Memphis Chef Opens Restaurant to Host Family of Tyre Nichols for Repast as Community Mourns
As the world said a final farewell to the 29-year-old son and father Tyre Nichols, the Memphis community gathered to celebrate his memory and provide solace for each other. The repast was hosted at Chef Tam’s Underground Cafe, located 668 Union Avenue.
Tamra Patterson, affectionately known as Chef Tam, opened her restaurant to the Nichols’ family and local and national dignitaries, and with the help of other local restaurants, fed them following the funeral service.
Among the many “comfort food” dishes provided from Memphis’ restaurant community, Chef
Tam provided a variety that included roasted chicken, fried southern catfish, collard greens,
sweet potato casserole, five-cheese macaroni, several desserts and more.
Spearheaded by Chef Tam, the Memphis restaurant community came together to provide food for the family,
including Felicia Suzanne’s who provided the deviled eggs; McEwen’s who provide cheese grits;
Rendevous provided sausage and cheese platters; Red Iris Restaurant and The Second Line
donated red beans and rice; Tsunami donated chicken satay with Thai peanut sauce; Muddy’s
Bake Shop contributed cookies and brownies; Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen provided Italian
Meat Balls and Polenta; Cocozza donated lasagna; Acre Restaurant provided sweet potato and
sausage hash; Ecco donated tiramisu dessert; Sunrise contributed assorted biscuits; and Beauty
Shop Restaurant donated turkey and gravy with cranberry chutney.
A collective decision was also made to have Tyre present by putting his professional
photographs on canvases. This all worked to create a comforting environment during a pivotal
time as the world watched and the community continues to mourn its loss. It was a mission
that touched Chef Tam’s heart.
“It’s an honor to serve them. The greatest form of love is service,” said Chef Tam, who first
opened her first restaurant in 2018. The Memphis community opened its arms to Chef Tam,
who was happy to open her doors to it in return. Though a transplant to the city, Chef Tam
made the restaurant her own, and the city her home. In addition to Chef Tam’s Underground
Café, Chef Tamra Patterson also owns Chef Tam’s Express in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex,
where she was born and raised.
Chef Tam’s culinary background stems from generations of her family sharing love through
food. With family at the core of her life and her food, Chef Tam understands the importance of
family and community through a loss that has taken place in front of the nation.
“I have a 19-year-old son who is in his second year of college, so when I hugged Mrs. Wells, it
was as if I was hugging myself,” said Chef Tam. “The family needs space to progress through
such a massive loss. Let’s continue to pray for their peace, their hearts and their strength to
Tyre Nichols was laid to rest on Wednesday, February 1, with a funeral guest list that included
Vice President Kamala Harris and Rev. Al Sharpton. Nichols leaves behind a young son in
addition to his parents and siblings.