Tart bakery and cafe set to open Downtown location

A French-inspired, Midtown-based bakery is set to open its second location.

Tart Express will open mid-December in the One Commerce Square building, marking the first expansion for the two-year-old cafe. The company is also starting a catering line out of the large kitchen space in the new Downtown location.
 
“We’re a locally owned small business that is constantly looking to improve and do more, more, more,” said Tart chef Sleepy Johnson. “We’ve wanted to do a downtown location since Day One. We currently have to produce all of our bread off-site. Tart Express has a huge kitchen space, so it will give us an opportunity to move our bread production into one location and also have sales.”
 
Johnson says the new location will keep the same breads and pastries made now at Tart Midtown and will add more artisan breads like traditional baguettes, ciabattas and sour doughs.
 
“All of our pastries are made that day. It’s a labor of love,” said Johnson, who says Tart Express has also partnered up with local coffee roaster Dr. Bean's Coffee and Tea Emporium. “We’ll be selling coffee just like we do in Midtown.”
 
Keeping the ingredients fresh, organic and local is top priority for Johnson. Tart’s menu features creative breakfast items like eggs en brioche, along with rustic French and New Orleans-inspired soups, salads and sandwiches.

“Everything’s fresh. We try to make it different and fun, add some Southern and Asian flavors. We’re very hyper creative,” said Johnson, who is classically trained in French cuisine. “The menu will be essentially the same, but our focus will be ‘to-go’ food. We will not have table service like the Midtown location.”
 
Tart Express and the new catering service will open from Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to around 7 p.m. The Cooper-Young location is set for an expansion as well. 
 
“We’re looking to hire four more people for Downtown, and with possible future growth and expansion in Midtown we’ll be looking to hire more people there at some point,” Johnson added.

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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