Who doesn't love a good build-your-own _____ (fill in the blank with sandwich, salad, burrito, etc.) cafe? I like to have things my way. As a vegan, I'm always making special requests wherever I go. But build-your-own diners allow me to make those requests without the guilt. Okay, who am I kidding? I never have guilt about giving servers special vegan instructions! If a restaurant doesn't have anything vegan on the menu, they deserve to have to go out of their way to feed me. But I digress ...
Most build-your-own style eateries are chain restaurants, like Subway, Moe's Southwest Grill, or Chipotle. But Memphis has an independently owned, slightly more upscale such place — Cheffie's Cafe. Located just off the Shelby Farms Greenline, a seven-mile bicycle and pedestrian-only path through East Memphis, Cheffie's caters to cyclists with more than enough bike racks to park an entire bicycle racing team. An adjoining business also sells motorized aerobic cruiser cycles.
Cheffie's has a set menu of salads and sandwiches to choose from, and a few of those are vegan. But you can also build-your-own salad or sandwich from the many, many ingredients on the bar. Unlike with a salad bar, the employee builds your meal (like Subway), so it's not all-you-can-eat. But trust me when I say they're very generous with their ingredients. My parents and I had dinner at Cheffie's last week, and look how big my salad was! It's served in a freakin' mixing bowl, y'all. I held it close to my head for comparison:
And yes, I have a new haircut. It's an asymmetrical 'do. But look at that salad! Here's what's inside:
Mixed greens, baby spinach, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, carrots cucumber, pickle slices, banana peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, a bell pepper mix, red onions, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, French fried onions, and balsamic vinaigrette.
My parents couldn't finish their salads, but believe it or not, I ate the whole thing. I'm a pro at putting away food. If there were vegan competitive eating events, I would enter them.
Anyway, you can also build your own sandwich using these same veggies, as well as hummus, artichoke hearts, and a few other items that didn't make it into my salad.
Cheffie's Cafe is located at 483 High Point Terrace. Call 901-343-0488 or visit their website.