Y'all, Memphis could use more folks taking care of things and getting it done. I'm thinking of people like Tami Sawyer, the force behind the #TakeEmDown901 movement, and Wendi C. Thomas, who created and saw into fruition the MLK50 journalism project.
Enter Edward Bogard, who is opening Bogard, an upscale Southern restaurant in the old Stanley BBQ space (and before that Paulette's) in Overton Square.
When it opens sometime in September, Bogard, under the guidance of seasoned restaurateurs Ed Cabagiao and Ben McLean, will serve a selection of Southern dishes, such as shrimp & grits, fried chicken, and mac-and-cheese.
Bogard is a creative type. The food should not only be edible but Instagrammable. "It's going to be not only tasty," he says. "You're not going to want to eat it for a while and just take it all in. The plates and the way the food's presented will be pretty cool."
But this story begins with shoes. In 2009, Bogard started SoGiv, a shoe design company that gives 100 percent of its proceeds to causes fighting everything from Down syndrome to hunger.
It was through SoGiv that Bogard hooked up with former Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins and his son-in-law Preston Butt Jr., his new partners in Bogard.
In keeping with the mission of SoGiv, Bogard, will also be giving back. Specifically, a percentage of the restaurant's net sales will go to the Mid-South Food Bank. Bogard expects to hand over $30,000 to the Mid-South Food Bank the first year, which translates to 100,000 meals. A percentage of the net of drink sales is earmarked for clean water as well.
There are an estimated 200,000 people in the area who face food insecurity. People who lack sufficient, nutritious food. Bogard aims to alleviate this through his restaurant.
"I wanted to do something like [SoGiv] on a more consistent basis," Bogard says. "People don't necessarily buy shoes every day, but people eat every day."
Bogard says he saw his path about 10 years ago, and then the pieces started falling into place. It was when the Stanley BBQ site became available that he knew it was meant to be.
The name of the spot has always been a part of the vision. Bogard stands for Buy One Get a Rare Dish. "It's been a vision replaying in my mind for years," he says.
Bogard says he got his creative side from his father, who used to draw him Superman figures. His mother, a teacher, nurtured his philanthropic side.
"She would take all of my clothes very much in season and store them in the lockers in her classroom to give to the struggling families throughout the year," Bogard recalls. "I remember one morning waking up and looking for my favorite outfit, shoes and everything, I see a kid with that outfit on, and I was all Man, I was looking all over for that outfit.
"My mom was teaching me at a very early age how to pay it forward and how to give back," Bogard says.
Bogard designed a swoosh for his shoes years ago. It comprises seven continents strung together.
For Bogard, the swoosh serves as a roadmap. This restaurant in Overton Square is just the beginning. He'd like to see one in every city and then in every continent.
Bogard is set to open in September.
• You want fries with that? The answer is always yes. We are not animals.
LBOE, the burger spot near Overton Square on Madison, is also in partnership with the Mid-South Food Bank. It started its Fries for Lives in December 2017. For every order of a fries purchased, a meal is provided through the food bank.
You can't beat that. — Susan Ellis
Bruce is on vacation. His column returns next week.