LYFE Kitchen (Memphis)

"LYFE begins today" in Memphis, Tennessee. And we welcome that notion with open arms. The all-natural, healthy restaurant concept with a "fast-fine" disposition is already showing our city that whole and authentic ingredients do not require a hefty wallet. The concept is truly refreshing; the East Memphis floor plan flips a once-stuffy Sharky's seafood spot into an open walk-up ordering counter, bar/lounge, dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows, and vast patio. I particularly loved the herb planters lining outdoor patio booths. Though the chefs are not rushing outside to pick fresh rosemary for an order of Art's Unfried Chicken, it's nice to note the details of healthy living throughout the restaurant.

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I typically do not focus on price points upon sharing restaurants on Caramelized, though I simply cannot get over that my quinoa crunch bowl was just over $7. It's a usual complaint around town that a "good" salad with beautiful toppings and protein can't be found under $13. LYFE closes the door to that old salad life.

The bowl boasted garlicky edamame hummus, steamed quinoa and barley, crisp radish, arugula, broccoli, cherry tomato, half of a perfectly ripe avocado, and a few dashes of hot sauce. Truly, it was excellent.

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After speaking with LYFE's founding Chef Art Smith (who used to be Oprah's private chef), I learned that the bar, in fact, has much to offer, too. The largest bar concept of all locations, Memphis will offer all-natural cocktails such as grapefruit palomas, margaritas with agave, and a Memphis Mule with housemade pungent ginger beer and Tito's vodka. I'm especially excited for the Mule, which I'll have to enjoy during LYFE's Social hours (4-6 p.m.) for the $6 deal. I'll have to get accustomed to order a cocktail at the same counter as others ordering a salad or smoothie; though I have already decided that late Summer afternoons on the patio will be the spot to sip these libations.

I hope you'll enjoy your first LYFE experience as much as I have. Downtowners, get ready for the second location in the Chisca on Main!

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