One of Memphis’s most unique restaurant settings is an old beauty shop in the Cooper-Young area. The Beauty Shop (966 S. Cooper St., 901/272-7111, $8–32) takes advantage of the vintage beauty parlor decor to create a great talking point for patrons and food writers alike. The domed hairdryers remain, and the restaurant has put the shampooing sinks to work as beer coolers.
At lunch, the Beauty Shop offers a casual menu of sandwiches and salads. For dinner, the imaginative cuisine of Memphis restaurateur Karen Blockman Carrier, who also owns Molly Fontaine Lounge and Automatic Slim’s Tonga Club, takes over. The Beauty Shop serves lunch Monday–Saturday 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Dinner is served beginning at 5 p.m. nightly, except Sunday. It opens Sunday 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Right next to the Beauty Shop is Do (966 S. Cooper St., 901/272-7111, $6–15), a trendy sushi restaurant that also offers tempura, soups, and salads. It is open for dinner only Tuesday through Saturday.
In 2007, Memphis’s foremost restaurateur, Karen Blockman Carrier, closed her fine-dining restaurant Cielo in Victorian Village, redecorated, and reopened it as the Molly Fontaine Lounge (679 Adams Ave., 901/524-1886, Wed.–Sat. 5 p.m.–2:30 a.m., $12–24). Carrier’s vision was an old-fashioned club where guests can order upscale cocktails, relax with live music, and eat tasty Mediterranean and Middle Eastern–inspired tapas. The restaurant has an upmarket but cozy atmosphere, with equal measures of funky and fine. The live piano jazz is the perfect backdrop for the restaurant’s artistic small plates.
Surprisingly good for a bookstore café, Bronte (387 Perkins Ext., 901/374-0881, Mon.–Sat. 9 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.–8 p.m., $8–12), inside Davis-Kidd Booksellers, offers salads, soups, and sandwiches, as well as daily meat and fish specials. The soup-and-sandwich combo is filling and good. Breakfast may well be the best meal on offer, however. The morning menu features specials designed by celebrity chefs, including omelets, baked goods, and crepes.
If you enjoy your beer as much or more than your meal, then head straight for Boscos Squared (2120 Madison Ave., 901/432-2222, $12–22). Boscos is a brew pub with fresh seafood, steak, and pizza. Their beer menu is among the best in the city, and many of the brews are made on the premises. Boscos serves lunch daily 11 a.m.–3 p.m., dinner 3 p.m.–midnight, and the late-night munchie menu is available until 2 a.m.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Tennessee, 5th Edition