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.
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.