Food News

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 dÇcor 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 cafÇ 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 cafÇ 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 cafÇ 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 meal planning, shopping, and prep work. For a $195 fee, customers come to the store, where 12 stations are set up with all the ingredients needed to make an entrÇe. Customers then rotate through all the stations, making meals such as barbecue meatballs, four-cheese manicotti, and apricot-glazed ham. Then they take the meals home and freeze them until it's time to pop them in the oven for a away-from-home-cooked meal.

"You can get four to six servings out of each entrÇe," says co-owner Bill Cunningham. "For single people or empty-nesters, you can prepare six entrÇes or 12 smaller entrÇes for $103, less than the average trip to a grocery store."

Cunningham heard about Super Suppers from a former colleague in Texas. Says Cunningham, "We've already sold 50 franchises in the last five months, and we're on target to be the fastest growing franchise with 100 locations this year."

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