An Upgrade 

The Cove gets a new owner.

click to enlarge Mary and Taylor Tanner

photograph by Justin Fox Burks

Mary and Taylor Tanner

Mary Tanner and her son Taylor bought the Cove on August 15th with the intent of making it better. Not different, just better.

Greg Belz, who is Tanner's marketing consultant, says the idea is to transform the Cove from a dive bar to a theme bar. "Jim [Marshall, the original owner] had a great idea thematically. We're just developing it further to better fit into the Broad Avenue Arts District," he says.

 Belz brought in friend and well-known artist Jan Hankins to do a large mural and two smaller ones on the patio. He also added a small mural in the ladies' restroom and redid the Cove sign above the front door. As a surprise, he also did a wooden cutout of a pirate and mermaid for people to pose in by the front door.

"We want people to come in, pose, take a picture with their phone, and tag us on Facebook. It'll be like a souvenir from Broad Avenue," Belz explains.

Mary's first order of business was having the floors pressure-washed and sealed. She has also hired someone to clean them on a weekly basis. "I just couldn't think about anything else until I got it clean," she says.

Taylor says he and his mom had been talking about running a business for years but hadn't settled on anything.

"But when we first walked into the Cove, we recognized everything. It felt like home," Mary says. Taylor practically grew up eating at Anderton's, which was the original source of the furnishings, including the bar, at the Cove.

 Belz jokes that if Mary thinks something can be upgraded, she will do it whether it makes sense or not. She slapped a coat of high-gloss paint on everything, added ceiling fans to circulate the air, and installed additional air purifiers so the bar won't be too smoky.

In addition to the new murals, the patio has been spruced up with new concrete, new furniture, extra seating, string lights, and a small flower bed with fresh herbs to be used in the artisan cocktails.

 As for the staff, there have been no changes except for the addition of Mary and Taylor. "We still have our award-winning bartender Evan [Potts], and Adam [Petrofsky] is still running the kitchen," Belz says.

 Potts says it is nice to have an owner who lets him play around with cocktails and try out new things.

 The menu is the same, but Mary insisted on bigger portions and bought bigger plates. "The food isn't cheap, and I want people to get their money's worth. If something looks a little small, I tell them to add something to it," she says.

 Belz says there are no plans to take anything off the menu, but he would like to add a few more things, especially more seafood dishes in the spring. Overall, the Tanners and Belz are impressed by the food that comes out of the Cove's tiny kitchen.

"It's a teeny, little hole with a convection oven, a hot plate, and some crock pots," Belz says. Regardless, the kitchen staff makes all of the sauces, including mayonnaise, fresh every day.

"The Rockefeller sauce is a Justine's recipe," Belz adds.

 There is still trivia on Tuesdays, jazz on Thursdays, and live bands on the weekends.

 "It was an inspired idea for Jim to buy the stuff from Anderton's and stick it in here," Belz explains. "[And] Mary is a ball of fire. You can't find enough for her to do."

The Cove, 2559 Broad (730-0719)

thecovememphis.com

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