memphis guide {UPDATE}


Illustration by Julia Rothman

Today’s Memphis City Guide update is from original writer, Kerry Crawford. Kerry blogs about the Memphis indie scene at i love memphis, and today she’s sharing her suggestions for where to shop, eat, drink, site-see and stay in Memphis. If you’re headed south soon, I hope you’ll take Kerry’s guide with you. Thanks for this great update, Kerry! — Stephanie

Read the full guide after the jump . . .

The best things in Memphis are a little out of the way — think bars tucked into industrial neighborhoods, the best bands you’ve never heard of and incredible food in unlikely places. Memphis is relaxed, unpretentious and friendly. It has a history of creativity and plenty of room for experimentation. Here’s a list of some of Memphis’ most awesome shops, bands, restaurants, bars and things to do.

Cooper-Young

Toad Hall Antiques: Toad Hall has been voted the best antique shop in Memphis. It’s an adorable two-story shop filled with home decor items, antiques, jewelry and candles.

Stash: Memphis knitters love the selection at Stash in Cooper-Young. The small shop is stuffed with yarn, fibers, needles, ribbons and patterns, and the friendly staff is always willing to help you get started on a project.

The Beauty Shop: Located in an old salon, the Beauty Shop has a great Southern-fusion menu, fantastic desserts and incredible decor.

Tsunami: Chef Ben Smith’s restaurant serves seafood and Pacific Rim-inspired fusion dishes in an airy space in Cooper-Young. Try the small plates, which are daily dinner specials that are less expensive than regular entrees.

Do: Some of the most unique sushi in Memphis can be found at Do. Try the Kona Strawberry or BLT&A rolls, a bowl of pho or the daily bento box special.

Burke’s Books: Burke’s is Memphis’ oldest independent bookstore. They’ve got new and used titles, textbooks, works by local authors and a killer staff recommendations section.

Goner Records: Goner is more than a local record store — it’s a label, festival and destination for garage and indie rock fans worldwide.

Alchemy: This high-end cocktail bar specializes in whiskey drinks and small plates. Make reservations — it fills up fast on the weekends.

Cooper-Young Festival: On the third weekend in September, a huge annual street festival takes place over the intersection of Cooper and Young in Midtown. Vendors sell crafts, vintage clothing, art and food, and bands play on two stages. The festival is a day-long party, so plan accordingly.

South Main Arts District

Delphinium: This cute boutique in the South Main Arts District carries accessories, home decor items, makeup and jewelry.

Muse: Stylish Memphians love Muse’s huge selection of clothes and accessories from well-known and independent designers.

Earnestine and Hazel’s: Grab a Soul Burger and a beer from the bar, drop some change into the amazing jukebox and explore one of Memphis’ most authentic juke joints. Earnestine and Hazel’s is a former brothel, and the staff is happy to tell you stories about the building’s checkered past.

Hoot + Louise: This boutique specializes in adorable. They carry vintage clothing for guys and girls, small designer labels, housewares and handmade jewelry.

Bluff City Coffee: The coffee at Bluff City Coffee is good, but their house-made pastries, muffins and scones are the real reason to stop by.

Charlotte: All of the jewelry at Charlotte is interchangeable, which makes each piece unique and fun (like adult Legos).

Memphis Farmers Market: Farmers, bakers, florists and craftspeople from all over the mid-South bring their wares to the pavilion behind Central Station on Saturday mornings from April through October. The market is more than just food; each market has live music, cooking demonstrations, activities for kids and complimentary pet sitting.

Downtown

South Front Antiques: This huge downtown shop is the best place in town to find architectural antiques like doors, light fixtures, fireplaces, furniture and findings.

Lit Restaurant Supply: Lit is a kitchen wonderland. It’s the place to find commercial-quality supplies, inexpensive dishes, appliances and party supplies.

Cozy Corner: The family-owned Cozy Corner is the perfect place to try authentic Memphis ribs and pork shoulder. The house specialty, Cornish game hen, is also not to be missed.

