If you like the idea of eating tasty, locally grown food, check out Lyfe Kitchen (6201 Poplar Avenue, in the former Sharky's Gulf Grill location). The national chain, which is now based in Memphis, is modern, sleek, and delivers.
Lyfe stands for Love Your Food Everyday and places an emphasis on providing freshly prepared food and drink quickly in a casual dining space.
As you enter, you'll see the menu listed on a wall. There are salads and sandwiches, plates and bowls, along with sides, desserts and drinks. Simply place your order, the meal is then brought to your table. Water for guests is self-serve.
I like the furnishings and color; this first dining room functions as a bar/coffee house during weekday happy hours. There are several other dining rooms and a patio space with raised beds of herbs that are used as attractive borders. We opt to eat outdoors, which is very comfortable and kid-friendly.
I order the Thai Red Curry Bowl, which is brimming with eggplant, broccoli, peppers, and wheat berry, all swimming in a thin, chicken/coconut broth. While tasty, the mild seasoning errs more on the side of coconut than curry, which is disappointing, since I love curry.
My son, however, raves about his creamed corn chowder and flat bread sandwich, which comes with grilled vegetables, goat cheese, and mozzarella. He also likes the restaurant’s local orientation; the majority of produce served here comes from farms within a 300-mile radius of Memphis, though items like fish and chicken come from further afield.
However, you will find plenty of local beer on tap, with Ghost River, Yazoo, Wiseacre, High Cotton, and Memphis Made Brewing representing. Lyfe also carries whiskey from the Corsair Distillery in Nashville.
While neighboring Arkansas is second only to Georgia in chicken production, locally sourced organic birds are evidently harder to come by. General Manager Jay Strasberg tells me the restaurant offers organic, air-chilled chicken that is shipped in from Boulder, Colorado.
If you don't know the term air-chilled (I didn't), it means the poultry meat is rinsed with water rather than submerged in a chlorinated bath. It is then air-chilled to kill bacteria. The net result? The meat absorbs less water, making for a crispier, more flavorful bird.
If you prefer meatless dishes, there are a number of vegetarian and vegan choices on the menu. As for kids, options are a bit more limited, but include a cheesy flatbread (think pizza), unfried chicken strips, and crispy gardein (vegetarian) tenders.
The food was a bit uneven on my visit, but since the restaurant has only been open since early August, I chalk it up to the kitchen staff getting settled in. I like the premise, but not sure Lyfe lives up to its hype — yet. Here's hoping they grow.
The bill for three lunches and one lemonade comes to $36 before tax.