Thursday, August 24, 2017

Bluff City Vegan Eats: Next Door American Eatery

I feel like Crosstown Concourse is just about the only thing I blog about these days, but it's where I work (and a few blocks from where I live) and so my little world pretty much revolves around this amazing one-million-square-foot vertical village of awesomeness. And maybe I'm biased (I do the social media for Concourse and Crosstown Arts), but it's the coolest thing happening in Memphis right now. You can read more about the Concourse project here.

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!

A co-worker and I met up with Next Door's marketing manager there for a working lunch. We started with a few appetizers, including these Garlic Smashers. These smashed fingerling potatoes normally come with parmesan and garlic butter, but they're happy to make them vegan. Just ask for "salt and pepper smashers" and request olive oil. Perfect with ketchup!

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.


Sarah said...

I love to hear about Crosstown Concourse! From what I can tell it appears to have a Chelsea Market kind of vibe which is amazing. The fact that vegan options are increasing exponentially because of it is amazing too. Your meal looks great and those potatoes sound delicious!!

Barb said...

We have a couple of those here in Denver (where I believe they started?)- super delicious! I'm glad you have one now too :)

Jennifer Bliss said...

Great sign and outdoor seating area! LOVE it! Nice food shots, too!