Lansky 126: Think of Lansky 126 as the cooler, younger sister of Lanksy Bros. (the guys who clothed Elvis). They sell trendy clothes, shoes and jewelry in their shop in the Peabody Hotel Lobby.

Mollie Fontaine Lounge: The Mollie Fontaine Lounge is located in Victorian Village, across the street from the home that its namesake is said to haunt. The lounge serves up tapas, drinks and live music in a unique historical setting.

Gus’s Fried Chicken: There are few things more Memphis than eating some of Gus’s famous hot and spicy fried chicken and washing it down with a “40” (a 40-oz. beer). Gus’s has been mentioned on all sorts of “best of” lists, but locals love it for the laid back atmosphere, spicy fries and perfectly greasy fried chicken.

National Ornamental Metal Museum: The only museum of its kind in the US, the National Ornamental Metal Museum is a gallery, library and forgery located high on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. The museum grounds are free whenever the museum is open and feature sculptures by local and national artists.

AutoZone Park: Catch a Memphis Redbirds triple-A baseball game at Autozone Park. It’s a gorgeous brick stadium in the middle of downtown. Sit on the bluff to watch the game — tickets for the grassy hill are less expensive than regular seats.

FedExForum: Memphis is a basketball town, and there’s only one place to see both of our favorite teams — the NBA Memphis Grizzlies and the University of Memphis Tigers — play at home. Pick up a blue t-shirt and watch the city go nuts over every basket.

Orpheum Theatre: Memphis’ historic vaudeville theater is now home to touring Broadway shows (recent seasons have included Wicked, Shrek, Jersey Boys and Chicago), Ballet Memphis performances, Opera Memphis and concerts. The ornate gilded theater is said to be haunted by Mary, a playful ghost who has a reserved box seat.

Memphis in May International Festival: Memphis in May is a month-long festival celebrating music, barbecue and the cultures of honored countries. Events include the Beale Street Music Festival (the area’s largest music event), the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, International Week and the Sunset Symphony. Most events take place on the Mississippi River at Tom Lee Park.

Peabody Hotel: Someone once said that the Mississippi Delta starts in the lobby of the Peabody. The grand hotel is one of the finest in the South. Don’t miss the famous daily Duck March, in which a handful of trained mallards march down from the roof of the hotel for a swim in the lobby fountain.

Westin Memphis: The Memphis Westin is sleek, modern and just a few steps away from Beale Street and the FedEx Forum.

Madison Hotel: The Madison is an independent luxury hotel downtown. It’s got an old-school martini bar, uniquely styled guest rooms and an amazing view of the city from its rooftop terrace.

The Talbot Heirs Guesthouse is an independent hotel tucked discreetly into a nondescript building on Second St. All of the guest rooms at the Talbot Heirs are suites, and if you send a grocery list ahead of time, they’ll have the kitchen stocked for you.

Flashback: This “vintage department store” carries vintage and reproduction modern furniture, housewares, clothing and shoes.

Five in One: Pick up handmade jewelry, toys, art and screenprinted t-shirts from local designers at Five in One. It’s an art collective as well as a store, so be sure to stop and check out the latest displays and shows.

Maggie’s Pharm: For more than 20 years, midtowners have flocked to Maggie’s Pharm for handmade bath products, healing herbs, spices and kitschy housewares. Any of Maggie’s shampoos, lotions and conditioners can be custom scented with essential oils.

Joe’s Wines & Liquors: The rotating, neon Sputnik outside of Joe’s Liquor is a local landmark. On the inside, Joe’s is full of lovely mid-century design and racks of liquor and wine.

The Cove: The Cove is the classier of Memphis’ two pirate bars. They’ve got incredible handmade classic cocktails, a boat-shaped bar (pulled from an old surf n’ turf restaurant) and cult movies playing in the background. It can be a little tricky to find, as it’s located in a semi-industrial neighborhood, but it’s worth the drive.

