Monday, May 2, 2011

Crosstown Vegan

This is the Sears Crosstown building, an abandoned 1.4 million square foot hulk of a building in my Midtown neighborhood:

It's been empty for years, ever since Sears moved its headquarters elsewhere. But unlike some big empties, folks here haven't given up hope for this sleeping giant. A group called Crosstown Arts wants to salvage the 84-year-old art-deco building through retail and residential development. In an ideal world, the building could house artist live/work space and exhibition space.

I had the pleasure of touring the building a few months back, an opportunity I'd dreamed of for years and years. I love urban spelunking. Here's an inside shot of one of the warehouse floors. Floor after floor looks just like this:

So what does this have to do with delicious vegan food? Last Thursday, Crosstown Arts hosted its second MemFEAST Dinner on the roof of the old Sears parking garage. I went to the first MemFEAST back in October, which you can read about here. At each dinner, artists present public art proposals for my neighborhood. At the end, everyone present votes and the winner gets $5,000 to make the project happen.

And of course, diners enjoy delicious catered vegan food from Another Roadside Attraction while we listen. Here was my plate — Quinoa Tossed with Seared Tempeh, Warm Spring Veggies, and an Heirloom Lettuce Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette. Not pictured is my dessert of rum-soaked strawberries:

There was also a pork loin dish offered for meat eaters, but most options were vegan. My vegetarian friend Greg also lives in my 'hood, and he loved the quinoa:

As did I, but I really wanted seconds of the warm veggies:

Unfortunately, we didn't make it back for more food in time. Everything ran out because it was so delicious.

Artist Robin Salant had the winning proposal. She plans to install glowing, colored lights on timers in the large water tower of the building, as well as white lights all across the top. If she can secure additional funding, she will also put colored lights in some of the warehouse floor windows. It's going to be awesome!

11 comments:

foodfeud said...

How great. Memphis is totally happening and you're on top of it all. Love the haircut by the way.

Mihl said...

That sounds like a great project for the building. We have a similar one over here. It's not that big, but all that people can think about is another supermarket. Sigh. How awesome that the food was so good!

VeggieGirl said...

Fun project in the building!

I gotta say how much I always love your outfits! :)

Glauce said...

Hi Bianca, sorry about this unrelated comment but I'd like to send you an email and couldn't find your contact here :P Can you send it to me, please? Thanks, Glauce :)

Leslie R. said...

Looks fun! The plans for the building sound awesome too.

meg said...

check these out...Here in Minneapolis, we also had a Sears building that looks a lot like yours. It was empty for a long time after Sears left, but now it is the Midtown Exchange Gloabal Market. It has restaurants, living, a hotel connected, and hosts farmers' markets as well. Thought it may ve of interest to you since you were talking about the same type of thing...

http://www.midtownglobalmarket.org/

http://www.midtowncommunityworks.org/exchange/

http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/cped/midtown_exchange.asp

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midtown_Exchange

dreaminitvegan said...

What a cool time you had. Yay for vegan food being served and then running out because it was so good.

SarahByng said...

This is brilliant! I hate when buildings are torn down, old buildings are so interesting and could be used for so much(as this proves)!

Tender Branson said...

Vegan food on the roof of an abandoned building. What a fun time. I hate abandoned buildings (and we have a lot here) I always wish when I go past that I had unlimited money supplies so that I could fix them all up and have them used again.

Meat-free Mike said...

Art Deco is great! That building needs to be saved! Love you blog - lots of great ideas!

Toke! said...

That building is one giant concrete structure of opportunity! Do NOT let if fall victim to the wrecking ball.