years, we love you and are so happy to have played a part in your fellowship and conversations over meals at Caritas. We are grateful that you decided to spend your time and money in support of a mission that brought many people together and helped us provide meals to many hungry people who had no money to eat.

  • Caritas Village/Facebook

We are grateful for the hard work and countless contributions of our neighbors in Binghamton, who worked to make Caritas what it has become and continue to inspire our collective work. We are excited about what the future hold for Caritas and are dedicated to returning with a renewed commitment to serving our community of Binghamton in the fall."

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Friday, May 29, 2020

David Grisanti’s Italian-style Patio Opens May 30th at His Restaurant

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2020 at 4:15 PM

David Grisanti’s Italian Restaurant is about to become more Italian.

  • Ryan McCarty

Grisanti created an Italian-style patio at the rear of Sheffield Antiques Mall, where his Collierville restaurant is located. 

The patio is slated to open May 30th, Grisanti says.

Explaining where he got the idea to transform the space into an Italian patio, Grisanti says, “I went to Italy and there’s a bunch of patios. My wife and I love being outside eating dinner, Italy-style.”

The patio is “real shady. It’s not hot. It doesn’t get direct sun. It’s got six ceiling fans. All kinds of plants. Some of these plants come from Italy. I’m getting two more lemon trees. In Italy, all you see are lemon trees.”

Grisanti also has herbs and flowers on the patio.

  • Ryan McCarty

He also will feature classic recordings of Italian music by artists, including Dean Martin. He wants to offer live music in the future.

The area had been used for some of Sheffield’s outdoor furniture and garden accessories. “I thought, ‘You know what? I’m going to give it a try.’”

Grisanti plans to serve lunch and dinner on the patio. Because of the coronavirus, he’s setting up only five tables. For now, he’ll just utilize half of the 26-foot-by-51-foot space.

  • Ryan McCarty

His restaurant, which still is doing carryout, now features a dining room, but operates, for now, at 50 percent capacity.

Describing some of the patio fare, executive sous chef/kitchen manager Ryan McCarty says, “Everything that’s in season right now. Grab everything at [the] farmers market. I’m trying not to be super heavy. Fish dishes and charcuterie platter.

“Everybody’s going outside now more because of the coronavirus. People are enjoying the outside more.”

The dishes will be “super fresh food and stick within the season,” McCarty says. “We try to do everything as local as possible with all this stuff going on. If I see somebody on the Collierville square selling tomatoes, that’s where I'm going to get them.”

Grilled swordfish with risotto and a basil caper beurre blanc with grilled asparagus from David Grisanti's Italian Restaurant. - RYAN MCCARTY
  • Ryan McCarty
  • Grilled swordfish with risotto and a basil caper beurre blanc with grilled asparagus from David Grisanti's Italian Restaurant.

Tuscan bread, lasagna, and Italian spinach are his most popular carry-out items, Grisanti says. But he prefers the dining room service: “I want to get my people. Talk to my customers.”

The restaurant, which is closed Sundays, is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the rest of the week and for dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

  • Ryan McCarty

David Grisanti’s Italian Restaurant is at 684 West Poplar Avenue in Sheffield’s Antiques Mall in Collierville.


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Monday, May 25, 2020

Magnolia & May Restaurant Will Open May 26th

Posted By on Mon, May 25, 2020 at 5:32 PM

Magnolia & May restaurant opens for takeout May 26th, dining room opens May 29th.
  • Magnolia & May restaurant opens for takeout May 26th, dining room opens May 29th.

Magnolia & May will make its debut with takeout food only on May 26th. The dining room will be open to the public beginning May 29th.

Chip and Amanda Dunham are owners of the restaurant at 718 Mt. Moriah. Chip is the son of Jeffrey Dunham, who recently closed his long-time restaurant, The Grove Grill, in Laurelwood. 

Describing the restaurant’s fare, Chip says, “We describe it as ‘country brasserie,’ which people traditionally think of as casual French fare, but we’re doing rustic cuisine from around the world. So, we’re in the Southeastern United States, but I don’t want to be pigeonholed doing Southern food. We have a falafel dish, fried tortilla crusted pork chop. We’re kind of all over the place right now. Just rustic food from around the world.”

The dining room reflects the food. “It’s really rustic. Raw wood. The wall we made out of whisky barrel staves. The bar top is one of the old bowling lanes from Imperial Lanes.”


Takeout will be the full menu with the exception of mussels and raw oysters. Takeout also will be available after the dining room opens. “Well do curbside. You can come in and pick it up. Whatever you're comfortable with."

His dad also will be working at the restaurant, Chip says. “He’ll fill in where he can.”

