Spirits and Soul Festival
"Spirits & Soul is a 2-Day Festival that brings the Tennessee Whiskey Trail to downtown Memphis, TN as part of the kick-off to the city’s Bicentennial Celebration, A New Century of Soul."
Mid-South Food Truck Fest
"70+ trucks from cities along the mighty Mississippi River and beyond come together to celebrate food and help local non-profits raise funds for their organization. This is an event to encourage people from all over to visit Memphis, TN and see that the city has a lot to offer. "
Taste the Rarity Wiseacre Brewing Co.
"TASTE the RARITY will feature the release of UNICORNUCOPIA 2019. Live Music from Mighty Souls Brass Band, Obruni Dance Band, the Griz Line, circus acts, some surprise entertainment, and more with backyard games and food trucks."
Foster Care Awareness Community Festival and Parade
"Vendors from the health care industry, government agencies and private sector will be onsite to provide free services and support to the residents of our community."
Lucy Music & Arts Festival
"Vendors will be selling food, art, and other home-made crafts. There will be a variety of fun games for children to participate in. We will also be featuring a number of musical acts from various musical styles and genres. This event is FREE"
Grind City Flow Festival
"The Grind City Flow Festival is a one day festival that will include workshops throughout the day in a variety of flow arts, aerial, yoga, and dance. The goal is to create a welcoming environment in which all performance artists, beginners and experts, can practice their craft safely under the guidance of trained professionals."
CommUnity Festival at Snowden
"Free to attend, there will be free food, a dunk tank, rock climbing, face painting, an obstacle course, food trucks, Mempops, local businesses and vendors, and other fun activities as well!!"
Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival
"Enjoy live music on three stages from nationally-known and local award-winning artists in Memphis, games including crawfish bobbing, eating, and racing, arts & crafts vendors, and a play zone for children ages 12 and under all for FREE."
Memphis in May International Festival
May 3rd-5th, 15th-18th, & 25th
(Multiple dates in May. Please click the link below for full event list)
"The mission of Memphis in May International Festival is to promote and celebrate Memphis culture, foster economic growth, and enhance international awareness through education"
Cinco de Mayo Popup Festival
"A Cinco De Mayo Popup Festival at Primas Bakery and Boutique!
The festival will host local artists and makers in the outdoor space directly next door to Primas Bakery and Boutique! There will be Cinco de Mayo deals and dessert specials inside Primas!"
Memphis Greek Festival
"This will be a two day festival filled with delicious Greek food, music, dancing, pastries, activities for the children, and more"
Water Lantern Festival
Water Lantern Festival is filled with fun, happiness, hope, and great memories that you'll cherish for a lifetime. This is a family friendly event that can be shared by everyone.
Memphis Margarita Festival
"The festival includes 15 margarita samples from your favorite restaurants, with awesome entertainment! Food will be available for purchase, and there will also be a cash bar with full-sized drinks available. "
"Memphis BrewFest highlights quality beers from the local region and beyond. The festival features a wide variety of American craft beers as well as exotic international brews, with a background of live music and the scenery of downtown Memphis."
Memphis Local Music Festival
"The Memphis Local Music Festival is a Celebration of Memphis’s Greatest Natural Resource - Our Talent! Come out and enjoy a day of Fun, Local Memphis Food, and Great Local Music!"
Ruby Bridges Reading Fest
"Children pre-K through elementary school receive free books at the festival, enjoy storytelling and entertainment. Educators, with their valid school ID, can also get free books for their classroom. The event will feature fun activities including face painting, balloon animals, dance and musical performances and food trucks."
Hattiloo Black Arts Festival
"Free festival showcases the diversity, energy, and exceptional talent of various local Black arts groups and artists."
Memphis Italian Festival
May 30th-June 1st
"The Memphis Italian Festival presents family-oriented fun in music, food, events, games, and more for the benefit of the children of Holy Rosary Parish School."
Tour de' Toast
"Tour Dé Toast is designed to educate a diverse group of cultured individuals in the community about champagne through a physical tasting while enjoying food curated by local chefs, libations, musical entertainment and art all under the sun and green lawn of the historic Pink Palace Museum."
Juneteenth Urban Music festival
"This free three-day festival provides fellowship, fanfare and a great time. Don't miss the Ultimate Juneteenth Showdown featuring majorettes, drummers, cheerleaders and steppers. They'll be a Kids Zone and health and wellness stations, rap, R&B, pop, hip-hop and gospel music entertainment."
Craft Food and Wine Festival
"It'll be a day of tastings of artisan breads, cheeses, fruit preserves, cured meats, oils and more paired with beer, wine and cider. Craft Food and Wine Festival benefits Church Health so you will be enjoying your favorite craft foods and beverages for a great cause!"
Mid-South International Festival
June 29th-June 30th
"Come celebrate the many cultures of the world! Marvel at the performances of traditional dancing and costumes. Eat and drink from an International menu. Shop through clothing and jewelry!"
"CAPA will host an APA Festival with Asian Cuisine, Music, Culture activities and traditions shared by multi-generations as community celebration and family fun day."
Bacon & bourbon Festival
"Bacon & Bourbon Festival hosted by the Memphis Flyer, we have creative bacon-inspired dishes of all kinds from some of Memphis' best restaurants, plus a vast array of distilled spirits to tempt your tastebuds. Music and entertainment provided"
Beale Street Cigar Festival
"Relax, eat, drink, smoke and play at the 5th Annual Beale Street Cigar Festival! Whether you’re a serious cigar connoisseur or new to the joy of a smooth smoke, you will appreciate this festival during Labor Day Weekend."
