Overton Square is filling up with fabulous new businesses so quickly, it is hard to keep up! This 1970s hot spot is quickly becoming the place to be in 2014 and beyond. In the 1970s, this neighborhood was home to 11 restaurants and 27 shops. Pub crawls attracted over 40,000 people, the ice rink was a family favorite, and Christmas at Overton Square was known for its carolers, roasted chestnuts and for bringing “snow” to the Mid-South every year.
Today Overton Square is, once again, home to thriving businesses anchored by three live-performance theaters and a multi-screen movie theater. The Malco Studio on the Square movie theater even has a café serving wine and beer to enjoy along with a schedule of mainstream shows plus first-run and art films.
Loeb Properties is busy cultivating this local landmark into a distinctive arts and entertainment district. The Square is moving fast with several changes happening this spring, so here are a few things you may not know, all good reasons to visit soon!
1. Babalu Tacos & Tapas
T.G.I. Friday’s first franchised location outside of New York City was in Overton Square, and now, the Overton Square space that once held Friday’s second location is home to the second location of Babalu Tacos & Tapas, new to Memphis this year!
The award-winning Babalu restaurant, based in Jackson, Mississippi, serves chef-quality tacos and tapas/small plates with a distinctive twist. It is complete with an outdoor patio featuring an indoor-outdoor bar.
Babalu is famous for its guacamole, made fresh at tableside. This all-time favorite has been voted Mississippi Magazine’s Best Appetizer for the past three years. The restaurant is also known for house-made blue hull corn tacos with chef-inspired fillings, tapas made from scratch and signature cocktails made with freshly hand-squeezed juices and mixes. Babalu is a repeat winner of Jackson Free Press’s “Best of Jackson” awards including “Best New Restaurant,” “Best Outdoor Dining,” “Best Margarita,” “Best Happy Hour” and “Best Place for a First Date.” babalutacos.com
2. Live Entertainment Venues
Reminiscent of the vibrant activity that filled Overton Square in the ’70s (that we have heard about or recall, depending on our age!) live entertainment venues are plentiful, with more on the way. Here are a few we found:
Boscos Squared has live music every Wednesday evening from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. boscosbeer.com
Local Gastro Pub
Host a party in this upbeat restaruant’s private dining room (or let them cater your next event elsewhere.) localgastropub.com
Lafayette’s Music Room
Lafayette’s Music Room is reopening this spring! Historically, Lafayette’s is known for showcasing legendary musicians such as Billy Joel, Barry Manilow, Big Star, Kansas and Kiss. The new Lafayette’s will also put a focus on the food with well-known chef, writer and restaurant consultant Jennifer Chandler collaborating on the menu, which will be influenced by Southern cooking from the Mississippi Delta to New Orleans. overtonsquare.com/news/lafayettes
The Atrium, The Tower Courtyard and the Griffin Garden
Several venues in Overton Square for both public and private entertaining are available, and more are steadily being added. One on the way that is opening in April is The Atrium (formerly called Palm Court.) The Atrium will be an art deco-style space ideal for private events hosting up to 300 people. Two other private event options: Overton Square’s new Tower Courtyard, perfect for everything from community festivals to wedding receptions, and the Griffin House, an outdoor garden area with the capacity to entertain up to 30 people and provide a small performance space for entertainment. overtonsquare.com/rentals
3. Bikram Yoga
Bikram Hot Yoga just opened in Overton Square on Sunday, March 9! Bikram Memphis offers a step-by-step method of instruction to guide practitioners of all levels through a precisely designed and copywritten sequence of 26 hatha yoga postures. The series is done in a heated room, which, they explain, allows for deeper and safer stretching, helps with metabolism, increases the heart rate for an aerobic and cardiovascular workout and delivers “a major detox.” Learn more about Bikram Memphis, here: bikramyogamemphis.com
4. The Tower Chimes
In the Tower Courtyard, there is an outdoor stage and a tower showcasing one of the largest sets of chimes in the world! The chimes add unique ambience to this entertainment venue. They were designed and built by Being Art.
5. The Attic
When the Loeb’s took on the renovation of Overton Square and began looking for tenants, owners Alexandra Nicole and Benjamin Scharff were the first retail shop to sign on. The Attic is another great option for fashion forward men and women in Memphis, described as “New York Chic.” Their clothing and accessories are timeless and modern. They also offer complimentary personal shopping sessions for their customers! theatticapparel.com
6. Belly Acres
Belly Acres, a new farm-to-table burger restaurant concept, is slated to open in May. The restaurant will be located on the east side of the new Tower Courtyard with a patio overlooking the area. “Belly Acres is the kind of fun, family-friendly fast-casual concept that we’ve been looking for to help anchor and activate our new Tower Courtyard,” says Aaron Petree, Vice President, Brokerage for Loeb Properties.
7. Pork and Bier
Schweinhaus, a restaurant that will feature Bavarian cuisine with local flare, is slated to open in late summer. Touting the tagline “A Celebration of Pork and Bier,” Schweinhaus will offer full table service by wait staff in Germanic dress and communal, handmade wood tables in the style of a classic Oktoberfest beer hall. The restaurant will occupy the building that formerly housed Paulette’s restaurant and will incorporate a new patio recently added by landlord Loeb Properties.
8. Gourmet Treats
Top it all off with Sweet Noshings and The Square Olive!
Americans consume about 16 billion quarts of popcorn a year, and Memphians can get their portion at Sweet Noshings, a gourmet candy shop in Overton Square with one of the largest selections of gourmet popcorn in the Mid-South.
The Square Olive
Look for the opening of The Square Olive, coming soon! This specialty olive oil store will offer “all things olive oil”–from bulk and bottled specialty oils to olive oil based soaps, hand lotions and pet shampoos.
The Square Olive will be on the side of Overton Square that faces Trimble. With the opening of the parking garage and the opportunities to host community events in the Tower Courtyard, the spaces on Trimble have become prime locations.
Bookmark this list for your next Overton Square outing and keep up with the excitement by checking in often with Overton Square online … See ya ’round the Square! overtonsquare.com