But long story short, this formerly long-vacant Sears headquarters is being revitalized into an amazing hub of arts, education, healthcare, residential, and retail. New restaurants have been opening in the building almost every week lately with the latest opening — Next Door American Eatery — planed for this coming Tuesday.
Next Door is the casual sister restaurant to The Kitchen, restaurateur Kimbal Musk's chain that specializes in real food sourced from American farmers. We have a Kitchen restaurant in Shelby Farms out east, but I've never been there because it's so far out from where I live. I did, however, have the pleasure of visiting Next Door's soft opening twice today!
For my lunch entree, I ordered the Roasted Veggie Bowl. This was an explosion of magic in my mouth, y'all. Roasted cauliflower, broccolini, mushrooms, and red pepper top a bed of red quinoa. It's sprinkled with sunflower seeds and drizzled with cilantro tahini sauce. I will be ordering this again and again.
Next Door has a few clearly marked vegan options, and some of their vegetarian options can easily be made vegan if you ask the server to leave off the cheese or aioli. If you're looking at their online menu, you can even select "vegan" or "vegetarian," and it will only show you the options you can eat! How cool is that?
I went back to Next Door for dinner with Paul this evening. This time, we started with the Kale Chips. These are vegan by default. They're crispy, highly addictive, salty kale chips, and I probably ate about three-fourths of this plate on my own. Paul liked them (a big step for him!), but I'm the kale-aholic, so I could have finished this plate off.
But I knew I had to save room for dinner. I went with the Veggie Tacos. These aren't naturally vegan, but they're happy to leave the aioli sauce off the slaw as well as the crema topping. These tacos were stuffed with an olive oil cabbage slaw, mushrooms, corn, and pico. So light and delicious.
There's also a vegan roasted veggie salad, which can be served with added hummus. Plus, there's a hummus and flatbread appetizer, and the Thai butternut squash soup is vegan.
Next Door will soon have a full bar (waiting on a state license), but for now, they only serve beer. Thankfully, they have a nice selection of local brews. I had a Wiseacre Ananda IPA, and Paul went with the Memphis Made Fireside.
Their invite-only soft opening continues through the weekend, but Next Door will be open to the public on Tuesday, August 29! Next Door is located at 1350 Concourse Ave. (inside Crosstown Concourse, near the Central Atrium), Suite 165.