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May 26, 2010 06:06 PM

Solo Eating in Memphis

I'll be in Memphis for 3 days next month and am curious about the solo dining situation, particularly at Restaurant Iris and Itta Bene. Do they have bars where I could eat or would I be able to get a table for 1 without a reservation? I'm assuming I won't have a problem getting a seat at places like Automatic Slim's and Rendezvous, but if I'm wrong, please let me know. If there are any other places suited to a solo diner, I'd love more recommendations. Thanks!

Restaurant Iris
2146 Monroe Ave, Memphis, TN 38104

Automatic Slim's Restaurant
83 S 2nd St, Memphis, TN 38103

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  1. Where will you be staying. If you will be downtown around The Peabody you should have no problem. BB King's Itta Bena is upstairs and you will find a line to get through but they will let you on in if you are dining upstairs at Itta Bena. No problem at Auto
    Slims. Rendezvous will be crowded,

    Felicia Suzzane's downtown near The Peabody would be a great Solo spot. Also Folks Folly but it's going on out East towards Germantown 15/20 minutes from downtown. I hope you are staying downtown. You will have no problem. Just don't be walking around late at night in dark alleys.

    Felicia Suzzane's @ 80 Monroe Ave., Memphis, TN 901 - 523 - 0877. FD/DINNER.
    Folks Folly @ 551 South Mendenhall Rd., Memphis, TN 901 - 762 - 8220. * FD/DINNER

    Bari on S . Cooper near Overton Park about 15 mintues from downtown is another great Solo spot for you. I would go to Bari or Felicia
    Suzzane's. Good luck.

    Bari Ristorante @ 22 South Cooper St., Memphis, TN 901 - 722 - 2244. * ITALIAN/DINNER.

    1. I'm not sure exactly what you are looking for in a restaurant but I'd also recommend McEwen's on Monroe, Flight, the Majestic, SOB (South of Beale) Gastropub. They are all downtown and I know that McEwen's and the Majestic, and SOB have friendly bar staff for a solo diner. I haven't been to Flight yet but have heard good things. I haven't had good dining experiences at Automatic Slim's so I generally avoid it downtown but they do have a decent bar and Rendezvous shouldn't be a problem - they have a large bar as well. There are some good places on in the South Main district (just a couple of blocks away) that also have some good food.

      Automatic Slim's Restaurant
      83 S 2nd St, Memphis, TN 38103

      5 Replies
      1. re: mem79

        Mem79..........I have not been downtown as much as I visit E. Memphis. I always liked Auto Slims, Felicia Suzzanes and McEwens. Beale St. is pretty lively. Do you think the solo diner would be comfortable in the area where SOB is. I assume the OP wants to walk from their hotel in downtown but I don't know that. I know nothing about SOB. It looks nice but it's not in the best area downtown IMO. I could be wrong. Just asking. Thanks.

        1. re: Littleman

          I believe that the trolley line does go by South of Beale if someone is nervous about walking. The main reason I suggested it was because the bartenders are very easy to interact with. I was waiting for a friend who was running late one time and had a good experience as a solo patron. With it being light outside until 8pm or more, I've never really worried about walking there. Since the solo diner didn't mention whether they had a car or not, I was offering up other selections than those within walking distance of the Peabody/Westin. Either way, anytime I've needed a cab downtown, there is usually one nearby and 9 times out of 10, if you tell the driver you'll be needing a return trip, they'll give you their direct cell number to call them. South Main isn't a bad area to walk as long as you're not stumbling back to Beale at midnight.

            1. re: Littleman

              As a former resident of South Main area, I can assure you that it is probably the safest are in all of Memphis. Never had any problem there, but I assume you may still be holding onto the notion that pretty = safe. The area from the COGIC bookstore to Arcade is an almost continuous stretch of restaurants, shops, and homes.

              In the area are several solo dining spots.
              Rumba Room
              Earnestine & Hazel's

              I would suggest any and all of these as a nice representative slice of what downtown has to offer.

              Rumba Room
              303 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103

              1. re: Its Still Mooing

                you should definitely check out Umai restaurant on madison. by far the best sushi in town and an amazing selection of beautifully prepared asian-french infusion cuisine. ask for the "chef's roll" for a slightly pricier but well-worth-it array of unique rolls that you'll never find anywhere else.

                the fish is fresh, preparation is done with love, and it's a great place to dine alone. I've done so many times myself and I often see other solo diners there even when i'm there with friends.

                2015 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38104

      2. Thanks for all of the info. I'm a bit late replying, but I had a fabulous time in Memphis. I did stay downtown and while I had a car, stuck to walking at night. The first night, I arrived pretty late and it was raining so I headed to Automatic Slim's, which was across the street from my restaurant. I was the only person there for a while and had a nice chat with the bartender and a delicious fried oyster/bacon sandwich. It was some of the best bacon I've ever had (Benton bacon, I believe the bartender told me). The next day, I was sightseeing and had a late lunch at Gus's so wasn't up for a big dinner. On my second day, I headed to Graceland and down to Mississippi, but returned to Memphis at the end of my trip to catch an early morning flight. I spent the last night at Earnestine and Hazel's - great dive bar, good burger. I have to say I was surprised at how uncrowded everything in Memphis was, especially during the week. I never felt unsafe, it was just strange. Even Beale St. was less crazy than I expected. In any case, I hope to return soon. Thanks again for all of the advice.

        Automatic Slim's Restaurant
        83 S 2nd St, Memphis, TN 38103

        1 Reply
        1. re: cookiegirl

          Great review Cookie Girl. I'm glad that you enjoyed your Memphis visit. You make me want to drive an hour to Memphis just for the night. Good luck. Come back again soon.