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Family eats in Memphis: 2 days only

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First timer in Memphis --staying in Germantown and visiting downtown: with 2 children in tow (8 and 5). 8 year old is a foodie already although 5 yr old often defaults to pbsand and pasta but has been known to eat kale, pad thai and pate (go figure). Looking for recommendations for inexpensive/representative Memphis restaurants. Thinking: Rendezvous for dinner after seeing ducks, Gus' for chicken after Sun Studios and Stax...MAYBE Las Tortugas for dinner (I've read it's expensive for what it is...worth it?) then maybe another bbq place for lunch? (The Barbecue Shop, Interstate BBQ, Germantown commissary, Payne's BBQ or Tops?). Are there any interesting/good ethnic places (pho saigon? pho hoa binh?) or should we stick with southern cuisine?

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  1. Rendezvous is a good choice after the ducks. Gus's is great, but you need to be aware that they don't have different levels of spiciness, so if your children aren't fond of spicy food, Gus's might not be for them. Las Tortugas is worth the money. It is traditional Mexico City street food (tortas & tacos), but they only use the best quality and freshest ingredients, so they make it something really special. For kids, I would recommend their chicharron de queso - it's just cheese sprinkled in a thing sheet on the grill and then rolled over to make a lacy tube. Their fruit drinks are amazingly good and fresh. Payne's has the best sandwiches in town - just be sure to order without slaw for your kids if they don't like it since sandwiches come with slaw by default around here. Pho Saigon is very good Vietnamese. I notice you don't have any breakfasts listed. If you're looking for some good ones, Arcade downtown would be great with kids - they could eat at the counter. Bryant's on Summer is really great Southern style breakfast food. For a great afternoon treat, Wiles-Smith drugstore on Union (not too far from Sun Studios) makes really great milkshakes. Have fun!

    1 Reply
    1. re: mamasquirrel

      Thanks for the tip--esp about Gus's spice level (maybe taking off the skin is an option for the 5yr old) and the sandwich shops. For breakfast, I was thinking that we'd be at the hotel (boring) so that getting out isn't too stressed (and mom and dad can make sure they've had their coffee). Your idea about Arcade is great, though--and they'll love the milkshakes at Wiles-Smith, I'm sure. They're accustomed to New england Frappes--so it's always fun to experience other types of milkshakes. I'm excited for bbq and sweet tea! They haven't had agua fresca (mexican juice water) since they were last in Texas so I'm sure that will be a treat for them, too. I'm seriously hungry already! Thanks again!

    2. Deli Mexicana (Las Tortugas) is definitely worth it--though there is no ambiance. It's in a strip mall on Germantown Parkway (just inside the G'town border) and has only 7 tables. You wait in line to place your order (no servers), so I recommend going at an off hour. It closes early, too, around 8. Lunch can be PACKED. The food is my favorite in Memphis. Germantown Commissary is good for BBQ, but if you are in midtown, I like Central better.

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      1. re: LizR

        So we ended up doing Rendezvous for the tourist aspect but were really pleased with the dry rub ribs--not too spicy and just really delicious. Kids had pulled pork sandwich and salami sandwich. Slaw was way too spicy for them. The ice cream at Wiles-Smith was really good--the food...not so much. I was also shocked at the use of styrofoam plates and plastic utensils at both Wiles-Smith and Gus's. Gus's was the best fried chicken I've ever eaten--I was searching for any extra bit of coating on the bone after I'd eaten every sliver of meat I could find. They have grilled cheese for the kids as even their tenders are done with the same level of spice as the regular chicken. I wish we had time for an additional bbq stop but we did make it to Deli Mexicana (Las Tortugas) and agree that it was totally worth it. Best fish tacos since we were last in Texas. Ultra fresh and tasty and the agua frescas were wonderful. Thanks to the hounds who helped us have an amazing eating experience in Memphis!!!