Grisanti Closes Poplar Locale

By DAVID ROYER

Cordova’s culinary gain means a loss for the Chickasaw Gardens area after the longtime Grisanti’s restaurant location at 2855 Poplar Ave. quietly closed its doors.

Ronnie Grisanti confirmed Wednesday, Feb. 15, that his namesake restaurant in the Chickasaw Crossing shopping center had closed as of Jan. 28, days before he opened his new restaurant in Cordova’s Stella Marris nightclub to the public.

Grisanti declined to comment further on the closing.

The sudden closure of the old Grisanti’s came as a surprise to some patrons. Maurice Tucker, who owns Tucker Optimal Chiropratic in the same shopping center, said he had a standing reservation at the restaurant for 25 business clients every two weeks.

Tucker said he’d expected to host another dinner there last week, and only found out the restaurant was closed the day before his reservation, when he walked over and read a sign on the door. The news sent him scrambling to find a new venue.

“I already called up my guests and invited them out to Ronnie Grisanti’s,” Tucker said. “A staple like that, it not only hurts Memphis but it hurts my little shopping center.”

This is the second time in a little more than two years a Grisanti’s restaurant at that location has closed. Ronnie Grisanti opened the popular Italian eatery in the early 1980s and moved it to the Chickasaw Crossing shopping center, but he announced in August 2009 that it would shut its doors.

Grisanti’s son, Judd Grisanti, opened his own restaurant, Judd Grisanti’s Trattoria, at the same location a few months later. Ronnie Grisanti returned to the kitchen there in 2010, taking over management and returning his name to the restaurant in 2011.

Grisanti opened his new restaurant Feb. 3 at the Stella Marris nightclub, 7955 Fischer Steel Road in Cordova. Stella Marris has raised the ire of Cordova neighbors who believed owner Steve Cooper planned to turn the location into a strip club, but the introduction of the Grisanti name to the venture had helped ease neighbors’ concerns.

Grisanti had told the Commercial Appeal in January that his involvement in the old Poplar location would end and that he was unsure of the restaurant’s future.

He said Wednesday that he couldn’t be in both restaurants at the same time.

The Grisanti family is a Memphis dining dynasty, lending the family name to a number of current and past restaurants in the area, dating back to 1909.