Driven 

Camy's has what it takes for take-out.

"Hurry hurry hurry," Camy Archer says. "Let's get ourselves ready for the first order."

Archer, owner of the delivery restaurant Camy's, is watching her day manager Shawn Eads as he works on four pizzas. This is the first order of the day in what will be a 14-hour shift for Archer. The remaining 10 hours, Archer will be on call.

It's this vigilance that led Archer to open Camy's and to keep it open. For the past 12 years, Camy's has delivered food throughout Midtown and downtown. It's not fast food but sturdy American staples -- lasagna, steak dinners, sub sandwiches, pizzas, salads, and desserts.

Archer grew up in Holly Grove, Arkansas, where her father owned a gas station. She and her brother and sister "got to play ball and play with our friends," she says, "but we all had a 20-minute chore." Hers was counting the money from the register and the vending machines. She fondly remembers the value of customers to her parents and the give-and-take of owning a business in a small town. It was the sort of place where the doors were left unlocked so the grocery delivery boy could place perishables in the refrigerator after hours.

In 1970, after her junior year in high school, Archer moved to Memphis to pursue a career as a musician. She played guitar and sang both Top 40 and country in different venues throughout the Mid-South. But the travel got old, and in 1987, she started driving for Domino's Pizza, "deciding what I was going to do," she says. She eventually began working in Domino's marketing department, drumming up new business in the Memphis area.

"Do you know a place that delivers anything besides pizza?" she often heard. She took note and then took off on her own.

In November 1992, at age 40, she opened Camy's. Domino's was her only competition, but six months later, Pizza Hut began delivering, followed by Papa John's and Steak Out. She was overwhelmed by the customer response. On day one, she had three employees; the next day, five. Currently, there are 26.

Many of Archer's employees are students cooking or driving their way on to unrelated futures. Older drivers are earning supplemental incomes.

Working at Camy's does mean long hours. The business is closed only on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day, and after the July 2003 wind storm closed Camy's for a few days, employees used the downtime to paint the store. But, she says, someone once told her, "If you are in a bad mood when you are making that food, it will come out in that food," so she tries to take it easy on her employees. Managers work no more than 45 hours per week, and if someone is having a bad day, she will let them go home. When the roads are icy, she would rather close than put her drivers in danger. She also tells drivers not to deliver if they are in a situation where they do not feel safe.

Nor will Archer put her drivers in a situation where they'll not be on time. Students at Rhodes College, University of Tennessee-Memphis, and Christian Brothers University are a great source of business, but she resists the temptation to expand to the much larger University of Memphis campus. Timeliness of delivery would suffer and so would Camy's reputation.

As for the future, Archer is looking east. The growth areas of Bartlett, Germantown, Collierville, and Cordova are too far from her Midtown location for delivery, so she is considering selling franchises. She also did a survey among her customers to see what they'd like on the menu.

The survey results have provided Archer with something new to be vigilant about: hot wings, which were the most requested menu addition.

"We are trying to find the finest hot wings in the world," she says. n

Camy's, 3 S. Barksdale, 725-1667

PHOTO BY DEVIN GREANEY

FOOD NEWS

by Sonia Alexander Hill

Round 1 is a sports bar with a twist.

The concept was to combine sports with upscale dining, says partner Orlando Steward. The result is a contemporary-casual décor with plasma televisions, so patrons can catch the game while enjoying grilled salmon or lobster tail. Also on the menu are fried gator bites.

"There's a story to the gator bites," says Chef Damien Ward. "I used to own an alligator, and it bit the tip of my finger off, so now I take any chance I get to cook an alligator tail."

Although Ward was born in Memphis, he traveled extensively while his father was in the military and later during his own military stint. Ward learned to cook in restaurants all over the world.

"I took a chef's apprenticeship in what was then Yorktown, Yugoslavia. I took jobs everywhere just to learn, not for money, because food is my passion, and to fulfill your passion you have to go to the source," Ward says.

For Ward, cooking is a family thing. Two of his brothers are also professional chefs, and his uncle was on the culinary staff at the White House during the Johnson administration.

"For me, a black man coming up in the 1960s, it was a big deal to know that your uncle worked in the White House," he says.

Ward says that the most important aspect of the Round 1 menu is that every item is an original recipe he created.

The restaurant opened February 4th at 6642 Winchester. The hours are 11 a.m. to midnight throughout the week and until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, with a limited menu after midnight.

