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Need Recommendations : Visiting late-March/Early-April

Hey there. My family and I are planning a trip through a large swath of the south (Memphis, TN to New Orleans, LA to Savannah & Atlanta, GA to Nashville, TN and then back to Chicago) and I'm looking for recommendations on places to eat.

What I'm looking for is solid, small places to try the best the city has to offer. We aren't looking for posh, but real food of the city. We're the sort of people that would bristle at the notion of going to a national chain when visiting another city, so don't be shy.

Also looking for good places to check out. My son and I are really into music and my wife is into art.

Looking to try the best in BBQ mainly, but will take on other suggestions.

Thanks in advance!

PS: I have a thread started specific to New Orleans (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/594472) but if you have recommendations that you don't see there, by all means, let me know.

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  1. Thats covering a lot of territory...you might want to do some searches on here first and then ask for recommendations from that.

    1 Reply
    1. re: carolinadawg

      actually - we're sort of narrowing the focus down : just Memphis and New Orleans now. LoL. Plans change quick!

    2. For barbecue in Memphis, the Rendevous just can't be beat. In New Orleans, I would recommend Napolean House or Chartres House for some great Creole food. And don't miss Cafe Du Monde for beignets and cafe au lait for dessert. You can't really say you went to New Orleans without going there.

      2 Replies
      1. re: susantrader

        In Memphis- try the Interstate or Neeleys for BBQ. The Rendezvous is good as well. Also Paynes and the Cozy Corner are excellent. the Barksdale is an excellent breakfast choice. In New Orleans cafe du Monde is wonderful. Mothers for sandwiches. the Central Cgrocery for muffaletta sandwiches. And check out Bayona on Daughfine if you want to splurge.

        1. re: smokestack lightning

          I'm sorry I missed this post as I've just returned from Memphis. About 18 of us went to the Rendezvous--and most of us did NOT like it. Good service, interesting basement location, but the barbeque was mediocre at best.

          We did have chopped pork sandwiches at Payne's on Elvis Presley Blvd. The building is a dump (ceiling leaking just behind the counter) but the sandwiches are wonderful. I had two bites of mine and ordered another. Try the "hot" sauce.

      2. I disagree and think there are at minimum 2 places in Memphis that regularly beat the Rendezvous at ribs: BBQ Shop on Madison in Midtown and Cozy Corner on North Parkway Downtown. Central BBQ onCentral in Midtown also has good ribs. The Rendezvous is good when it's good, but the ribs can be dry and chewy.

        Strawberry's in Holcomb, MO and Craigs in DeVall's Bluff AR will give any Memphis rib place a run for their money.

        I also love the BBQ sandwiches at Payne's on Lamar, A&R on Elvis Presley and the BBQ Shop mentioned above.

        Other "solid, small" places that represent the "real food of the city"...
        Taqueria Guadalupana on Summer for true Mexican
        Los Tortugas Deli Mexicana way out in Germantown for a little bit more upscale Mexican. tacos and sandwiches (I think it's the most consistently good place in Memphis). Honestly I believe their ribs are as good as any Memphis bbq place.
        Ellen's Soul Food (true soul food on Elvis Presley in a temporary location)
        Soul Fish on Cooper in Midtown for catfish and great vegetables
        Do /Noodle Doodle Do sushi and asian noodle bowls on Cooper in Midtown

        Enjoy Memphis.

        1. Mississippi Delta area is known for their distinctive tamales. This link will give you many options:

          http://www.tamaletrail.com/OH_does.shtml

          1. For Nashville- try Monells. They have great southern fare and an amazing breakfast on weekends. The food is served family style and the tables are communal. Everything I've had there is wonderful- the skillet fried chicken and peach preserves are not to be missed.

            1. Don't forget to fill us in AFTER the trip!! Want to hear all the culinary details so we here can "eat your words"!!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Brawny

                Okay - The first day there we went to Blue City Cafe for ribs - I wasn't all that impressed with the ribs, they were tender, but served a bit on the "cool" side. My wife and son loved them, though.

                We also tried fried green tomatoes at some small place right across the street and the seafood au gratin at another place on the corner of second and Beale (I'd have to look over our receipts to remember the names). Neither of these places was all that great, either. In fact, at the second one, the bus boy kept running around trying to take everyone's plates while they were still eating.

                The next day we ate breakfast at Krystal's to my insistence and that was a mistake. A mistake I paid for down the line.

                But lunch was fantastic! We did Gus's and my God was it divine. That is hands down some of the best fried chicken I've ever had and trust me, I know my fried chicken.

                We wanted to try Rendezvous the first day we were there, but didn't realize it was closed on Mondays. We ended up making it there on Friday on our way back from New Orleans.

                However, I deeply regret doing so. I was incredibly disappointed by Rendezvous. The crust on the ribs was like tree bark and way too much spice was thrown on top of the ribs. My family hated it and I was shamed and disappointed.

                However, Memphis was a lovely city, one I would consider going back for a visit soon. The people there were a delight as well.

                Thanks everyone for your suggestions! I can't wait until my next trip!