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Guest Post: Where to eat, drink, and hang out in Memphis

[Ed. note: Mitch Davis is a Kentucky fan living in Memphis and kindly offered to pass along some recommendations for fans heading down to the South Regional this weekend. If you also have tips on where to eat, drink, and hang out in Memphis this weekend, please add them to the comments.]


Welcome to the 901 Big Blue Nation! 

First off, welcome to Memphis, Kentucky fans! I have waited my entire life to say that and it feels pretty amazing to finally have the opportunity to do so. I compiled a list of all things Memphis, from our delicious restaurants to our rich music tradition. So without further ado, here is the list divided into categories based off different sub topics. 


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Around the arena: Blues City Cafe, Tin Roof, BB Kings, Majestic Grill, Kooky Canuck’s, Silky Sullivan’s, Rendezvous, Huey’s

Around Memphis: Central BBQ, Tops, Germantown Commissary, Gibson’s Donuts, Bryant’s Breakfast

Things to do or sights to see

  • Bass Pro at the Pyramid
  • Memphis Zoo
  • Overton Square
  • Shelby Farms
  • Tanger Outlets in Southaven
  • IKEA
  • Graceland
  • Mud Island
  • Civil Rights museum
  • The Peabody
  • Tom Lee Park along the Mississippi River (very cool views)

I have also attached a list from the “I Love Memphis” blog with recommendations for patio and outside seating throughout Memphis: The Ultimate Memphis Patio List: 100+ Places To Eat and Drink Outside « I Love Memphis

With that being I welcome you to my home, Memphis, Tennessee. I hope we all leave the FedEx Forum Sunday with a ticket to the Final Four in hand, and that all of you have a great weekend! 

Article written by KSR

14 Comments for Guest Post: Where to eat, drink, and hang out in Memphis

  1. WatchutalkinboutWillis
    12:34 pm March 23, 2017 Permalink

    Nice post! I would love to go to Memphis this weekend if anyone has tickets, a private jet and a kind, giving heart. You can pick me up at the Anton airport. I will be the guy in the “Time for Nine” shirt that is wearing out.

  2. j148
    12:47 pm March 23, 2017 Permalink

    hueys is great but they have a calipari bobblehead hanging from a noose at most of their locations

    BBQ shop in midtown

    Second line midtown great patio and food

    148 north in collierville is operated by a Kentucky guy (me) and has huge patio on historic square.

    gus’s no brainer

    bahn thai in midtown is owned and operated by Kentucky people great patio and food

    Sun studios is a must even if you just pull up and take pics. so much history

    midtown is a lot nicer and safer than downtown. Overton square has a ton of restaurants and things to do. live music

    a guy that graduated from Murray state is playing @6 at Lafeyettes music room in midtown that place is awesome

    • Eazy
      1:27 pm March 23, 2017 Permalink

      Not sure why they hate Cal. He left a place with a decent tradition to come here. It would be similar to Stoops taking the Alabama job. Sure, it would suck. But we’d understand. Cal took Memphis to places they’ve never been and still says great things about the place.

    • memphis wildcat
      2:33 pm March 23, 2017 Permalink

      False Premise Eazy – The Memphis fans that are still mad don’t understand that UK job > Memphis job.

    • CatBlue in LR
      4:30 pm March 23, 2017 Permalink

      Similar to Arkansas fans getting rubbed the wrong way when Eddie Sutton said he “would have crawled all the way to Lexington” to take the Kentucky job. Those two jobs were and are apples and oranges; two different levels entirely, but they continue to want to believe otherwise. smh…

    • Big DAWG Loggin
      4:32 pm March 23, 2017 Permalink

      I was going to say SUN Records….also Collierville (reminds me of Middletown/Anchorage).

  3. inside info2
    1:11 pm March 23, 2017 Permalink

    Huey’s is probably the best burger I’ve ever had. Love that place.

    Is Memphis Pizza Cafe still there? If so, it’s terrible you didn’t mention that. Best pizza I’ve ever had.

  4. jimmer
    1:25 pm March 23, 2017 Permalink

    I find it interesting that the famous Jerry Lawler restaurant isn’t listed here. Hmmm.

  5. Blue Jesus
    1:45 pm March 23, 2017 Permalink

    inside info2: Yes, Memphis Pizza Cafe is still around and still great. I would also recommend Aldo’s Pizza.

    I’ll reiterate what j148 wrote above: if you only make one touristy stop while in town, Sun Studios is the place to go. It’s a small place packed full of history and music. They only do guided tours, which means you’ll get someone who knows a thing or two showing you the highlights and playing you snippets of both famous and under appreciated music that came from Sun, all in a compact 45 minute presentation. Because it’s guided, however, and because there will presumably be a lot of people in town, spots might be tight… go early!

    Dark horse recommendation: go by Rhodes College and take a walk around campus. Beautiful place, especially this time of year when the blooms are coming out. It’s no more than a ten minute drive from downtown.

    Memphis also has Big River Crossing, the “longest public pedestrian bridge across the Mississippi.” If it’s a nice day and you want some fresh air, the bridge connects right downtown–highly recommend.

    I’m convinced Memphis is one of the greatest food cities in the world, and some good options are listed in Mitch Davis’ post. A few I’d add:
    – Elwood’s Shack (a little drive down summer, but it’s my favorite food in the city; get the fish tacos or the brisket! And FYI, they just reopened after an electrical fire shut them down for a few months, so I’m sure they’d love the business!)
    – Pho Binh (Vietnamese food; Midtown)
    – Half Shell (seafood; a short drive out Poplar)
    – Brother Junipers or Cafe Eclectic or Arcade Restaurant for breakfast
    – Maciel’s Tortas and Tacos (right downtown on Main Street, looks pretty unassuming, but it’s excellent; reminds me of Ellos in Lexington, if you’re familiar with that)
    – Absinthe Bar (right on Beale, great atmosphere and different from a lot of the other places you’ll go on Beale. Highly recommend if nightlife is your thing.)