After a long day shopping in Hernando's Historic Town Square, take a seat in the Silver Chair, which opened February 10th. Will Rives, the former manager of the Daily Grind in downtown Memphis, decided to venture on his own with this deli-style café and coffee shop.

Rives named his restaurant for the sixth book in the Chronicles of Narnia series, written by C.S. Lewis. "In the book the main character is under the spell of a witch, except for one hour a night when he is himself. But the witch straps him to a silver chair during those times, so the only time he can be himself is in the silver chair," Rives explains.

Rives, 25, moved to Hernando two years ago to get married. His wife, Whitley, is his business partner as well as the announcer and public-relations representative for the Memphis RiverKings. Together, the couple spent two months renovating the new restaurant. Modern accents of blues and greens and orange and yellows offset 100-year-old brick columns to give the café a fresh and chic feel.

Rives, with the help of manager and friend Melissa Hill, operates the gourmet coffee bar and serves up breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu features hot and cold sandwiches on an assortment of breads, pitas with hummus, soups, and salads.

Rives says that he plans to offer deliveries very soon and would like to open additional locations in DeSoto County. The café is located at 2476 Memphis Street and is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Want to prepare 12 gourmet entrEes each month without having to shop, chop, or even clean up -- all in less than two hours? That's the concept behind Super Suppers, a Dallas-based franchise that opened February 15th at 4730 Poplar, #3 (763-1993).

Super Suppers was developed by Judie Byrd, founder of the Culinary School of Fort Worth. The idea is that with the hectic pace of today's families, it is difficult to find time to prepare a complete meal. So Super Suppers does all of the

"Hurry hurry hurry," Camy Archer says. "Let's get ourselves ready for the first order."

Archer, owner of the delivery restaurant Camy's, is watching her day manager Shawn Eads as he works on four pizzas. This is the first order of the day in what will be a 14-hour shift for Archer. The remaining 10 hours, Archer will be on call.

It's this vigilance that led Archer to open Camy's and to keep it open. For the past 12 years, Camy's has delivered food throughout Midtown and downtown. It's not fast food but sturdy American staples -- lasagna, steak dinners, sub sandwiches, pizzas, salads, and desserts.

Archer grew up in Holly Grove, Arkansas, where her father owned a gas station. She and her brother and sister "got to play ball and play with our friends," she says, "but we all had a 20-minute chore." Hers was counting the money from the register and the vending machines. She fondly remembers the value of customers to her parents and the give-and-take of owning a business in a small town. It was the sort of place where the doors were left unlocked so the grocery delivery boy could place perishables in the refrigerator after hours.

In 1970, after her junior year in high school, Archer moved to Memphis to pursue a career as a musician. She played guitar and sang both Top 40 and country in different venues throughout the Mid-South. But the travel got old, and in 1987, she started driving for Domino's Pizza, "deciding what I was going to do," she says. She eventually began working in Domino's marketing department, drumming up new business in the Memphis area.

"Do you know a place that delivers anything besides pizza?" she often heard. She took note and then took off on her own.

In November 1992, at age 40, she opened Camy's. Domino's was her only competition, but six months later, Pizza Hut began delivering, followed by Papa John's and Steak Out. She was overwhelmed by the customer response. On day one, she had three employees; the next day, five. Currently, there are 26.

Many of Archer's employees are students cooking or driving their way on to unrelated futures. Older drivers are earning supplemental incomes.

Working at Camy's does mean long hours. The business is closed only on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day, and after the July 2003 wind storm closed Camy's for a few days, employees used the downtime to paint the store. But, she says, someone once told her, "If you are in a bad mood when you are making that food, it will come out in that food," so she tries to take it easy on her employees. Managers work no more than 45 hours per week, and if someone is having a bad day, she will let them go home. When the roads are icy, she would rather close than put her drivers in danger. She also tells drivers not to deliver if they are in a situation where they do not feel safe.

Nor will Archer put her drivers in a situation where they'll not be on time. Students at Rhodes College, University of Tennessee-Memphis, and Christian Brothers University are a great source of business, but she resists the temptation to expand to the much larger University of Memphis campus. Timeliness of delivery would suffer and so would Camy's reputation.

As for the future, Archer is looking east. The growth areas of Bartlett, Germantown, Collierville, and Cordova are too far from her Midtown location for delivery, so she is considering selling franchises. She also did a survey among her customers to see what they'd like on the menu.

The survey results have provided Archer with something new to be vigilant about: hot wings, which were the most requested menu addition.

"We are trying to find the finest hot wings in the world," she says.

Camy's, 3 S. Barksdale, 725-1667

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