So, where does “Magnolia & May” come from? “Before each child is born, we have a family tradition of giving the child a nickname. My daughter’s name was ‘Magnolia’ and my sister’s daughter, we called her ‘Baby May’.”


Friday, May 15, 2020

The Cupboad Will Reopen Dining Room May 20th

Posted By on Fri, May 15, 2020 at 3:30 PM


The Cupboard restaurant will reopen May 20th with table seating. Fans of the eatery will be able to enjoy the iconic restaurant’s full menu of items, including chicken and dressing, eggplant casserole, baked apples, and lemon ice box pie. 

The Midtown restaurant reopened May 7th with curbside pickup of favorite comfort foods.

The Cupboard, which celebrated its 75th anniversary last year, will continue to offer curbside, but the restaurant will reopen at 7 a.m. May 20th for breakfast all day and lunch and dinner beginning at 10:30 a.m., says owner Charles Cavallo.  “Like we were before,” he says.


The restaurant, which will be open seven days a week, now will do 50 percent capacity, he says. “The dining room is already set up for social distancing. We have hand sanitizers.”

The Cupboard, which began takeout and curbside May 6th, was closed for six weeks, Cavallo says. During that time they remodeled the restaurant. “We did the lobby, dining room. While we’ve been closed we’ve been working. We put a new ceiling in, new flooring.”

Monitors on the back wall will be behind the cash registers. Granite tops, which will go where the cash registers are located, will be at the restaurant by the time the dining room reopens, Cavallo says. “It’s really neat.”

 Popular takeout items included “fried green tomatoes, Italian spinach, corn pudding.”

“Curbside has been great. We’ve had five lanes for pick up. A lot of times all five lanes are full. But people want to come back to the dining room. They want to come to the store. They want to come home. We have an older clientele, and this is their only outing. They love it. They’ve been missing it.”

The Cupboard is at 1400 Union, (901) 276 8015

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

New Group Wants To-Go Booze 'Forever'

Posted By on Wed, May 13, 2020 at 9:40 AM

  • Justin Fox Burks
Want to-go booze to last forever?

Well, so does a fast-growing Facebook group that has a petition with hundreds of signatures.

Drinks-To-Go-Forever in TN was launched Thursday, May 7th. It had 123 members as of Wednesday morning. The group’s petition asks Tennessee Governor Bill Lee to extend the temporary order to sell alcoholic beverage for off-premises consumption in perpetuity. That is, they want bars and restaurants to always be able to sell booze to-go and for delivery.

”We understand that the statutes regulating alcohol in the Tennessee state code are complex and that careful planning and compromises on all sides will need to be made in order to further this goal, but we believe it is time to open the dialogue and begin the process of saving jobs and businesses in Tennessee,” reads the petition at

The petition aimed to get 1,000 signatures and had 926 Wednesday morning.

Allowing such sales isn't just for fun, though. The petition describes the tough world in which restaurants and bars have operated after lockdown orders fell in late March. ”Limited capacities in dining rooms, health screenings prior to entry, and increased reliance on third-party delivery services all have the effect of draining profitability from an enterprise that relies on face-to-face interactions, cash tips, and filling seats,” reads the petition.

Jake Smith, the administrator of the Drinks To-Go Forever Facebook group, said the petition had 55 signatures Tuesday morning and had 678 Tuesday evening. He said in a post that the increase was “a clear sign that our message is catching on.”

The idea is catching on in other places, too. Those in the Facebook group pointed to this tweet from Texas Governor Greg Abbott:

Also, they pointed to a statement by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis last week.

“I allowed [bars and restaurants] to deliver alcohol. I think that’s been pretty popular. We’re probably going to keep that going,” DeSantis said, according to a story from WTSP. “Maybe we’ll have the legislature change the law on that.”

To learn more about making to-go booze permanent here, check out this fact sheet from Drinks To-Go Forever in TN:

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Monday, May 11, 2020

Big Cypress Lodge to Open Mississippi Terrace Outdoor Lounge

Posted By on Mon, May 11, 2020 at 3:43 PM

Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid’s Big Cypress Lodge announced today its 7,000-square-foot outdoor lounge — Mississippi Terrace — will open on May 22nd.

Mississippi Terrace’s seating — including oversized couches and circular fire pit tables — will stretch around the outside of Big Cypress’ third floor, offering a sky-high view of the Mississippi River and the nightly Mighty Lights LED light shows.

“We are excited for the Memphis community to experience the Mississippi Terrace as we all return to connecting in-person with friends, family, and co-workers,” Nail Task, general manager of Big Cypress Lodge said in a press release. “A lot of planning went into creating this thoughtful space where Memphians can make new memories and celebrate brighter summer days ahead.”

The release also states that there will be “plenty of separate seating areas for responsible social distancing.”

