Cooper Street 20/20 Throws a Party (and the Food is Excellent Too)
The one-two punch of a prominent article in "The Commercial Appeal" and free food turned the official opening Thursday evening of Cooper Street 20/20 into one great party.
Owner Kathy Katz admitted that she was “a little overwhelmed” by the turn out before greeting another well-wisher with a hug and a thank you.
Katz, a popular participant in local farmers markets, opened her new grocery with freshly prepared foods to-go last month after closing her restaurant at the Southern College of Optometry in Midtown. Stephen Sciara, the restaurant's chef, joined her in the new venture, and I asked him at Thursday's opening if he has a favorite 20/20 dish.
“If I had to pick, it would probably be the roulades. They are really tasty,” he said, referring to the (divine) chicken roulades stuffed with seasonal ingredients. “But I also love the biscotti. I have a sweet tooth.” That's Sciara pictured to the right.
Party-goers sampled wine and a plentiful supply of many dishes, including roulades stuffed with spinach and mushroom plus red pepper hummus, black bean hummus, eggplant, feta and walnut dip, and Russian cabbage soup served out by volunteer helper Sheri Monroe. Spicy cowboy crackers were also on the table, so I asked Monroe for an explanation.
“Kathy starts with Saltines,” she said. “Then she seasons them with a little canola oil and a secret blend of spices.” The only other detail Monroe would share is that one of the secret seasonings is dill.
Open weekdays from noon to 7 p.m., busy families and professionals or people who just can't get it together to cook should stop by Cooper Street 20/20 regularly. Art by Debra Edge looks charming on the grocery's cheerful walls, and the food is fresh, expertly prepared and fairly priced. Soups are $6 a pint; hummus, pimento cheese and caponata are $4; and entrees range from $10 for seasonal quiche to $14 for roasted eggplant lasagna. Be sure to get cooking instructions for entrees stored in a recipe box on the checkout counter.
I toted home a three-cheese lasagna that must weight at least three pounds and looks large enough to serve three or four people. I'm saving it for the next wet, chilly night.
Cooper Street 20/20, 800 S. Cooper (901) 871-6879