Like plate spinners at the circus, parents constantly race among multiple potential catastrophes. Brandy Marek, herself a mother of twin boys, established Take A Break to give parents time off from this endless balancing act and allow them to focus on their own neglected interests. Guardians unleash pent-up conversation with their grown-up peers over sandwiches and salads washed down with coffee as occasional gleeful shrieks drift to their ears from the playroom, where charges cavort under the watchful eye of Take A Break's staff. As parents take advantage of the alone time and wireless Internet to work, read, or research, kids build fortresses with blocks, assemble puzzles, and tear through a playhouse. With the jingling strains of kid-friendly music playing softly in the background, adults may reserve the café's conference room for meetings with clients, study-group sessions, or to practice setting up a new air mattress.
There is something so utterly charming about a tea shop that soothes patrons from the hectic outside world with a cup of hot tea and a slice of housemade banana cake glazed with lemon-cream-cheese icing. At Low Arts Tea Haven, guests can seek respite in the shop that feels like a best friend’s cozy apartment with its comfy oversized furniture, local artwork hanging from the walls, and a diary that was totally open the whole time. Soft music fills the air as guests sip Masala chai spiced tea, English breakfast tea, or the popular Chinese Dragonwell green tea and nibble scones and almond bars. Wooden shelves and tables nearby hoist teas, jams, and brewing supplies. The shop often hosts events including gongfu tea ceremonies, book clubs, and art classes.
Chef Geroy Rachel honed his skills at L'École culinaire in Memphis before opening Royal Flavors, a food truck specializing in smoky barbecued meats. Inside the mobile kitchen, he wraps bacon around chicken legs, flavors pork riblets with a dry rub, and smokes beef burgers to serve on butter buns with provolone cheese and pickles. Smoked cabbage salad or turnip greens with smoked pork round out meals, and slices of caramel cake or strawberry shortcake provide a sweet finish. Diners can take their food to go or eat beside the food truck, where picnic chairs surround a flat screen television.
Memphis Mojo Cafe takes a creative approach to soul food, with specialties that range from thick-cut fries smothered in housemade chorizo gravy to chicken tenders breaded with Frosted Flakes or Fruity Pebbles. In addition to brainstorming creative recipes, the spot's chefs devote themselves to sourcing high-quality, organic ingredients—take their steak burgers, for example, which are crafted from a blend of ground filet mignon, rib eye, and prime rib and served on freshly baked whole-grain buns.
The Grindz Coffee & Tea invites guests to relax with iced and warm caffeinated beverages in a spacious coffeehouse. Caramel macchiatos, chai tea lattes, and house blends accompany pastries and deli sandwiches. Fresh beans roasted in Portland, Oregon are available in 1-pound bags and can be ground at no additional charge. The locally owned venue regularly hosts special events featuring jazz bands, spoken-word artists, and other performers.
Offering diners a varying selection of Southern classics and 14 protein-and fruit-packed smoothies, the chefs at Scales Café whip up healthy snacks and filling dishes anchored around farm-raised catfish. A dusting of seasoned cornmeal prepares their signature catfish fillets to swim laps in the deep fryer before emerging triumphantly with either a crispy golden coat or a gold medal. Cajun or ranch spice blends can flavor the fresh fish, or diners can forgo the crispy crust in favor of a grilled or skillet-blackened fillet. Although house-made hush puppies, french fries, and coleslaw accompany most entrees to the table, eight other side options, including velvety mac 'n' cheese and sweet-potato fries, can smother hunger like a mother who cleans her son’s dorm room. Straws plumb the creamy depths of Scales Café's smoothies, which are made from fresh fruits, crushed fruit concentrates, and protein boosts. Each sippable meal is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but steers clear of fat, lactose, and artificial flavors.