When someone says Memphis, the first thing that comes to mind is either Elvis, blues, or BBQ. All of this is true, but Memphis is so much more. I would recommend that you not just see the city’s most well-known districts, but also some of its lesser-known jewels.
During a recent trip to Memphis, I had to pay a visit to Graceland and have some true Memphis BBQ. Nonetheless, I also appreciated some of the city’s other attractions. I must add that I am looking forward to returning to learn more about this welcoming, resurrected city.
Visiting other places in Tennessee? Check out our other tasty guide:
- The Best BBQ In Memphis
- 8 Best Knoxville Restaurants
The 7 Best Restaurants in Memphis
Alfreds on Beale Street
901-525-3711197 Beale Street, Third Floor
I found Alfreds since that was where I could obtain Backbeat Tours tickets. My partner and I decided to go inside for a drink and a bite to eat since we arrived early. I had no idea I was entering the first club on Beale Street, which featured rock and roll in the mid-80s. It’s a fantastic restaurant with a fantastic atmosphere.
It was shortly after midday, and great music was playing. Alfreds relies heavily on music. Memphis has become linked with music. Live music is routinely performed here, with diverse artists and even celebrities stopping in from time to time. Alfreds has the largest collection of gold records in the United States. I did see several of them, as well as numerous Elvis photographs.
There are some fantastic foods on the menu. For appetizers, there are fried green tomatoes, salads, and gumbo, as well as a catfish fillet, a pulled pork plate, and their award-winning baby back ribs. The menu includes sandwiches, sides, and dessert. You may also try some of their signature cocktails, such as the Pink Flamingo and Alfreds Funky Monkey. This drink piqued my interest, so I inquired about it. It’s a cocktail made with Stoli Razberi, Malibu, 99 Bananas, Pineapple Juice, and Sprite.
I can personally speak to the quality of the BBQ Nachos. Pulled pork, Rotel, cheese, barbeque sauce, jalapenos, and an additional dash of their unique spice are layered on top of a hefty piece of tortilla chips. Other customers ordered the chicken Caesar salad and the chicken and sausage gumbo. Everything looked and smelled fantastic.
Alfreds’ wait staff was very helpful, recognizing that the restaurant would naturally attract a diverse group of individuals for Backbeat Tours. Both Alfreds and the trip are highly recommended. It provides a wonderful picture of Memphis and is very entertaining.
Encounter with Charles Vergos
901-523-274652 South Second St.
The Rendezvous will provide you with fantastic meals as well as an education on how a generations-old restaurant can continue to exist after decades of producing just outstanding food. I was amazed by the constant movement of people in and out of this eatery.
You enter and proceed downstairs into a magnificent mix of fragrances and a sea of people in a downtown alley. The restaurant structure itself is efficient, making use of every available area. The decoration is wonderful. There are a wide range of folks present. Business meetings, families with children out for a wonderful lunch, locals looking for a drink and a bite to eat, and visitors who have heard this is a must-stop while in Memphis will all be there.
Rendezvous did not achieve its stellar reputation by coincidence. Some of the greatest meals I’ve ever had was discovered in this lively, down-to-earth establishment. Beginning with the cheese and sausage appetizer, I realized that something as basic as this could be converted into a terrific dinner starter when presented with flair and smiles from a wait staff where most had been worked here for years.
The major attraction was a slab of pork ribs large enough to serve two people. This and all other foods are barbecued over charcoal in the restaurant’s front pit. Therefore, the intriguing fragrances you uncover as you travel down the stairs. If ribs aren’t your thing, there’s also chicken, beef brisket, and lamb. They will also prepare five pounds of shrimp for you with a 24-hour notice! The dinner is served with the expected sides of beans and slaw.
After my dinner, I spoke with the manager and congratulated him on his staff’s efficiency. The crew is exceptional considering how busy the restaurant is. Everything works together in unison. My waitress turned out to be the restaurant’s longest-serving employee, having been there for 38 years. When I inquired how many ribs they use in a week, the answer was close to 10,000 pounds! You will want to head to Charles Vergos Rendezvous.