Cooper Young Festival
"Held in Memphis' largest historic district, guests will enjoy an appealing mix of art, music and crafts presented by over 435 artisans from around the country. "
September 27th- 29th
"This festival is the safe space for black and brown travelers from around the world, to build ideas, meet travel influencers, and experience parts of the world through on site activations. The day includes panels, one-on-one fireside chats, international music & DJs, celebrity appearances, food, vendors, and community love."
Memphis Japan Festival
"A family-friendly, interactive and hands-on experience of Japanese culture featuring food,
entertainment, games, crafts and more!"
Soulsville USA Festival
"One of the goals of the Soulsville USA Festival is to educate the city about those who have contributed to Memphis's soulful musical history and introduce them to those of us who are contributing to the city's soulful future."
Mempho Music Festival
October 19th-October 20th
"Mempho Music Festival blends today's top performers with Memphis' rich musical history, creating a festival experience filled with music, food, and nature for people of all ages."
All descriptions quoted from the actual event websites
Alright fellow food and wine lovers, this one is for you! 2019 is bringing you Memphis' first ever Craft Food and Wines Festival and you don't want to miss it! On June 23, 2019 from 4 pm - 9 pm you will be able to enjoy some locally- produced breads, cheeses, fruit preserves, cured meats, and more from 40 vendors. Located at Columns at One Commerce Square, 40 S. Main Street Memphis, TN 38103, this event will have shops for you to purchase what you've sampled, cheeseboards, and more. The festival will be split into two 2 hour tasting sessions, 4 pm and 6:30 pm to make sure that attendees get the most out of their visit.
. Since there is alcohol consumption you do have to be 21 or older to attend this event. There will be live entertainment brought to you by Will Lang Jazz Trio and DJ Crystal Mercedes.
In addition to pleasing your palate your ticket purchase will help support Church Health in continuing its mission of providing clinical services! Church Health is a faith-based healthcare organization founded in 1987 with the mission of providing affordable healthcare to individuals with no access to affordable healthcare. Church Health also offers training, education, community cooking classes and more. Take the opportunity to festival with a purpose and support organizations in your city that support you. To learn more about Church Health click the link provided. www.https://churchhealth.org/
Tickets are currently on sale at www.craftfoodandwinefestival.com. Prices range from $60-$115 but you can catch the early bird special of $55 until February 28th. Be sure to follow the festival sponsors for more information on this event, similar events and other activity options. I have included sponsor links below.
Downtown Memphis Commission, City Tasting Tours, Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits of TN, &
Edible Memphis as the event Media Partner.
Listed are some of the event vendors:
Church Health, City Block Butchers, Crosstown Brewing Co, Dave's Bagels, My Cup of Tea, Pontotoc, Primas Bakery + Boutique, Rizzo's, and so many more.
"Eating local is going to a whole new level with this festival and I’m glad about it. You will meet the happy pig farmers, the lady who grows the peppers to make her jelly, the baker making artisan desserts and breads, the butcher who cure the meats, the chefs who shop local for their products and make their own products, the dairy farmers who make fantastic cheeses, the wood workers and so much more."
Event organizer, Cristina McCarter
Tom Lee Park
In 2020 Tom Lee Park as we know it will no longer exist. On February 2nd I attended the Tom Lee Park Engagement Center Grand Opening. I was able to see a model of the park, read about the history and future of the park, test out a pair of super cool virtual reality goggles, and give my opinion of what I think Downtown Memphis needs more/less of. I want Memphis to make no moves without me knowing so if there is something to see or discuss I try to be there. If you too are interested in doing the same head to Beale Street Landing on Wednesdays (4 pm - 7 pm) and Saturdays(12 pm - 3 pm)to see the design, ask questions, and learn more about the future of the riverfront. Also, the South Main Association and Memphis River Parks Partnership is having a meeting on February 12 at 6 pm - 7 pm discussing the redesign.
St. Jude just celebrated its 57th anniversary and at 57 years they show no sign of them slowing down. They continue to expand and make more efforts to support the families that travel to them from all over the world for treatment. Soon St. Jude will start construction on its new patient family housing project in the Pinch District. In 2016 they purchased the Downtown Animal Hospital and Promedica Clinic that was located in that area for this project. With more construction to come St. Jude is moving forward with its 6 six year expansion plan mentioned in previous Top Things You Need to Know blog. I have yet to hear or read any information about a completion date.
Swanky's + Chisca
Last year Lyfe Kitchen surprisingly closed both of its locations. The Poplar location was immediately turned into a Central BBQ but I wondered what would replace the downtown location that was connected to The Chisca On Main. While on a City Tasting Food Tour, which is a must experience, the founder, Cristina McCarter informed me that Swanky's Taco Shop may be taking over. I wasn't too hype about it because I was hoping something different would be coming and maybe even another vegan option to add to the list. However, Cristina would be right and Swanky's would be taking over. By April of this year, Downtown should have it's own Swanky's Taco Shop located at 272 S. Main Street with the cutest outdoor patio for all your summer night adventures.
We Are Memphis
We Are Memphis is looking for Memphians who are making a difference in the city! In honor of Memphis' bicentennial celebration, you may nominate a "Next Century Memphian" by clicking on the link below and filling out the form. I'm down for anything that shines a positive light on the city so when I saw this I had to share. "We Are Memphis" is Powered by the Memphis Brand Initiative, a collection of organizations and individuals with the intent to "elevating Memphis, captivating audiences locally and globally, to create catalytic positive change" according to the website.
