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Eureka Springs AR and Memphis TN Recomendations?

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Visting Eureka Springs AR, Branson MO and Memphis TN in a bit. Does anyone have any recent recommendations for them?

Is the Neely's Barbecue in Memphis worth a side trip from downtown?

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  1. Well there is a Neely's pretty close to downtown, but there's better barbecue to be had. Search "Memphis Barbecue" for suggestions.

    1. As far as Memphis is concerned, it really depends on what sort of food you're looking for. You don't have to leave downtown for great barbecue - try Cozy Corner. If you're strictly staying downtown, either the Majestic Grille right on Main St or Encore on 2nd would be great choices for local food. EP Delta Kitchen or Itta Bena are both on Beale for good food. If you don't want something fancy, Gus's Fried Chicken is always a good choice. If you're willing to get out of downtown, Restaurant Iris and Interim are both wonderful.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mamasquirrel

        If you're downtown. you oughta try the barbecue at Charlie Vergos Rendezvousm, famed for dry ribs.

      2. Eureka Springs has tons of great restaurants. What kind of food and what price range?

        1. There is an Italian place called Ermilio's in Eureka Springs in a house in the downtown area (up the hill). It is very good and my must-eat place when I go there.

          1 Reply
          1. re: MphsLady

            I'm glad to hear that Emilio's is still going strong. We dined there in their first year of operation, and had a very good meal. In such a volitle market, as Eureka Springs, it would not have surprised me, had a very good restaurant just disappeared. My experiences were far too long ago to comment to the OP, but I am heartened by your post.


          2. Spent 3 days in Memphis in June. We LOVED Gus's fried chicken. For white tablecloth, seasonal cuisine we liked Encore (in the Peabody mall complex). Also recommend Blues City Cafe for fried catfish. The Arcade was good for breakfast. I did not think Neely's was worth the drive out of town. A non-food aside: the Stax recording studio museum is a great experience.

            1 Reply
            1. re: AmyMad

              Amy, someone steered you well. an excellent representation of Downtown I'd omit the Blues City/catfish and add Automatic Slim's for a Carribbean/ Southwestern sort of offbeat place, Dish for Mediterranean-tapas in Cooper-Young, Bari for Southeast Italian,Hunt Phelan for upscale Southern. I do think Interstate on S. Third is worth the drive from downtown(not that far really) If you're driving, a trip to the original Gus's in Mason is a worthwile effort. Branson is a culinary wasteland. The only decent meal I've had there was at the Candlelight(I thin that was the name, it's across the river/lake overlooking downtown) but nothing to write home about. It's been too long since we were in Eureka springs to offer any recc's there.

            2. The best food in Eureka is the Cottage Inn. The place is seasonal-she travels often. It's worth a call to find out if they're open or not. White tablecloth, local produce, all handmade food, daily specials, fresh bread, awesome wine list, the whole bit.
              Sparky's is fun, too, in a different way. In a beer-drinking-burger-eating kind of way.
              Good luck in Branson. There is an Italian place called Tony Z's or something that is okay, it's typical fare. My favorite food in Branson is at the IHOP-it's pretty sad.

              1 Reply
              1. re: LauraMick

                I do not recall the Cottage Inn, but I may have missed it, or it has opened since my last visit. Sounds great and worth the visit.

                Branson - now that is a problem, or at least was. I ordered mashed potatoes at a well-known family-dining restaurant. I asked if they were real, or boxed. The waitress in Ozark candor commented, "you're in Branson. Nothing is real. If you want real, you need to go elsewhere." In those few sentences, she spoke volumes. Other than our wonderful B&B, on White Rock Lake, we had to drive elsewhere to find edible food. This was our welcome to Branson. I have to admit that it was a surprise on every level, and I mean EVERY level. Luckily, our hostess at the B&B helped ease us into the Branson experience, as we were totally unprepared for it. I thought it was a quaint little mountain community, like Pigeon Forge, TN once was. It was today's Pigeon Forge on major steroids, and no one, anywhere, had a clue about good food. I could see IHop. "IHop is the only consistency in my life." Beverly D'Angelo in "Honky Tonk Freeway."


              2. Eureka Springs, was just there 3 weeks ago. We had dinner at the Bavarian Inn west side of town on the main drag to reach the town. Loved it! I had the combo because I couldn't decide what I wanted. Great prices there as well with the lack of tourists, they have dropped prices to get you there.