The lounge will host DJs and live music on select nights and will feature a full-service bar with signature cocktails, wine, and beer, and a light menu of snacks and entrées.

Menu items will include:
Signature Cocktails
Summer Rye – Rittenhouse Rye, Strawberry, Aperol, Fresh Lime Juice, Absinthe
Sweet Tea Mule – Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka, Peach Puree, Lemon Juice, Ginger Beer, Fresh Mint
Southern Lady – Maker’s Mark, Jalapeno, Mint, Raspberry, Fresh Lemon Juice, Sparkling Rose

Charcuterie & Cheese Board – seared venison and duck sausage, Genoa salami, Vermont white cheddar and imported cheeses, house-made pimento cheese, red onion jam, whole grain mustard, and garlic flatbread
Smoked Trout Dip – green onion, capers, red onion, garlic flatbread
Heirloom Tomato & Mozzarella Salad – arugula, spring mix, sea salt, extra virgin olive oil, heirloom grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella pearls, balsamic reduction
Bacon Guacamole – avocado, lime juice, cilantro, tomatoes, smoked bacon, fresh jalapeño, queso fresco, corn tortillas
Fresh-Baked Soft Pretzel – cheddar ale dipping sauce and whole grain Creole mustard
Italian Flatbread – hearty tomato sauce, roasted grape tomatoes, Italian sausage, mozzarella, red onion, arugula
Fried Gator & Creole Catfish Fingers – spicy hand-breaded alligator, Creole-breaded catfish, sweet jalapeño cream sauce, house-made lemon tartar sauce

Mississippi Terrace is set to open on Memorial Day weekend. Hours will be 5-10 p.m., Friday, May 22nd, through Monday, May 25th. Following the grand opening, the lounge will operate from 5 to 10 p.m. on Thursdays-Saturdays, weather permitting.

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Thursday, May 7, 2020

The Grove Grill is Closed

Posted By on Thu, May 7, 2020 at 1:44 PM

The Grove Grill is closed after almost 23 years.
  • The Grove Grill is closed after almost 23 years.

The Grove Grill restaurant in Laurelwood Shopping Center is closed after almost 23 years of operation. But a new restaurant from the same family is on the horizon.

First, The Grove Grill.

“Finances,” says chef/owner Jeffrey Dunham. “We got set so far behind because of the shutdown.” They were looking forward to “early summer business, graduation, Easter, and Mother’s Day and all that to get us going,” he says. “And the timing was just bad.”

The business, he says, “wasn’t in a great place anyway. We are an older restaurant in a very large space and, frankly, our concept is not as relevant as it was. Operationally, it was costing us too much for the revenue we were doing. And then when this hit, it just set us too far behind.”

Dunham says the Grove Grill “never reopened after the virus thing. We did a little bit of to-go food.” 

Jeffrey Dunham
  • Jeffrey Dunham

The restaurant, which would have been 23 years old this October, was defined “in a number of ways over the years,” Dunham says. “We did a lot of marketing stuff. ‘Casual fine dining’ one time. ‘American cuisine with a Southern accent,’ I think we said, one time. When we opened, Chip Apperson and I envisioned a potentially fine dining experience, but in a very casual and accessible atmosphere. Chip used to say, ‘Blue jeans or black tie.’ We were going to try to attract that.”

What's next? A new restaurant: Magnolia and May.

“My son (Chip Dunham) and my daughter-in-law, Amanda, are opening up another place that we’ve been working on, also in East Memphis. Behind the  Half Shell.”

The restaurant, which will be at 718 Mount Moriah, is slated to open in two weeks, Jeffrey says. It will be “country brasserie — country food from all over the world. Focusing a lot on Southeast regional.”

The restaurant also will serve some of Grove Grill’s popular dishes, including the pimento cheese, which has a “cream cheese base, not mayonnaise. And we also use a chicken stock reduction to add a different depth of flavor.”

Asked how he was feeling about The Grove Grill, Dunham says, “Well, I don’t feel great about closing a business I operated for nearly 23 years. That’s not the way I would like to have ended that restaurant, to be honest with you. But we’ve been excited about this new restaurant for a long time. We’ve been working on it for a year and a half with planning and architecture and all that.”

So, will Dunham work at the new restaurant? “Yeah. I’m kind of a damn prep cook.”

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Monday, May 4, 2020

Flyer Readers Say 'Hell No,' There's 'Not A Chance' They'll Go to Restaurants Today

Posted By on Mon, May 4, 2020 at 10:39 AM

Two online polls this weekend found that Memphis Flyer readers are not yet ready to return to restaurants Monday.

Restaurants have the green light to return to business today, the first day since some stay-at-home restrictions were lifted by government leaders in Memphis and Shelby County.

Restrictions still apply even to those businesses that can re-open. Restaurants, for example, can only use half of its available seating, and restaurant employee must wear masks on the job.

