Pay-it-forward Overton Square restaurant feeds funds to the Mid-South Food Bank

New restaurateurs Edward Bogard and Preston Butts Jr., along with co-owner and former Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins, are prepping to open their first restaurant venture, BOGARD, by August in Overton Square at 2110 Madison Avenue.

At BOGARD, which stands for Buying One Gives Another Rare Dish, for every meal purchased another meal will be provided for a person in need through a strategic partnership with the Mid-South Food Bank.

“It’s an idea that I’ve been formalizing for the past four years,” said Bogard, founder and philanthropist behind SoGiv, a nonprofit shoe design company. The nonprofit donates 100 percent of its proceeds to more than 20 charitable foundations. “I had the vision just not all the right pieces four years ago.”

Two percent of all food sales will be donated to the food bank for providing meals, and 2 percent of all bar sales will go to providing clean drinking water to people through the food bank.

“A little bit of financial help goes a really long way with the food bank,” said Andrew Bell, communications manager with the Mid-South Food Bank. “We can generate three meals every time someone donates $1. Almost equally important to the financial contribution is the exposure for the food bank in the Overton Square area.”

The partnership is also a continuation of an alliance formed in 2014 between the food bank and SoGiv in which a special edition shoe raised funds for the Mid-South Food Bank. To date, more than 13,000 meals have been provided from the sales of the shoes, which are available primarily online at SoGiv.org.

“The idea for the restaurant was inspired by the success and the impact of the food bank shoe, and I wanted to be able to do something like that on a more consistent basis,” said Bogard. “In our first year at the new restaurant, we’re projecting to provide 100,000 meals based on 2 percent of net sales.”

The Last Burger on Earth also donates a portion of its French fry sales to the Mid-South Food Bank, which serves a 31-county region and distributes more than 2 million pounds of food each year. Bell is hoping that other area restaurants will follow this new trend.

“The Food Bank logo will be on the BOGARD menu, and people ordering will be able to see right there what we’re about. It’s critical exposure for us,” said Bell.

Construction on the 3,790-square-foot space, which was formerly Stanley BBQ, Schweinhaus and Paulette’s over the last number of years, will begin the next month.

“We have a really, really nice patio. We’re excited about it and are planning some fun things once we open,” said Bogard.

BOGARD’s upscale menu will feature contemporary southern-inspired dishes like fried green tomatoes and shrimp and grits, along with hand-crafted cocktails.

“You’re going to want to photograph the entrée before eating it,” said Bogard. “And the dining space itself will actually be Instagrammable.”

BOGARD has hired experienced restaurateurs Ed Cabagiao (Zaka Bowl, SOB) and Ben McLean (Catfish & Caviar, Belly Acres) as operating managers for the new business, which should be open by August.

The ownership group is already planning more restaurants.

“Just from the initial buzz and concept we have created here, we already have six cities interested in opening BOGARDs,” said Bogard. “Being a native Memphian, I wanted to open the first BOGARD here.”

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.