The P&H: There’s no better dive bar than the P&H Cafe (the P&H stands for “Poor and Hungry”). Pick up a pitcher of cheap beer and a patty melt from the bar and check out the walls, which are covered in posters, paintings and photographs.

Brooks Museum of Art: The Brooks is home to a large permanent collection of Renaissance, Baroque and Impressionist paintings, as well as furniture, sculpture and modern art. The museum also hosts traveling exhibitions, films and special events throughout the year.

Overton Park: A huge urban green space in the center of Midtown Memphis that’s home to the Levitt Shell amphitheater, a playground, a golf course, the Memphis College of Art, trails and more than 100 acres of old-growth forest.

Memphis Zoo: The Memphis Zoo has undergone major renovations in recent years. The zoo is park-like, and the animals live in spacious habitats just like those they would inhabit in the wild. The zoo was ranked number one in the country by TripAdvisor in 2009.

Memphis Roller Derby: The toughest ladies in Memphis lace up their skates every month to play flat-track roller derby. The WFTDA-affiliated league is made up of three home teams and one all-star team. Bouts are family friendly and tons of fun.

Goner Fest: Record store/label Goner Records hosts an annual indie, garage and punk rock festival that brings bands from all over the world to Memphis’ clubs for three days of rock n’ roll.

Hi-Tone Cafe: Midtowners pack the Hi-Tone nightly to hear local and touring bands, drink cheap beer, dance, and play ping-pong. Don’t miss the pizza menu — the Hi-Tone’s pies are well above average.

Levitt Shell: This historic outdoor amphitheater was the site of some of Elvis’ first concerts. Now, it’s home to an annual season of free concerts. Pack a picnic and bring a blanket or lawn chair to the shows, which run Thursday through Saturday nights during the summer and fall.

Minglewood Hall: Minglewood Hall is a huge music hall in the center of Midtown Memphis. Their concert schedule features local bands, national touring acts and special events.

Otherlands Coffee Bar: Midtown’s favorite coffee shop stays open late on Friday and Saturday nights for live acoustic music.

Restaurant Iris: Award-winning chef Kelly English’s Midtown restaurant is a local favorite (particularly for special occasions). For the true Iris experience, order the five-course tasting menu and let the kitchen surprise you.

Pilgrim House Hostel: Memphis’ only hostel is located in the trendy Cooper-Young neighborhood, an easy walk from restaurants, bars and shops. There are private, semi-private and dorm-style rooms, a full kitchen, free internet access and bike rentals.

East Memphis

Spruce: Every item for sale at Spruce is handpicked by the shop’s interior-designer owner. Expect vintage jewelry, one-of-a-kind decor, kids’ items and furniture.

Sachi: Sachi carries trendy, youthful designer clothes and accessories. They’ve also got a large girls’ section.

Jerry’s Snow Cone: No matter which snow cone flavor you order at Jerry’s, make sure you order it “supreme.” If you do, the friendly kids behind the counter will layer your snow cone with vanilla soft serve ice cream. It’s hard to miss Jerry’s — the building is bright pink, and there’s a giant ice cream cone mounted on top. Be sure to stop by an ATM — Jerry’s is cash only.

Muddy’s Bake Shop: All of the cakes, pies, cookies and cupcakes in this adorable East Memphis bakery are made from scratch. Crafty types will love the wall of handmade aprons, postcards and t-shirts.

Celery Resale: If you’re looking for designer clothes on a budget, this consignment store is the best place to find them. They only carry extremely gently used clothing from well-known labels. Grab a sale card at the front counter for extra discounts.

Dixon Gallery and Gardens: The Dixon boasts a large permanent collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and decorative art and large, well-maintained gardens.

Cosmic Coconut: Cosmic Coconut is Memphis’ only all-vegan juice bar. Order a fresh juice or smoothie and a snack from their huge organic menu.

