I’m sure it will come as no surprise to our foodie readers, but Memphis is filled with some fabulous eateries, from BBQ to fine dining and everything in between. Here’s just a sampling of what you’ll find here.

Elvis table at Arcade Diner

Arcade Diner

The Arcade happens to be the oldest diner in Memphis and one of Elvis Presley’s favourite eateries so don’t miss the chance to sit at the Elvis table and order up a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich (or a delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner).

They’re open Sunday to Wednesday, 7 am to 3 pm and on Thursdays through Saturdays, 7 am to 10 pm. 540 S. Main Street

Majestic Grille

Majestic Grille

The Majestic Grille is located inside a beautifully restored Beaux Arts building that formerly housed a 1913 silent movie theater.

Award-winning Chef/Owner Patrick Reilly serves up a menu of elevated comfort food with classic cocktails, wine and spirits to pair with his dishes.

Majestic Grille

Choosing from a varied menu of offerings, I enjoyed a plate of grilled rosemary-honey-glazed salmon here at lunch hour. The Majestic seems to be a popular draw with locals (I noticed a lot of lunch meetings taking place on the day of my visit). 145 S. Main Street

Charlie Vergos Rendezvous Barbeque

Charlie Vergos Rendezvous Barbeque

Take a seat in one of the many rooms inside historic Charlie Vergos Rendezvous Barbeque and dig into some of the city’s best BBQ.

Charlie Vergos Rendezvous Barbeque

Vergos – the man behind Rendezvous – turned an old coal chute into a smoker, put in racks 18” from the fire and grilled the ribs for an hour and 15 minutes to seal in the flavour. He then created a rub based on his father’s Greek seasonings and Cajun spices he discovered on visits to New Orleans. With the addition of paprika, the dry rub recipe was complete and set a standard for Memphis-style barbecue ribs.


The BBQ menu is simple: brisket, ribs or chicken (plus a few combo meat dishes). A glass of local pale ale goes down great with Rendezvous brisket. The restaurant is still at its original location, in a basement through an alley across from the historic Peabody Hotel.
52 South 2nd Street

Vernon’s Smokehouse At Graceland

Vernon’s Smokehouse At Graceland

Located right at Graceland, Vernon’s Smokehouse (named after Elvis’ father) serves up authentic Memphis BBQ pork ribs, beef brisket and chicken, plus a few of The King’s favourite meals: meatloaf, catfish and BBQ spaghetti.

Touring Graceland is a multi-hour affair, so don’t miss the chance to BBQ break your day (they’ve got yummy, warm cornbread too)!
3734 Elvis Presley Boulevard

Catherine and Marys Memphis

Catherine & Mary’s

Homemade pastas, beautiful entrees and a large wine list make Catherine & Mary’s a great spot in the heart of downtown Memphis.

There’s historic value here too: Catherine & Mary’s is housed in the very building where Sun Studio’s Sam Phillips brought Elvis Presley’s demo record, That’s Alright Mama, to DJ Dewey Phillips to be played on the radio for the first time, launching The King’s career.

James Beard Award-nominated chefs and native Memphians Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman are behind this successful eatery that focuses on homemade pastas, seasonal entrees, meat and cheese boards, snacks and sensational homemade gelato and desserts. 272 S. Main Street


Edge Alley

Just outside the downtown core is Edge Alley, a well-lit space with elegant interior touches throughout serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch on weekends.

For breakfast, they’ve got a few tasty dishes alongside speciality coffees to kick-start the day (you won’t find decaf here). I enjoyed eggs over easy with crispy bacon and one of the best biscuits I’ve had in Memphis during my visit, a perfect warm-up for the Big River Crossing about a 10-minute drive away.


Rooms along the side of the dining room contain small galleries for local artist exhibits; the antique lighting fixtures above offer a lot of reading light and on a side note, don’t miss the small dark green porcelain drinking fountain on your way out. It’s in mint condition, and is simply stunning. 600 Monroe Street

Cafe Keough

Cafe Keough

High ceilings, Corinthian columns and a tasty menu make Main Street’s Cafe Keough a popular draw for locals and tourists alike.

There’s an extensive sandwich and salad menu with a couple of daily soup specials, alongside gourmet coffee. The floor tiling contains embedded antique trinkets and bottle caps.

Cafe Keough-2

They’re open every day (7 am to 5 pm) for breakfast, coffee, lunch and early dinner/cocktails. On Sundays, the hours switch from 9 am to 4 pm.


I didn’t try their baked goods, but the Keough has a varied selection in the glass case to enjoy with coffee or tea. If I lived in Memphis, I could easily envision bringing my laptop in here and sipping coffee while getting some work done (as many around me are currently doing).
12 South Main Street

Restaurant Iris

Restaurant Iris

Open since 2008, cozy Restaurant Iris is located inside a characterful renovated bungalow in midtown Memphis. Chef de Cuisine Cam Razavi is inspired by his father’s Iranian and mother’s Native American roots, creating fusion dishes with a Creole flair.

I can’t think of a heartier comfort dish than their butternut squash pearl couscous risotto (served with sage brown butter, pumpkin seeds and shaved pecorino) at this time of year, which pairs beautifully with a glass of Napa Valley’s Frank Family Zinfandel ‘15.

Currently, the catch of the day is accompanied by silky-smooth seasonal cauliflower purée.

The curated menu is split into snacks/shareables, starters and entrées; their international wine list is both expansive and impressive, with a good range available by the bottle and the glass.
2146 Monroe Avenue

Capriccio Grill

Capriccio Grill

Any opportunity to step inside the nearly 150-year-old Peabody Hotel is welcome, especially in antipication of the twice-daily Peabody Duck March (covered in a separate post).

Capriccio Grill, an Italian steakhouse) offers a full-service breakfast buffet as well as a la carte items, fresh juices and French press coffee. 149 Union Avenue


Bounty on Broad

Broad Avenue is a recent eight-block city development containing boutiques, cafes, restaurants, art galleries and Wiseacre Brewing, Tennessee’s largest microbrewery. Housed in a late 19th-century building, Bounty on Broad has been serving up locally-inspired, gluten-free, family-style dishes since 2014.

Contained in a two-story rustic brick-exposed interior space, Bounty on Board owner Michael Tauer wanted a place that his two Celiac daughters could dine at without food issues.


Executive Chef Russell Casey sees to a rotational menu that brings the best of each season, from pan-roasted half chicken with pumpkin seed mole, grilled Bok Choy and parsnip purée (a dish I loved on the rainy evening of our visit), to blackened red fish served atop butternut squash risotto, lemon butter and fried leeks.


Don’t miss their decadent pecan pie (much like the rest of the menu, it’s entirely shareable!).
2519 Broad Avenue

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.