Food & Drink » Food & Wine

On the Move

A new Circa in East Memphis; Jim’s Place East heads west.



Circa is moving to Regalia Shopping Center, and the current location on South Main will slip into something a little more comfortable.

"The new place is going to be [like] the one downtown," says John Bragg, owner of Circa. And the downtown location?

"It's loosely defined at this moment, but let's call it a casual wine bar and lounge. We're going to have affordable and fun gourmet food and drink but hold the reservations. It's not so much a formal dining experience."

The downtown Circa will eventually be renamed. Expect to see a larger bar and more space for gathering, as well as more wines by the glass and a lot of seasonal and local food items. Bragg is still sorting out the specifics, but the project will be under way once the new Circa in Regalia is open, sometime in early December.

The menu at the new Circa location will have a similar seasonal and local mien.

"There will be changes to the menu but in the same vein as the Circa we have now," Bragg says. "There will be some upgrades to the dessert menu with homemade ice creams and sorbets and specialized pastry items. More local items are going to find their way on there. But that's as far as I've decided on. There are certain core items we'll keep up with, like our sorghum-cured rack of lamb with sweet potato flan, our bananas Foster soufflé, and crawfish beignets."

Beer and wine offerings will be more or less similar at both locations, with just a few items catering specifically to each location.

"The wine list is going to be more global with a lot of Italian and Spanish wines by the glass. You'll probably see more big-name California Cabs at Circa, and we'll have an assortment of domestic and craft-type beers, probably with more draught beers downtown."

Circa, 119 S. Main (522-1488)

Loyal patrons are already aware that Jim's Place East, a staple in Memphis' restaurant industry for almost 90 years, will be leaving its Shelby Oaks Drive location for a new space at Poplar and Perkins.

"We felt like moving to a better location with more traffic," says Costa Taras, who co-owns the restaurant with Dimitri Taras and will bring on his son Bill to help run the new location.

"We had to make a move. We hate leaving here; we've been here since 1976. But we felt for the best interest of the business, we should close this one down."

Taras says that 90 percent of the menu will stay the same: "We might add a few items here and there, some more Greek and Mediterranean, but it will basically be the same menu we've had all these years."

The restaurant won't have the same "old-world" feel as before, as Taras plans on leaving the antiques behind. But a more modern Jim's Place is something he hopes will bolster the restaurant's appeal for younger people. "We'll keep the same client base, but I think we'll pick up some new, younger customers in that location."

The old Jim's Place East location closed on Saturday, and the new location should open the week of November 15th. "It's going to be a change, but we feel like it's a change for the better," Taras says.

Jim's Place East will be moving to 518 S. Perkins Ext.

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