Some Food Biz Bites

Cilantro's Grill Sallies Forth

Opened March 22 on the Cumberland Avenue Strip, Cilantro's Grill is the pet project of local owners Pam and Richard Kilgore. The focal fare is gourmet burritos, tacos, nachos, and such, boasting 100 percent Black Angus beef. The schedule caters to college kids and night owls: open from lunch to 11 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and all the way to 4 a.m. Thursday-Saturday, for example. Other attractions: 99-cent drafts and $5 pitchers any time the restaurant's open, and delivery service from David Stanley Leventhal's 622-EATS. Mention the Facebook group for a 5 percent discount.

Sweet P's Does Dinner Once More

Phew. When Sweet P's Barbecue and Soul House started being closed for dinner in January, then closed entirely for a bit in late March, loyal fans started worrying about the writing on the wall. But no worries; as of last week, Sweet P's (and its mighty fine smoked meatloaf and mac ‘n cheese) is back in full swing at its waterside Willow Point Marina location off Maryville Pike. "Once the weather warmed up, we've been bustling," says owner Chris Ford. And as for that week when the doors were closed and the lights off? "I took some time off to take my kids to the beach!" says Ford with a laugh.

For hours and menu:

SNAP to It—Farmers Market Takes EBT Cards

Great news for folks in the community receiving food "stamps" and the local farmers who would like to provide for them: The Market Square Farmers Market is now set up to accept EBT/SNAP benefits. Since June 2009, SNAP food stamp benefits have been delivered via SNAP electronic balance transfer cards, which work like debit cards. The customer swipes the card in a point-of-scale device and enters a PIN, then the purchase is deducted from the household's account. How this will work at the market: A person will swipe their EBT card at the information booth, and receive tokens to spend with eligible vendors. The criteria: EBT tokens can be used on any food not to be consumed on site, food-producing plants, and seeds to grow food for the household's consumption.

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Earth Fare-Thee-Well to Plastic

Since April 22, Earth Fare's Bearden and Turkey Creek locations have no longer been offering plastic grocery bags. The regional chain of healthy supermarkets has caught some flak—or at least fielded some questions—regarding why plastic and not paper? Here is part of its five-point rationale:

"1. Plastic bags can take over 1,000 years to biodegrade. Paper only takes two to three weeks to biodegrade in a warm landfill. 2. Only 13% of plastic bags are ever recycled. Over 56% of paper bags are reused or recycled. 3. Plastic bags are made of petroleum and natural gas, both NON-renewable resources... Finally, and most importantly, paper bags are safer for animals than plastic bags... when plastic bags get picked up by wildlife, especially birds and marine wildlife. They eat it. They feed it to their young. They die from it." And speaking of young, kids now eat free at Earth Fare Thursday evenings, one freebie per adult meal purchased.

Not-So-Big Fatty's?

Name notwithstanding, Big Fatty's in Bearden is picking up with some lighter, healthier menu items for summer, starting May 1. "We want to emphasize locally-grown produce, and the blue plates in particular are going to change, and I am adding shrimp, veggie or chicken pasta to the dinner menu," says chef and owner Lisa Smith. Two attention-grabbers on the lighter menu: fresh fish tacos on the blue plate, and a vegan breakfast burrito.

For more info: 219-8317