LeMoyne- Owen College + Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
When I read that my beloved organization pledged 100,000 to Lemoyne-Owen College I had to post about it. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. has implemented AKA-HBCU Endowment Fund with the purpose of investing in the future of the youth and helping to sustain HBCUs such as LeMoyne. As I continued to read I started to wonder how we have a whole HBCU but people barely know. I think Memphis often tosses things to the side after it feels there isn't much need for it anymore. LeMoyne wasn't even an option to me for college and a lot of times I made jokes about how it was barely a school. But why wasn't it an option? Why hasn't it been cared for like other Historical black colleges and universities have? It may not be as popular or advanced as others but it's still a gem and it's still apart of our history. I'm sure their leadership has played a part in things as well but I hope in the future we support and protect it more!
Orange Mound is hosting its own Black Restaurant Week! It starts today, February 11th and continues until February 15th. Currently, the participating businesses are Pop's Hot Tamales, Smacker's, The Wing Factory, and Toney's Corner Grocery Store. I have included the flyer with more details about the week and addresses of the participating businesses. Go out and show the businesses in my old neighborhood some support!
MATA will be offering free bus and rail trolley rides on April 25, 2019. I know this date is a little far off so I'll be sure to repost this to my page when the date is closer.
l'll definitely be getting a free trolley ride that day!
Culture & Cocktails
This Wednesday, DMaze & Rob Love will be hosting Culture & Cocktails Writers Block Edition with Steph Jones & Underground Poet Society at LOVE. I'm a sucker for poetry, vibes, a good happy hour, and food, so I was happy to find out that Culture and Cocktails have all of the above! I went to the first Culture & Cocktails Writers Block and had a great time! If you're looking for more things centered around the arts or to just vibe with your friend this is your spot. You can even treat bae to a pre-valentines day adventure with some spoken word and witness some of Memphis' most talented poets. Happy hour is from 4 pm - 7 pm and you don't want to miss it. LOVE is located at 7144 Winchester Ave. See flyer for information on booths and tables.
Midtown has a new donut shop. Midtown donuts, located at 1776 Union Ave, opened on February 9th. It is replacing Midtown's old Donald's Donuts. Midtown Donuts will be serving lunch items and coffee in addition to the donuts. They will be opened Monday - Sunday from 4 am to 7 pm.
Last year I shared this program that the City of Memphis started called Manhood University. It was started to assist the men in Memphis with finding jobs, creating better relationships, stress the importance of them building up their communities, and more. Manhood University is facilitated by a partnership with the faith-based community and is a six-week program. The curriculum topics will be developing goal-setting, time management, financial literacy, conflict resolution, job readiness, and communication skills. The program is for males between the ages of 16 and above. If you know someone who would benefit from this program click on the link provided to register online. I also have a copy of the application and I can send it to whoever needs it.
Saturday, February 16, 2019, THE University of Memphis NPHC (National Pan-Hellenic Council) presents its Black History Month step show at the Elma Roane Field House. Doors open at 6 pm and the show starts at 7 pm. Tickets are $10 for students, 15 for general admission, and $20 the day of the show. If you plan to attend you may want to get there early for a good seat.
"The Fieldhouse" as it is often referred to is located on the University of Memphis campus. If you're familiar with the campus then the fieldhouse is next to the Rose Theatre. If you are not familiar with the campus please go to the University Center for directions. Put 499 University St Memphis, TN 38152 in your GPS and it will take you right to it.
So usually for potholes, trash on the highways, an abandoned vehicle, or other issues we report to the city we dial 311 but there is actually an app for it. It was created in 2013 as a more convenient option for Memphians to report issues. I downloaded and it seems to be user-friendly. In addition to you being able to submit your own request, there is an option for you to see all the issues/service request that has been issued in the city. Go to your designated app store to download it and help fix the issues in the city.
The first State of the County address will be given by Mayor Lee Harris on Friday February 15th at 3 pm. The location is Halloran Centre, 225 S Main Street Memphis, TN 38103. You can RSVP to Deon.firstname.lastname@example.org or 901-222-2000
Soon there will be a new gated community near Memphis’ International Airport. Located between 4503 and 4563 Tchulahoma Road the 6 acres of the area will have about 25 homes selling for $170,000. The hope is to bring new life and attention to an area where most of the homes were built in the 1950s.
I’m sure you’ve seen all the explore bikes stationed around downtown almost on every block! Well, soon there will be even more bikes in other locations. This fall 60 new bikes will be placed at The University of Memphis and in surrounding areas. The university received a $580,000 grant from congestion mitigation and air quality for the expansion.
A four-story, 68-unit apartment building will be replacing a long-time vacant building next to the Lorraine Motel. 138 Huling Ave will soon be demolished (if not started already) and replaced with 580-square foot micro units, 830-square-foot studios, 10 two-bedroom units that will be at least 1,200 square feet with large windows that open into the courtyard, 3,300 square foot courtyard, secure parking below the building and a fitness center. For more details and photos click on the Memphis Business Journal link below.
64 S. Main Street will soon be a lifestyle hub. Local businessman Gabriel Velasquez was recently approved for a 15-year PILOT incentive and will be turning the vacant building into a space geared toward helping you pursue a healthier lifestyle and all-around better life. Each floor will be different with some of the options being a boutique, fitness and wellness center with personal training and group classes, meal-prep services, and healthier eating options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There will also be retail space for small pop-up shops for local businesses and a co-working space for business owners to focus or hold meetings, in addition to permanent office space for interested parties. Eventually, Velasquez also wants the lifestyle hub to have a high-end, intimate restaurant. Velasquez will be hiring local artists to paint murals and design custom light fixtures. No information on how that selection process will take place.
On the last things you need to know I informed you all that MATA would be adding 10 new electric buses and a new route to help our public transportation system be more reliable. Well, now a new transportation fee may be headed our way. As the city works on making public transportation more reliable, they are also looking for ways to fund these necessary changes. This transportation utility fee is “something charged to property owners or users based on the estimated amount of vehicle trips their property generates” according to the Memphis Business Journal reporter Samuel Hardiman. Change is good and imperative for Memphis to grow, so we must remember that most times it comes with a price. Hopefully, while the city is considering fees to fund projects, they are also considering our pockets and increasing working wages.
