Memphis' quaint French café and bakery, Tart, sits cozily on the Cooper strip; and rather than bunched with the Cooper Young and Overton Square intersections, the white house stands alone with a darling red sign and outdoor patio with vintage chairs and tables. It had been a year or so since I had returned to Tart -- not for any negative reasons -- though their to-go homemade orange and rose macarons were a decadent treat this past summer. Tart's refreshing menu and minimalist interior brought this restaurant back up to top-of-mind brunch and lunch options.
The eggs in brioche changed my perspective of brunch in Memphis. Tart conveyed pure simplicity, sophistication, and effortlessness. Bundled up in a pullover and sweatpants with a pot of hot earl grey tea, I relished in a perfect portion of baked eggs and gruyere in light-as-air buttered brioche (made in-house). The dish took me back to Paris. A stone fruit and granola side (which I didn't even have to request!) refreshed my palette between rich, satisfying bites of the entrée.
I returned within the week for a lunch meeting, upon which cold temperatures were instantly eased. The bowl of hot French onion soup cannot be beat, especially the baked croutons atop and caramelized onions throughout. I paired mine with a beautifully colorful beet and goat cheese salad (perfect for a New Year's detox). A traditional tuna Nicoise with extra haricot verts is highly recommended, as well.
Whether you're in need of an espresso and croissant pick-me-up this cold season, a light mid-week lunch, or a refreshing hangover cure on a Sunday morning, Tart is your destination.
top photo courtesy of Mary Catherine Hughes