When Tart in Memphis started their weird marketing mail-out of “hey, this is what we are trying to pull off, so mail us a check” came across my editors’ desk, I quickly dismissed this bakery/bistro as a fanciful whim of some broke midtown hippie. Months later, Tart is now here and I’m eating my French-baked words.
Ok, not to sound like a geographic broken record, but this joint is in Cooper Young. Reacting on the enthusiastic two-thumbs-up from Chef Kelly English, I swung into Tart for an early lunch today. The place already wins points because of the amazeballs shaded patio with cute retro furniture. Inside, I waddled right up to the counter (counter service) and ordered a latte. Now lemme learn you something about me: I am super persnickety about my lattes. However, this barista was pretty good, so check. Plus, the counter looked crazy good. Check plus.
I moved outside to check emails and enjoy the beautiful weather that Memphians can only enjoy for 2 weeks between frigid rain and hellfire. Then along came Heather, part owner, to spark conversation (I was actually in work clothes and that never happens. I guess she thought I looked official.). First, I commented on how amazing the croissants look. She promptly brought me one with butter and jam. Whoa: they are “don’t-slap-momma-she’s-your-momma-so-slap-your-boyfriend” good. I mean check this pastry out:
So I gobbled that shiz right up, then I promptly called my lunch appointment and had him meet me at Tart. But not for more carbs. They have an “After 11 AM” menu:
While I waited, owner Heather explained to me that every month Tart will feature a select local artist or artists and basically let them turn part of the inside into their own weird artistic playground. The wall is currently occupied with some very young and modern artistic interpretation of literature and the moral implications print media has on our psyche (OK, I made that analysis up because I know zero about art and, frankly, the artists I know are batsh!t cra). However the concept is great, and it allows otherwise broke and underexposed creatives to get their work out there.
When it got time to order, I got the Niçoise salad and my bud got the Croquet Monsieur. Because I’m a food enthusiast (glutton), I also wanted to try the salmon rillette. So we got it as an appetizer. It was a great call. Everything was a perfect nod to Parisian cafe cuisine. AND they serve the menu until dinner with a $10 CORKAGE FEE. BOOOOM. Because who wouldn’t want to sit out here, eat sexy cafe food, enjoy local art, and drink your own wine? A communist, that’s who: