The Public Bistro is the Goldilocks of Dining

Cooper-Young’s newest restaurant is described as if “Huey’s and Houston’s had a baby” meaning it’s the best of both worlds.

The Public Bistro recently opened in the former Sweetgrass space in Cooper-Young. The restaurant comes from Kate Ashby and Kyle Bankston who also run Knifebird – a cute wine bar just up the street.

exterior of the public bistro restaurant
Jalyn Souchek
The Public Bistro
cocktail next to candle and dining menu
Jalyn Souchek

Everyone is familiar with the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The Public Bistro is that “just right” fit Goldilocks was on the hunt for during her trespassing of someone else’s home. 

The restaurant isn’t too fancy or high-priced and it’s not fast casual. It sits right in the middle and I think you’re really going to enjoy it.

Off the bat, my first impression was a great one. The emissary at the front was incredibly kind and welcoming – grabbing our umbrella to wipe it down. The space is super cozy too with dimmed lighting and candles at each table.

dining room of the public bistro full of people eating
Jalyn Souchek
two small cocktails
Jalyn Souchek
Icebreaker cocktails - a must-order!

If you visited the previous restaurant Sweetgrass, you’ll notice they renovated much of the space. They brought in these beautiful and lush yellow wrap around booths.

The menu is filled with both casual and high-end dining options from sandwiches to short ribs. The drink menu at Public Bistro has something I’ve never seen done before called “The Icebreaker.” It’s a $7 mini cocktail that changes every single day. I just love this idea and I think it’s so fun. 

When you first sit down and are not sure what drink you're going to order, The Icebreaker is the perfect option. It's like an appetizer to your cocktail of choice. This night's cocktail was delicious and had flavors of lime and coconut in it.

I then ordered the Navigator cocktail ($15) because it had an interesting mix of flavors: bourbon, Aperol, Averna, and Amaretto. The flavors complemented each other so well. I highly recommend trying this.

deviled eggs and fried goat cheese apps
Jalyn Souchek
Nick's deviled eggs and fried goat cheese starters
salmon and short rib entrees
Jalyn Souchek
Short Ribs and Salmon entrees
dining area of small tables. one couple eating
Jalyn Souchek

Order the fried goat cheese and Nick’s deviled eggs for appetizers. They were both so delicious and rich with flavor. For my entree, I ordered one of Bankston’s recommendations – the salmon topped with chili chutney and came with carrots and herb risotto.

I loved how meltingly-soft the salmon was and how the chili chutney gave it just the right amount of kick. I got to try a few bites of the short ribs which were also perfectly tender and tasty. Bankston also recommends the roasted half chicken which is one of his personal favorites.

Additional menu items I look forward to trying are the steak sandwich, mushroom gnocchi, and the burger because I will be back very, very soon.

The Public Bistro is currently open for dinner only. A brunch is in the works for a later launch. They’ll also offer a happy hour special from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

creme brûlée
Jalyn Souchek
Always save room for creme brûlée
bar and additional dining area
Jalyn Souchek
The bar and additional dining area is perfect for a more casual evening


The Public Bistro
937 Cooper St.
Memphis, TN 38104

Monday - Thursday: 5 PM - 9 PM
Friday - Saturday: 5 PM - 10 PM


yellow booths along wall
Jalyn Souchek

About the Author

Hello! I'm Jalyn Souchek, the Director of Content for I Love Memphis Blog! I love calling the 901 home. When I'm not running the blog you can find me cheering on the Grizzlies, at a concert, exploring a new restaurant or kicking back at one of our breweries. I hope you'll love experiencing Memphis with me.

Build your perfect Memphis meal:

I love to eat so if I were to have only one meal left.. I’m going all out. I’d start with an app of Gumbo Fries from Blue City Cafe or Bayou Fries from Chef Tam, wings from Good Fortune or Central’s (honey gold and Jamaican Jerk), potato salad from Fat Larry’s, side of bbq spaghetti from Bar-B-Q Shop, and fried okra from Soul Fish. All paired with a Beale Street Brewing Space Age Sippin’.

Your most memorable Memphis moment:

College GameDay on Beale Street. That was an electric and perfect morning. I was still working in news then and was able to take it in up close and on the stage at some points. The fun and joy of everyone down there that morning is unbeatable.

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