Memphis at Dawn
901-552-31670 Jefferson Ave.
Sunrise is a beautiful restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch in a relaxed, pleasant atmosphere. The decor alone improves your mood. Vibrant colors, helpful personnel, and delicious meals combine for an excellent start to the day.
When you arrive, you make your order at the counter, get a table number, and go to the dining room. You get your coffee from the self-service section here. Plates, glasses, and cutlery are all delightfully mismatched, making you feel as though you’re seated in your own or a friend’s or family’s house. Families may be seen eating here, or the businessman can be found working on his laptop while enjoying his coffee and breakfast sandwich before going to the office.
I had a biscuit Sandwich, a fantastic cup of coffee, and a Yogi bowl from the Sunrise, which I came home to attempt to replicate! All of the standard breakfast items are available here, freshly cooked. They also sell sandwiches and salads for lunch. Sunrise features sandwiches such turkey, BLTs, grilled chicken, and burgers made with artisan meats. I didn’t get to sample it, but the Berry Good salad seems delicious. The next time!
The Yogi Bowl I described previously was delicious and healthy. It was a generous serving of Greek yogurt for two, topped with the finest strawberries and blueberries, house-made granola, and a drizzle of honey. A simple yet delicious meal, as was everything at the Sunrise. Come check it out for yourself!
Phone: 901-425-2605600 Monroe Ave.
Edge Alley is located in the Edge neighborhood, which is undergoing renovation and renewal. The Edge is a great, quirky restaurant situated next door to High Cotton Brewing Co. that is enjoying a similar comeback in other neighborhoods of Memphis. It is housed within an ancient building with open walls, allowing you to observe the new life they have given not just to the building but also to the neighborhood.
Within, there is a diverse crowd. Several people reside in or around the region, and many tourists have heard it’s a fantastic small eatery. The Edge Alley, run by husband and wife pair Tim and Lena, boasts a unique cuisine with foods created from scratch. Since they employ fresh foods, the menu changes often.
I had lunch here and, although there are many options on the menu, I choose the chicken club. Although it did have the typical elements of chicken and bacon on a brioche bread, it also featured raspberry preserves, citrus and rosemary spices, Aioli-dressed arugula, heirloom tomatoes, and red onion. That was not your typical chicken club; it was genuinely outstanding.
Additional menu items include the Cinnamon Sticky Bread, which is made of monkey bread, cinnamon butter, and a glaze topped with powdered sugar. Plates of shrimp and grits or steak and eggs are also available. Another intriguing sandwich on the menu was the house-cured salmon lox, which came with mascarpone, capers, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onions on a lavender and thyme biscuit. Salads, desserts, and an espresso bar are provided as well.
Don’t forget that supper is offered as well. Try a meal with chicken confit or double-cut lamb chops. Consider a seasonal drink! Don’t Tell the Government, prepared with house fermented pineapple hooch, white rum, coconut water, ginger, and mint, stood out to me. Would You Accept This Rose also has Helix Vodka, ginger, rose petals, cardamom, lemon, and champagne in it. I’m sure they’re as tasty as they sound!
Union Ave. 901-467-0308164 Union Ave.
Celebrity chef Fabio Viviani runs this contemporary restaurant, which is located within the Canopy by Hilton downtown. With him, the restaurant gains Spanish, American, and Italian influences, and he creates some amazing genuine meals. They have an extensive wine selection, serve local brewers and IPAs, and provide their customers with some fantastic homemade cocktails.
Curfew appeals to a wide range of people. Customers in shorts and T-shirts dropped in after a day of seeing the city when I visited. Professionals were enjoying a business dinner, locals were drinking at the bar, and teenagers were on their way to Prom.
Breakfast, lunch, supper, and Sunday brunch are all available. The menu includes fried chicken livers, crispy Boudin balls, pork porterhouse, redfish, and the Curfew stew, which includes a variety of shellfish, some brisket tossed in for good measure, as well as herbs and vegetables. Dessert options include butterscotch panna cotta, gelato, sorbet, and latte.
