Try Binghampton’s New Restaurant: Inspire Community Cafe
Ed. Note: Contributor Veena has the latest on Binghampton’s newest restaurant, Inspire Community Cafe, which opened in January 2019. All photos by Veena unless otherwise noted.
Those of you who travel regularly on Sam Cooper may have noticed some new developments where the road intersects with Tillman. Next to the Save-a-Lot are a series of new up-and-coming businesses focused on giving back to the Binghampton community. The one I am most excited about is Inspire Community Cafe.
Started in 2017 as a mobile cafe by Lucas Trautman and Kristin Fox-Trautman, Inspire focuses on three tenets: a love of people, a passion for life-giving food, and a thirst for equality. Both Lucas and Kristin have worked for years on issues of economic and racial justice in Memphis, and they are now combining that work with a love of food to create an economic impact in Binghampton.
Together with their co-founding team of Charlena Branch, Jackie Chandler, Terrance Whitley, and Tevin Whitley, they hope to create change in Binghampton and in the greater Memphis community.
Binghampton was chosen intentionally for a number of reasons, primarily because it is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Memphis and also because it has historically been a food desert. Inspire aims to bring fresh, locally-sourced food to Binghampton residents and to Memphians as a whole.
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Inspire is committed to paying their employees a living wage, and all employees are able to take advantage of their profit-sharing model. Every team member is trained on all aspects of the business to encourage 100 percent transparency and to build capacity amongst the entire team.
In addition, Inspire aims to be a place where changemakers can come together and connect with one another. Each month Inspire will feature a local nonprofit partner, with 10 percent of net proceeds for the month being donated to that organization.
The cafe features a “You Inspire Us” board, where the featured nonprofit can share news and highlights and visitors can learn more about the good work that is happening in Memphis. Each nonprofit was chosen because of its commitment to furthering justice work in our city, and part of the hope is that customers will walk away with a renewed interest in giving back to Memphis.
And finally – and perhaps most importantly – the food! As a regular customer of Inspire’s mobile cafe, I can say with good authority that their slow-cooked BBQ chicken quesadillas topped with homemade pineapple salsa are fantastic. When I spoke with Kristin she mentioned a Costa Rican black beans and rice with roasted sweet potatoes (fully vegan!) that she adapted from her honeymoon travels with Lucas, and my mouth definitely started watering.
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The cafe features a base menu curated by the entire Inspire team as well as some Chef’s Specials adapted by Chef Terrance himself, and there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options as well as fresh juices and smoothies. Where possible, ingredients are sourced from local and regional farms, including Binghampton’s own Carpenter Art Garden.
Inspire serves breakfast, lunch, and early dinner on weekdays. They’re open Monday-Friday, 8 am-6 pm, Saturdays, 8 am-2 pm, and is closed on Sundays.
Over the winter they will be constructing an outdoor patio – every Memphian’s favorite – which will debut at their grand opening party in the spring.
I have been a huge fan of Inspire from the beginning, when their mobile cafe would camp out in our work parking lot and I could gorge myself on those chicken quesadillas, so I am ecstatic that their cafe is almost ready to open to the public.
510 Tillman St. Suite 110
@ corner of Sam Cooper and Tillman
About The Author
Veena Rangaswami grew up on the banks of the Mississippi River, and after many years of splitting her time between Memphis and India, she has finally returned full-time to the 901. By day she is a program specialist for the Bridge Builders program at BRIDGES, and by night she can be found reading and writing, eating her way around Memphis, cheering on her favorite sports teams, plotting her next out-of-town adventure, and pretending to be a runner. All she wants is a lifetime supply of Dr. Pepper and to see the Grizz bring home an NBA Championship. Read about her adventures, and follow along for yourself on Instagram and Twitter.