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All that and avocado toast: Park + Cherry and Edge Alley

The dish on two new Memphis spots.

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You've probably tasted some of their inspired eats if you've been to any of the Dixon special events over the last several years.

You know, their hopsicles like Wicked Apple made with Boston lager and hard apple cider and Lunar Lemon made with Blue Moon and hard lemonade.

I'm speaking of wife and husband duo Kristi and Kevin Bush, of CFY Catering, and now you can taste their artful entrees full-time by paying a visit to the Dixon Gallery and Garden's Park + Cherry.

In July, the couple took over the year-old restaurant, which originally debuted under the charge Wally Joe, who left Park + Cherry to focus his efforts on Acre.

"We were doing so many events here, it was almost our home away from home," Kevin says. "Three-fourths of the people who work here, we have done their wedding, so it was a good fit for us and a good fit for them."

Their focus is on sandwiches and salads and fresh-made sweets as well as a full coffee menu.

"We enjoy the science of cooking, but we also enjoy the art of cooking. That's what attracted us here," Kevin says.

I've been on a sort of extended avocado toast tasting safari as of late, and while there is no winner, the Bush's would be in the final running.

They pickle their avocado and offer generous portions of it atop cream cheese and brioche finished off with greens ($4). You also can't go wrong with the Ancient Grain Salad, with quinoa, farro, spinach, and grapes tossed in a white balsamic vinaigrette ($10). There's the Pork & Cherry sandwich, with pork loin, cherry gastrique, chicharrones, and lemon aioli ($10), and the Prosciutto & Peach, with prosciutto de Parma, gruyere, roasted peaches, and balsamic reduction on a homemade croissant ($8), and, like I said, a display case full of freshly made desserts.

Desserts are their specialty. They started their own wholesale dessert business while Kristi was pregnant 10 years ago.

They also started an herb garden at the garden, which they use daily, and serve Edge coffee.

"Kristi and I always find inspiration through places other than food. Coming here is already inspiring walking through the galleries and gardens," Kevin says. "It's a great escape for Memphians."

Park + Cherry by CFY, inside the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, 4339 Park, 761-5250, dixon.org. Hours 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., Tues.- Sat., Sun. 1-4 p.m.

Speaking of Edge coffee, I lived in the Edge district several years back and prayed and prayed and prayed for a coffee shop there. I guess I had to move for it to manifest. You're welcome.

Edge Alley opened three months ago next door to High Cotton Brewing on Monroe, and it's all you want in a coffee shop and then some.

Actually it's not even a coffee shop.

"I like to say we're a restaurant with a great coffee program," says owner and chef Tim Barker.

They offer direct-trade Thai coffee from the Chiang Rai region, which they roast in house and serve any number of ways. They also sell their roast to other restaurants in town (like the Dixon).

"It's rare and not easy to source," Barker says. "We work with only one bean that works with all extraction methods."

I found the Americano nice and strong, or "with a bitter walnut taste," according to Barker.

The avocado toast is neck-and-neck with Park + Cherry's (Barker recommended the Bush's avocado toast without my even asking). Edge Alley serves all of their sandwiches and toasts on a biscuit-croissant hybrid.

"It's flaky layers that you can pull apart, and the layers are made of biscuit dough," Barker says.

The avocado toast is topped with an herb purée and an herb vinaigrette ($6.50). The menu changes daily and is what Barker calls "hyper-seasonal."

They have biscuit gnocchi, shrimp and grits, a big farmer's plate, and coffee-style braised brisket.

They also just launched a dinner menu upon getting their liquor license, so expect some different serving hours and check social media for their daily offerings.

"Our food style is upscale comfort food, with an emphasis on simplicity and quality," Barker says. "We stay away from the precious food movement and focus on recognizable dishes that are high-quality."

Also, leave some time for shopping. Edge Alley houses four micro-retail businesses from vintage clothing to interior design.

"We wanted to invest in the neighborhood, so we tried to offer on some scale what the neighborhood is missing," Barker says.

Edge Alley, 600 Monroe, 425-2605, edge-alley.com. Hours Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sat. 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sun. 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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