Saturday, August 20, 2011
The first thing you may notice about my good friend Becky are her adorable dimples but let me just point out her right shoulder. That shoulder, I’ve found recently, is a very, very comfortable shoulder to cry on. Becky, seeing me through a tough time, actually wanted to listen to my problems, and suggested we meet again for lunch. The Brass Door was the place I chose to meet post emotional outpour.
Meeting good friends, making new ones – it’s what I’ve realized is the reality of most visits to a restaurant. Not always just to try out the food. As I’m veering away from a pure food review, realizing that restaurants are the intersection of food, architecture, and conversation, where most of the conversation is not just about the food but life in general, I’ll try to reflect that insight in my writing from now on.
When I went through the interior architecture program, the most fascinating project involved learning about restaurant/culinary school design after learning about food/cooking first. We all focused on the history of food and the entire food culture near the beginning but it soon led into designs where the fascination centered more on the gathering of family, friends, and strangers and how the spaces were designed to support and even engage this communal activity.
That idea actually stuck with me even till my last year in architecture school as evidenced in my thesis statement about fashion and architecture, which I would never have expected to show up in a food posting.
“Architecture has become this environment, a background of sorts, that allows social interaction to take place and be observed, but it is these very functions of fashion that can be embraced by architecture. No longer just a stage for the drama of culture to be viewed but also as an interactive art that intervenes in the way we see the world, the way we see ourselves in the world, and the way we see others, watching partly but also communicating interactively. Architecture can also touch the most personal side of us.”
The Brass Door exemplified this statement in physical terms – the long string of tables allowed for conversation with strangers and the natural light streaming from the high windows illuminated the food and everyone so beautifully they became somewhat irresistible. Becky and I became lost in our conversation only commenting on how delicious the sliders and “chips” were. Nothing was a distraction, which, in my eyes, is a mark of the restaurant’s success.
I won’t go into the exact personal details of our conversation but I might, just might, share it with you in person if you treat me out to another visit to the Brass Door.
Becky is the volunteer coordinator for Habitat for Hope, an amazing group of people. / And just for fun and since I actually had forgotten what the building looked like before the Brass Door, I posted below a film photo I took a couple of years ago -The Marx & Bensdorf Building as Madison Tobacco Shop.
The Brass Door
152 Madison Ave.
Memphis, TN 38103
Photos by Sophorn.