MDN: City Market Owners Opening New Midtown Restaurant This Month
Every morning, Sunny Mandani is having to turn away a dozen or more customers from his and his wife Hamida’s new restaurant at the corner of East Parkway and Central Avenue, across from Christian Brothers University.
That’s because the new dining spot – 901 Grille & Market, at 711 East Parkway – doesn’t actually open for business until later this month. Sunny, who’ll be a familiar presence as the new eatery’s grillmaster, nevertheless greets the eager diners with a reminder that the team is working to open as soon as possible.
That response has amazed the couple. Especially since as of earlier this year, the idea for this new venture wasn’t even remotely on their radar.
They were busy with City Market, the deli and specialty grocer they opened Downtown in 2010.
And City Market Midtown, the version of the market they brought to Cooper-Young last year.
And Quench Wine and Spirits, the liquor store they opened Downtown also last year.
They both quickly saw it as an opportunity. An opportunity that, whether they were ready for it or not, was here. It was already essentially set up as a restaurant, with a kitchen ready to go. A hungry college crowd is nearby.
She ran through a basic idea of what the new restaurant will offer – things like burgers, gyros and “really interesting milkshakes.” One of the latter she called attention to is an “Elvis milkshake,” with peanut butter, chocolate and banana.
They’ll be open for breakfast, with some wraps, fresh coffee and typical breakfast comfort food. They’ll also serve lunch and dinner.
It’s a long way from the presentation she and her husband made to a Downtown Memphis Commission board in 2010 pitching their concept for the first City Market to win a $40,000 retail forgivable loan. Back then, the idea was for a simple deli and specialty grocery that offered freshly-prepared food in a kind of Old World market-type setting.
The couple’s plan called for a profit starting in year one.
They went on to make room in their plan for three more ventures.