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Jim Matson chose the name for his sandwich shop 33 years ago when he was a teenager working in New Jersey near Rutgers University.

"I learned how to make sandwiches from my friend's dad who had a shop in New Brunswick, New Jersey, called Greasy Tony's," Matson says. "I was about 15 when two real pretty college girls came in one day. I didn't want them to just get their sandwiches and leave, so I turned the flame down real low so they would stay longer. One of the girls said, 'This sandwich is really juicy, Jim.' I decided right then that if I ever opened a shop of my own, I'd call it Juicy Jim's."

In February, after almost 25 years in the casino business, Matson opened Juicy Jim's at 546 S. Highland, a location close to the University of Memphis and its students.

"Most of my business is college kids, and they don't have a lot of money, so I make my money from volume," Matson says. "I'm supposed to close at 4 a.m. on the weekends, but it's standing-room-only most nights, and I won't turn anyone away."

Whether it's for lunch, dinner, or a 4 a.m. snack, Matson is always ready to slow-cook one of his freshly made sandwiches. "Fresh ingredients are as important as how you cook it," he says, adding that the best deli meats come from the New Jersey area. He imports all of his capicollo, salami, and pastrami from New York, but he buys his bread locally from the French Bakery. He also takes the time to slice the tomatoes, onions, and lettuce fresh for every sandwich. Even the french fries are cut from fresh potatoes every morning.

Can't wait until October to enjoy bratwurst, sauerkraut, pretzels, and hotdogs and to wash it all down with more than 40 varieties of beer?

Join the Grand Krewe of Luxor at the Agricenter International April 23rd for Oktoberfest in April. The nonprofit organization is one of the 12 krewes of Carnival Memphis. The fund-raiser will support the Carnival Memphis Kid's Café which opened this month at the College Park Boys & Girls Club. Kid's Café is a national program that provides children with hot, nutritional meals. The College Park cafe is the fourth location to open under the auspices of the Memphis Food Bank.

Area restaurants, beverage distributors, artists, and performers are donating products, time, and talent. Guests will be able to purchase artwork donated by local artists.

Musicians such as James Austin of the Platters, Pat Register, J.P. Netters, Eddie Smith, and the Memphis Ice Breakers also will keep everyone entertained from 6 to 10 p.m.

Tickets are $25 at the door or $20 in advance at TechsPerts, 923 S. Yates. The price includes five drink coupons and a souvenir beer stein.

"I'm putting a new dress on an old girl," says Joe Young, who recently purchased the Cottage located at 3297 Summer Avenue. "We're going to spruce it up but keep the nostalgic feel of the restaurant, because it is what it is."

The Cottage, best known for its home cooking, has been around for nearly 50 years and has been operated by the Sutton family for more than half of that time. However, when Anthony Sutton took over the restaurant two years ago following his father's death, he decided it was time to turn it over to someone new.

Young, a former stockbroker, was looking for a good investment and decided the Cottage was a business opportunity with a lot of potential.

"It's the best place to get a home-cooked meal, and I am fortunate that the staff stayed with me," he says. "One cook has been here for 30 years and another one for 25 years."

One change that Sutton implemented earlier this year has been tremendously successful: The restaurant now serves breakfast any time of the day.

The Cottage is open from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. •

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