Kudos to a couple of Memphis restaurateurs who have recently received national recognition.

Johnny Kirk, chef and co-owner of Stella, was featured as a "Rising Star of American Cuisine" by the James Beard Foundation, a nonprofit organization that recognizes talented chefs and food writers.

Kirk was honored with an invitation to prepare a dinner at the James Beard House, the late chef's brownstone home in New York City, on June 2nd. His handpicked staff included Teddy Brantley of Grill 83, Michael Patrick of McEwen's on Monroe, and Lee Craven of Madidi.

Frank Grisanti, owner of Frank Grisanti's in the Embassy Suites and Bol á Pasta eateries, was reelected to a three-year term on the National Restaurant Association's board of directors at the group's annual tradeshow in Chicago, which was held May 21st through 24th. Through his position on the board, Grisanti, who started working in his family's restaurants at age 13, keeps abreast of legislation and trends in demographics and marketing that affect the restaurant industry.

Grisanti has employed innovative marketing techniques through his Web site, FrankGrisanti.com, which allows people to schedule private events and choose catering menus on-line. He has also expanded his services downtown to provide restaurant service to the Hampton Inn.

The Medallion at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn will honor dads with a Father's Day brunch Sunday, June 19th. Chef Edward Nowakowski will prepare a buffet feast fit for any king of the household.

Brunch will include a breakfast station with made-to-order omelets and waffles. Those with a heartier appetite can choose from an assortment of entrées, including prime rib, roast leg of lamb, country ham, and baked turkey breast. There will also be a special section with kid-friendly dishes. Reservations are required; call 678-5410. The cost is $24.95 for adults and $9.95 for kids ages 5 to 12.

Miss Cordelia's in Harbor Town will host a "Beer-N-Brat Extravaganza" for Father's Day beginning at 4 p.m. on June 19th. Wash down grilled bratwurst with some specialty beers. You can get the inside scoop on what you're drinking from beer specialist Jeff Wilkerson. The cost is $5 per person.

The Medallion, 3700 Central (678-5410); Miss Cordelia's, 737 Harbor Bend Rd. (526-4772)

Cozymel's has taken the shooter in a whole new direction. "Pequeños" may be served in a shot glass, but it's a dessert, not a potent potion.

"We feel that while a lot of people decline dessert, they secretly want a little something," says Helen Leflar, a representative of the Dallas-based chain. "We decided to add the pequeños to our menu because these little tastes offer a variety of flavors without the addition of too many calories. The shot glasses are only two ounces, so you don't overdo it even when you indulge yourself with dessert."

Memphis' Cozymel's introduced the new line of bite-size desserts June 1st. "The response has been tremendous," says general manager Dave Odham. "It's something that no one else does. After a big lunch you don't want to have dessert and then go back to work tired, but with this you can satisfy your sweet tooth without getting stuffed."

There are 18 varieties of pequeños. Each day, five choices, such as mango-raspberry cake, margarita cheesecake, banana pudding, piña colada pie, or Kahlua chocolate fudge cake, will be prepared fresh and brought to the table on a tray. Diners can choose one for $1.99 or an assortment for $7.99.

Cozymel's, 6450 Poplar (763-1202)

Now you can go to Café de France at night. Starting June 17th, the European-style café in Palladio Antique Mall will be open for dinner from 6 to 10 p.m. every Friday. Each week, owners Jeanell and Donnie Morris will create a selection of entrées, soups, salads, and desserts. There will also be live music on occasion. Guests are invited to bring their own wine. (Conveniently, Central Liquors is next door.)

The premiere dinner menu will feature lobster bisque, shrimp in spicy gazpacho, smoked pork loin, and roasted duck. Entrées are reasonably priced under $20. Customers can sign up for e-mail notices of the changing menu and featured entertainment. You can make reservations by calling 725-2212.

Café de France, 2169 Central (725-2212)


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