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Table Talk: Elvis and Mario at Cocozza, Breakfast for Dinner, a gala and more
Sun of a Vegan’s oyster mushroom wings and fries. (Mark Weber/The Daily Memphian)

Sun of a Vegan’s oyster mushroom wings and fries. (Mark Weber/The Daily Memphian)

Welcome back to Table Talk, where Daily Memphian food and dining editor Jennifer Biggs sends the latest food news (along with a dash of this and that) to your inbox every Wednesday.

I hope you read my story last week about the rising cost of groceries and if you didn’t, well, do so. The increases over the last three years were shocking to me, and I believe they will be to you, too: The U.S. Department of Agriculture notes a 49% increase for families living on a thrifty plan. We found that our own grocery bills have increased roughly 40% to 70% over the same time period.

Shoppers in Superlo Foods’ milk section on Feb. 24. (Mark Weber/The Daily Memphian)


It’s a lot for anyone, imagine your rent or mortgage going up that much, but it was disheartening to see that families already living on a lower income saw the greatest increase. We’ll continue to bring you more stories in this series about the rising cost of feeding your family, and we’ll do our best to make it helpful instead of just gloomy by giving you tips on shopping for bargains. And I want your help, so please email me at and tell me what you do to save money (or what you want to know).

Jumping right from expensive groceries, a necessity, to an expensive dinner is a bit head-spinning, and we know that not everyone can afford this dinner — but the proceeds do go to a worthy cause. Lifedoc Health is a medical provider that focuses on the prevention of obesity, diabetes and hypertension but also provides primary care services. The practice has grown to 15,000 patients since its Raleigh facility opened in 2021. Many are lower income, and the clinic is raising $3.3 million to open a second facility.

The Healthier Memphis gala on March 23 at 409 South Main hopes to raise $200,000 toward this goal, and you can buy tickets to attend a grand evening of food and drink, music, dancing and a live auction, with food prepared by some of the finest chefs in town. River Oaks chef/owner Jose Gutierrez is the host, and a dozen other chefs will be there, including Dave Krog of Dory, Patrick Reilly of The Majestic Grille, Michael Patrick of Capital Grille, Andreas Kisler of The Peabody, Franck Oysel of Flight Restaurant Group and more. Tickets are $500 per person, and there are sponsorships still available. Click here for a full list of chefs, the menu and to buy tickets

From left to right: Artist Emily LaForce, designer Natalie Lieberman of Collect + Curate, Cocozza co-owner Deni Reilly, artist Stacy Kiehl and Lexie Exel of Collect + Curate pose for a photo in front of LaForce’s painting at Cocozza. (Courtesy Cocozza)

If you’d like to help a good cause but the Healthier Memphis gala is out of reach, Breakfast for Dinner at First Congregational Church, 1000 Cooper St., is back April 29 — but tickets go on sale today, March 15, and they benefit Room in the Inn, which provide numerous services, including temporary housing, recuperative shelter for those who are ill and help with permanent housing for those experiencing homelessness.


Tickets, available here, are $20 for adults and $10 for children. It’s pancakes ‘til you bust, if you want it that way, and mimosas and Bloody Marys are available for a donation. 

Have a look at this: Cocozza officially opened in November, but the grand opening happened last week after all the fixtures and two pieces of art from local artists were unveiled. Memphis artist Stacy Kiehl’s “That’s Amore” was installed, along with three smaller pieces, and a focal piece from chef and artist Emily LaForce was also unveiled. Titled “O Sole Meatball,” but unofficially “The Dinner We Wished Happened,” it features Elvis Presley sharing a spaghetti dinner with Cocozza co-owner Deni Reilly’s famous cousin, Mario Lanza (born Alfred Cocozza), of whom Elvis was a great fan. Cocozza, located at 106 Harbor Town Square, is open 4-9 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

901 Hot Pot & Korean BBQ’s logo light up the floor at the new restaurant that is opening in the Wolfchase area. (Jennifer Biggs/The Daily Memphian)

Here’s some news for you: On March 20, 901 Hot Pot & Korean BBQ officially opens at 2965 N. Germantown Parkway. The restaurant, which seats roughly 150, is in the former Eat Well Sushi spot and is almost ready to go. Each seat has a heater for a hot pot, and there’s a grill for preparing meat at your table.

The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner daily, and it’s all you can eat. Prices are $19.99 for adults at lunch and $29.99 at dinner, and kids’ prices are $7.99-$15.99 depending on age and whether it’s lunch or dinner. You can check it out Monday at starting at noon.


So last week we were busy. We visited three restaurants for Memphis Black Restaurant Week: Evelyn & Olive, which doubled as a $10 Deal, Art House Café, and Sun of a Vegan. Have a read and you’ll get hungry.

Big thanks to Holly Whitfield and Bianca Phillips for jumping in to help out.

Michael Waddell let us know that The Kitchen Table opened this weekend and will be open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday in the former Vinegar Jim’s in Arlington.

Joshua Carlucci tells us that the former Printer’s Alley is getting a new name and that we can look forward to some killer nachos at Louis Connelly’s Bar for Fun Times and Friendship, which will almost certainly get a nickname when it opens this summer.

Beth Sullivan brings us the story of how two friends came together to open Wild Cultures Sourdough Bakery in Hernando, and it’s a nice read. Take a look. 

Louis Connelly is opening a new bar in the former Printer’s Alley space on Cleveland Street. (Courtesy Louis Connelly)

I know I’m ready for May to get here so the festivals can begin and we can see how Beale Street Music Festival and the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest unfold in the redesigned Tom Lee Park. Last week I brought you the story about 35 teams being denied participation this year because of space limitations in the park.

Also, Mo’Bay Beignets, a new beignet shop, is coming to the former Muddy’s Midtown and will open next month. Jasmine McCraven has more about it here

And finally, I’m sorry to say that Primas Bakery co-owner Rachel Mullen was eliminated from Food Network’s “Spring Baking Championship: Easter” this week, but we’re proud of her for making national television and know we’ll see her again.

I’m off for a mini-break the rest of the week, but we have something special for you in Recipe Exchange on Saturday. So be sure to check that out, and enjoy your spring break. I’ll be back here next week.

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