Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Fresh Slices

Finally! A new review! Thanks to Kristy for ending the dry spell!

Fresh Slices Sidewalk Cafe & Deli
1585 Overton Park Ave
(901) 725-1001

Winter has never been my time of year, and the long stretches of being penned up in the house with four bored children (aging in range from less than one to nine) have done nothing to improve my opinion of cold weather. On a recent Sunday when the sun was out, we decided to seize the opportunity to get out of the house even though it wasn’t exactly balmy out. We bundled up the monkeys and headed for Fresh Slices. I thought wistfully about their nice patio out front and dreamed of warmer days when we could enjoy it.

Since Fresh Slices is in Andria’s neighborhood, we decided to pay respect and give her a call. She and Miss M (age 3) were free for lunch, so they walked down to meet us. I was a little concerned when we arrived to see the small dining area looking pretty full with at least two large parties in the mix, but my fears were unfounded. Our server led us to a fabulous new covered deck in the back. The deck has a full roof and roll-down plastic walls for bad weather that reminded me of the beach bar where I worked in our Florida days. There was a nice space heater built into a hearth-like structure right by our table, so we were toasty and comfortable the whole time.

The tables we needed were dirty when we got there, and it took several minutes for a busser to come and clear them, but we did gradually get situated and soon enough our friendly waitress came and took our drink orders. And then we never saw her again. Ok, we did, but it took a looong time for her to get back with the drinks, and Big Daddy’s beer was a Guinness instead of the asked-for Grolsch. Never one to turn down a Guiness, he let the error pass, and we all ordered. Our waitress apologized for the wait and explained that she had a very large group inside at her station. She was very sweet, but unfortunately the service didn’t improve much during the visit. Maybe it’s not a good idea for one server to have tables both inside and out during busy Sunday lunches.

Luckily, all five monkeys were mostly content to listen to the unobtrusive music being played by a local singer I only know as Vanessa from Maggie’s Pharm, who strummed her guitar and serenaded us with folksy tunes as we waited and ate. No major incidents were recorded (and I’m pretty sure it’s not a PTSD memory block kind of deal this time).

Slow but friendly service aside, I love the food at Fresh Slices. In fact, everything about the place is exactly what an independently-owned neighborhood restaurant should be. They offer an extensive menu of delicious salads, sandwiches, and grill items. I noticed several dishes with grilled salmon that looked tempting, but decided on the Cajun chicken pizza appetizer, which is more than enough for a meal for one person. It’s a tortilla pizza with the signature Fresh Slices creamy spinach mixture, pieces of spicy grilled chicken (not that spicy but very flavorful), thin bell pepper rings, and of course, cheese. Big Daddy had a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich, which he said was very good. S ordered the kid’s chicken tenders but asked for fries instead of the chips that come with, and C ordered a plain hamburger. I asked if they could make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for JP, but she said she thought they only had raspberry preserves, so he opted for just a bag of chips. I’m not sure what Andria and Miss M had, because I was too immersed in the Cajun-chickeny goodness of my pizza. The only glitch was that both Big Daddy’s and S’s fries were AWOL, and by the time they came out, we were pretty much finished eating.

Service issues aside, I look forward to many happy returns to Fresh Slices. The deck is a great refuge from the winter blahs, and in summer it will be an excellent place to enjoy a warm afternoon and a cold beer, shaded from the direct sun and cooled by the breeze from the ceiling fans. There’s even an actual yard beyond the deck, so if one of the monkeys escapes, all they’ll hit is the grass.

Fresh Slice's Sidewalk Cafe on Urbanspoon


Stephanie said...

I keep hearing good things about the salmon!

Memphisotan said...

I'm glad someone finally got around to reviewing Fresh Slices - we're there too often for me to separate one visit from the next, and they deserve all the support they can get. My only monkey-related complaint is that they switched from a huge bowl of home-made mac and cheese to a stingy serving of Kraft sometime after their first year. I'm sure it's cheaper and easier, but man, I miss that gooey goodness. I mean, um, Miss M misses it.

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