Start with this
I recently hopped over to the Madison Ave. trolley line to try Memphis’ newest restaurant/grocery, the Trolley Stop Market. I’ve been eagerly awaiting its opening, as I have always been a fan of Jill and Keith and their awesome food from Whitton Farms. They have an insanely busy stop at the Memphis Farmers Market, and they now have a similarly busy shop that we can go to Monday-Saturday.
One of the things that I really love about them is their motto, “If you know your farmer, you know your food.” It really sums up a lot of the reasons that I like to eat locally, as to me it is all about relationships and the quality that comes from a small business that truly knows their clients.
I’m really excited for Trolley Stop, and I have a feeling that it will do really well. It has 4 of the main ingredients in the Opening a New Business that Everyone is Super Excited For Factor, which will from now on be called the IT Factor.
- Buzziness (Crazy Word-of-Mouth Spreading) – you can’t get on Facebook without seeing someone talking about their lunch or their pizza at the Trolley Stop. When I went to the place yesterday for lunch, I probably ran into a dozen people that I know from all different circles.
- A “Dang Gina” Moment – I describe this by being a place that people will say, “How in the H E double hockey sticks did we all get along before this place opened???” You know it when you see it, but specifically this happens when a new place fills a void in the community. It is even better when people didn’t even realize that there was a void in the first place.
- Meet the Peeps - From all accounts, people are really high on Jill and Keith. They have a little bit of the celebrity that makes a new place stand out even more than it would without them.
- Freakin’ Awesome Food – This seems pretty obvious, but it is important! I’ll get into this as I go over what I ate.
Pizza with Pizazz
One of the first things that you’ll notice upon walking in the front door is the display case full of pizzas. These are huge pies that come with a variety of fresh toppings. Since we had a big group, we ordered a couple of slices as an “appetizer.”
First up was the classical Margherita made of fresh mozzarella, basil, and fresh slices of tomato. We are all familiar with this classic slice, but it was really, really good with the great cheese and fresh tomatoes. Speaking of tomatoes, I can’t wait for the Ripleys to come roaring into Memphis. They are one of the things that make it easier to handle the hot, muggy weather that we get all summer!
Next slice was a veggie pie with onion, squash, and potato. It was a little different than the traditional veggie pizza that most places serve, but it had the supreme advantage of having awesome, fresh squash on it. It made a huge difference, and it was a big hit at our table.
The pizzas were really as good as I have ever had in Memphis. The crust was thin and crispy on the bottom but still soft on the topping side. The pizza was so good that my mom ordered one to go for my brother, who was just getting in town that night. Quality:cash efficiency ratio update: A huge pizza with 5 toppings, tomato, basil, fresh mozzarella, chicken, and bacon, was just over 20 dollars. When I say huge, I mean huge. Couldn’t be contained by the box huge. This gets a very high score on the quality:cash efficiency ratio. End update. Trolley Stop makes what to me is easily one of the best pizzas in Memphis. Don’t mess around, and go get one.
I went with a BLT, which came on thick slices of homemade bread with fresh tomato and lettuce and good salty bacon. This was a great BLT! I got it with a side of cucumber salad, which was crisp and vinegary. Great side to go with the BLT and Ruffles.
One of the reoccurring themes of Trolley Stop is the freshness of the vegetables. It really makes a difference to me when an ingredient in any dish is as good and fresh as it gets. That is what made the pizza and my sandwich as good as they were.
Farm to Middleman to Table
One of the best things about this restaurant is that it highlights the difference between the vegetables that are out there
- Sturdy Veggies – Most veggies at the supermarket are grown to withstand cross-country travel and ripen during the journey.
- Freshest Veggies – These vegetables are grown for pure quality and are picked when ripe and sold or eaten within a day or two.
The veggies on these meat and three plates were super fresh and cooked to highlight it. One of my friends at the table got the chicken parmesan + 2 daily special. She added to her plate with purple hull peas and the squash. Both were very fresh and good, but the squash stood out as a star performer on this day.
My mom went with the cod and the same squash and PHP (purple hull peas) combo. The cod was lightly cooked, flaky and delicious.
My last buddy went all old-school on the joint and got a straight-up veggie plate. He wasn’t messing around at all and stepped it up with cabbage, broccoli, the PHP, and the squash. He let me get a taste of it all, and I was very happy with the results.
Grossery??? Ohhhh, a Grocery
What’s better than eating local food for lunch? Eating local food for lunch and leaving with all the stuff that you need to make a nice, fresh, local dinner at home. Trolley Stop incorporates a “locavore market” into their space, and they have a lot of the stars of the farmers markets around town as well as some vendors that looked new to me. You could leave with meat, seafood, vegetables, cool rocks, paper goods from one of my old co-workers, flowers, honey, and all sorts of things. I’ve grocery shopped there a couple of times already, and I’ll tell you that it is awfully convenient to be able to get Jones Orchard peaches if I happen to sleep in on Saturday and don’t make it downtown or to get bacon from West Wind Farms if I am too busy to make it to the Cooper Young Farmers Market.
By Bike, Car, or Trolley or whatever
Whether you get there on the trolley, in you car, on your bike, or heaven forbid, on your Rollerblades like Mitchel Goosen, you should do your best to get there.
There’s a lot to love about Trolley Stop, but you should go find out what it is you love about it. It will be worth it! See you there.
PS. Blog Local Memphis – Shout out