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Two Nights in Memphis - seeking suggestions

We are two NY couples setting out on a Delta journey (my DH is a blues musician, in search of his musical roots) and are starting the adventure with two nights in Memphis (Feb. 13 and 14). We'll then be driving down the Blues Highway for several days, staying in Cleveland, Vicksburg and Natchez.

So, with our two days/two nights in Memphis, we want to snag as much great local food and music as possible. We will be staying downtown.

We welcome your suggestons -- and if you have any wods of wisdom for the rest of our journey, we'll take those too!

Thanks CH friends!

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  1. Sounds awesome. It's been awhile since I've been to Memphis, but I have been several times. It's all about the BBQ.... I never miss The Cozy Corner (Rib Tips, BBQ spaghetti, Sweet potato pie) or the BBQ shop (pitchers and ribs). Many swear by Gus's fried chx, I've never been.

    4 Replies
    1. re: dancingpig

      Thanks dancingpig! Are these places downtown?

      1. re: VFresser

        I'll respond for dancing pig. The Cozy Corner is downtown, but you'll have to drive there anyway. Gus' is very good and is downtown. BBQ Shop is on Madison in Midtown, and is close to the Lamplighter, which is a great beer dive.

        Some other rec's - You cannot be downtown with a blues musicin and not go to Earnestine and Hazel's. It is a bar that serves great hamburgers and is housed in a building that was once a brothel. You can google it for more background. On Beale Street, Blues City Cafe has pretty decent food. I know one friend who ate their tamales two nights in a row his last visit here.

        Upscale dining downtown has taken some hits recently, but Felicia Suzanne's is very good, and you will be a short drive from Restaurant Iris (Midtown), which may be the best spot in town. Both have Southern approaches, Iris being a bit more exciting.

        Lots of blues on Beale St.. For some other samplings, check the lineups for Young Avenue Deli and the Hi-Tone. Both very good venues for local and traveling acts, though not really blues-focused.

        I hope you have a great time here and in the Delta.

        1. re: Michael H

          Thanks so much Michael H! I am taking all your suggestions with me. Sounds like BBQ Shop needs to be on our list.

          What's the local take on the Nealy's places? Are they overexposed from the Food Network -- or deserving of fame?

          1. re: VFresser

            You are most welcome. Interstate BBQ, run by Jim Neely, is considered a destination spot by most . The other "Neely's BBQ" locations in town, run by Ken Neely, are good, but a little more pedestrian.

            One more rec: http://www.myspace.com/wildbills.

            Enjoy!

    2. I'd vote for the BBQ shop and then Iris for a totally different dining experience.

      1. I second (or third) the BBQ Shop...

        1. You need to google Delta tamales. They have a type of tamales in the delta that are specific to that region. They are not like traditional Mexican tamales. I do not have any recommendations for you, but I am sure you can find some on the South board.

          1. Gus's is good...and there is a location downtown. Be prepared. It takes a while to cook chicken. And their sides aren' t anything special, imho.

            Another awesome chicken place is Uncle Lou's...recently featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives but try not to hold that against them. It's not too far from Graceland. You ARE going to Graceland, right?

            Bryant's Breakfast is awesome. It's at Summer & Graham.

            That's all I can think of at the moment. Hope the snow is gone by the time you get here!

            1. Cozy Corner is great but not open at night. Plan lunch there and have ribs.