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The Kitchen expands with Next Door; another Mama Gaia

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Crosstown Concourse is at it again with another addition to their fun selection of eating places. Next Door Eatery, a sister restaurant to The Kitchen, opened at the end of last month and should prove to maintain a steady clientele through lunch and dinner.

The concept is the same as The Kitchen — locally sourced, clean eating that tastes good. Next Door aims to lower the cost and make the food even more accessible.

"We tried to create a menu with a broad appeal that would reach a wide audience," Colin Ness, director of operations for all of the Next Doors, says. "We are trying to limit the no vote."

That includes trying to reach vegetarians, vegans, and the gluten-free audience.

In addition to a nice variety of salads, there's the Roasted Veggie Bowl with seasonal veggies served over quinoa and topped with sunflower seeds and their cilantro tahini dressing ($11.95); Veggie Tacos ($9.95); and a Beet Burger ($8.95), as well as a nice selection of Snack & Share bites and appetizers.

Cheft Drury Baswell (left); Friday’s special — fish and chips
  • Cheft Drury Baswell (left); Friday’s special — fish and chips
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One of their most popular items is their burger, which can be ordered "50/50" — a patty mixed with cremini mushrooms to cut down on the calories ($11.95).

They offer daily specials, soups, craft cocktails, a patio, and an environment that mixes contemporary and rustic styles.

"We want to offer something to the construction worker who is looking for an incredible tasting burger to families, millennials, urban professionals, and everything in between," Ness says.

The Crosstown location is the second Next Door to open, the first being in Boulder, literally (I literally mean literally) next door to the first Kitchen. The Memphis location was the first expansion out of state, and there are more in the works.

The Kitchen and Next Door were launched by Kimbal Musk, Jen Lewin, and Hugo Matheson in an effort to serve healthy food that is responsibly sourced and tastes good. The nonprofit The Kitchen Community grew out of this effort, which uses a percentage of profits from the restaurants to build Learning Gardens in schools across the country so that students can learn the importance of real food. There are around 100 gardens in Memphis so far.

"We couldn't be more excited about the team we've put together in Memphis," Ness says. "Being in Crosstown Concourse is such an exciting and unique opportunity. How could we not be a part of it?"

Next Door Eatery, 1350 Concourse, Suite 165, 779-1512, nextdooreatery.com. Hours 11 a.m. to close daily.

When Philipp and Cru Peri von Holtzendorff-Fehling decided to open their first all-organic vegetarian restaurant Mama Gaia in Crosstown Concourse, they always had the idea they wanted to expand.

They just didn't know it would happen so quickly.

"We were talking to Philip West and Dorothy Pugh [of Ballet Memphis], telling them what we were up to at the time, and we were not even open at Crosstown yet," Philipp says.

One thing led to another, and the four of them quickly realized they were all on the same page.

"They were considering food and beverage options, and we were telling them about our concept of offering food that is healthy, delicious, and fast," Philipp says. "We were what they were looking for. They just didn't know it before they met us."

Just five months after launching their first restaurant, the couple is offering Mama Gaia 2.0 in the exquisitely archimania-designed Ballet Memphis in Overton Square. The architectural firm won an award for the Crosstown Mama Gaia space already.

This one is round and all windows and light with touches of Elektra Eggleston — daughter to the photographer — textiles in green leaf patterns.

This space offers some options the other does not, such as the Copia Petitzza, a pizza made out of pitas with oven-roasted zucchini, eggplant, peppers, onion, and leeks over olive basil sauce and topped with cheese (vegan option offered) and basil ($7.50), as well as Pita Wedges served with house-made tzatziki sauce ($3), quinoa patties made for dipping in marinara sauce ($4), and a full coffee bar (my personal fave).

And there are cocktails.

"Everything is made fully organic with fresh-squeezed juices and herbs," general manager Cy Washer says.

That means organic vodka, gin, and tequila. As of now, they haven't found organic rum and bourbon, so they offer non-GMO versions.

The Crosstown Cooler comes with fresh-squeezed cucumber and lime, mint, and The Botanist gin, and the Allegro is puréed berries with vodka ($9-$11).

Due to space and a few other restraints in the electrical department, there are a few things left off the menu, but look for brunch with waffles and crepes, a tastily stocked grab-and-go cooler, and a thoughtful calendar of events to come.

"We are so happy to be in Overton Square and are looking forward to finding out what's going on and do some programming around that as well as what's going on with the Ballet," Philipp says.

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