The SkyCops surveillance cameras have been a big thing in recent years so much that more and more neighborhoods are wanting them installed. It has been said that some neighborhoods are donating cameras to other areas, Belle Meade being the first to do so in 2016. Now the Castalia Apartments and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis want to donate two cameras (totaling $24,760), Fairfield Circle residents would like to donate one camera ($5,980), Kellogg's is planning to donate two cameras ($9,410) and Loeb Properties plans to donate two cameras for ErinWay Shopping Center ($13,540). I found it interesting that all donated cameras have to be approved by city council.
Downtown Dining Week
Tomorrow starts DOWNTOWN DINING WEEK!!!! From November 5th- 11th participating restaurants will have special menus with lunch and dinner specials. Restaurants will have 3-course meals for 20.18 and two for one lunches for 10.18! There are also available parking garage discounts for guest to utilize! This event features restaurants such as 117 Prime, Aldos, Automatic Slims, Evelyn&Olive, Felicia Suzanne’s, Rizzo's, The Majestic Grille, Cupcake Cuties for your sweet tooth, and MUCH more!! There are a total of 49 restaurants so allow this week to be your cheat week, loosen your belt buckle and dig in! Visit http://www.downtowndiningweek.com the full restaurant list and more information about the week.
Memphis’ bicentennial celebration is racking in funds. Memphis and Shelby County may be helping to fund the project by giving $600,000 and Shelby County Commission moved forward with a $300,000 contribution. Bicentennial planners are also seeking $1.4 million in private funds for activities. This will be a yearlong celebration and a few of the activities have already been planned. May 22nd will be the kickoff event, May 25th will be a celebrate Memphis day dedicated to showcasing new and old Memphis musical talent, and November 24th will be the closing event. Full details of the events have yet to be made public.
First of all, I’m late because I did not know that City Gear was a Memphis based company but that makes a lot of sense. City Gear was acquired by Hibbett Sports which is Birmingham-based for $88 million. City Gear has 135 stores in 15 states will operate as a subsidiary of Hibbett and the senior management of City Gear will continue to lead the company out of its Memphis headquarters. The two companies are hoping that the acquisition will lead to growth financially for both and help the companies reach a new customer base.
I saved the most important for last. Early voting ended last Thursday, and Tuesday, November 6th is the absolute last day to allow your voice to be heard! These last few years have shown us exactly why voting and being informed is important. We cannot continue to allow individuals who don’t consider us as human beings to make decisions that affect our every day. We have people in positions of power who are creating hostile environments allowing ignorance to have a place in society and it is time to bring an end to it. We must let elected officials know who put them in these positions and who really has the power. Don’t let fear or a lack of knowledge hinder you from exercising your right to vote. No more acting like we don’t care, or things don’t affect us because they do. Your life can end up a news story just like anyone else. We have rights for a reason, apply and know them! Links below can tell you who will be on your ballot as well give you some data on the election. If you Google "Where do I vote in Memphis, TN"
there will be a search bar for you to enter your address, once entered click the magnifying glass icon for it to generate the search and your voting locations will be listed.
. Also, if you’ve seen these campaign ads, they really tell you all you need to know about some of these candidates. Happy voting, polls open at 7:00 am and if you need a ride call 901-570-0307!
The University of Memphis will be offering free tuition to FedEx hub employees. The Learning inspired by FedEx (LiFE) program will give approximately 11,000 FedEx employees the opportunity to earn an undergraduate or graduate degree from the University of Memphis' online degree program.
For those employees that did not receive a high school diploma, the LiFE program is also allowing workers to earn a high school equivalency diploma. The program will have an academic coach and 24/7 tutoring available through UofM Global.
Employees must remain in good academic standing and may begin the program on the first day of employment with FedEx.
For more information please click the link below.
Elemento Neapolitan Pizza
Just when you think Crosstown Concourse can't add anything else they prove you wrong. Recently they added a new pizza place called Elemento Neapolitan Pizza. The pizza place focuses on the Neapolitan-style pizza which has strict rules on how they are to be made. If you're like me you had no idea what Neapolitan style pizza was and had to look it up. Apparently, the rules explain what type of tomatoes, cheese, and flour is used for the dough. Cooking times and temperature are also key for an authentic Neapolitan pizza.
They even imported two wood-fired ovens from Italy so it's big deal. Elemento also offers salads, meatballs, gelatos, cannoli, and buratta dishes.
Founded in 2006 as a safe place for residents, Caritas Village was recently renovated and is now reopened to start back serving the Binghampton community Located at 2509 Harvard Ave Memphis, TN 38112
They had a grand reopening on August 25 to reintroduce the community center back to the residents.
Both H&M stores are now opened for business. One is located in the Oak Court Mall at 4465 Poplar Ave and the other is located in the Wolfchase Galleria at 2760 N Germantown Pkwy. I visited both malls recently and I was happy to see a new store in both malls. Hopefully, the new additions will be the continuation of the revitalization of the once two popular malls.
A couple of blogs back I posted about the Trader Joe's that would be coming to Germantown. I talked about how the plan hit some bumps in the road along the way but they had officially started construction well, construction is completed and the store is now opened. I road passed a couple of weeks ago and it has definitely added new life to the area.
A $70 million redevelopment plan has been proposed for the Edge district (Downtown where the old Wonder Bread bakery is located). The plan is said to include apartments, offices, shops, and amenities.