Lucchesi’s: There’s more to Lucchesi’s than specialty Italian groceries. Order lunch from their prepared food counter, or pick up homemade frozen ravioli and sausage.

Las Delicias: Locals swear by Las Delicias’ super fresh, chunky guacamole and frozen margaritas (which are always made with fresh limes).

Notable Locals

Johnny Cash (musician)
Ginnifer Goodwin (actor)
Chris Parnell (actor)
Elvis Presley (musician)
Lucero (band)
Al Green (musician/holy man)
Cybill Shepard (actor)
Pat Kerr-Tigrett (clothing designer)
Fred Smith (FedEx founder)
Alex Chilton (musician)
Anfernee Hardaway (basketball player)
Larry Finch (basketball player/coach)
Craig Brewer (filmmaker)
Ira Sachs (filmmaker)

Laura

Thanks for including Memphis! I love that Jerry’s made the list! A few additions… I’d recommend seeing the National Civil Rights Museum and Sun Studio. As for shopping, though certainly more mainstream than the shops mentioned above, don’t forget to stop by the West Elm, Pottery Barn, and Williams Sonoma outlets.

Jamie

Also great, a couple dives: Alex’s Tavern for its late night kitchen and Wild Bill’s for some authentic blues off Beale Street. And, find Sherman Willmott, local music historian and author of Kreature Comforts: Low-life Guide to Memphis, who normally hangs around the city’s best record store, Shangri-La, for the real dirt on the region’s music. He may even give you a tour around town. Google him.

alison

what about stax?

my husband and i are music geeks and we honeymooned in memphis and nashville this past spring.

i recommend looking up thad pierson of american dream safari for an unforgettable tour around memphis in a 1955 cadillac.

the inn at hunt phelan is also a nice place to stay. it’s a big old antebellum mansion, right off of beale street.

Kristin WOlter Canfield

There is also a new place downtown called The Trolley stop Market!!! 704 Madison Ave. Amazing menu, market, locally grown flowers, and crafts. You can find them on Facebook.

Annie

Great list! Glad to see Gus’s fried chicken on the list! I agree with Laura – Civil Rights museum is a must-see. My favorite museum EVER. I’ve never cried at a museum until my experience there – really well done.

Karrie

The links are weird for me, too.

I wanted to chime in and mention that my brother in law has an awesome band in Memphis called PEZZ–they’re definitely worth catching. They also participate in an event called Romp in the Park (not sure where it’s located within the city) which is a family friendly event with local bands performing. Also, when we went to visit, they took us to Brother Juniper’s for breakfast and OH MY, it was good! Their blackberry jam was mouth watering.

grace

hi guys

the links should be fixed now- just hit refresh. sorry about that.

g

Jackie

Gotta say a good word for Talbot Heirs!! Great, helpful, but unobtrusive staffing. A B&B at your own pace–they leave all the goodies for a breakfast in your kitchenette, and then housekeeping handles the dishes. They also stock the freezer with Blue Bell ice cream treats!

Aodh

I stopped in Memphis while driving cross country in January. I went to Graceland, which I highly recommend because its entertaining on so many levels, even if your not an Elvis fan. If the shag carpet on the ceiling or the indoor waterfall doesn’t crack you up then the people watching definitely will. Then before leaving town I had a great meal at the Arcade Restaurant, the oldest diner in Memphis.

Sarah

I took a tour of Sun Studios when I went to Memphis and really enjoyed it—I’d recommend adding that to the itinerary. Also RP Tracks for their barbecue tofu and nachos.

