On a Roll 

Rising Roll Gourmet, a family-owned, Atlanta-based franchise, recently opened its first location in the Memphis area. The upscale deli has received high marks in past editions of Zagat for its gourmet sandwiches.

Started in Atlanta in 1996 as Uptown Gourmet Sandwich Company, owners Jeff and Bob Weiss soon realized they had struck a chord with customers who appreciated good, affordable food that was made fresh every day at a place with an "at home" atmosphere.

The food at Rising Roll is based mainly on family recipes, and while they provide a large selection of healthy and nutritious meals, they also have an indulgent side. Healthy options include the California Turkey sandwich (with oven-roasted turkey, guacamole, provolone, lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo), the Garden Salad, and the Original Veggie. Then there are combinations such as the Killer Bleu Turkey (a turkey sandwich with crumbled blue cheese, bacon, tomatoes, and Thousand Island dressing), Roast Pork Caliente (with aged Wisconsin Farm's Cheddar and Roma mozzarella, creamy horseradish sauce, and double-smoked bacon), and the Spicy Crab (a crab cake topped with chipotle mayonnaise, pepper jack, and coleslaw). Bread choices include seven-grain, Swiss and Romano, rye, sourdough, French, croissants, and flavored wraps. To top it off, there's a changing variety of Killer Cookies.

Rising Roll is open Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Rising Roll Gourmet, 7730 Wolf River Blvd. (737-8600)

Petra is an archaeological site in Jordan. It lies in a basin among the mountains that form the eastern flank of Wadi Araba, the great valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Petra is famous for having many stone structures carved into the rock, and it lent its name to a local restaurant: Petra Café on Poplar in Collierville. (Not to be confused with Petra on Madison Avenue in Memphis. The two restaurants are not affiliated.)

"We serve Mediterranean food, which means there are many influences -- Greek, Italian, Turkish, Middle Eastern, all that," says Lisa Douba, wife of Jamal Douba, owner of Petra Café.

Petra offers gyros, falafel, one of the city's largest panini selections (including three vegetarian paninis and a zesty gyro panini), freshly made hummus, and tabbouleh. If that seems familiar, it's no coincidence. Jamal Douba isn't a novice in the restaurant business. He used to own Sadde's on Poplar, located a couple blocks west of Highland in the space that's now Raffe's Deli. (Al Sakan, Raffe's owner, is Douba's cousin.)

"Jamal wanted a restaurant where people could stay to eat and enjoy their meal, and Sadde's was a convenience-store deli," says Lisa Douba. "So just over five years ago, we decided to open Petra Café in the Wolfchase area."

Petra has since moved to Collierville, and the Doubas plan to open a second location in Germantown at 6641 Poplar early next year.

Although the tables are set with white tablecloths, the atmosphere is laid-back. For lunch, the restaurant serves an extensive selection of sandwiches, muffulletas, salads, and the like. Dinner brings a variety of lamb entrees and seafood dishes such as seared halibut, and kabobs. Diners are welcome to bring a bottle of wine; the restaurant currently doesn't charge a corkage fee but is in the process of applying for a wine license.

Petra Café is open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday for dinner only, 5 to 9 p.m.

Petra Café, 2140 Poplar, Collierville (853-3521)

If you'd like to try something new this holiday season and give candy instead of cookies to your friends and family, Mary Carter, Cake Decorating and Supply Center, has you covered. The store will offer a free candy-making class on Sunday, December 10th, from 2 to 4 p.m. No reservations are required, and you can bring a friend.

Mary Carter, 3205 Summer (452-1233)


Speaking of Rising Roll Gourmet, Petra Cafe


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