A romaine heart Caesar salad and a Roman-style pizza were my choices. The pizza was a flatbread with pepperoni, onions, parmesan, and fresh herbs on top.
My dining partner chose the Memphis smoked brisket macaroni and cheese, as well as a side of Brussels sprouts with goat cheese and a balsamic saba sauce. The quantities are large, and the cuisine is delicious.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t highlight the Canopy by Hilton’s onsite coffee shop and caf. On my way out of town, I stopped for a cup of coffee and a delicious apple-cinnamon muffin. In doing so, I had a nice talk with the barista who was serving me, PJ. She was cheerful, polite, and enthusiastic about her work. She was charming and curious, and she was a credit to customer service.
Restaurant in an Arcade
South Main Street 901-506-5757540 South Main Street
While in Memphis, one should not pass up the chance to eat at a renowned, historical restaurant. The Arcade is just that! The Arcade, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is Memphis’s oldest restaurant, having opened in 1919 when the proprietor moved from Greece. After four generations, you have a flourishing, classic restaurant in the historic South Main Arts District.
The Arcade, located on one of Memphis’ busiest crossroads, transports you to the 1950s and 1960s and oozes charm. Several films, including The Firm and Walk the Line, were shot in The Arcade. As a result, many celebrities have eaten here. Elvis Presley was a regular.
Breakfast is available all day, while lunch and supper specialties include liver and onions, turnip greens, chicken and dumplings, and peach cobbler. There are a variety of pizzas available, as well as sandwiches such as A Memphis Thing (smoked turkey, brie, onions, roasted red peppers, and Creole mustard). A grilled chicken sandwich, a salad, or Elvis’ favorite, a peanut butter and banana sandwich, are all available.
While I went there in the morning, I ordered the Breakfast Sampler to try a little bit of everything. It included eggs, bacon, sausage, a standard or sweet potato pancake, and hashbrowns or grits. Another item on the sampling was deep-fried French toast dusted with powdered sugar. It was a unique twist on French toast that I had never tried before, and it was delicious.
Breakfast options included biscuits and gravy, omelets, and hashbrown bowls, to mention a few.
The Arcade is an experience that everyone should have, and the cuisine is very delicious.
The Loflin Yard
The phone number is 901-290-11407 W. Caroline Avenue.
With the abundance of eating alternatives in Memphis, I was hesitant when I first heard about Loflin Yard. But, I decided to give it a go and was pleasantly delighted. In Memphis, there is a one-of-a-kind restaurant, bar, and event facility. It’s a lovely outdoor place, open and welcoming to animals. It was cozy and a fantastic place to have a relaxed supper on the beautiful day I went.
Loflin Yard was previously a storehouse along the railroad that housed a lock and safe. Rejuvenated into a wonderful outdoor area, it currently comprises of the Coach House, Safe House, and the Front and Back Yards. These varied spaces may be hired for your event (think wedding, reunion, or conference) or enjoyed by residents of the city and neighborhood, as well as tourists to the region.
The Coach House is a venue with a beautiful porch and rocking seats. The Safe House houses the bar and kitchen and provides inside seating during adverse weather. The yards are the outdoor communal area where you can hang out, enjoy the day, and maybe even spend the evening over one of numerous fire pits.
Loflin Yard hosts live music and many community activities. You arrive, pick a seat, and go outside. The staff will take your order and return with delicious meals. There are shared plates of wings and nachos on the menu, as well as sandwiches like a smoked turkey poboy or burger. They provide smokehouse dishes, tacos, salads, and chicken tenders with domestic or craft beers, wines, or one of their legendary rum, gin, or tequila cocktails.
Appreciate the splendor of Loflin Falls, a little waterfall. Don’t be frightened to investigate. People-watch, touch the family pets, listen to excellent music, and unwind for the day. It’s a delightfully relaxed way to spend time outside in a big city.
Memphis is undergoing a revitalization. Appreciate the fantastic cuisine available here, which is often rooted in Southern culture. There are, nevertheless, many new and inventive eateries. Love them all, and don’t be scared to branch out.
Which of these Memphis eateries are you going to try first? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!