Katy

FINALLY! It’s all great, but like other people said, you need to visit the Civil Right Museum. And you missed my favorite restaurant: Huey’s. I LOVE Huey’s. You can write on the walls and shoot toothpicks at the ceiling. Like they encourage you to do it. And the Huey Burger is the best I’ve ever had. Also, visit the Cotton Exchange Museum, and stroll down Beale Street. And for Bojo’s, I recommend an entire afternoon; there is just way too much to see. There’s also a great antique mall in Collierville called Sheffield Antique Mall (just google it and it should be your first result). That’s another one that you have to have a couple of hours for.
You should also visit the Pink Palace Museum. It has awesome exhibits, an IMAX theater and a planetarium. It also has nights where amateur (and sometimes professional) astronomers can bring their telescopes and everyone can look through them (at least it used to).
Great list!

leia

The strawberry cake @ Beauty Shop is the stuff dreams are made of ;-)

Sasha

As a Memphis born Southerner, I’m surprised to see such a satisfactory list! Typically must do Memphis lists only focus on Beale St(So excited to see Pilgrim House on the list, I help build it! Plus First Congo Church is a fantastic organization). BUT, you’d be mistaken to visit Memphis and not stop in to the Civil Rights Museum(honestly, it’s a must. The Civil Rights “era” played such a profound role in Memphis’s jumbled history), the Stax Museum(A total must, Memphis Music at it’s peak, also ties in to the Civil Rights era), Sun Studios(Memphis’s original music impact, Elvis, Sam Phillips, Johnny Cash, et al), and Graceland(Speaks for itself, but if you can go to the candlelight vigil it’s a real treat). So far as eats, a visitor should also pay a visit to Huey’s Midtown(not the other locations), Bosco’s Brewery in Overton Square, Soulfish in Cooper Young(Soul food), and Ellen’s in South Memphis(genuine soul food, hand written menus, on the way to Graceland).The Young Avenue Deli also has the best french fries in town. Bojo’s is also the best antique mall in the Southeast. A whole day could be spent in there. As you can probably tell, I love Memphis. It’s history is so crazy and so all over the place, but that’s why I love it. You MUST go to Civil Rights Museum, Stax, Sun, and Graceland. Those are the things that make Memphis’s history. Karrie, thanks for mentioning Pezz!

shona~LALA dex press

I have to visit Schwab’s on Beale every time I go to Memphis. Lots of cool old businesses have closed, but The Arcade restaurant (on Main, south of downtown, by the Civil Rights Museum) is great because it’s one of the last remaining buildings from the movie “Mystery Train,” the hotel (formerly across the street) was demolished right after filming. Sun Records is a MUST. Not that anyone has mentioned it, but The Rendezvous is highly overrated, Huey’s is far better.

One of the best days of my life was spent in the lobby of The Peabody… the WHOLE day. All the amazing people I met!

Abby

As a memphis native, and a D*s fanatic, I am so glad( and proud) that Memphis is finally getting the design cred it deserves! Beauty Shop and Mollie’s are both two of the best hip hangouts in town!(I might be a little biased because it’s my best friend’s family businesses!) Memphis has some of the most down to earth and inviting people, just be social and you’ll have the time of your life!

Leah

Also on a food note you must try the Pimento Cheese and Chicken Salad at Holiday Deli. The BEST you have ever had. You’ll be wanting to take tubs home w/ you! They have locations sprinkled throughout the city. Also, while in Midtown hit up Fino’s on Madison for some awesome Italian sandwiches, homemade pasta dishes, and desserts. They are only open for lunch. And my favorite hamburger is at the Belmont Grill on Poplar Ave in E. Memphis.

Stax is my favorite Memphis museum.

thanks kerry for the list of great shopping. I moved from Memphis a couple of years ago, but still have family there. A lot of the places I used to frequent have closed, and I was wondering where the new one were! I’ll be ready to shop on my next visit!

Susan Moskop

Also in the Cooper Young neighborhood, Memphis’s oldest bookstore, Burke’s. Friendly, helpful staff and and huge selection of books.

