HYPERLOCAL NEWS HUB BY THE UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS DEPARTMENT OF JOURNALISM
Cortona Offers Options for Fans of Italian Cuisine
By Peter Dupont/MicroMemphis Reporter
December 5, 2011
Memphis residents are known for their love of barbecue and fried chicken, but there is a demand for fine Italian dining, however small.Cortona Contemporary Italian, located on the corner of Cooper and Young, is supplying that demand.
Cortona is situated within a seeming restaurant-revolving door, once home to such eateries as Dish, Melange and Maxwells, and was opened in early 2011 by veteran chef David Cleveland. Cleveland brings 20 years' worth of restaurant experience to the table at Cortona, including positions as a chef at three Italian restaurants in Atlanta.
Boasting a veritable cornucopia of Italian appetizers, entrees, desserts and -- of course -- pizzas and pastas, Cortona is sure to please even the most finicky of diners.
Lunch is served Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. and dinner is served Monday-Thursday from 5-10 p.m. Weekend dinner hours are Fridays and Saturdays, 5-11 p.m. and Sundays from 5-9 p.m. Customers can enjoy any of six different pasta dishes, available for both lunch and dinner. The menu also boasts five different sandwiches during the lunch hour. Entrees, meanwhile, are available only during dinner.
They also have a build your own pizza option, with more than 25 toppings to choose from.
Feeling like some post-work libations? Drop into Cortona for happy hour from 5-7 p.m. for $5 house red and white wines, well drinks, and daily drink specials. The bar even has its own happy hour menu of snacks to tide customers over for dinner.
Kendall, who has been a server at Cortona for two months, recommends the primavera pizza. It's got artichokes, mushrooms, onions, red peppers and tomatoes. For the sandwich man (or woman), she recommends the Tuscan panini, loaded with grilled chicken, prosciutto, provolone, arugula, fresh tomato and lemon caper aioli. And last but not least Kendall is adamant about the chicken and asparagus ravioli. Top things off with the mixed berry cobbler, served with chocolate gelato on the side, and diners are sure to remember Cortona Contemporary Italian.
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