Jimmy Hoxie elevates the pastry scene on Broad Avenue
Photography by Kim Thomas
When Lisa Toro, owner of City & State, needed a birthday cake made for her daughter, a friend recommended that she reach out to Jimmy Hoxie for one of his specialty cakes. Fast forward a few years—and a few more birthday cakes—to early 2019, when City & State found itself in need of a new pastry chef.
Jimmy was clearly the guy for the job.
Now that he’s part of the team, expect to nosh on a daily delectable mix of savory and sweet treats at both City & State and The Liquor Store, which Lisa also owns. My personal faves are the pimento cheese cornmeal scones and the carrot muffins.
I met with Jimmy on an unseasonably warm spring day. (Gotta love Memphis weather!) While I peppered him with questions and took photos, he prepped desserts and maneuvered around the tiny kitchen station inside a shipping container behind The Liquor Store. “It can sometimes feel like a clown car,” he laughed as I tried to stay out of everyone’s way.
An honors graduate from the Charleston campus (now closed) of Johnson & Wales University, Jimmy told me that his love of cooking came from helping out his family in the kitchen while growing up—so he’s used to operating in tight spaces with multiple people. Figuring out flavors and chemical reactions with food was fun for him as a child, so he spent many days mixing pancakes with his mom, rolling matzo balls with his grandma and just enjoying the overall experience of being in the kitchen.
Thanks to encouragement from a family friend (who was an eccentric gourmet and an avid collector, primarily of cookbooks and antique French cookware and pastry molds), Jimmy began to explore recipe creation.
Now he takes his cues from what’s in season, while sprinkling in nostalgic touches from memories past.
We walked from The Liquor Store to City & State with a fresh pan of pimento cheese cornmeal scones; these seriously melt in your mouth and were snatched up as soon as they were put into the display case. Jimmy adapted the scones from a World War II muffin recipe, but put a fresh take on it by making it a scone and adding in the pimento cheese and fresh cracked pepper.
It’s a savory treat with a touch of sweetness, and once you try it, you’ll find yourself craving it.
His love of unexpected treats doesn’t stop there. For St. Patrick’s Day at The Liquor Store, customers jonesing for something sweet but playful could get a slice of Lucky Charms Cream Pie with a shot of Jameson. It’s combinations like this that make his move to City & State such a delight to those that have known him for years. He’s not afraid to experiment and loves putting a fun spin on favorites, so expect to see (and try) something new every time you visit!
Kim Thomas is a lifestyle blogger and photographer based in Memphis. Launched in September 2010, her blog KP Fusion provides of-the-moment fashion, style and beauty tips and trends with a little Memphis flavor thrown in. @kpfusion