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VOL. 126 | NO. 56 | Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Local Fare

Cheffie’s set to open in High Point Terrace near Greenline

By Sarah Baker

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Located in High Point Terrace just a few blocks from the Shelby Farms Greenline, the new Cheffie’s Café promises custom foods, quality beverages and a neighborhood-friendly atmosphere.

Culinary partner Jennifer Chandler, left, and general manager Kelly Jones unpack supplies at Cheffie’s Cafe, 483 High Point Terrace. The restaurant, which will feature custom made sandwiches and salads, is due to open by the end of March.

(Photo: Lance Murphey)

Cheffie’s, 483 High Point Terrace, will fill the space formerly occupied by Gild the Lily, on the northern bay of the High Point Terrace strip. The concept is a collaboration between cookbook author Jennifer Chandler and Matt Wilson, founder and owner of Swanky’s Taco Shop.

“When you think about Swanky’s, it’s about build-your-own tacos, burritos and salads,” Chandler said. “And so it was a similar concept, where instead of being about Tex-Mex cuisine, this would be about a fresh spin on a sandwich and salad shop.”

The menu will feature house-made salad dressings, freshly baked pastries, yogurts, fresh fruits, artisan-style breads and 14 flavors of gelato. And in efforts to appeal to every craving, Cheffie’s will offer a selection of boutique wines and handcrafted beers, including beers from locally brewed Ghost River Brewing Co.

The opportunity to create Cheffie’s Café was made possible by Charles McVean, who wanted to create a neighborhood café component inside his new lifestyle center for bicycle enthusiasts, Cruiser’s High Point Hub.

“We’ve been looking for a long, long time,” McVean said. “I grew up in the High Point neighborhood, so when we saw the possibility of getting in that shopping center there and being in the neighborhood and close to the Greenline, it was a no-brainer.”

McVean’s state-of-the-art aerobic cruiser bicycle has been in the pipeline for more than five years, and intends to eventually market the concept nationwide. In addition, Cruiser’s will offer bikes for rent and tours through the Highpoint Galloway Hedgemore area, the Greenline and Shelby Forest.

The entire 4,000-square-foot space, including Cruiser’s and Cheffie’s, is slated to open the last week of March. It will join other neighborhood-friendly tenants such as High Point Grocery, High Point Pizza and High Point Pub.

The new café concept will pull inspiration from Cheffie’s Market and More, a prepared foods market Chandler started in the early 2000s in Sanderlin Shopping Centre.

“It’s now time to get back into it. Once it’s in your blood, you can’t get out of it,” Chandler said. “Since we’ve closed, I’ve been hearing from people, ‘Gosh, I miss your salad bar; gosh, I miss your sandwiches,’ so we decided to bring it back to life.”

Just as Chandler did at the original Cheffie’s, the customer is invited to be the chef, adding as much or as little meat, produce and toppings as they please.

“It’s all about letting the customer have exactly what they want,” Wilson said.

One of the most important elements Chandler wanted to bring to her shop was Project Green Fork certification, in which restaurants use compostable, biodegradable or recycled products and support local and organic farmers who practice sustainable agriculture.

For example, Cheffie’s tomatoes will come from Micmac Farms – a hydroponic tomato farm in Arkansas. Other local accents include Delta pecans from the Mississippi region and Ugly Mug coffee.

Chandler hopes to investigate the farmers market and other mediums to expand her locally focused menu.

“Most importantly, it tastes better from a food service standpoint, but then it also does make a difference as far as the environment, and its neat to be able to know your farmer,” Chandler said. “It’s all about being a neighborhood café for us.”

Cheffie’s will be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. The website, www.cheffies.com, will be up and running in time for the end-of-March opening. The café also has pages on Facebook and Twitter.

A grand opening celebration is scheduled for April 23 and will feature live entertainment on the patio.

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