Our Favorite Memphis Eats

Our staff talk about some of their favorite restaurants, bars, barbecue and sweet treats in Memphis.

Elvis on Beale Street

Elvis on Beale Street

Beale Street
The King of Rock N’ Roll puts on a perpetual show for Memphis’ Beale Street, where a young Elvis would wander, listening to blues and gospel music emanating from the restaurants and bars.

Photo by: Vasha Hunt

Vasha Hunt

By: Jacquelyn McGilvray
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If you’ve ever met a Memphian, you know they can be very passionate and highly opinionated about their favorite barbecue restaurant, or for that matter, any type of restaurant. Even if they've moved away from Memphis, they still have their favorite establishments that they’ll drive hours to enjoy. We asked a few of our Travel Channel staff and native Memphians to share their must-try eating establishments.

Hog n’ Hominy - “The red eye flatbread with the over-easy egg in the middle and sausage based tomato sauce is amazing.  So are the sweetbreads. We have been many times, but for special occasions we do the Chef’s tasting and it’s unreal. It was founded by the same brothers that started Andrew Michael’s Italian Kitchen – and it’s won many awards in the last few years. “ – Sarah, Director Business and Legal Affairs

Photo by: Nathan Savage from @MainstreamImages

Nathan Savage from @MainstreamImages

Alcenia's – "This is a soul food/meat-and-three place downtown that is slightly off the beaten path, but well worth the detour." – Beth, Photo Manager

Tops Bar-B-Q – “Memphis’ original BBQ drive-in, established 1952. No frills. Elvis loved it. Nuff said. Multiple locations.” –  David, Online Editor

Photo by: Justin Fox Burks ©Huey's

Justin Fox Burks, Huey's

Huey's – “A Memphis icon since the 1970s. Originally a boho watering hole with solid pub grub, in recent years it’s grown more mainstream and family friendly. Voted best burger in Memphis multiple times. (I opt for the Smokey Melt -- a patty melt with hickory-smoked cheddar.) There are several locations now, but the one-and-only original is on Madison Avenue in Midtown, near the newly revived Overton Square district.” - David, Online Editor

“I LOVE Hueys.  At Huey's I get the breakfast burger with the runny egg – before it became a popular thing on menus it was started at Huey's years ago!” – Sarah, Director Business and Legal Affairs

Photo by: Justin Fox Burke

Justin Fox Burke

The Beauty Shop – “Appropriately located in a former beauty shop with some of the original fixtures to boot (the hair dryers!). I like the kitsch, but the food is good too.” – Beth, Photo Manager

Photo by: Michael Zepatos

Michael Zepatos

The Arcade – “Breakfast! Elvis loved this place too.” – Beth, Photo Manager

Brother Juniper’s – “I second Beth’s motion on The Arcade for breakfast. A classic. But if you’re not up for trekking all the way downtown, Brother Juniper's is solid diner-style breakfast food, more centrally located; just off the Highland Strip near the University of Memphis.” – David, Online Editor 

Jerry's Sno Cones in Memphis

Jerry's Sno Cones in Memphis

Memphis' most famous sno cone stand at Jerry's offers shaved ice and soft serve ice cream delights.

Photo by: Allen Gillespie/Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau

Allen Gillespie/Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau

Jerry's Sno Cones “Show stopper” – Beth, Photo Manager 

Dyer’s Burgers – “The place that famously deep-fries their hamburgers in grease that (allegedly) is strained daily but has not been changed since they first opened in 1912. It’s moved locations several times since then (in at least one move, the grease was transported under a police escort). It’s now on Beale St. Order a ‘double-double, all the way’, it’s two patties, double cheese, mustard, pickle, onion. Hot sauce optional. Don’t even think about asking for mayo.” – David, Online Editor

Photo by: Kat Robinson

Kat Robinson

Central BBQ – “The best pulled pork BBQ in Memphis. Period.” –  Sarah, Director Business and Legal Affairs

Soul Fish Café – “A relatively recent addition, serving Southern style and soul-food fare, most notably fried catfish and various cooked vegetable sides. Now with four locations but, once again, you’ll find the original in Midtown.” – David, Online Editor

Ernestine and Hazel’s – “Downtown on South Main. An absolutely essential dive bar with a, um, storied history and a great burger.” – David, Online Editor   

Gibson's Donuts in Memphis

Gibson's Donuts in Memphis

An exterior view of Gibson's Donuts, a local hot spot for donuts in Memphis

Photo by: Allen Gillespie/Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau

Allen Gillespie/Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau

Gibson’s Donuts – It’s an institution, and it’s one of Alton Brown’s favorite donut shops and that man loves his donuts. – Beth, Photo Manager

Germantown Commissary in the Memphis Area

Germantown Commissary in the Memphis Area

Barbecue lovers do not live by ribs alone. At the Germantown Commissary in the Memphis area, they constantly find new ways to create their smoky magic.

Commissary – “Best pulled pork NACHOs” - Sarah, Director Business and Legal Affairs

“I’m also deeply devoted to the Germantown Commissary.” – Beth, Photo Manager

Photo by: Kat Robinson

Kat Robinson

Payne’s Bar-B-Que – “One of the lesser-known but also one of the best BBQ joints in Memphis. Down and dirty, in an old gas-station building.” – David, Online Editor  

Tsunami – “Pacific-rim cuisine. Upscale and unique. The roasted sea bass on black rice with soy buerre blanc is sort of their signature dish, and it is awe-inspiring. And you’ll be hard pressed to find a better creme Brule anywhere. In the recently revitalized Cooper-Young district.”  – David, Online Editor     

Alchemy – “Another hip-and-trendy spot in Cooper Young, in the vicinity of Beauty Shop and Tsunami. Serving tapas and the like. Happenin’ at happy hour. (Stop in Burke’s Books and Goner Records while you’re in the neighborhood. Support our local bookseller and indie record store!)” – David, Online Editor

Charlie Vergos'  Rendezvous in Memphis

Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous in Memphis

The Rendezvous has been serving up its unique style of barbecue since 1948 when the owner discovered a coal chute in the basement of his restaurant and decided to put his grilling skills to work. Rendezvous is famous for its dry rub seasoning which makes them unique amongst other restaurants who serve ribs mopped with barbecue sauce.

Photo by: Craig Thompson

Craig Thompson

Rendezvous – “Best ribs in Memphis - dry rub.” – Sarah, Director Business and Legal Affairs

Sheridan’s Frozen Custard – “This place is an unsung hero of Memphis that isn’t talked about much, but is AMAZING.” – Sarah, Director Business and Legal Affairs

Photo by: Kat Robinson

Kat Robinson

Gus's Fried Chicken – “The be-all, end-all of fried chicken." - Sarah, Director Business and Legal Affairs

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