Cafe History

Celebrating 20 plus years in business, Michel Leny firstCafeSocietyReception2 opened Café Society  in 1987, inspired by his father Maurice Leny, a Chef at Maxim’s in Paris. October 2007 welcomed new owner, Chef Cullen Kent, graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.

Cullen and Michel continue the tradition of International  cuisine emphasizing Belgian influences and classic French food. Located in the heart of the beautiful Evergreen Historic District in Midtown Memphis, Café Society features innovative preparations of fresh seafood, veal, lamb and beef along with an extensive wine list for your dining pleasure. With its casual dining and bistro atmosphere, Café Society is affectionately known to many Memphians as simply “Café” and continues to be a favorite of many of its midtown neighbors.

Café Society has been the site of several weddings and hosts many rehearsal dinners, wedding receptions and business functions. So whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just want to enjoy a quiet dinner for two, Café Society promises to please your palate with freshly made menu items and an extensive wine list.

 Restaurant Highlights:

 Best known for Seafood bisque, bacon-wrapped shrimp, creme brulee, Brandy Alexander, Oyster maurice.

Extensive Wine List Including Largest 1/2 Bottle List in City

Party Rooms to Accomodate Groups of 14, 20 to 40+

Newly Renovated Bar    ♦     Bar Menu     ♦     Belgium Beers

Patio Dining     ♦     Gift Certificates     ♦     Catering


About the Owner:

CullenKentImageCullen Kent was born and raised in Beaumont, Texas.  He attended Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, where he received a B.A. in Political Science.  It was during college that Cullen Cullen began his kitchen career at Taco Rock Cantina.

Following college Cullen took a job at the Mobile four-star restaurant, Brennan’s of Houston, where he worked for nearly two years under Chef Carl Walker.  He then decided to move to France and attend culinary school at the famous Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.  Cullen graduated with the Grande Diplome de Cuisine et de Patisserie with top honors.

After completion of his degree he went to work at Restaurant Apicius in Paris (Michelin two-star) under the famous chef Jean-Pierre Vigato.  Upon returning to Memphis he worked under French Master Chef José Gutierrez at Chez Philippe (Mobile four-star) in the Peabody Hotel.  Cullen worked there for 2 ½ years where he assumed the role of Sous Chef.

At age 29 Cullen left Chez Philippe to take over as Chef de Cuisine at La Tourelle, Memphis’ oldest fine dining restaurant.  While chef at La Tourelle he received a 3 star rating from the Memphis Commercial Appeal and 3 ½ stars from Memphis Magazine.  After nearly a year he left to take over the kitchen at Café Society where his French Country style of cooking has been widely accepted.  He once again received a 3 star rating from the Memphis Commercial Appeal and has been featured in Memphis Magazine, USA Today and various other local media.  Cullen purchased Café Society from long time owner, Michel Leny, in October 2007.

Cullen is married to Katharine Duerr Kent of Memphis.  They have 2 children, Lillian and Nelson.  In his free time Cullen enjoys hunting, fishing, gardening and reading.