According to the Commercial Appeal part of 400 Monroe will include 286 new apartments and a 480-space parking garage with another 75,000 square feet being turned into office spaces and retail. 411 Monroe will be restored as 17,000 square feet of office space. Parts of 421 Monroe will include City & State(coffee shop) and offices of Memphis Medical District Collaborative.
Leaving 435 Madison to be renovated as 35,000-square-foot of office and recreational space.
Need to release some unwanted stress or aggression in a destructive but non-harmful to others way?? Well, now you can take your little angry self down to our very own rage room, Craze. Opened August 4, 2018, by native Memphian Sierra Miller as a new alternative to relieve stress but to also have fun while doing it.
"Let us help you redirect that negative energy in a controlled environment" reads the website! Craze even has "Sip and Bash" tickets available for sale at a reasonable price. You can even bring your own items to smash or just to donate to the cause. I wanted to go to this plate smashing place years ago so this will definitely be on my to-do list.
Better Body Yoga and Salt Caves
Better Body Yoga is a yoga studio that specializes in Hatha Yoga and therapeutic yoga. They offer a variety of classes and workshops. They also have these cool Halotherapy dry salt caves that are used for relaxation as well as helping with allergies, colds, eczema and more.
I am always looking for new ways to relax or help me to concur my struggle with allergies/eczema so I'm eager to try them out. They are opened seven days a week and have a boutique with all your yoga needs and salts for purchase. You may visit the website by clicking the link below.
We didn't get to become home of the second Amazon headquarters but we did get the opportunity to house two distribution centers which have been mentioned as the only distribution facilities in west Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Missouri. The centers are located at 3292 Holmes Road and 5155 Citation Drive. According to the Commercial Appeal, Amazon will hire 1,500 full-time and part-time associates. Applications will be accepted online only. Click the link provided to search your job search www.amazon.com/memphisjobs
Lamar will be getting a $71.2 million federal grant to make improvements to the area. According to WREG, this plan will create 1,500 new permanent jobs and about 2, 000 short-term construction jobs. Construction will begin this fall and will be extended by a mile and a half each year after until 2021.
Don't forget to register to vote!
Tennessee, today is the last day to register to vote in time for our midterm elections. People often ask why they should vote and a major reason for me is that if anyone gives me the opportunity to voice my opinion about something I'm going to do it. There are so many unqualified individuals benefiting from people staying home when it is time to visit the polls. The last presidential election should have taught us the importance of voting but if it didn't then the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh should be the next lesson. Please excuse your right to vote and be aware of what is happening in your community, city, and state. Local elections are our state presidential elections.
See ovr.govote.tn.gov for more info.
Hey loves! I've been gone for a while but I've missed letting you all know what's going on in the city so I'm back! Some of these things you may already know but if not I'm still of use to you.
Curry n Jerk
Did you all know there was a new Caribbean style restaurant downtown?? When I found out I was too excited! I loved my trip to Jamaica so anything that can remind me of drinking Blue Hawaiians on the beach and eating jerk chicken is a win! Curry n Jerk opened on June 15, 2018, at 126 Monroe Ave. Focusing on Jamaican and Panamanian family dishes Curry n Jerk was opened in honor of the owner's mother Sharon Rose B. They occasionally have live music and karaoke on Friday and Saturday in the downstairs lounge from 11 p.m -2 a.m. You may also experience a Jazz dinner menu on Friday and Saturday as well as happy hour 4-7 Mon-Thur(Full-service bar).
Back in June, the Commercial Appeal stated that a group of Memphis investors presented a plan to reinvest $42 million of property taxes back into the Poplar Corridor district. The plan was approved in July and I'm sure you've already seen some of the construction. Poplar Corridor is a 600-acre district consisting of Yates westbound, Park on the south, Kirby on the east and Shady Grove north. This is a 20-year TIF (Tax-Increment Financing ) could possibly add 7,000 permanent jobs and grow local taxes.
Below is a breakdown of what some of the funding will be used for:
10.6 million will be spent on traffic signals on poles instead of dangling from wires, $9.3 million on road improvements, $9.2 million on street light improvements, $5.1 million to improve streetscapes and pedestrian walkways, $4.8 million on gateways and street signs, and $3.2 million to move utility poles back from the streets and increase the spacing between them. The hope is to make this district a magnet for investments that would benefit all of Memphis.
The city of Memphis may be buying Georgia Avenue Elementary and Martin Luther King Jr. Student Transition Academy to be a part of a $200 million South City redevelopment project in downtown. The ideas for what the buildings may be becoming are a small business incubator, a grocery store, farmers market, and temporary housing and services for refugees. Also, a literacy and technology initiative, wraparound social services, a restaurant, and a fitness facility. The option for the city to purchase the schools expires in February. The redevelopment could be a part of the of the initiative started by the redevelopment of the old Foote Homes housing project.
A Memphis developer named Andre Jones is planning to build a neighborhood of tiny and small homes located on the block southeast of Main Street's intersection with Saffarans Avenue. The neighborhood will include 22 residences, ranging from 360 to 1,120 square feet in size and priced from $600 to $1,350 per month. The developer is hoping these homes will merge the gap between the single family home and the uptown flats.
In April 70 Flicker Street became a new adult playground. Ropes, monkey bars, swings, an outdoor field, equipment, strength training, soft mat space, and more now makeup Recess. Recess is a workout and health facility that focuses on fun, creating a healthier lifestyle, and helping you achieve your desired level of fitness. Created by Brooks Meadows recess offers classes, personal training, and physical therapy. Educators receive a 20% discount and adult membership begins at $99 a month. They offer a $30 intro week that starts on your first visit and one day $15 passes. You are required to sign a waiver that is available on the website. Minors must be signed for by a parent or legal guardian. www.recess901.com
A $24 million hotel is being proposed for Overton Square by Loeb Properties. The 109 room hotel has a scheduled start date of November 2018 and hopes of being opened by early 2020. Possibly being called "The Memphian" the hotel will be a much-needed addition to the area. Check out the Memphis Business Journal for pics on more information on the hotel.
