Overton Square: A Rock in the Heart of Midtown

Posted on March 25, 2015


9302858_origBy Prentiss Smith

Midtown is the core of many popular cultural attractions and historic districts in Memphis. Urban style commercial strips such as Overton Square and Cooper Street were developed in Midtown before World War II. Throughout the years and especially in recent times, positive changes have been made in order to make these locations trendy and unique. In the 1970s, Overton Square became the home of 11 restaurants and 27 shops, employing over 800 Memphis locals. The city of Memphis has flourished because of the community feel and flavor provided by Overton Square. Overton Square is described as “A true gem in the heart of Midtown” with its lively atmosphere, exquisite restaurants, and thriving businesses anchored by four live-performance theaters and a multi-screen movie theater. Loeb Properties, a real estate and property management firm, is cultivating this local landmark into a new kind of arts and entertainment district, creating a destination for locals and visitors alike.

Whether you have lived in Memphis your whole life or are just passing through, Overton Square is a must. For starters, lining the street are incredible varieties of restaurants to visit with family and friends. Food choices include Mexican, Indian, Cajun, German, and more. One of the most popular restaurants is Babalu Tacos & Tapas, famous for their zesty guacamole made fresh at your table. Other options include Memphis Pizza Café, which serves a must Memphis BBQ chicken pizza, Schweinehaus for unique German cuisine, or Local for remarkable southern comfort lobster mac n’ cheese. A highly recommended dessert joint is YoLo Frozen Yogurt, located on the corner of Cooper Street, for a delicious after-dinner treat.

The many forms of public artwork in Overton Square allow visitors to enjoy simply walking around the square itself. Loeb Properties is always looking for ways to incorporate art into their developments in order to add cultural flare and value. The first piece in production was a mural by David Lynch on the wall of the Bari Ristorante building. David Lynch used a combination of contemporary cityscape and folk art styles in his large painting. The mural has depth and vibrant colors that transform the wall of the building into a city. More art can be seen at the corner of Cooper and Madison, where a steel sculpture by Yvonne Bobo entitled “Gyroscopic” stands 30 feet tall. The piece is beautiful, modern, and makes excellent use of the space around it. There is also another sculpture in the plaza behind Overton Square that is hard to miss. It is an old bell tower that was transformed into a wind chime in 2013 by artists Anne Froning and Sean Murphy. This recent addition has been painted blue and green and serves three purposes; a spiraling marimba down below, a light beacon on top, and a wind chime that produces sound and triggers light.

The urban environment of Memphis is immensely improving with places like Overton Square. It is an attraction that will continue to grow in size and in popularity because it constantly serves as the rock of Midtown Memphis.

Posted in: News