After moving his restaurant, The Farmer, from Highland Avenue to Chickasaw Oaks Village three months ago, restauranteur Mac Edwards is getting ready to open his newest creation, Brooks Pharm2Fork, in just a few weeks in the old town square of Collierville.
The new restaurant’s historic building was built in 1900, and from the 1950s to the late 1980s it served as a popular drug store run by the Brooks family, which still owns the building. The location’s vintage terrazzo floors from the drug store days are still in place. Most recently, the 2,000-square-foot space was used for local restaurant Cafe Grill.
“I think we’ve got the best space on the square. It looks right out on the gazebo,” said Edwards. “The building is in great shape. It’s rock solid, but we had to do some things to bring it up to code, including running all new wiring and repairing the vent-a-hoods and exhaust.”
Edwards hopes to get plenty of walk-in business thanks to the fact that the downtown square is growing as a walkable destination with new zero-lot line homes and condos nearby.
The new restaurant, which will start out with a staff of 20, will serve dinner only for two weeks and then add lunch and possibly a takeaway breakfast service.
Brooks Pharm2Fork's menu will be similar to The Farmer's farm-to-table fare. Planned for the location is elevated comfort food with strong Southern influences including lunch favorites like pot roast, sloppy Joe’s, and pan-seared catfish with smoked tomato broth and macaroni and cheese. The dinner menu features a pan-roasted America’s cut pork chop with sweet potato hash and onion marmalade, along with salmon patties from a recipe by Edwards’ mom.
The fresh food at The Farmer and Brooks Pharm2Fork comes exclusively from local sources like Benton's Smoky Mountain Country Hams, Brownlee Farms, Dickey Farms, HillBilly Acres Farm, Marmilu Farms, Sparkling River Pepper Co., True Vine Farm, Whitton Farm, Wilson Gardens, and Woodson Ridge Farms.
Edwards has worked in the restaurant business for nearly 40 years and is a former owner of McEwen’s Downtown on Monroe Avenue. He sold that restaurant in 2008 and then opened The Farmer in March 2011.
He cites some of his mentors over the years as highly influential to his success.
“I’ve been lucky to have worked for some great men, including Thomas Boggs with Huey’s, Caesar Para of Salsa Cocina Mexicana and Don McLean from Lulu Grille,” said Edwards. “I learned a lot from them.”