                7 Replies
                1. re: srussell705

                  Another restaurant new to me. Either my eyes were closed, or it's just been too long.

                  As a cousin has a condo in the area, and invites us to join her, maybe we'll get back in that direction. I'd rather dine in Eureka Springs, even with a drive, than any place I encountered in Branson. While Eureka Springs does have a normal tourist throng, I did find real food there, though one had to look a bit.

                  Maybe there are more places now.


                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    Hey Bill, fancy seeing you post over here too. Old post alert, but I'm in Eureka right now (splitting time w/NOLA), which prompted a search. We come up several times a year, so I wanted to see if there was anything new, and this was the last post.
                    I just missed the Cottage Inn wine pairing dinner, as it was the day we arrived. The menu looked really nice too. Our friends up here have nothing but raves for this place.
                    We've eaten at Ermilio's, DeVito's, Crescent Hotel's Crystal Dining Room (dinner and brunch), New Delhi Cafe, Cafe Santa Fe, Bubba's BBQ, Pied Piper (pub grub and a tasty lamb stew), Roadhouse Restaurant, Port Orleans, Cafe Soleil, Angler's Grill, and Eureka Grill (affiliated w/Cottage Inn). All fine meals, nothing offensive. Angler's Grill has new ownership, so I'm waiting to see what, if any, changes will be made there.
                    I'm anxious to try Garden Bistro, Mama Roux and Casa Colina, which all just opened since our last visit a few months ago. friends have also recommended Si Casa Flores, out near Holiday Island.
                    I also wanted to participate in a cooking class w/Karen Gros, but she is traveling right now (cuisinekaren.com).
                    The farmers' markets are exploding w/outstanding produce right now, which is making for some really good cooking.
                    Not sure if you have visited Keel's Creek Winery yet, but they are worth a visit. Nothing along the lines as Calif., but nice folks worthy of some support.
                    Maybe one day we will happen upon each other either here in ES or back in NOLA. Cheers!

                    1. re: edible complex


                      Thank you for the update. For us, it has been too long ago to even know what might still be great, or gone.

                      For about 2 decades, we found ourselves in E Springs fairly often. From Colorado, it was closer than the Smokies.

                      Loved much of the town, and had some very good meals there. There was some heart and soul. Even though it was a tourist-oriented town, it had better food than anything in Branson, MO. We stayed at a few B&B's there, and even the proprietors said that our breakfasts would be as good as it was likely to get. One of our first lunches was at a mom-n-pop restaurant, well off of the Branson "strip." I asked about the mashed potatoes, questioning if they were real, or boxed. The waitress whispered in my ear, "you'll not find one real potato in all of Branson." Whow, was she ever right. Lovely area, with monster crowds, but not one good meal on about three trips. Eeueka Springs was much different. Plenty of good food, if one got past the buffets at the "shows."

                      Thanks for the report. I know that someone else will benefit from your comments. Coming from you, I take each word as gospel.



                      1. re: edible complex

                        Fancy seeing your name again. I followed your comments religiously when I planned my trip to New Orleans in November. We're heading to Eureka Springs between Christmas and New Years. We're ES regulars, so we know we'll hit Ermilio's and Oasis (at least twice.) We went to Caribe once but left when we couldn't get anybody to wait on us. Do you recommend it? We ate there when it was downtown and called Grand Central or something like that. We'll be staying on Lake Lucerne. We love, love, love it there. Let me know if you have any must-do dining recommendations. Thanks for all of your help all over the country.

                        1. re: neblanc

                          Thank you for the kind words.

                          Unfortunately, it's been too long, since we were dining in ES. We hit some real highs, and some lows. I worry that most of the highs might have long since passed. Sorry that I cannot be of more timely use there. We loved "the stairway city," but it's just been too long.

                          I hope that soon we can get back for some major fun. We've finally gotten back to the Smoky Mountains, after almost 30 years of being away. Many, many changes, and I would assume that the same would hold for ES too.

                          Being in AZ, our trips are often to the West Coast, or the East Coast (or Europe), and we miss many wonderful dining spots in the mid-section of the US. Not our choice, but business dictates our destinations.

                          I wish that I had something to offer, but I am at a loss.


                      2. re: Bill Hunt

                        Bill, forgot to mention one time in November we had some nice raw oysters at Rogue's Manor. You never know what you'll find up here. I came across some goat meat at Hart's, and plan on making a goat curry this weekend.

