Wednesday, January 29, 2014

An Update on Muddy's Midtown

Posted By on Wed, Jan 29, 2014 at 8:35 AM

Muddys Midtown
  • Muddy's Bake Shop
  • Muddy's Midtown

If you've been driving by 585 S. Cooper hoping to find the Midtown iteration of Muddy’s Bake Shop, or at least a reassuring construction zone, don’t panic.

As Hungry Memphis originally reported in August, owner Kat Gordon hoped for a February opening. Instead, pending approval of architectural plans, construction should begin in February with a best-case opening in June.

Among the elements conspiring against Gordon: maternity leave for a key employee, a typical holiday bog down for construction projects, and most of all, her sense of duty to the brand. (That’s code for perfectionism.)

Gordon plans to open the store early — perhaps 6:30 a.m. — and offer an extensive selection of coffee, an expanded muffin menu, seasonal fruit scones and quiche to accommodate morning commuters. (The current location at 5101 Sanderlin opens at 11 a.m.)

The outdoor patio in the large side yard figures to be a big hit as well for Memphians wishing to catch some rays and visit with friends to counteract the feeling of their expanding waistlines.

Back to the delay: Gordon was 26 when she opened Muddy’s in 2008 and claims ignorance at the time. A look inside her shop now, though, would delight the eye of an artist, interior designer or marketing executive as much as the sweets-obsessed.

Many of the store’s elements, from the no-tip policy (tips go to charity) to her critical eye for the right employees (tip for perspective employees: be very friendly), are a direct extension of her, giving the project a personal feel.

She now has a reputation to uphold, and she likens the new store to a third child (the original shop and the commercial kitchen being the others).

“I feel like there is a more pressure to get it right the first time,” Gordon says, admitting to plenty of 22-hour workdays and tinkering in ‘08. “I can look at pictures from when (the original Muddy’s) first opened and be like, ‘Oh my gosh!’”

In November, she traveled to Ann Arbor, Mich., with her brother to visit Zingerman’s for first-hand barista training. She admits to frequently modifying blueprints and obsessing over which items to carry from the original shop.

“I’m just not interested in duplicating the first shop,” Gordon says.

As she talked, two scones resting on the table appeared awfully lonely. Asked about them, Gordon admits to spending a few hours working on new scone recipes, only for her dad, with no knowledge of her attempts, to present a better version on Christmas morning.

The Ginger Scones figure to be a hit item at the Midtown location.

“I didn’t go to culinary school. I don’t have this well of knowledge like some (chefs and bakers) around Memphis,” Gordon says. “I have to have the full sensory experience.”

A visitor, taking care not to eat during the conversation, departs with the pair of scones in a paper bag, intending to snack on them later.

Before exiting the parking lot, only crumbs remained.

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