The Grecian Gourmet Taverna will shut the doors at its South Main Street restaurant on Nov. 23. The restaurant owners made the announcement Tuesday in a social media post.
“I want to start off by saying that we love South Main and Downtown Memphis, there is no area or neighborhood with the soul and support like what we have Downtown,” Corinne Knight said in the post. “This restaurant has been a second home since signing our lease in December of 2017, and we have made the very difficult decision to unfortunately not resign for another five years.”
Knight cited how COVID-19 was hard on everyone, but especially the small businesses that survive on local business lunch and tourism, neither of which has yet rebounded to pre-pandemic levels.
“We’re tired. We’ve worked so hard to build back, but we had to take stock of our life and time spent in the restaurant, and decided it’s time to focus on how we started — and make it even better,” Knight said. “My husband and I have two small children — they’ll never be 6 and 2 again — but we can always one day open another restaurant.”
But don’t worry: Grecian Gourmet’s line of retail foods will still be available.
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The Knights are turning their focus to growing the retail and catering side of their business, transitioning from Grecian Gourmet Taverna to a new space in Bartlett called Grecian Gourmet Kitchen.
Grecian Gourmet currently has a retail line of a dozen items ranging from appetizers such as hummus and pita chips to entrees such as spanakopita.
Currently, Grecian Gourmet foods can be found at SuperLo (Spottswood store), High Point Grocery, Cordelia’s Market, Buster’s Liquors, Curb Market, Cash Saver (Madison Avenue location), South Point Grocery, Grind City Grocery, Curbside Casserole and Katie’s Kitchen ( Germantown).
“While the closing is bittersweet, retail and catering are a huge part of what we do and how we started,” Knight said. “I’m excited to grow those far beyond anything we imaged when starting this journey almost seven years ago.”
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The Grecian Gourmet was launched in 2016 by Corrine Knight’s parents, Jeff Watkins and JoBeth Graves. Knight, along with her husband, Cal, were involved in the business since the start, and officially took over operations in January 2022. The company started selling Greek foods at the Memphis Farmers Market, and expanded to other stores and markets in 2017. In December 2017, they signed the lease to open the Downtown restaurant.
Knight said she hopes that the transition between the restaurant and the new kitchen will be seamless. “We hope to get into the new space in October, and we have the lease downtown until December,” she said. “So our retail product and catering business will not stop.”
The plans for the new kitchen location include eventually opening a retail shop.
Jennifer Chandler is the Food & Dining Reporter at The Commercial Appeal. She can be reached at email@example.com and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cookwjennifer.