In Memphis, the family name Grisanti is synonymous with delicious, well-prepared food. Big John, John, Ronnie, Frank, Alex, Judd, David, Elfo — we recognize them all as a part of the Grisanti tradition of amazing meals and warm, friendly service. Now we can add Dino Grisanti to the list. As one of the owners of Farm and Fig Catering, Dino brings fresh food and ideas to Memphis. Join us as we learn more about the catering company that offers food to celebrate life and the new space that affords them the opportunity to grow.
Dino, his wife Carolyn, and in-laws Marc and Vanessa Henley currently work from a ghost kitchen to provide both formal and casual catering options, as well as take-and-bake items. They’d been looking for a site for a brick-and-mortar establishment when the perfect space in the Cooper-Young neighborhood became available, and they plan to open the doors to the new Farm and Fig storefront by the end of November.
“We are looking forward to getting settled into our own space,” says Dino. “With a storefront, we will be able to do so much more as a business, and being in Cooper-Young is awesome — as Midtowners, we have many ties to the area.” In fact, he continues, the family ran across an unexpected connection. When 800 South Cooper Street was selected as the new location for Farm and Fig, Marc’s 102-year-old grandfather remarked, “Oh, 800 Cooper? I used to work there in the upholstery business.”
“We definitely felt ourselves coming full circle then,” Dino says.
With a new catering kitchen, Farm and Fig will expand on the food that has made it so popular. The take-and-bake menu includes a Meal of the Week, yummy dinners that can be preordered and picked up on a Friday — a great and easy way to end the workweek. The meals include a main dish, two or three sides, and a dessert. Other options range from homemade artisan breads and hearty sauces to fresh salads, filling lasagnas, and delicious desserts. The catering menu is wide-ranging and easily customizable for plated sit-down dinners, casual buffets, business lunches or family get-togethers.
Although the Grisanti name has traditionally been known for Italian fare, Farm and Fig Catering offers a wide variety of cuisines, including Thai, Vietnamese, French, and Mediterranean. Dino, Carolyn, Marc and Vanessa share a love of many different foods and a passion for creating new dishes. All have taken a hand in creating the catering menu: Vanessa developed the Caprese Chicken, Carolyn invented the Spinach Ricotta Pie, Marc is the inspiration behind the Beef Braciole, and Dino’s favorite of his own dishes is the Ginger and Miso Chicken.
“I love it when someone takes a bite of, for example, our blueberry scone and says, ‘This takes me back to Ireland,’” Dino says. “We want to spark the memories that bring joy with our food — to remind our customers of a special place and time. I like to think we are bringing back memories one dish at a time.”
What he missed most in working from a ghost kitchen is the interaction with patrons, Dino says. With a brick-and-mortar storefront, he’s excited about talking with the customers who stop in to pick up dinner for the evening or want to discuss catering options. “I grew up working in kitchens and making connections with the people who loved our food. I’ve missed that very much,” he says.
In the future, COVID-19 permitting, Dino and his family hope to offer hot food via counter service as well as cooking classes, a project that is dear to his heart: “I’ve been cooking forever. It’s in my blood, and I love to share it with others.”
Right now, however, Dino is happy to be building up Farm and Fig with his family. In addition to his wife and in-laws, his six children have chipped in to help at one time or another, including 6-year-old Giovanni. Marc and Vanessa’s two teenage daughters have joined in the fun as well. “It’s definitely a family thing,” Dino says. “I love passing down the Grisanti love of great food through the generations.”
All images courtesy of Farm and Fig Catering.
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