According to Patrick Noone, LYFE Kitchen is more of a collection of neighborhood-specific restaurants rather than a chain.
"We have 14 restaurants across the country, and we try to serve each community in which we are located," Noone, head of brand and marketing for the Memphis-based company, says.
Recently, the Carlisle Corp. collection turned their eyes on their downtown Chisca location and asked themselves where they could improve.
"We did a little soul-searching," Noone says.
The answer came in the form of offering full service, an improved menu, a full bar, and a ramped-up patio.
"People wanted full service, a great bar atmosphere, and a great patio," Noone says.
As far as their menu, Noone points to items such as the Cucumber Bites appetizer as a new favorite, offering seared tuna atop their edamame hummus balanced on a cucumber slice ($6); their barbecue chicken flatbread ($8); and their Turkey Meatball Martini — ground turkey covered in Pomodoro sauce and Asiago cheese, served in a martini glass ($6).
"We took a lot of dishes we were told our customers loved and tweaked them a little, and we added a lot of new dishes," Noone says. "We made a big effort to offer a more upscale experience but keep it in the same price range."
They now offer a full bar complete with specialty cocktails, most with names inspired by the historic space in which they are served.
"Most of the people on our staff are into hand-crafted cocktails, so they all collaborated on the drink menu," Noone says.
In addition to offering full service — the only location in the country as of now (the East Memphis site will offer it, as well as the new menu, in August) — perhaps the most significant change they have made is leveraging their greatest asset — the killer patio.
Starting Thursday, the Chisca site will host Thursday Patio Parties with live music, drink specials, and free tacos with the purchase of beer, wine, or a cocktail as well as their very own farmers market.
"That is the other part of regionalism and serving our communities," Noone says.
The first patio party, which runs from 6 to 8 p.m., will include complimentary hors d'oeuvres.
The Chisca LYFE Kitchen closed for a couple of months beginning in December and recently debuted its reimagined concept on March 9th after a series of friends and family openings to test-run the new model.
"We listened, and people have been tremendously responsive," Noone says.
LYFE Kitchen, 272 S. Main, 526-0254, lyfekitchen.com. Open 10 a.m to 9 p.m. daily.
Alex Grisanti considers himself lucky to have a millennial for a son.
"They're the ones holding the cards," the veteran restaurateur says.
His ace of spades, Elfo, comes in especially handy after the father-son duo joined forces with the other century-old restaurant family, the Taras, who have been serving up Greek cuisine mixed with American standbys in the form of Jim's Place since 1921.
You read that right. Two families of Memphis restaurant lore have joined forces. With Alex Grisanti as head chef, adding some of his delectable darlings to an already appetizing menu, Jim's Place is holding a royal flush.
In early 2016, Alex closed the popular Elfo's in Germantown and has been working in the restaurant consulting business ever since.
He had begun to look for a new space when he was told that Jim's Place was looking to make a major change.
"We talked, and they weren't ready to get out of the restaurant business yet," Alex says. "They wanted to keep swinging, and I'm here to help do that."
He brought in his team of consultants and watched and tallied numbers for a while, looking at what on the menu sold and what didn't, and began implementing some new dishes where necessary, tweaking some others, and leaving some exactly the same.
"They have some of the best gumbo I've ever had," Alex says.
They kept the jumbo shrimp and souflima and added the signature Grisanti Gorgonzola filet, Miss Mary's salad, Italian spinach, and toasted ravioli.
He also kept some of the longtime Jim's Place people, including the 30-plus veteran Wayne Scott, who hand cuts all of the steaks and is the genius behind that gumbo.
"They have unbelievable steaks," Alex says.
They have daily specials, including soup, pasta, seafood, and beef, and Alex intends to have the best hamburger in Memphis.
"My son says it's all about the bread," Alex says.
They have new beers on tap, exotic and local, and Alex is working on building up their bourbon and Scotch collection and has already had his way with the wine list.
Another big change is the hours. No longer open for brunch, they now offer only dinner starting at 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. They're closed on Sunday.
"They're really great guys. They're restaurateurs, like my family," Alex says. "I'm here to give 100 percent."
Jim's Place, 518 Perkins Extd., 766-2030, jimsplacememphis.com. Open Mon.-Sat. 4 p.m. until.