For 25 years, Kathy Katz has been making sandwiches for college kids at 20/20 Diner at the Southern College of Optometry. Those students were like her children, she says, but she nevertheless found herself looking for a new beginning.
So Katz is leaving the diner she dutifully tended for a quarter of a century for a new venture with an homage to her former one: Cooper Street 20/20.
The basis of the business is a line of prepared foods Katz has developed over the last six years and sold at local farmers markets, including entrées, take-and-bake dishes, and soups. Katz has brought on local chef Stephen Sciara to help with the new business, and the two will focus on using local, seasonal produce and products.
In what was formerly a commercial kitchen for Muddy's Bake Shop, Cooper Street 20/20 will work as a commissary for customers to pick up pre-orders or walk in and select from daily specials and some staples — like Katz' hummus and pimento cheese — that will be available regularly. Many of Katz' other menu items are vegetarian, like her spanikopita, roasted eggplant lasagna, and African peanut soup, but she also plans to work some fish and lean protein into her commissary offerings. Cooper Street 20/20 will eventually offer healthy, complete meals for customers to take home and reheat sous vide, a French method of cooking that heats food sealed in an airtight plastic bag in a hot-water bath.
Katz will still sell at her usual farmers markets, including the Tsunami Winter Market, and will even expand to new markets. But in the downtime before the spring market season, she will open the doors to Cooper Street 20/20 for what she calls a "five-month soft opening" — a chance to find out what customers like and don't like.
"We've got a whole list of dream foods to make. We just have to see what's popular," Katz says.
Once the new space opens in early December, customers can stop by Monday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m. or call to place an order. In addition, customers will soon be able to place orders on the website, cooperstreet2020.com.
Cooper Street 20/20, 800 S. Cooper (871-6879)
Source: The Memphis Flyer
by Hannah Sayle
Photograph by Justin Fox Burks