While business, political, and medical officials here agreed to loosen some of the shelter-in-place restrictions, our readers agreed the time is not yet right for them to return to public dining rooms.

An overwhelming majority (83 percent!) of them responded "hell no" when asked in a Twitter poll Friday if they'd eat at a restaurant today. Only 12 percent answered "hell yes," and 5 percent answered "maybe."
Over on Instagram, 271 voters (of 301 total voters) said there's "not a chance" they'd go to a restaurant today. Only 30 Instagram voters said "hell yes," they'd go to a public dining room today.  

It's uncertain how Monday's return to business will play out. Many are eager to return to some sense of normalcy. Many others are still worried about the spread of the coronavirus here, even with the added restrictions of mandatory social distancing, masks, and more.

Many restaurants have said they will not open today. That list includes all Huey's locations, all restaurants from chef Ryan Trimm, all restaurants from chef Kelly English, The Majestic Grille, and more.  


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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

How to Support Local: Restaurants

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2020 at 4:00 PM

How to Support Local: Restaurants

Just because dining rooms throughout the city are closed doesn't mean you can't still enjoy an at-home date or family night. Lucky for us, many of our local restaurants have us in mind with newly added takeout, curbside pickup, and delivery options. Below, we've compiled a dining guide comprised of offerings from our advertisers.

  • Photo by Ilya Mashkov on Unsplash


Curbside pickup, delivery, catering. Order to-go signature drinks, beer, wine, and liquor. Order online here.

Venice Kitchen

Delivery (through Uber Eats), take-out, and curbside. Offers family meals and a free gallon of tea or lemonade with all orders over $35. Order online here.

Cafe Keough

Open 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 901-509-2469 to place to-go orders. Access the menu here.

Bayou Bar and Grille

Crawfish boil on select days. $7 jar of Zydeco sauce. $12 6-packs of Bud Light. $18 6-pack crafts and imports. $13-15 of new 64 oz. Growler bottles. Call 901-278-8626 for curbside or take-out. View their entire menu here.

The Bar-B-Q Shop

Regular menu, family packs, and beer available for curbside and takeout. Call 901-272-1277 to order. View the menu here.

Amplified Meal Prep

Have Amplified Meal Prep deliver healthy, ready-to-eat meals straight to your door. No minimum order or subscription required. Serves Memphis and surrounding areas, including Southaven, Olive Branch, and Hernando. Place orders by 4 p.m. on Thursdays on their website.

Cheffie’s Cafe

Click here to order online for take out, curbside, and delivery. Click here to see Market Items. Click here to see Family Meals. Tea, lemonade, craft beer, and wine available.

Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar

Single and family meals and wines available for curbside pickup and free delivery. View the menu here. Call 901-521-8005. Purchase tickets for the VIP reopening party (date TBD).

Southern Social

Single and family meals and wines available for curbside pickup and free delivery. View the menu here. Call 901-754-5555. Purchase tickets for the VIP reopening party (date TBD).

Porch & Parlor

Single and family meals and wines available for curbside pickup and free delivery. View the menu here. View the Parlor Prime Wagyu Meat Market menu here. Call 901-725-4000. Purchase tickets for the VIP reopening party (date TBD).

French Truck Coffee

French Truck Coffee will be closing at 2 p.m. each day and offering to-go options only. Need beans at home? They are temporarily bringing back home deliveries and waving shipping costs. Place an order online and have it delivered to your home within two business days.

Grecian Gourmet Taverna

Offers grab and go ready-to-heat options and frozen take and bake meals on their online menu, as well as beer, bottles of wine and house-made sangria by the glass. View entire menu here. Curbside pickup. Call 901-249-6626, making sure to place your order in advance.

Midtown Crossing Grill

Open daily from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. for pickup and delivery. Menu and online ordering available at their website.

Mulan Asian Bistro (East)

Curbside pickup, carryout, and co-contact delivery available. Order online or call 901-609-8680.

The Second Line and Restaurant Iris

Ready to-go meals for family or friends available for delivery or pickup. Each will be vacuum sealed and handled with the utmost care and hygiene. Also available online are washable protective masks, mixed cocktails, Shotwell Candy Co. salted caramels, wine, beer, and other beverages. Click here to view menu and order online.


Open for delivery and to-go orders. Click here to order online or call 901-260-3344.

Napa Cafe

Curbside pickup, takeout, and DoorDash delivery. Click here to view the menu. Call 901-683-0441 to place your order.

Capriccio Grill

Open for takeout, curbside pickup, and delivery. Family style and alcoholic beverages available. Click here to view the menu and order for delivery. Call 901-529-4000 for takeout and curbside.