A plan has been submitted to construct a high-end apartment complex called the Peabody Flats at the corner of Peabody Avenue and Waldran Boulevard. The 20 unit complex will be gated, have an elevator, covered parking, and rent starting at $1,000. The developers are hoping that the construction plan for the complex is approved at the proposed height listed in the plan if so the building will be taller than the property's zoning normally allows.
A $20 million grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation will be spent on aiding MATA in becoming a reliable public transportation option for Memphis residents. 13.9 million will be spent on 10 electric buses and establishing the electric charging stations, the other $6 million will be spent on the new route that will service the Memphis International Airport and southeast Memphis area. No projected start date for the project
as of now.
The Artery: Stereo to Escape
The DMC (Downtown Memphis Commission) has been seeking artists to be apart of a new project to improve Maggie H. Isabel Street and Rendezvous alley. Over the next four months, there will be repaving, added string lighting, and art installations. There was an application process to be considered and an interested artist had to apply by October 8th, which was yesterday. By December the DMC will make its selections and the installation will begin soon after with a projected wrap-up being before mid-April of 2019. See link for full details on the project.
This one is bittersweet. The Lyfe Kitchen on Poplar is now closed, well both Lyfe Kitchens are now closed but at least the building on Poplar has a new tenant. 6201 Poplar Avenue is now home Central BBQ! The restaurant opened its latest location in August of this year.
One of the reasons I started this blog was because I was tired of hearing people say that there was nothing to do in Memphis, adding to the negative publicity. I wanted to create an outlet that would help display the real Memphis, the Memphis that my friends and I get to experience. I’m so proud of where I’m from and take every chance I get to showcase my city and its people. That’s why when a friend mentioned to me that he and some other friends were starting a movement that would be working toward accomplishing a similar goal I had to know more. They too had grown tired of people complaining about the lack of entertainment and networking opportunities in our city and decided to do something about it. Instead of just sitting back and waiting for someone else to fix what they felt Memphis needed they created “The Urban Elite”, bringing the city a new premier entertainment and networking option to add to its list. Justin Boddie, Kenneth Fleming, Mario Pendarvis, Ruffin Smith, Rashod Traylor, and Tim Jordan II created The Urban Elite "to provide Memphis' urban young professionals with unique and alternative forms of entertainment and networking that intentionally focuses on their cultural experiences. Providing a platform for our demographic to create, promote, and participate in entertainment opportunities for the culture... by the culture..... created to unite the culture.” Explained by Urban Elite Co-founder Tim Jordan.
The group held their first successful event on April 21, 2018, with the kickoff event being a summer brunch series. Indulge, But First, Brunch! Is a day party brunch experience designed to give you good food, drinks, day party vibes, and music wrapped all in one. I had the pleasure of attending their first event and as a brunch connoisseur I recommend and approve of this brunch. Being able to brunch and hit a day party on the same day without traveling to a different venue warms my heart. I was able to hang with some of my friends from college that I don’t get to see often as well as meet some new people. There is a picture below depicting the time I had at the brunch, Issa mood. The location was downtown which makes it extremely easy to find your next spot if you want to continue to kick it. OH! There is a price option for you to have your own bottle of champagne. YAAAA OWNNNN BOTTLEEEE!! (Drink responsibly, always) Fellas you may even find yourself a summer bae because you know brunching brings the women out!
These men have taken on the challenge of being the change they want to see but still making sure to support those who have already made the same effort.
“We only want to provide choices, not competition! We aren't here to chase after what others are doing, we are focused on staying in our lane and providing opportunities that others aren't at this point. We are eager to be a force of positive energy and support for others in the city to ensure everyone understands that success is attainable for all and Memphis will be a better place for us all as a result.” says Tim Jordan.
It is so encouraging to see so many people contributing to changing the culture of a stagnant Memphis. Whether it is with programs for the kids, community projects, or evolving the arts Memphis millennial have committed to Memphis and making it a better city for all. We have realized that the city’s issues cannot be handled alone, and it is up to the residents to change the direction of where things are headed. It is so easy for one to just pick up and move on with their life, so I applaud everyone who is taking the effort to make Memphis a better place. I know fighting for change can be a little tough but nothing worth having has ever come easily. Let’s make sure we take the mindset of the founders of Urban Elite by creating choices, not competition and finding solutions to our problems. Let’s also be sure to support each other, keep each other safe, and show that Memphis is not to be counted out! We are more than violence, poverty, or whatever other labels people have given us. Take pride in where you are from and give back to your communities!!
The Urban Elite has their second installment of Indulge..... But First, Brunch coming up soon. Saturday, June 30, 2018, at BrickWood Hall, 391 S Front St. The Urban Elite will be giving you the opportunity to let your guards down, be yourself, have a good time enjoying the culture with like-minded individuals, all in a safe environment. Tickets are currently on sale to purchase! Pricing descriptions and links are below.
The different entry options include either 2 complimentary mimosas or YOUR OWN bottle of champagne and shared carafes of juice.
To purchase your Tickets & V.I.P Booth Reservations visit: indulgebutfirstbrunch.eventbrite.com
Can't wait to see your faces!
