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Hugo Matheson and Kimbal Musk Plant Deep Roots in Memphis with New Restaurants at Shelby Farms Park

MEMPHIS, Tenn – (May 5, 2015): Shelby Farms Park Conservancy and Crosstown Concourse are excited and proud to jointly announce that Kimbal Musk and Hugo Matheson, co-founders of The Kitchen, have signed two leases – one for a community bistro and a grab-n-go at the Heart of the Park (Shelby Farms Park) and one lease for a community pub at the new Crosstown Concourse. The Kitchen is a family of restaurants that serves Real Food by consciously sourcing its ingredients directly from local farmers, ranchers and purveyors.

Matheson is a renowned chef recognized for his work with local farmers and chefs around the world.  Musk is a chef, philanthropist, entrepreneur and investor, focused on getting communities thriving with Real Food.  Matheson and Musk are credited with helping start the farm-to-table movement after opening The Kitchen in 2004.   The Kitchen was developed with the local community in mind, each location designed to benefit the city they serve. Musk’s business model is based on a ‘community through food’ mission that puts locally sourced food on the table and helps provide funding for Learning Gardens in schools, 100 of which will be built over the next two years across Memphis.   

The Kitchen and The Kitchen Next Door will begin serving farm fresh, local food in 2016 at Shelby Farms Park and 2017 at Crosstown Concourse. All locations will offer fresh food in unique settings, creating strong community connections through great food.   

Much like Kimbal Musk and Hugo Matheson’s chance encounter in 2004 that led to opening their first  restaurant in Boulder, Colo., Shelby Farms Park Conservancy’s chance introduction to The Kitchen was kismet. The rare and special alignment in ethos opened the door to a partnership with nearly limitless potential.   

“Access to delicious and healthy food is one of the top requests we see from Park visitors,” said SFPC Executive Director Laura W. Morris. “The Kitchen team members are proven operators with a bold mission that complements both our vision for the Park and local food culture in Memphis. A world-class park deserves a world-class restaurant, and The Kitchen is the perfect fit—we’re ready to set the table, together.”   

Heart of the Park at Shelby Farms Park will feature two different dining options, both operated by The Kitchen and both featuring quality fare that has been locally and ethically sourced.  

The Kitchen at Shelby Farms Park will be a community bistro in the new eco-friendly Event Center. The building was designed to meet LEED standards and will feature geothermal heating, sustainable materials and unrivaled views of a healthy, revitalized lake. Farm fresh food is a nod to the land’s history as a model agricultural hub and working farm, and the community-driven atmosphere and dedication to sustainable practices lay the path for the vibrant future of both the Park and community. An additional grab-and-go style café, operated by The Kitchen, will be located in the new visitor Center to offer a more casual dining experience and give visitors the option to take their food out into the Park for a picnic or to sit on the covered porch to watch sailboats cruise across the water.   

The Kitchen Next Door at Crosstown Concourse will be approximately 4,500 square feet, located at the Southeast corner of the building next to the new main entrance and atrium (see rendering). The community pub’s design will embrace the historic space, with its exposed brick walls and wood-formed concrete ceilings, and many of the old Sears relics will be repurposed. The signature restaurant for Concourse will also feature a large outdoor patio overlooking the new, two and a half acre main plaza.   

“Kimbal Musk, Hugo Matheson, and the rest of their team are visionaries who immediately understood and embraced the vertical urban village concept for Crosstown Concourse,” said Crosstown Development team leaders Todd Richardson and McLean Wilson.  “We are elated that The Kitchen Next Door will be our signature restaurant.  Not only are we excited about the restaurant and the people it will attract, but we're also excited to have such innovative thinkers as Kimbal and Hugo engaged in Memphis.  Their commitment has already gone well beyond the restaurants themselves.”   

The same entrepreneurial spirit and long term vision that Musk poured into the development of PayPal and SpaceX is being forged with The Kitchen, and though there were options to start up in other cities, Memphis and Memphians won The Kitchen team over. Though new to the Bluff City, The Kitchen worked hard behind the scenes to invest in Memphis before officially planting roots for the restaurants at Shelby Farms Park and Crosstown Concourse.  

“We are thrilled to add Memphis to our family,” said Kimbal Musk, co-founder of The Kitchen. “Memphis is a vibrant and diverse city that is on the verge of a Real Food renaissance. We are more than thrilled to be part of that movement by investing in the Crosstown and Shelby Farms Park developments. Together with our restaurants and our non-profit organization we hope our mission of ‘‘community through food flourishes across Memphis.”   