Cricket

The Young Avenue Deli is awesome! If you’re in Memphis, stop there and hang out with the cool people and their dogs and have a beer. Also, for breakfast I have to mention Brother Juniper’s. It’s close to campus and a big college hangout, but it’s unique. The plenty of eye candy includes tons of religious paraphenalia all over this place. I LOVE Fino’s (Italian) on Madison and McLean. They serve pizza, sandwiches, etc. and have a little Italian grocery store in there. The atmosphere is really nice – quaint – and a good place to meet a friend. Chez Philippe at the Peabody downtown is nice for a fancy dessert. I’ve never had dinner there, but it’s been there forever. I ate some of the best pancakes I’ve ever eaten (in my top 2) at the Blue Plate Café on Poplar. Ambiance is okay but the pancakes are memorable! And although I can’t vouch for the Chinese food, the Super Submarine Sandwich Shop has been on my go-to list for a long time. Seriously, a sub shop that also doubles as a place to get Chinese food – how crazy is that? I really love Café Society. Great food and great atmosphere. They don’t need to try to be hip because they just are. I also like Automatic Slims for the atmosphere – very cool; great place to meet a friend and get a drink. Pho Saigon on Poplar brings back a lot of great Pho memories. Eat it while watching Vietnamese soaps on TV. Oh, and if you’re looking for good pastries, check out La Baguette on Poplar. They are owned by a Vietnamese family and their croissants are out of this world.

Suzanne

I am so bummed this came out this week considering I just got back from Memphis on Monday. We stayed at the Peabody and it was great-beautiful hotel, great location, fun ducks in the fountain.

Monique

Thank you for a wonderful piece on where to go in Memphis; I have lived here for twenty years and am still as in love with the city as when I first moved here.

The above posts have some great places mention, and I would like to add a few to the list.

The Rendezvous is over-rated; there are more authentic barbecue restaurants in Midtown. My favorite is Central Barbecue; be warned that the one on Summer Avenue is not as good. There is also the Bar-B-Que Shop.

Also, a really nice evening can be had at Bhan Thai on Peabody for Thai food or if you like cheap but tasty Vietnamese in a unique atmosphere try either Saigon Le on Cleveland or Pho Hua Binh on Madison.

One last shout out: Makeda’s Butter Cookies on Madison. They sell many varieties of cookies, but the butter cookies are seriously worth the trip. Next door is Ebbo’s, a really cool spiritual shop that has a variety of items from Voodoo to Buddhist to Animist faiths, as well as Christian.

Amy

I LOVE this list and all the additions to it in the comments. Yea. Enough of the Rendezvous and Beale already. This list REPRESENTS!

Phoebe

Thank you for posting this! I’m going to Memphis July 4th weekend, so this is perfect!

Karen

AWESOME list! Go Memphis! I would also strongly recommend Central BBQ in Midtown–my favorite! And I have to add Second Hand Rose to the list of great antique stores. Just down the block from Flashback on Central, there’s a great mix of older antiques and newer Danish Modern stuff, and the prices are really reasonable.

Meg

Brother Juniper’s!!! Best brunch around!

And Central BBQ :)

First home out of college. Miss that place!

Stacey

Great to see my town featured on D*S! Memphis is an awesome city to visit AND live in. The arts scene here is fantastic and the food’s even better.

I’m also thrilled to see a shout-out to I Love Memphis blogger Kerry Crawford. She’s doing a great job promoting the city, and I’ve gotten some great tips from her blog about places I probably wouldn’t have found on my own.

I agree with all the commenters who’ve added Central BBQ to the list. It’s a Memphis must. And Huey’s is a local institution. Also, until Monique mentioned it, I’d forgotten about Makeda’s Butter Cookies. Now I have an intense craving … thanks. ;-)

And now that I’m thinking about ridiculously delicious homemade desserts, if you happen to visit the South Main Arts District, DO NOT MISS The Cheesecake Corner. Seriously.

ModFruGal

In the shopping category…the Worlds Away Outlet/Front Room both on Front Street and on Central are worth hitting.

rachel

this list is ok, read cricket’s comment for some informative additions- there’s a lot missing from this article.

