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.
Roasted and brewed in-house, Republic Coffee’s global-savvy coffee drinks roll out a steamy rug for sandwiches stacked with smoked meats and soups made from scratch daily. Leafy greens and veggies burst from salads drizzled with just the right amount of dressing, and crostini dive into creamy baths of garlic hummus. The cozy coffeehouse’s doors open as the sun rises to greet diners with fluffy eggs, breakfast sandwiches, and malted belgian waffles. Sleek black chairs and leather booths scattered throughout the interior keep night owls comfy until closing time at midnight, when the overcaffeinated crowd works off excess steam by bouncing against exposed-brick walls.
The Cosmic Coconut indulges cravings with a full menu of specialty vegan smoothies, juices and snacks as well as fair-trade, organic coffee drinks. Futuristic light fixtures and repurposed furniture unite beneath hues of blue and lime green and surround a counter of bowls of fresh fruit, which transform into charming princes or specialty drinks such as the Chimps in Space smoothie with bananas, coconut milk, vanilla, nutmeg, and stevia ($3.50+) or the Grass Roots juice with wheatgrass, carrots, ginger, beets, apples, and chard leaf ($5.50). Embark on digital excursions in the café with WiFi access and a boost of energy courtesy of a café latte ($2.85+) or a Blood Transfusion juice shot, crafted from fresh-pressed wheatgrass and young coconut ($6.50). In addition to straw-centric refreshments, The Cosmic Coconut serves items such as fresh guacamole ($3.99) and apples with almond butter ($4.50) to keep molars from feeling left out.
Ugly Mug Coffee aims to protect the farmers harvesting each bean by sourcing organic, pesticide-free, and fair-trade coffee from around the world. Integrity pervades every phase of its buying process, as the company selects farmers who cultivate bird-friendly, shade-grown coffees without the use of toxic chemicals, and pay them a fair, livable price to incentivize their growing. Their fair-trade philosophy extends to what Ugly Mug hopes will one day be a hands-on collaboration with the farmers; until then, partnerships with economic-development programs and Growers First keep Ugly Mug's coffee ethical without reading it transcripts of the long dialogues Socrates often had with his percolator.
Ugly Mug's stringent vetting and buying process results in nuanced, aromatic coffee roasted right in Memphis. Single-origin coffees from Brazil or Mexico showcase each country's character with a gentler roast, and blends include Hardy Passion, a dark, rich roast, or Saving Grace, a balanced Peruvian/Guatemalan brew with a clean finish. Flavored coffees sweeten mornings with tastes such as Cinnamon Sticky Bun or Buttermoon, a popular mix of roasted-nut and sweet-caramel flavors.
So far, Dr. Bretta King and her sister Belinda have managed to dodge all of their family's hereditary illnesses. They don't consider this luck—according to the sisters, they have a raw vegan diet to thank for their health. They pay tribute to this lifestyle at Two Vegan Sistas, where they introduce people of all dietary persuasions to the art of vegan cuisine. Eschewing soy, sugars, and genetically modified foods, they've created an 80% raw menu focused on dishes cooked at below 105 degrees. They blend walnuts and almonds with vegetables and spices to make their vegan meats, top sandwiches in vegan barbecue sauce and mayo, and craft entrees such as mediterranean couscous and stir-fried quinoa with vegetables. To further a mission of environmental preservation, they also deliver their food to Memphis-area homes.