                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          for anyone visiting Eureka Springs, do not miss Caribe on US62.
                          highly recommend the 7 salsa platter (hard to pick a favorite) and guac to start. the aztec goddess corn soup is heaven. the homemade mole is just sinful on either the turkey leg or chicken. grilled grouper on grilled pineapple w/an amazing fruit and veggie salad is killer. the sides of rice and beans is as authentic and tasty as they get. I only saw a plate of the slow roast pork ribs, but I know what I'm getting next. there is a market connected to the building, if you have the desire to bring home some of the salsas and mole.
                          oh, and do not pass up the margaritas!

                      3. I just returned and in case anyone else is going soon, following are the places I thought were best.

                        Local Flavor and Santa Fe in Eureka Springs. Skip Dr. Bakers at the top of the Crescent Hotel. However, the Sunday Brunch in the Crescent Hotel is decent. They have excellent king crab legs (the champagne is vile though, Roget's).

                        In Memphis, I liked Dish and Beauty Shop best. Neely's BBQ was just okay but prices were very reasonable.

                        1. My favorite places in Eureka Springs, not necessarily in order, are:

                          Grand Taverne at the Grand Central Hotel--Thoroughly enjoyed every meal I've had here--stands up to any restaurant anywhere!

                          Devito's: Italian, but my favorite here is the Rainbow Trout.

                          The Oasis: Only open 10a-2p. Ark-Mex cuisine. Baked, not fried. Healthy and delicious.

                          Local Flavor: Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Varied menu, wonderful food and presentation.

                          Sparky's Roadhouse Cafe. Much more than burgers. Looks like greasy spoon but there's so much more and I love the service and atmosphere (casual.)

                          Cafe Soleil: Mediterranean cuisine. Excellent.

                          Bubba's BBQ: Regionally famous for their great BBQ

                          Gaskin's Cabin: Fine dining just north of town on AR 23. Prime rib is superb.

                          That should hold you for a while!

                          1. We just moved back to the area and I have been wanting to revisit Eureka Springs. What's funny was I just found a cake stand in a Chow story here: http://www.chow.com/stories/11240 linking to a store in Eureka Springs (the 5th stand--white & ruffled) which made me get the itch to plan the Eureka Springs trip and run across this thread. It's been too long for me to probably make good suggestions but I do recall Bubba's BBQ that Ken mentioned and it was a funky little place with good food. Everything was good, I don't recall any place being really awful.

                            I won't recommend any place to eat in Branson. At my old job I had to go to conventions there often and not once, but THREE times over 6 years I got horrible food poisoning there! It's a very generic, touristy, and yes, fake place. Eureka Springs & Memphis have much more charm and I think you'll enjoy your time their more. Big Cedar Lodge, south of Branson, is a neat resort but the food is just "meh".

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: poopsiepoo

                              Re: Branson, though it's been a while now, I would agree. My "welcome" to Branson dining was a lunch at a "down home-style" place that came highly recommended. I opted for the open-faced turkey sandwich with mashed potatoes and turkey gravy. When I asked the server if the mashed potatoes were real, or desiccated, she replies, "honey, there are no real mashed potatoes in all of Branson, outside of folks' homes." She told me volumes in that one sentence. Regardless of where we dined, it was all frozen, boxed or pre-prepared fast-food fare - across the board. It seems that people dining in, and around, Branson only care about quantity, and not quality. Maybe that has changed over time. One can only hope.


                            2. These have been really enjoyable posts to read. It's nice seeing some New Orleans folks on here.

                              My pics for Memphis...I agree with Encore, Majestic Grille, The Arcade, Cozy Corner, and Gus's for Downtown. I also think the drive to Interstate BBQ on Third is worth it. My favorite BBQ is at the BBQ Shop in midtown on Madison.

                              Depending on when you arrive, Memphis is about to get it's first "gastropub". It's called South of Beale and is located on South Main. Supposed to open early July.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: megany09

                                When NO Hounds talk, everyone should listen.


                              2. Cafe Soliel in Eureka Springs has changed owners - it is no longer Mediterranean. It is located on the far side of town on 62 headed toward Berryville. It is basically affordable gourmet food and there is a little something for everyone. Brunch is delicious as are the in-house desserts. The owner buys as much local produce from the area farmers as possible.

                                Emile's is good, but don't go there for the wine. Also, Sparky's is good road food.