Thursday, August 31, 2017

Next Door, 2nd Mama Gaia Now Open

Posted By on Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 11:35 AM

click to enlarge CROSSTOWN CONCOURSE
  • Crosstown Concourse

Next Door American Eatery
in the Crosstown Concourse officially opened its doors on Tuesday.

The restaurant, a Kimbal Musk joint, is a more casual offshoot of the The Kitchen, located in Shelby Farms.

Next Door had a soft opening last week with the goal of ironing out the kinks while raising money for The Kitchen Community's Learning Gardens. (No money was charged for the meal, and lieu of tips, donations were suggested.) Ninety-two of these "outdoor classrooms" have been in established in area schools so far. The goal is hit 100 by November.

The menu is designed around a clean-eating ethos using locally sourced goods — eggs and chickens from Marmilu Farms, pork chops from Home Place Pastures, for example.  
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The dishes we sampled were the grilled broccolini with spicy sesame aioli and sunflower seeds; the Next Door Roasted Veggie bowl; and the veggie tacos. Other dishes include a beet (!) burger, Cuban and BBQ pork sandwiches, soups, and Calamari Fritto Misto. There are daily specials as well.

All the dishes were good, but that veggie bowl was standout — with broccolini, mushrooms, cauliflower, peppers on red quinoa topped in a tahini dressing. So tasty and satisfying. A comfort food that won't hit you like a ton of bricks later.

The restaurant seats 126 inside with additional seating for 50 more on the patio. They are open daily, starting at 11 a.m., and a full bar will be in operation soon.

Mama Gaia, the organic vegetarian restaurant, opened its second location in the new Ballet Memphis building on Madison last week.

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The space designed by archimania, which recently won an award for the Mama Gaia restaurant design in the Crosstown Concourse, fits well the Mama Gaia aesthetic. The Mama Gaia menu lets the ingredients do most of the talking, with small but expertly done flourishes. The space is open with a collection of small tables lining floor-to-ceiling windows surrounding most of it. One side has small bar for sitting and eating, and there is a bar for drinks at another.

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Note this bar for drinks — new to the Mama Gaia brand. At the preview we sampled the Crosstown Cooler (360 brand organic vodka, fresh-pressed organic cucumber juice, fresh organic lime juice, organic agave, and locally grown organic mint) and the Allegro (organic 360 vodka and organic OJ, lemon juice, berry puree, and agave).

The menu should be much the same as the first restaurant's, though the Ballet Memphis site does have Copia Pizza and an Asian Bowl, plus new Quinoa Dippers. 

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