VOL. 131 | NO. 126 | Friday, June 24, 2016
Overton Square Atrium Has New Operator
By Madeline Faber
On a Friday morning, the Atrium in Overton Square may host a corporate meeting, with a wedding planned for that same night.
As the event venue’s new operator, CFY Catering will manage event bookings, planning, preparation and of course, the food.
Overton Square and venue management are both new territories for the Bartlett-based catering company.
Prior to its reopening in 2014, the Atrium operated as a fine-dining restaurant and earlier, as an ice skating rink.
“We're kind of off the beaten path (in Bartlett) because everything we do is off-site,” said Kevin Bush, who has owned and operated CFY Catering with his wife, Kristi, for the past nine years. “So it's been good being out here for us, but most of the events we do are actually located in the city.”
Bush said that Overton Square is a natural fit for an established catering company. CFY will maintain its commercial kitchen at 6490 Memphis Arlington Road and also will set up shop at the Atrium, 2105 Madison Ave.
CFY Catering has prepared food for many events at the Atrium, but having exclusive use of the kitchen will allow for different kinds of dishes that might be prohibitive at other venues, Bush said.
Kellie Walker, director of sales for Overton Square venue Lafayette’s Music Room, most recently managed the Atrium. She will hand the reins over to CFY in July after a yearlong tenure. Prior to Walker, the venue was managed in-house by Loeb Properties for two years.
CFY has entered into a multiyear lease, which means that the burgeoning event venue will find some stability and growth.
“It’s a natural transition for a company that specializes in event planning,” said Ciara Neill, director of marketing with Loeb Properties. “Their expertise in catering and event planning logically translates into running their own venue.”
Currently, the venue hosts between 100 and 150 events each year, with its busy season running between April and July, said Jeremy Reed, property manager with Loeb Properties. He thinks a strong owner could bump that figure to 150 or 200 events per year.
Bush said Saturday rentals are booked through 2017, and CFY will honor contracts Walker set up during her tenure.
Bush sees the Atrium as a separate business rather than an extension of CFY. An employee or two would be dedicated to business related to the Atrium, but they will work alongside the team at CFY.
He hopes that he’ll be able to manage everything in-house that goes into an event, from furniture rental to alcohol service.
“We want to help them get from ground zero to a perfectly executed event,” he said. “It's a natural area of Memphis to want to be, and the Atrium is a beautiful venue itself. It offers our clients a great mix of having a wonderful venue surrounded by an area that's just alive.”
The building reopened as the Atrium in 2014. Its origins date back to the mid-1970s, making it the newest building in Overton Square. It once housed an ice-skating rink, and when the rink closed, a fine-dining Italian restaurant called Palm Court.
People who rent the Atrium also gain access to the adjacent Tower Courtyard and its sky-high windmill chime installation.
Reed said that the building’s high ceilings and original construction elements make it a natural fit for an event venue.
“It has the stunning steel archways that are part of the original construction,” Reed said. “It's like a blank canvas when someone wants to come in and decorate for their event.”