Julie

I’m so thrilled to see my city mentioned in my favorite blog. I was disheartened, however, to see that the Rendezvous was missing from the list. I have to disagree with the previous posts. The Rendezvous is an absolute must visit. It is what started Memphis barbecue! The other barbecue places wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the Rendezvous. It’s been here far longer than any of the others (I think over 60 years?). Plus, their collection of antiques and decor is amazing and 100% authentic. I’m not sure why people think it’s overrated…there’s a reason why thousands of people eat there every night….the atmosphere beats any other spot in Memphis.

Candace

what an exciting list. i have lived in or near memphis my entire life and i am finally appreciating all it has to offer.

agreed that the original central bbq is better. bojo’s is the BEST antique store around – we live 5 minutes away and make regular trips there. and south main trolley tour nights in the summer are a fun, free way to see memphis active and alive – especially if you catch the zombies!

we are headed to HiTone tonight to hear Sheriffs of Nottingham.

Malinda

I lived in Memphis for several years while in school and loved it! It’s a great town with so much to offer. This is a great list but I would like to add/second a few.
Bhan Thai is one of my favorite restaurants in Memphis- really good Thai food, located in an old Victorian house near downtown. Definitely worth going to.
I would like to second Cozy Corner- it is my favorite BBQ in the city, the staff is so friendly and the atmosphere is great. If you don’t mind the drive, Germantown Commissary is also very good. The sweet tea at both places is wonderful! I am not a fan of Rendezvous- it may be the oldest but the food is overpriced, the wait is often very long and the staff is rude.
I would also add Mud Island River Park to the list of things to do. It’s a great history of the Mississippi and fun for kids. The Mississippi is such a big part of where Memphis came from- you can’t miss seeing it.
Trolley Night downtown is also lots of fun. The art galleries and shops (like Delphinium) on South Main are open late with wine and snacks to offer on the last friday of every month all year long. The trolley is free to ride throughout it as well. http://southmainmemphis.net/trolley-nights/
Planning my next trip right now…

Sarah

Great list! So excited to see Memphis on here!!! It is a gritty little city with a ton of character. Two things should be added the list: 1. the Rendezvous and 2. the Civil Rights Museum. Memphis has tons of great barbecue, but if you only have an opportunity to go to one barbecue restaurant–definitely go to the Rendezvous. I, of course, love their ribs, but they have an amazing greek salad, the best beef brisket, and an unrivaled cheese and sausage plate. The reason every guide book, tv show, etc., mentions this place because the food is genuinely good. Plus, the aesthetics is unlike any other place. The Civil Rights Museum is another Memphis stop that should not be missed. It details the history of the Civil Rights Movement and culminates with standing 5 ft from the place where Dr. Martin Luther King was killed. It is an eye opening, emotional and educational stop.

Kristin

Can’t believe I missed this!

I’ll add the following: Payne’s BBQ on Lamar Ave west of McLean–Consistently the best & easily most original chopped pork BBQ sandwich I’ve ever had.

Ditto on National Civil Rights Museum & Stax Museum–both are not to be missed.

Local Gastropub–95 S. Main–Monday night trivia was surprisingly fun & food/beer pretty great too.

Memphis Tigers Basketball–late fall through March–Fed Ex Forum Downtown—if you are a fan of spectacle, hyper-athleticism, BBQ nachos, huge beers & infectious enthusiasm–DO NOT MISS a game if you’re in town!

Memphis Grizzlies basketball–Our NBA team–support them too!!!

Belmont Grill–4970 Poplar Ave–yeah, traffic is brutal out here, but their burger kicks Huey’s a** (sorry, love Hueys…but…)!

Sneak Peak–Totally killah ltd ed sneaker & hip hop streetwear clothier on S. Main across from the Arcade.

Ellen’s Soul Food Restaurant–Corner of Lamar & Bellevue–She’s BACK! If you never went to Ellen’s old location on S. Parkway, you missed out, but here she goes again. Come hungry.

