"We had planned to close on January 31st, but when we got to the store on Monday and saw what was left and how everybody's energy level was down, we decided to make it our last day," says owner Jeanice Blancett.
In the fall of 2006, Blancett moved her natural-foods market into Cooper-Young, with hopes that a new and smaller location, as well as a focus on prepared foods, the deli, and the juice bar, would help the business.
"We didn't have as much traffic as we anticipated, and a lot of our Overton Square customers didn't follow us to Cooper-Young because it was less convenient. Parking was more difficult. [Some] simply didn't know that we had moved," Blancett says. "However, there were also a lot of things that I could have done differently with the concept of the store, especially after we moved into a very restaurant-driven neighborhood. Unfortunately, I ran out of resources before I was able to make any changes."
News spread late last month that the business would be closing soon, and a devoted patron ran an ad on the back page of the Flyer that read: "Save Square Foods. You'll miss it when it's gone."
Blancett says she's heard similar responses. "Since we announced that we would be closing, I've gotten a lot of e-mails every day from disappointed customers, especially those with restricted diets who don't have that many options to eat out," she says. "There's definitely a need for a place like Square Foods."
Plans are going forward for the move of Le Chardonnay and Bayou Bar & Grill from their Palm Court locations into the former Square Foods building (pictured) in Overton Square.
James Rasberry of Rasberry CRE, which handles leasing and sales at Overton Square, thinks that the move will be good for the two restaurants.
"Right now, both restaurants are somewhat hidden, and if you don't already know where they are, you may have a hard time finding them," Rasberry says. "The move will give them visibility and add to the strip that already includes Boscos and Paulette's."
The move is supposed to be completed by the beginning of March. Rasberry declined to comment on any recent developments for the Palm Court site.
Alex Grisanti of Ronnie Grisanti & Sons and Elfo's restaurant is planning changes for the family business in 2008. Elfo's, which opened at Chickasaw Oaks Plaza in the former Blue Moon/Ruby Tuesday location in 2003, will close at the end of February. Grisanti will move the business into the Three Oaks Grill building in Germantown and hopes to open a new Elfo's restaurant there by the beginning of May.
"This will be more like Ronnie Grisanti's," Alex says. "We will be open for lunch and dinner every day, and customers can expect the same food and service that they are used to from our Memphis restaurant."
Three Oaks Grill will serve its last meals on Valentine's Day. After 13 years, the restaurant, owned by George Falls of Paulette's, lost its lease. According to Stacey Keeney, the restaurant's manager, there are no plans yet to reopen in a different location unless a good opportunity comes up.
If you plan to celebrate your Valentine's Day at Three Oaks Grill, the restaurant is offering a three-course menu with four entrée options, ranging from $47 (ginger-crusted salmon) to $70 (Maine lobster tail and filet mignon) per person.
If you plan to celebrate Valentine's Day in Midtown, Paulette's is offering the same menu.
Elfo's, 3092 Poplar (888-0402)
Three Oaks Grill, 2285 Germantown Road (757-8225)
Paulette's, 2110 Madison (726-5128)
Sweet Desserterie in Cooper-Young will offer special Valentine's sweets such as its six-inch flourless chocolate cakes and assorted cupcakes throughout Valentine's week. On Valentine's Day, the restaurant is open for a five-course Valentine's dinner from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. Cost for the dinner is $75 per couple or $40 per person.
Sweet Desserterie, 938 S. Cooper (726-4300)