Open for curbside pickup and delivery for food and alcohol service. Click here to view the menu and call 901-275-8752 to place your order.

Celtic Crossing

Celtic Crossing is offering curbside pickup and delivery through DoorDash. Call 901-274-5151 to place your order from the curbside lunch and dinner menu and curbside brunch menu (Sundays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.).

El Mero Taco

El Mero Taco accepts online orders for takeout and delivery through GrubHub on regular menu items and family meals. For information on where to find their food truck, click here. Please order online, as they will not handle cash or credit cards. Updated hours: Tuesdays-Thursdays 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Joe’s Fried Chicken

Open for takeout from 4 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays. For pick up or curbside service, call 901-337-7003. You can also order through DoorDash, GrubHub, and UberEats. Family style dinner is available.

Loflin Yard

Order meals, small plates, kids meals, 6-packs, wine, and cocktails by delivery or curbside pickup. Order online here

Lucky Cat Ramen

Ramen, rice bowls, family meals, alcoholic beverages, and more available for curbside pickup, takeout, and delivery. Visit their website to view the entire menu. Call 901-208-8145 to place an order.

Maciel’s Tortas & Tacos

Offers takeout, delivery, and catering. Order online or call 901-526-0037.

Mahogany Memphis

Open for curbside, takeout, and family meal prep. Order online or call 901-623-7977.

Mulan Asian Bistro

Takeout and delivery available. $20 minimum order for deliveries. Available within 5 miles. View the menu here and call 901-347-3965 to place your order.


Shrimp boil, BBQ Shrimp Po Boy, Impossible Burger Po Boy, and alcoholic beverages available on select days. Free delivery in the midtown and Downtown area. Follow their Facebook to stay updated.

Raw Girls Memphis

All three locations are open. $44 six packs, hand sanitizers, and new spring menu. Curbside pickup available. Click here for more information.

Robata Ramen & Yakitori Bar

Takeout and delivery available. View the entire menu here and call 901-410-8290 to place your order.

Soul Fish Cafe

Takeout, pickup, and curbside available. For locations, hours, and menu, click here.

Swanky’s Taco Shop

Regular menu items and family meals available for takeout, pickup, and limited in-house delivery. Delivery also available via GrubHub and DoorDash. Click here for more information.

Trap Fusion

Regular menu items and crawfish boil available via curbside and delivery through GrubHub and UberEats. Call 901-207-5565 or order online.

Young Avenue Deli

Regular menu items, alcoholic beverages, growlers, and growler fills available through to go, curbside pickup, and delivery. Follow their Facebook for more information.

Pimento’s Kitchen & Market

Drive-thru, pickup, takeout, catering, family meals, cocktails to go, and curbside market needs available. Order regular menu items, indoor picnic package, safe at home package, and more. Follow their Facebook for more information.

The Liquor Store Diner

Order all day breakfast, desserts, sides, alcoholic beverages, and more online for pickup or delivery.

Jack Pirtle’s Chicken

Drive-thru open. Check our latest issues for Jack Pirtle’s coupons. View the menu here.

Crosstown Concourse

Crosstown Brewery:

Offers pickup and delivery. Delivery available Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday noon-6 p.m. with a $36 minimum. Pickup hours are Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday noon-5 p.m.

Curb Market:

Still open with regular hours. Grab-n-Go/pickup/delivery options. Free delivery. To order, call Curb Market at 901-453-6880.

Global Cafe:

Offering curbside pickup and free delivery within a 4-mile radius. They are also raising funds to provide meals to medical professionals working on the front lines and to people economically impacted by the virus. To donate and view the menu, click here or call 901-512-6890


MemPops is closed but is offering delivery on $10 minimum purchase. Call Chris to schedule a delivery 901-596-6293.

Saucy Chicken:

Abbreviated dining hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Saucy Chicken is offering curbside pickup or in-store pickup. Also offering free delivery in the Crosstown Concourse; provide phone number and location information. If you are not in the Crosstown Concourse, you can use the Bite Squad app. Bite Squad is offering free delivery with the promotional code: INSIDE. Call 901-203-3838 for assistance.

**When requesting free delivery in Crosstown Concourse, choose "curbside pickup" during check out and call with your location information.

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Saturday, April 18, 2020

Avenue Coffee Announces Closure

Posted By on Sat, Apr 18, 2020 at 10:11 AM

  • Avenue Coffee/Facebook
After six years in business, the U of M area coffee shop announced on Facebook Friday that it would close on Sunday, April 19th.

The shop — a quiet study spot for college students and a go-to pick-me-up for Normal Station residents — operated as a nonprofit. The “coffee shop with a cause” donated a portion of each month’s proceeds to a variety of social justice organizations.

