Sauces, scheduled to open at the beginning of December at 95 S. Main, is the brainchild of Andrea Deeb and Kevin Shaeffer. What exactly is Sauces? The restaurant's tagline -- "Our plate, your canvas" -- may not give you a full picture. Sauces is an extension of Deeb's and Shaeffer's personalities and the realization of their vision of a contemporary downtown neighborhood restaurant.
Sauces is located in a 150-year-old renovated building with condos on the upper floors and the restaurant on the ground floor. At the outset of the project, the space was empty, which was ideal for Deeb and Shaeffer, who had worked for more than a decade for a company that develops Chili's and other franchise restaurants. When they left the corporate world, they decided to start from scratch.
"We don't really fit in any category," explains Deeb. "Our ideas are often out there, and we wanted to do this restaurant our way too."
And their way is like nothing you've ever seen before in Memphis. It's a casual, funky, and quirky restaurant -- like something you might expect to find in Amsterdam. It mixes bright, colorful walls with black marble tops on the bar and a community table upstairs. There's exposed red brick, loungy lighting behind frosted glass, straight lines, and playful accents.
Sauces' cuisine doesn't fit in any category either. The food might be familiar, but you have the freedom to make the plate your "canvas" by composing the dish yourself, from the meat/fish and the sides -- mint mashed potatoes, anyone? -- to the restaurant's signature sauces, such as Gouda and smoked-salmon cream cheese or orange teriyaki. It's like an à la carte menu without the à la carte price tag. If you don't feel like composing your own plate, you can choose one of the "regular" entrees, which will run in the $15 price range. The emphasis for the entrees is seafood, with just a couple of meat choices.
Shaeffer and Deeb say they were originally planning to serve a lot of pasta dishes. "But then people started asking us if we were opening a Italian restaurant," says Deeb. "Because we didn't want to be an ethnic restaurant, we changed our food focus a little bit."
If you don't feel like having a meal but want to check out Sauces anyway, take a seat at the bar where you can choose from an eclectic wine list or gear it up by asking for the mojito menu.
Sauces, 95 S. Main (473-9573)
In the mood for a meatless Thanksgiving this year? Give it a test run at the Food Awareness Meat-Free Feast and Comedy Afternoon this Sunday. With a spread of vegan jambalaya, kale, sweet potatoes, and dessert, the goal is to show that saying "no thanks" to an overstuffed turkey can be tasty.
There will be live comedy and music and a cash bar for guests 21 and older as well as an educational presentation on healthy vegetarian eating habits. Reservations are mandatory because part of being a responsible eater is to not waste food. Cost for the meatless Thanksgiving is $10, $6 for students. To save your spot, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 737-2595.
Food Awareness Meat-Free Feast and Comedy Afternoon, Sunday, November 19th, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Comedy, TN, 6102 Macon. For more information, go to www.foodawareness.org.
Jim's Place East has a lot going on. The restaurant is celebrating its 85th anniversary and 30 years in East Memphis. In addition, they're expanding with the opening of Jim's Place Grille in Collierville.
To mark the occasion, Jim's Place East has added new wines, main courses, and desserts to its menu. The recent additions to the wine list include international and domestic vintages, including Nemea Boutari from Greece and Marques de Casa Concha from Chile. The new menu reflects the trend of offering a larger selection of small plates and appetizers.
Juan Carlos Murillo is the head chef at Jim's Place Grille, where he is responsible for such creations as Carlito's pasta chicken, a grilled breast of chicken prepared with fresh spinach fettuccine in a chipotle cream sauce.
Jim's Place East, 5560 Shelby Oaks Drive (388-7200)
Jim's Place Grille, 3660 Houston Levee (861-5000)