Italian Restaurant Coming to Cooper Young

The Memphis Daily News has the scoop on Cortona, the restaurant that will soon occupy the space formerly home to Dish.  It will serve Italian cuisine characterized by Chef David Cleveland as “light, fresh pastas, pizzas, keeping it affordable,” and priced “in the mid-range.”

The restaurant is named for the ancient south Tuscan town (on the border with Umbria) where Cleveland studied and worked, on and off between 1993 and 1995, absorbing the quality and philosophy of the region’s cuisine: freshness, simplicity, authenticity.

Also highlighted is a bit of history of Cooper Young and the site of the restaurant:

The storefronts that extend along Cooper and Young formed the shopping district for a neighborhood developed in the early 20th century for primarily modest housing designed for middle-class and lower-middle class families that provided much of the labor force and craftsmen for the burgeoning city. (By 1919, the Parkways defined the limits of Memphis.) In the 1920s, the expansive building at 948 S. Cooper held one of the city’s first Piggly Wiggly grocery stores. Neighborhoods always suffer transitions and declines, and after World War II and the tremendous growth of the suburbs, Cooper-Young gradually became neglected, if not derelict. Who remembers, in the ’80s, that a trip to Indochina, to feast on Thom Bach’s egg rolls, seemed like a drive to a foreign country?

Read more about Chef Cleveland, his business partner Leslie Billman and the restaurant here.

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