CFY Catering leads reinvention of Dixon's Park + Cherry cafe

Park + Cherry by CFY at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens reopens its doors on July 14 following a change in management and an overhaul of its previous menu.

The Dixon's new chef partners are husband and wife team Kristi and Kevin Bush of CFY Catering, who have catered parties, events, and private tables locally for more than ten years including dozens of successful events at the Dixon like Art on Fire and Art on Tap.

The Bushes started their catering company more than decade ago after Kristi had to leave her chef position early when she was pregnant.

“For some reason, we thought that would be a good time to open a new company, joked Kevin Bush. “But it’s worked out really well. Just having a chef-driven approach to catering I think set us apart.”

Park + Cherry’s new menu features salads, sandwiches, quiches and fresh baked goods like brownies and cookies, as well as coffee drinks and a variety of other beverages.

Unique hot sandwiches include The Pork & Cherry with pork loin, cherry gastrique, chicarrones (pork rinds), and lemon aoili along with a smoked New York strip sandwich on brioche with a spicy tomato spread and Port Salut. Cold sandwiches include a prosciutto and roasted peach croissant with gruyere and balsamic reduction and a veggie sandwich with lemon hummus, roasted red peppers, spinach, zucchini and sunflower seeds.

“We’re always going to want to have good flavors, good quality product and make things from scratch, but we didn’t want to go with an avant-garde approach. We want people to feel a comfort level with what they’re eating," said Bush.

The café uses local product whenever possible, including from Claybrook Farms and McCartney Produce.

“Right now we’re using local vendors for our produce, and we’re using French Truck coffee,” said Bush.

“And we’re getting even more local than that, as the Dixon has agreed to grow product for us here on property. It’s going to be really exciting. We’re going to start doing it in small doses now until we can get more high volume, beginning with some fresh herbs and then moving on from there.”

The original Park + Cherry opened in the spring of 2016 following renovations at the Dixon, which did not have a restaurant or dining space prior to then. Wally Joe managed the café, but he decided to focus on his other restaurant, Wally Joe’s.

Park + Cherry temporarily closed starting on June 20 as the café transitioned to new management. The café itself was redesigned slightly with a new color scheme and new tables. Customers can eat in the café or outside in the gardens.

“Our goal is to get people to realize that they can some to the Dixon for lunch. There’s this barrier because people think, ‘Oh, I’m not a member,’ (you don’t need to be a member to eat there),” said Bush. “For people leaving work for a short lunch break, they can get fed and still have time to maybe enjoy the gardens or the gallery. It’s a nice getaway from the monotony of the 9 to 5.”

Hours of operation will remain from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Read more articles by Michael Waddell.

Michael Waddell is a native Memphian who returned to Memphis several years ago after working for nearly a decade in San Diego and St. Petersburg, Fla., as a writer, editor and graphic designer. His work over the past few years has been featured in The Memphis Daily News, Memphis Bioworks Magazine, Memphis Crossroads, the New York Daily News and the New York Post. Contact Michael.
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