“Treeform Memphis” art installation will soon be in a vacant Memphis lot near you. Making its U.S. debut in Memphis, the art installation is Designed by Parisian architectural firm Atelier YokYok. Installed at A.W. Willis Avenue Medical district, the art will mimic a forest and tree canopy, according to the Memphis Business Journal. This installation will also include original work by a local artist Cat Pena. There is a Facebook page dedicated to the installation (@TreedomMemphis) and there will be a discussion on the installation at Crosstown Concourse on June 3, 2018, from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm. More information and pictures may be found on the firm’s webpage. Please click the link provided. www.atelieryokyok.comLink for the Crosstown Concourse event http://crosstownarts.org/calendar/yokyok-from-france-to-memphis/
In addition to the TDZ expansion, the City filed for a $1.4 million building permit for renovations to the Mississippi River Park, located near the entrance of Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid. The plan includes building open-air dining pavilions out of deconstructed shipping containers and elevated tree houses similar to a bird’s nest, turning Beale Street Landing into a community hub, turning Mud Island into an eco-hub, adding a skate park, playground, and rock climbing wall. President and CEO of the River Park Partnership, Carol Coletta, was quoted stating that work should begin the first week of June and be completed after Labor Day. The hope is for the park to host the 2018 RiverArtsFest.
The old central train station will soon have 124 hotel rooms, a 3,500 square foot restaurant, a 6,700 square foot ballroom and an 8,000 square foot retail space along with the Amtrak Station. Under construction, next door is the seven-screen Malco movie theater which will have balcony seating, electric recliners, a restaurant and bar, and an eight outdoor screen and lounge rooftop. The theater is set to open near Thanksgiving.
Sooooo The University of Memphis (really the University District) has decided to just fill the area with restaurants, apartments, and bars long after I graduated. New to Highland Strip is The Bluff, Insomnia Cookie, Petra Café, Burgerim, Bruster’s Real Ice Cream, and Maciel’s Taco Shop. I’m salty but happy for the current and future Tigers. Now, the FedEx Institute of Technology is working on creating self-driving shuttles buses and small robotic deliveries. As stated by Memphis Business Journal reporter, Michelle Corbet, “The DRONES Innovation Research Cluster is looking for a proposal that will introduce these autonomous systems to explore the social, psychological and practical challenges of those interacting within the City.” There was also a mention of expanding the route of the school’s campus shuttle, The Blue Line.
Whitehaven Entertainment Center
According to the Memphis Business Journal, there is a plan being submitted to bring a 74,000 square foot retail and entertainment center with a trampoline park to the Whitehaven community. The trampoline park would be located next to the Kroger on Shelby Drive and Elvis Presley. The renovated center is expected to create roughly 109 jobs. The wages for the jobs will average $9.70 per hour but hopefully, they will end up being a little more.
Raiford's Hollywood Disco
We may have a new patio to add to the city’s list. Raiford’s Hollywood Disco on 115 Vance Ave will soon be home to a new restaurant and bar. Owners of the WKDN Hang Suite Bar and Lounge in Nashville are expanding outside of Nashville for the first time. No projected date for an opening but the owners hope to take over the space by late summer or early fall.
Collierville will soon have a new subdivision aimed towards retirees. Named “Quinn Ridge”, the subdivision will be located to the south of Collierville. Quinn Ridge will be developed as a 543 residential lot, built in 14 phases over 10 years. The homes will be no smaller than 2,500 square feet with the average price being 500,000 as told by The Memphis Business Journal. The proposal won’t be considered until June 14, 2018.
We all know how amazing St. Jude is but it seems that they have decided to take things a little further. In addition to their 2015 expansion plan and $412 million research center that is set to open in 2021, St. Jude just announced a $100 million-plus initiative to expand access of care to children in low and middle incomes countries. (See full article written by the Commercial Appeal) This initiative will help St. Jude help children in places like Nicaragua, Jordan, and Philippines.
27 W. Carolina Ave could soon be an apartment complex with 57 units and 8,000 square feet of the ground floor being retail space. This complex would be just south of Loflin Yard. According to the Memphis Business Journal, the project’s desired completion date would be the middle of 2019.
Regional One (often referred to as the Med) is seeking a 5-6-year $300 million redevelopment plan for the facility. The plan would include demolishing and rebuilding some of the 6 buildings on the hospital’s main campus as published by the Commercial Appeal. With most of the buildings being 45 to 50 years old the trauma center is well overdue for redevelopments. I personally hope they get the funds that they need! The Med has been saving lives since before I could remember, one special life being my oldest sister who was in a car accident in the mid-90s that could have been fatal. This place will always have my respect, support, and love.
Hey y'all! So, there is so much going in Memphis that I had to break it up into two separate blogs. We have redevelopments, new restaurants, and initiatives contributing to the growth and potential of Memphis. I encourage you all to stay informed and get involved so that we can continue to show the world the real Memphis.
Now when you go rent a movie you may now be able to grab a book as well! Memphis Public Libraries has gifted the city with “ReadBox”, a brilliant play on the popular movie and game rental the Redbox. The Readbox has already been spotted at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, Crosstown Concourse, and in front of the Walgreens on Getwell. Follow them on Facebook @Memphispubliclibraries and I have provided the link to the web page. www.memphislibraries.org/
Okay, don’t judge me but I LOVE Piccadilly! (If you know me you know that though) I used to eat it so much while in college. I still have moments where I buy it a couple of times in one week so when I heard a new one was opening I had to let the people know. The new location will be in Cordova on Germantown Pkwy and will be only for to-go orders. This will be the companies first-to-go location. The new location is set to open in June of this year.
The airport has a new Italian-Themed restaurant called Torn Basil. Torn Basil is located near gate A27 offering pizza, meatballs, salads, sandwiches, and a breakfast menu.