Late last month, the shop created a GoFundMe campaign to help cover expenses and barista pay as business decreased dramatically due to COVID-19 closings, including a shutdown of its dine-in business and shuttering of the nearby U of M campus. The campaign had not yet reached $1,000 as of publication of this article. Avenue has recently been open for curbside/to-go service only.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Pete & Sam’s Spaghetti Giveaway

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2020 at 4:39 PM

A total of 550 plates of Pete & Sam's spaghetti were donated to Memphis Catholic Charities of West Tennessee.
  • A total of 550 plates of Pete & Sam's spaghetti were donated to Memphis Catholic Charities of West Tennessee.

The staggering number of unemployed people in the United States due to coronavirus led to 550 plates of Pete & Sam’s spaghetti being dispersed around Memphis on Wednesday, April 15th.

“I was driving to work looking at the unemployment number — 6 million throughout the nation filed for it,” says Michael Bomarito, an owner of the popular Memphis restaurant.

So, he says, “We need to step up and do something. We’ve been blessed with this restaurant after the fire.”

Pete & Sam’s was closed for about five months after a fire broke out early December 12th, 2017.

Then Bomarito says, “Look. If we’re going to do it, let’s cook a whole batch of sauce and give it away. We know we can knock that out very quickly in one morning.”

He contacted Memphis Catholic Charities of West Tennessee executive director Kelly Henderson, who was happy to get the spaghetti.

Bomarito wanted to cook 28 gallons of the meat sauce. “That’s one batch of our meat sauce — beef, whole tomatoes, celery, onions, spices, cheese, parmesan cheese, secret stuff we can’t share.”


They cooked the pasta the night before. “We cooked 70 pounds. That’s 70 dry pounds that turns into 160 wet pounds. That’s more of a pain than making the sauce. You get big vats of boiling water of spaghetti noodles and try to get it out without scalding yourself. And you have to do that seven times.”

The sauce was made the day of the giveaway. “We got the sauce going about 5 a.m. this morning. It was ready by 10. We started plating the food around 10:30, and it was done by 11:15.”

Henderson “came with a van and picked it up,” Bomarito says.

Michael Bomarito, Kelly Henderson, Sammy Bomarito
  • Michael Bomarito, Kelly Henderson, Sammy Bomarito

“About 200 of the meals were delivered door to door to our clients who are under our care,” Henderson says. “These are people who are formerly homeless but now have a home because of our work. And the rest of the food was distributed with our partnerships with St. Patrick’s, St. Mary’s, and St. Vincent de Paul. So, two churches and one other agency who are all serving the homeless.”

Asked how he felt about the restaurant’s gesture, Henderson says, “I thought it was a tremendous act of generosity. So many restaurants are struggling to keep their doors open and you get a random call from the owner of Pete & Sam’s saying, ‘Hey, we can make a big batch of spaghetti, and we can feed some people who rely on you.’ It really shows the solidarity of the community.”

Did Bomarito eat any of that spaghetti? “No. I looked at the last of the spaghetti and didn’t want any of it.”


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Friday, April 10, 2020

Memphis Magazine Launches its In the Kitchen Virtual Event Series

Posted By on Fri, Apr 10, 2020 at 3:08 PM


COVID-19 has disrupted many of our normal routines, some of those including weekly dinner dates and outings with our loved ones. Instead, we’ve been spending much more time in our kitchens, attempting to come up with creative and delicious dishes of our own. To help with that, our sister publication, Memphis magazine, has created a platform for us to stay connected with our local chefs through its
In the Kitchen with Memphis Magazine virtual event series.

“You’ll be invited into the kitchens of local chefs who will share their perspectives on everything they’re dealing with in the time of COVID-19 — and also walk us through some recipes we can prepare at home,” said our CEO Anna Traverse via an online Memphis magazine post.

Derk Meitzler, chef at The Vault in Downtown Memphis, will kick off the webinar series via Zoom on Monday, April 13th, at 2 p.m., inviting us into his kitchen for conversation and a cooking demonstration. Due to limited space, attendees are encouraged to register for the virtual event here.

This webinar will also be streamed live on Memphis magazine’s Facebook.

This event is sponsored by the Downtown Memphis Commission, which drives Downtown’s role as the heartbeat of our region and the economic, cultural, and governmental core of our city.

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Friday, April 3, 2020

Father Ben Bradshaw's 'Soul Food' — Food for Body and Soul

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2020 at 3:26 PM

Father Ben Bradshaw, a former professional chef, is host of "Soul Food."
  • Father Ben Bradshaw, a former professional chef, is host of "Soul Food."
Father Ben Bradshaw is host of Soul Food, but this isn’t a show about how to make sweet potatoes, fried chicken, and collard greens. It features Bradshaw by himself or with special guests talking about food or making it — and faith.

