Italian Dinners At Cocozza In Downtown Memphis

Posted by Holly Whitfield | September 15th 2020 1131 0

Update: As of September 19th, Cocozza will start brunch service on Saturdays and Sundays for patio dining only. Takeout for brunch is coming soon. The menu will be a mix of their Italian dishes, traditional brunch stuff, and a Taylor Ham aka Pork Roll breakfast sandwich, which I’m hearing is a really big deal. 

Sometimes you just want a nice Italian dinner. I’m not talking the kind of Italian that’s a single ravioli filled with essence of unicorn and topped with a single herb leaf—though that type of dinner has its place.

I’m talking about noodles, red sauce, red wine, delightfully cliché music, and crusty garlicky bread. I’m talking Lady and the Tramp style—you know what I mean.

Cocozza American Italian Restaurant In Downtown Memphis

Co-owners of the Majestic Grille Deni and Patrick Reilly know this well, and have taken family recipes and an appreciation for the simple pleasures of what they’re calling a “red sauce joint” and created Cocozza American Italian restaurant.

This takeout- and alfresco-only restaurant concept operates out of the Majestic Grille’s kitchen and patio location downtown for dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays and for brunch on weekends. Read more on their website.

Cocozza Hours:

Tuesday – Saturday 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Photo via Cocozza Facebook page

Here are three ways to enjoy:

  • Order online and pick up at the entrance of the Majestic (wearing a mask).
  • Order online and park at Peabody Place and Main in designated, marked Cocozza spots for curbside delivery (wear a mask when you roll down your window, please).
  • Eat on the redecorated Majestic/Cocozza patio using smartphone menu and payment systems, wearing a mask while you’re not eating or drinking.

Cocozza Menu

I had the chance to experience Cocozza recently via takeout, and I loved it. Not only were menu items like baked lasagna, chicken piccata, and spinach manicotti tasty and comforting, but the extras made it feel like a full-on restaurant experience even though I ate at home.

The meal came with a red checkered tablecloth, candle, and Spotify playlist link, an antipasti plate, the best garlic bread I’ve ever had, and tiramisu, which I’m sorry but I ate it too quickly to take a photo. Cocozza also offers wine ($32/bottle) and fun cocktails to-go ($9-$10).

Follow Cocozza on their website, which has the Cocozza menu, Facebook, and Instagram.

Memphis and Italian Inspiration

The menu for Cocozza is inspired by family recipes and Italian classics from Deni Reilly’s Italian American family, and where she grew up in New Jersey. Cocozza was her family name for generations in Italy before it was changed upon her great-grandfather’s arrival in the U.S.

Another Memphis connection lies in Elvis’s well-documented love for Italian American operatic singer Mario Lanza (given name Alfred Cocozza) who turns out to be Deni’s great-grandfather’s cousin. Small world!

Is The Majestic Closing?

No. Think of Cocozza as a pop-up that’s using the Majestic kitchen and patio temporarily, as its more suitable for the takeout-friendly needs of Memphis diners right now. The term “ghost restaurant” has been used, in case you want to feel spooky when you order your lasagna.

Go There: 

Cocozza American Italian
145 S. Main Street
Memphis, Tenn. 38103

Open for dinner only, Tuesday through Saturday 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.


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