South Main Grocery Store
Although there is a huge Kroger on Union Avenue near S. Mclean Blvd residents who live further Downtown feel that they are at a disadvantage when it comes to grocery shopping. For years they have desired a grocery store that they could possibly walk to or is a short drive away. It took some time, but this May it was announced that a 25, 0000 square foot grocery is being developed for South Main Street. 136 Webster Ave. will hopefully be a full-service grocery store by the end of 2018. The owner of the location is looking for a tenant but will start small and open the grocery store on his own if no companies are interested.
If you have ever been to Crosstown Concourse, then you know that there are a million things in that building. If you live there you basically wouldn’t have to leave your apartment for much except new scenery and soon there will be even more. A new plant-based café will be opening soon located on the second floor and 425- seat black box theater will be opening this fall. “The café will provide free meals to the arts organization’s residents, cater the organization’s events, and be open to the public for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A bar will be open nightly for residents and the public” as written by Memphis Business Journal Reporter, Jacob Steimer. You can follow Crosstown Concourse on Instagram (@crosstownconcourse) to see the progress of the theater.
A Soulsville retail building will soon be redeveloped and include a restaurant. Memphian Derrick Craig has hopes of opening “Johnnie Mae’s Soul Cafe” in honor of his mother as well as opening other options that would attract the attention of the students of Lemoyne- Owen College. Johnnie Mae’s menu will include soul food, healthy options, and a bar. This project would bring much-needed life to the area and maybe even help draw attention to Memphis’ Historically Black College.
100 N. Main
The tallest building in Memphis (34 stories) will hopefully become home to a 550 room Hotel with 220 apartments according to the Memphis Business Journal. With the city’s blessing a New York-based townhouse management company will be turning 100 N. Main into a large convention center hotel. If approved and finalized the project will also include the redevelopment of the 103,000-square-foot building at 147 Jefferson Ave.
Memphis is set to get a pro football team. Earlier this month I read in the Commercial Appeal that Memphis would be apart of The Alliance of American Football League in 2019. A press conference was held and named Mike Singletary as the head coach. It appears that Memphis previously had franchises in the World Football League, Arena Football, USFL, Canadian Football League and the XFL. I also had no idea that we temporarily housed the Tennessee Titans back in 1997. Who knew!
If you frequent down Poplar Ave near Poplar Commons Shopping Center (Poplar and Perkins Extd) you have noticed that the area has been under heavy redevelopment. Recently, May 23, 2018, a restaurant called Chicken Salad Chick opened making it the newest restaurant to the area. Chicken Salad Chick, referred to on their website as “The Best Chicken Salad in the South”, has a variety of chicken salad, soups, sides, and more. I even read that soon a Smoothie King and a HopDoddy Burger will join the area. Apparently, a building permit was filed in May of 2017 for the Hopdoddy Burger Bar but I guess I was so hype about the Overton Square location that I missed that information. No set date for the opening of Smoothie King or Hopdoddy but I imagine they will both be open before or by the end of this year.
Riverfront and Mud Island
When I moved back to Memphis in 2016 there was a proposal to add the Riverfront and Mud Island River Park to the TDZ (Tourism Development Zone) redevelopment plan. The TDZ already included projects for the Pinch District, Bass Pro Shop at the Pyramid, and the renovation of the Cook Convention Center. On Tuesday, May 22, 2018, it was confirmed on the City’s website that the addition was approved by the State. The approval means that the Brooks Museum will more than likely be moving Downtown with Front and Union possibly being its new home, $125 million aquarium for Mud Island, and a pedestrian bridge connecting riverfront to the rest of downtown. The next move for the city will be to conduct feasibility studies for the new projects according to the Memphis Business Journal. Check out the City's website for more information and sign up for e-mil updates.
Carpenter Art Garden Bike Shop brings the residents of Binghampton a biking program that offers more than just two wheels. Founded a little over 2 years ago, The Carpenter Art Garden received a grant from the Plough Foundation to purchase and renovate a Binghampton home. That home is now Carpenter Art Garden Bike Shop. Located at 296 Carpenter Street, Carpenter Art Garden Bike shop is teaming up with Pedaltown Bicycle Company to kick their program into full gear by adopting a bicycle trade-in feature.
“It was started because of demand. Following the story of Donte and his new bicycle, which was purchased from selling the Grizz Hearts you see throughout Memphis, we started to get feedback from the neighborhood. Bikes are simple. They are a teaching tool, they are tools that involve learning together, and it’s a tool that once completed can transport you. The bicycle serves as a symbol NOT to get residents out (or ride away) of Binghampton, but a symbol to bring them together and showcase the talent in Binghampton,” explains Clark Butcher, owner of Pedaltown Bicycle Company and board member of Carpenter Art Garden.
This program matches volunteers with an estimated 70 neighborhood children and adults to provide vocational job training and opportunities. Every Tuesday members of the program work on art installations, take-home projects, and gardening with participants potentially earning a bike of their own through the program. The program has received over 100 adult and children bicycles as donations from Pedaltown to aid them in their efforts, but your help is still needed. To generate more donations , Pedaltown is allowing customers to trade-in bicycles they’ve outgrown or no longer use. By donating a bike, you become eligible for a 10% discount on a new bicycle in the store, and it is donated to The Carpenter Art Garden Bike Shop.
This program gives you an opportunity to give back to your local Memphis community while you shop, as well as the opportunity to supply those in the program with learning tools or gifting them with a new bicycle. Carpenter Art Garden Bike Shop hopes that this program is used to teach a skill set, create better citizens, and continue to show the world the amazing talent Memphis has.
Be sure to check out Carpenter Art Garden (https://www.carpenterartgarden.com/) and Pedaltown Bicycle Company (https://www.pedaltownbicycle.com/) by clicking the links provided and following them on Instagram.