The videos are on Bradshaw’s Facebook page and the Facebook page for St. Michael’s Catholic Church, where Bradshaw is a priest.

It’s fitting Bradshaw, 47, makes these videos; he was a professional chef before he became a priest. He studied in the United States and France. Among his jobs was working for Erling Jensen when Jensen was at the old La Tourelle restaurant.

“Really, the only thing I know is food,” Bradshaw says. “I started cooking when I was 17. I went into the seminary when I was 27.”

The videos, he thought, were “a way to connect with people and not be preachy or finger-waggy about anything.”

He goes everywhere from restaurants to festivals in quest of food. “The whole goal is faith and food.”

And, he says, “It’s good for me ‘cause it gets me out of the office. Plus, there’s not really a culture in the world that doesn’t have traditions based around faith and food. It’s kind of cool as a priest and a former chef you see both of those worlds coming together.”

Growing up in Cooper-Young, Bradshaw became the cook in his family at a young age. His mother hated to cook. Bradshaw remembers when he was in the second grade and asked his mom what was for dinner. “She said, ‘You tell me. There’s the kitchen. Go help yourself.’”

Bradshaw went to culinary school at Johnson and Wales in Charleston, South Carolina, the New England Culinary Institute, and Ecole Lenotre in Paris, where he studied pastry making.

After he graduated, he worked at Ben’s restaurant, Restaurant Raji, and City Bread Co. in Memphis.

Becoming a priest had been on his mind, but it was when he did mission work in Russia that he decided, “You know what? I need to figure this out. I kind of tentatively started making plans over the next few years.”

He studied to be a priest in St. Louis, Washington, and Rome. “When I was in the seminary I did a lot of cooking, too. Mainly, most of it for people in the church.”

Over the years, Bradshaw spent a lot of time with Hispanic people. “They taught me a lot about how to cook from their countries, whether El Salvador, Guatemala. Every state in Mexico is totally different in their approach to food. And even to their faith.”

He began the Soul Food series when he was at the Church of the Resurrection. “Everybody eats. One of the things we try to do is use food as a medium. So, we talk about food in different cultures.

“We try to mix it up. Sometimes I’ll be cooking with other people. Sometimes me. Sometimes we’ll go to other places. Anything from a picnic to a restaurant to a kitchen that’s based around food. We’ll do anything from creme brulee to butternut squash bisque, chicken Florentine. I’ll talk a bit — a minute, no more — about the faith. The Christian faith of people.”

He did a Soul Food video with Rabbi Micah Greenstein. “That one’s really simple. I just made chocolate chip cookies.”

Rabbi Micah Greenstein was a guest on "Soul Food" with Father Ben Bradshaw.
  • Rabbi Micah Greenstein was a guest on "Soul Food" with Father Ben Bradshaw.
Bradshaw took the cookies to Temple Israel, where Greenstein showed him around. “At the end he prayed over me in Hebrew. It was really, really beautiful.”

The recent videos deal with “quarantine cuisine,” Bradshaw says. “I want to help people get their minds off the situation in the world community at this point.

“We made Baked Alaska. We tried to think of things people have around the house to keep kids busy. We made flourless chocolate cake, which we used to make at La Tourelle. We made flowers with Starbursts and Tootsie Rolls. We just made homemade pizza. e made ramen noodles. A lot of teens get into ramen noodles.”

Life is so different because of the COVID-19 crisis, Bradshaw says. “We’ve become a nation of monks. It’s kind of a monastic lifestyle we’re all leading at this point.”

He hopes after all this is over “people will really appreciate each other’s company a little more. Everybody needs other people. Even people that are fiercely independent need other people.”

To watch the shows, click here:

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Thursday, April 2, 2020

Memphis Made Brewing Co. to Distribute in Mississippi Beginning this Week

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2020 at 1:13 PM

  • Photo by Brandon Dill, courtesy of Memphis Made Brewing Co.
In a press release today, Memphis Made Brewing Co. announced it will begin distribution of its craft beers outside of Shelby County for the first time since the company’s inception.

The brewery — whose signature beers include Fireside, Cat Nap, and Junt — signed a distribution agreement with Clark Beverage Group, Inc. Expect to see selections from Memphis Made arrive in stores throughout North Mississippi beginning this week.

Drew Barton and Andy Ashby founded Memphis Made Brewing Co. in October 2013, and until now, have only sold their products within Shelby County.