  6. jmclark97
    2:01 pm March 23, 2017 Permalink

    For nicer restaurants downtown, try Catherine & Mary’s, Felicia Suzanne’s, McEwan’s, Flight (I’m sure there are others I’m forgetting). In Midtown area, try Bounty and Café Iris. In addition to the areas mentioned in the posts above, South Main is a great area with lots of bars and restaurants: Loflin Yard, Ernestine and Hazel’s (late night Soul Burger is highly recommended) and many others.

  7. cbrich2
    2:14 pm March 23, 2017 Permalink

    Memphis Law student, UK Undergrad. I live downtown and have for the past 3 years. By far best bar off of Beale ( which inherently makes it a tad more enjoyable anyway) is Bardog tavern on Madison. Its close to all downtown hotels, big college hangout spot if thats more your style. Beale can be a blast if you haven’t experienced it yet and even better if crowded by BBN. If you want some great food to go down late, have to hit up Blue City cafe. (Tom Cruise studied for the bar there in the movie “The Firm”.) Birddog food is also amazing. blue plate cafe is awesome for some breakfast food, its in court square of main st. City Market is a grocery store on Main for all your general needs, but its pricey. Jacks up on N Main is much cheaper. Also, if you’re willing for a short stroll or quick uber, South Main is really taking off. Sort of turning into a Germantown feel if you’re familiar with Nashville. Loflin yard is a huge outdoor space there. Writing this in class so its short and sweet. …….. Also TUNICA is 30 min away!!!!

  8. Memphis Cat
    2:22 pm March 23, 2017 Permalink

    Good to see a lot of Memphis UK fans helping out. We have hid in the shadows for a long time and I see more and more coming out. I’ll add my two cents to things to do, food-wise.

    If you are staying downtown and you are in the mood for BBQ, the there are three places I would recommend. In order of driving distance from downtown:

    Central BBQ –
    Go to the one on Butler street. Behind the BBQ Shop, this is my second favorite BBQ place.

    Cozy Corner –
    I’d only recommend going here during the day. While it’s not a terrible location, you are starting to get close to a bad area, so night time is not advised for a tourist. Great BBQ though.

    The BBQ Shop –
    This is by far my favorite BBQ place in Memphis. Their ribs and sauce are amazing. The only down side for this is that it isn’t as close as the other two.

    Notice I did not say go to Rendezvous. While it might be a neat place to go as a tourist, everyone will be wanting to go there, so the wait times will be awful and to be honest, the BBQ isn’t that great.

    Stay on South Main St for good food and enjoyable places to shop. Beale Street is nice to do once, but for a much more cultural and enjoyable place to walk, eat, and enjoy yourself, South Main St is the best place to go.

    This site will give you a good read on all things South Main St. The places I would recommend are:
    – South of Beale (better known as S.O.B.) – this was featured in Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives. Good all around food.

    -Gus’s World Famous Chicken. It is what it says it is. Great spicy southern fried chicken.

    – Pearl’s Oyster House. Seafood and Creole. If you like Oysters, their BBQ Char-grilled Oysters are incredible.

    – Arcade Restaurant. Just a famous old restaurant. Been around a long time. Great breakfast. Right next to the National Civil Rights Museum.

    If you have to eat on Beale, I’d recommend Dyer’s Cafe (Great burgers) or Blues City Cafe (Good BBQ).

    Hopefully this will help you navigate your way around.

  9. memphis wildcat
    2:37 pm March 23, 2017 Permalink

    Let me add that ALL the advice above is EXCELLENT – Both the post and the comments.

    One I would add is Belmont Grill – across the street from Half Shell and just down the road from one of the Huey’s out east. My point is if you head that way and 2 of the 3 are packed, go to the 3rd one….Or go a block farther East to Brookhaven Circle for local restaurants (Note: those is Brookhaven Circle are typically a bit more expensive than Hueys. Belmont or Half Shell).

  10. Yardeth
    2:58 pm March 23, 2017 Permalink

    Another KY Transplant living here in Memphis, I have been here for around 10 years now and I would suggest BB Kings for music and decent food and Dyers for when you have a good buzz when down on Beale., reminds me of eating on 1st street at the pool hall in Richmond, when EKU was a party school I would suggest The Flying Saucer for drinking sits behind Hard Rock and Texas De Brazil and Kooky Kanucks for a good food, the first being pretty expensive but all you want to eat steak, I also like to eat at Pearls Oyster Bar a short walk from Beale close to the Orpheum. Gus Fried Chicken is a vey good and popular place, not very eye catching but “Great Yard Bird”. If you can get to Mid-town they have excellent restaurants and good music.

    Just remember that to always be aware of your surroundings, Memphis is not Lexington, even though Lexington is slowly getting worse each year, Stay in groups and travel using the buddy system. Win or Lose I want all the KY Fans and families to make it home safe and for them to have a great, and safe time here in Memphis.,

    One last thing, please visit the Bass Pro Shop at the Pyramid it is unbelievable and take your camera’s. Plus we just opened up a IKEA store on Germantown Road close to the Wolf Chase Mall, it is pretty popular and if you like to shop you will have a good time. Thanks and GO CATS!!!!