DeJaVu Creole Soul Food & Vegetarian–936 Florida–Wonderful food & a must for vegetarians. Apparently he’s moving the place to East Memphis in order to have a larger space and likely gangbusters business as this lil joint is charming, but tiny.

That’s it for now–come see us!

Cheyenne

I lived in Memphis for two years and sadly moved back to Dallas last week. Cafe Eclectic and The Beauty Shop are must eats! (I don’t eat BBQ…much) D’Edge in the South Main Arts District features neat artists. Check out Red Fish Gallery too-my hand drilled pearl necklaces are featured there! Gary’s Antiques (great prices) & Flashback were my weekly stops. But my absolute favorite place in Memphis is the church, Fellowship Memphis-it’s a SUNDAY MUST! Also don’t miss the Cooper Young Festival-I’ll be back for it in September!

marina

I love Memphis! I used to live there and I miss it soo much. Yes, Borther Juniper’s for breakfast and STAX is a must!

Alyson

C’mom people- awesome list but some very HUGE BBQ omissions.

I totally 2nd Paynes BBQ (LOVE), but we gotta also give some love to Tops (it’s a Memphis chain, but a great(!) one, Im partial to the Union Ave location).

Then there’s Interstate BBQ- also AMAZING.

And on the Belmont Grill tip, the burger’s delish, but we’ve also gotta discuss their tamales! These are southern tamales-read spicy- served with your choice of chili, onions, cheese, or all of the above.

For soul food/meat & 3, The Cottage on Summer is a total stand by- love their veggie plate and pot liquor.

Alex

The Asian Art Museum is actually also pretty cool, quiet. I would also recommend stopping by the Arcade for a quick coffee, and for a super late night – Ernestine & Hazel’s – HELLO? PS – I haven’t had Lucchesi’s in AGES.

Lydia

As a native Midtown Memphian, I have to throw in for Garbos Vintage Resale on S. Idlewild (off Union behind the fire station.) There are so many goodies crammed in that old house you don’t even know where to start. JoAnn, the owner, is awesome about pulling things for you if you tell her what you might be looking for be it 80s prom dresses or 20s flapper stuff. I live in Nashville now but Garbos is usually my second stop as soon as I make it home (the first being Tops BBQ – Union location.)

Darsey

Don’t forget Raiford’s/Hollywood Disco! Or was that just fun because I was in college and it was New Year’s Eve? Either way, you’ve gottta see this crazy place.

juliet

Other notable Memphians” Lucy Hale (actor) and Justin Timberlake… well, he’s from just outside Memphis.

anna

Great list! Need to add Republic Coffee on walnut grove, chill place to get coffee and see local art. The Stone Soup cafe on Cooper Ave in Midtown restaurant built into an old house, great food, even greater venue.

Brittany

Awesome list! I grew up around Memphis and some of my favorite places to eat are Cafe 1912 and Memphis Pizza Cafe (both in Midtown where quite a few of the places on the list are located). If you feel like getting off the beaten track, The Metal Museum is interesting and right on the river. There’s a very old abandoned hospital right next to it which is very cool to look at. There’s also a bridge near it that goes across the Mississippi River. Cars can drive over it but there’s a separated sidewalk for pedestrians.

Emily

Reppin’ Memphis! What what! It’s an amazing city that doesn’t get the respect it deserves.

ashle

I HIGHLY SUGGEST (if you love indian food) stopping by India Palace on Poplar right near Joe’s liquor! The people there are amazingly nice and the food is outstanding. Also, there is a HUGE tiger and elephant mural on the wall. Its really great!

Also! No one mentioned Bari (midtown) which has out of this world wine and cheese election and their little sister restaurant 3 ANGELS which is located on Broad Ave!

oh oh and if you want the biggest and weird selection of video rentals check out Black Lodge Video in cooper young!

LEAVE A COMMENT