"We've been looking at North Mississippi for some time now," Ashby said in the press release. "People have been asking for Memphis Made beer outside of Shelby County, and we're happy to finally be able to answer the call. Clark has a great reputation in Mississippi and was the best choice for this expansion."
Drew Barton (left) and Andy Ashby - PHOTO BY BECKY CLARK
  • Photo by Becky Clark
  • Drew Barton (left) and Andy Ashby

According to the release, Clark will distribute Memphis Made beers into Desoto, Tunica, Tate, Marshall, Panola, Lafayette, Yalobusha, Quitman, Tallahatchie, Bolivar, Coahoma, Sunflower, Washington, Benton, Tippah, Union, Alcorn, Tishomingo, Prentiss, Itawamba, Lee, Pontotoc, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Calhoun, Webster, Oktibbeha, Monroe, Lowndes, and Clay Counties.

“We are very excited to partner with Memphis Made Brewing Company for our entire North Mississippi beer footprint,” Jeff Brasher, vice president of Clark’s Alcohol Beverage Division, said. “We have had numerous requests for Memphis Made in both on-premise and off-premise accounts for many years now, and we are very proud they selected our team to represent them in North Mississippi.”

Memphis Made Brewing Co. is located at 768 S. Cooper St. Its taproom is typically open Thursdays-Sundays but is currently open 4-7 p.m. every day for to-go beer sales. Planning for a second location at 435 Madison is in the works.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Best Bets: Steelhead Trout Fish Tacos to go at Elwood's Shack

Posted By on Tue, Mar 24, 2020 at 3:27 PM

Steelhead Trout Fish Tacos takeout at Elwood's Shack. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Steelhead Trout Fish Tacos takeout at Elwood's Shack.

With social distancing, it’s great to get close to an old friend at my dining room table.

I’m talking about Steelhead Trout Fish Tacos takeout from Elwood’s Shack.

This, to me, is one of the most unique dishes on the Memphis food scene. I had a craving, so I ordered a taco to go. I remember when you automatically got two to an order at Elwood’s. Now, you can order one taco, which - with a bag of potato chips - was enough for my dinner.

I asked Elwood’s owner Tim Bendarski to tell me about the history of his “fish tacos.”

“I wanted to do a fish taco, but everybody does tilapia or catfish - not the greatest quality fish,” Bendarski says. “I wanted a real high quality line-caught fish.”

He’s a big believer in utilizing what he already has on hand when he’s creating a new dish. “It’s a waste of money in my mind to bring in one ingredient and use it in one entree.”

Bendarski already had cheese for his pizza. And he used his pico de gallo, fresh cilantro, avocado, creamy horseradish - other items in the tacos - in multiple items.

He made the fish tacos for a special one day, but he kept the special going for a few days. “It took off like nothing I’ve ever seen. It’s still our number one menu item.”

Bendarksi created the tacos three months after Elwood’s Shack opened. “I guess we’re going on eight years now.”

He was selling 100 pounds of the tacos “a week before the pandemic.”

Elwood’s Shack currently offers its complete menu for takeout, curbside pickup, and delivery.

But Bendarski also is keeping busy keeping hospital workers fed. “I’ve got numerous co-workers I worked with at Bahama Breeze. We’re still great friends.”

On their Facebook posts, he learned “some of the things happening. It’s scary for them at work not having masks, not having the ability to get off work, get food, go to Kroger because of the lines. I believe the front line workers are at the highest risk.”

Bendarski wants to “keep them healthy. They’re putting their lives on the line.”

He’s been making individually-packed meals, which he delivers by himself to hospitals. He makes breakfast runs and dinner runs. On March 23rd, he went to Baptist East twice - 150 breakfasts and 150 dinners. He brought breakfast to St. Francis hospital on March 24th and will go back to bring dinner.

‘“For a $250 donation I can produce 150 high-quality meals. Not like something slapped together. But a great blackened chicken Alfredo, red beans and rice, chicken and dumplings and Cobb salad. A wide variety.

“I can really produce up to 600 meals a day. Close to 1,000. Currently, we’re booked. I’m going to LeBonheur lab tomorrow for the day and night shift, Lebonheur critical care unit Thursday, St. Jude Friday for two deliveries.’’

Where did Bendarski find sponsors? “Just reached out on social media. The response is overwhelming I’m doing it at our cost or below cost. I’m reaching out to some vendors, who are providing items for us.”

To be on the safe side, Bendarski doesn’t take pans of food to the hospitals. “It needs to be individually-wrapped items in a container that can be microwaved. Hospitals have plenty of microwaves.

“I’m the only one delivering it. I’m the only one taking the risk. I’m wearing gloves. I got a mask today. Somebody donated it to me. As soon as I go in the hospital I wash my hands. And as I leave the hospital. I sanitize my truck. I’m doing everything I can to be safe at the restaurant and at the hospital.”

Those interested in donating to Bendarski’s meals for hospital workers, call Elwood’s Shack at (901) 761-9898.

As for his employees, everybody is working and busy, Bendarski says. “I haven’t had to lay anybody off.”

Elwood’s Shack is at 4523 Summer Avenue.

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