Less than a month ago on April 7, The Kitchen Community, a complementary non-profit organization also co-founded by Matheson and Musk broke ground in Memphis with its 100 Learning Garden initiative across three school districts: Shelby County Schools, Jubilee Catholic Schools and the Achievement School District.  Since its launch in 2011, The Kitchen Community has already built 200 Learning Gardens in Los Angeles, Chicago and Colorado reaching more than 120,000 school children daily.     

 ABOUT SHELBY FARMS PARK + HEART OF THE PARK (OPENING FALL 2016): At 4,500 acres, Shelby Farms Park in Memphis is one of the largest urban parks in the country. With a visionary master plan designed by James Corner Field Operations, it's poised to become one of the best.  The Park features many miles of trails, hundreds of acres of woodlands, dozens of lakes and ponds, the Woodland Discovery Playground, a buffalo herd, meadows, grasslands, pavilions, a Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course and more. Shelby Farms Park and the Shelby Farms Greenline are managed and operated by the 501(c)3 nonprofit Shelby Farms Park Conservancy. Heart of the Park - the centerpiece project of SFPC’s master plan - will become a vibrant and diverse community hub, an environmental teaching tool, an important part of the business plan to sustain the Park, and a destination for health, recreation, relaxation and big water adventure. It will be an exemplar for innovative urban landscape design, environmentally responsive architecture, and world class programming for health, happiness and inclusion for the Mid-South.    

ABOUT CROSSTOWN CONCOURSE: Crosstown Concourse is the unprecedented regeneration of the historic Sears Crosstown building in midtown Memphis, TN. Building on three of Memphis’ strongest community assets—arts, education, and healthcare—Crosstown Concourse is being preserved and redeveloped as a mixed-use, vertical urban village with a purposeful collective of uses and partners, transforming a national hub for the distribution of goods into a local heart for the cultivation of well-being. Plans include restaurants and retail, health and wellness facilities, a charter high school, contemporary art center, commercial office, and a diverse range of loft-style apartments.   

 ABOUT THE KITCHEN: The Kitchen is a family of restaurants that was founded in 2004 by Jen Lewin, Hugo Matheson and Kimbal Musk with the mission of “Community Through Food.” The Kitchen was established with the driving philosophy that ingredients should be consciously sourced from a community of like-minded farmers, ranchers and purveyors to ensure the highest quality results. The Kitchen seeks to promote organically grown foods that support health and wellbeing and is committed to environmentally-friendly practices, including composting, eco-friendly packaging and recycling. The Kitchen has been named one of “America’s Top Restaurants” by Food & Wine Magazine, Gourmet and the James Beard Foundation. For more information, please visit http://thekitchen.com.   

ABOUT HUGO MATHESON AND KIMBAL MUSK: Hugo Matheson is the Chef/Co-Founder of The Kitchen and Co-Founder of The Kitchen Community non-profit organization. Born in England, Hugo grew up eating whatever food his mother picked up that day. Sometimes it was just ‘a bit of kale from the garden’, other times it was ‘a slowly simmered leg of lamb from the nearby butcher.’ Either way, it was always fresh and represented the best of the area. Hugo moved to London to pursue a career in food. After graduating from Leith’s School of Food and Wine, Hugo then joined The River Cafe, one of London’s landmark restaurants. Moving between the dining room and the kitchen, Hugo worked with such cooking greats as Ruth Rodgers, Rose Gray, and Jamie Oliver. When not cooking, Hugo spends his days working with local farmers, purveyors, activists, and colleagues who share his philosophy for creating simple and local food. Over the last decade, Hugo has culled a network of professionals who have been instrumental in making The Kitchen a world-class community bistro. Today, The Kitchen restaurants balance mindful, eco-practices with inspired, flavorful dishes. Hugo and his wife Becci have twin boys and live in Boulder, Colorado.   Kimbal Musk is a chef, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and investor. Mr. Musk is on the board for Tesla Motors, SpaceX, The Anschutz Health and Wellness Center and Chipotle Mexican Grill. Mr. Musk¹s personal mission is to get communities rapidly thriving by improving every part of the food culture. He is a co-founder of The Kitchen, a growing family of restaurants that sources directly from local farmers, stimulating the local farm economy to the tune of millions of dollars a year, and creating quality jobs.  The Kitchen has been named one of "America's Top Restaurants" according to Food & Wine, Gourmet and the James Beard Foundation. In 2011, Musk co-founded The Kitchen Community, a complementary non-profit organization. 

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