I can tell that you guys are watching what you eat, because I’ve had a lot of questions recently about which restaurants in Memphis use locally-grown food or are environmentally sustainable.
The good news is that Memphis has plenty of people that are doing their part to help make the city a greener place to eat. A local organization called Project Green Fork works with restaurants to reduce their energy consumption and waste and switch to buying more locally grown and organic food. Restaurants that apply for Project Green Fork certification find that it helps the community as well as their business (one restaurant saved enough money from cutting back on energy use to buy biodegradable take-out boxes, which don’t come cheap).
Right now, there are 14 Project Green Fork certified restaurants and eight working on certification.
The following restaurants are certified:
- Tsunami (Cooper-Young): A classy seafood / Asian / Fusion restaurant in Cooper Young. I’ve heard that their beef carpaccio is amazing. They’ve also got small plates for people who want a nice meal, but don’t want to spend a ton of money.
- Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen (East Memphis): Think fresh ingredients and updated takes on traditional Italian dishes like gnocci and tortellini.
- Fratelli’s (Memphis Botanic Garden): The little restaurant inside the Memphis Botanic Gardens serves soups, sandwiches and salads. It’s a favorite among ladies who lunch – the views of the rose gardens are amazing.
- Central Barbecue (Midtown): Central is one of my favorite places to get barbecue. It’s low-key, inexpensive, and their fries are awesome.
- Cafe Eclectic (Midtown): This cafe is a favorite for brunch, coffee and baked goods. At night, it becomes the prime study spot for legions of Rhodes students.
- Otherlands (Midtown): You can find me at Otherlands almost daily, drinking coffee, eating breakfast, or taking advantage of the free wireless. They’ve also got a great patio.
- Miss Cordelia’s (Mud Island): It’s a grocery! It’s a deli! It’s the place to see and be seen on Mud Island.
- Sekisui Midtown (Midtown): There are several Sekisui locations in Memphis, but the Midtown location is the only one that’s PGF certified.
- R.P. Tracks (University of Memphis): Tracks is the consummate college hangout, but their food is really good. Try the barbecue tofu nachos or the Lots of Stuff (everything is fried).
- Brushmark (Brooks Museum of Art): Check out the Brooks, then have lunch at their in-Museum cafe, the Brushmark.
- Bluefin (Downtown): Bluefin is an edgy, lounge-y sushi spot on the Main Street Mall. They’ve got some really unique rolls and entrees.
- Soulfish (Cooper Young): Think good home cooking and big baskets of catfish and hush puppies. It’s one of those places where mac’n'cheese is considered a vegetable.
- South of Beale (Downtown): Call it a bar with a great chef, or a restaurant with a great bar. Either way, SOB is one of my favorite places for post-work cocktails and dinner.
- Just for Lunch (East Memphis): A favorite of Ladies Who Lunch of all kinds. Some of the menu items are a little old school, but it’s classic.
Other restaurants that are working on their certification include Fuel Cafe, Sweetgrass, Napa Cafe, Interim, Umai, Felicia Suzanne’s, Interim and Wade & Company Catering.
Project Green Fork is a non-profit that’s funded through memberships and donations. If you’d like to get involved (or, if you own a restaurant and would like to get certified), check out their Web site.