Cooper-Young is known for its collection of fantastic, locally-owned restaurants and its worthy social welfare organizations. This October the two meet with the return October 11 of the fifth annual Taste of Cooper-Young fundraiser for First Congregational Church.

Proceeds from the event go to support the progressive Cooper-Young church’s food justice ministry, which feeds nearly 1000 people per week. Accrrding to Gallup, Memphis is one of the most “food insecure” cities in the country, meaning a large portion of the population does not know where their next meal is coming from. First Congo’s food ministry attempts to help address by offering free meals twice a week and providing free groceries once a month. An average of 3,000 meals are served monthly at First Congo and more than 1,800 use the food pantry. A quarter of those served are under the age 18.

Eight of Cooper-Young’s best restaurants are participating in this year’s event. They are: Alchemy, Bar DKDC, Beauty Shop, Cafe Ole, Celtic Crossing, Imagine Vegan Cafe, Mulan, Soul Fish. Starting at 5:30 p.m., Taste of Cooper-Young partygoers will check in at First Congo and get a wristband, They will then be able to visit each restaurants and try a taste from their menu. Live music will play in the Cooper-Young gazebo as dinners walk to and fro.

Then attendees are invited back to the First Congo parking lot at 8 p.m. for more refreshments and a concert. A silent auction, including unique art items, gift certificates, theater tickets, and more, will be set up at the church during the entire event.

Tickets for a Taste of Cooper-Young are $50 and are available at the church and online at Tickets are limited to the first 300 people.

If you can’t make it to the event, you can make a donation to First Congo at

n Elwood’s Shells, the seafood-oriented offshot of popular East Memphis barbecue resturant Elwood’s Shack, announced it will open its forst permanent location in Cooper-Young by the end of the year.

Owner Tim Bednarski told The Daily Memphian the restaurant, previously housed in food truck, would move into 916 Cooper, Previously the home of Jasmine Thai & Vegetarian Restaurant. The owners of Jasmine retired earler this year.

Despite much fanfare from Bednarski’s loyal fan base, Elwood’s Shells was actually only open for one day in 2016 in a lot by Elwood’s Shack. A dispute with his landlord kept Bednarski from getting it completely up and running. A veteran of restaurants like Landry’s and Bahama Breeze, Bednarski plans to offer seafood po’ boys, gumbo, and shrimp and grits as well as breakfast, including a riff on eggs benedict with fired green tomatoes and crab meat and an etouffe omlet.

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