Top Five Destinations of Memphis
I’m not sure how often it happens to you, but recently Memphis has come up in a lot of conversations for me. I have a friend that works for a company that is based in Memphis. (Surprisingly, it is not FedEx.) I know someone else that plans on taking a trip there soon to visit. My thoughts when I hear about trips there consist of one quick question: “Where are you going to eat?”
Maybe I’m just hungry a lot of the time now that I’m trying to eat healthier and food is never far from my thoughts. However, I like to think that Memphis offers something different, that reputation of great barbeque to go along with a southern location that lends itself to great soul food. I suppose there are a couple of other things that I have inextricably linked to Memphis in the meantime (and I as type that, I realize that John Hiatt also belongs on that list, but John Hiatt can’t be classified as a destination) but I must start my list with some food before moving on to other notable destinations.
When I said Memphis food in one of these conversations, my friend immediately mentioned Gus’s Fried Chicken. Looking at a majority of 5-star Yelp reviews, I can understand why. The chicken sounds delicious: crisp, juicy and a little bit spicy. Add in sides like bacon jalapeno hushpuppies and baked beans to go with a dessert list that includes sweet potato, coconut and pecan pie and I have to visit this place. Plus, there’s a dessert I haven’t tried called Chess Pie, which sounds like pecan pie but it adds cornmeal to the mix. Must have chess pie.
So, after my taste of fried chicken, I have to find some barbecue. Tom’s Bar-B-Q looks to fit that to a T. Pork sandwiches, beef sandwiches, ribs and then fried catfish are all on the menu and they have deviled eggs and smoked corn on the cob as sides and banana pudding for dessert. I could eat there for days.
Like I said, besides food, there’s also music, and why can’t I combine the two? The Rum Boogie Café does that with seafood gumbo and red beans and rice to go with daily music shows. They also have 360 guitars hanging from the walls and the rafters and Isaac Hayes’s cape from his Academy Award appearance if you’re into memorabilia.
Rum Boogie seems to be more about the blues, while King’s Palace Café is more about jazz. A house band plays jazz standards Sunday through Thursday and Friday and Saturday the venue hosts a jazz trio. As far as food goes, which is never far from my mind, there are fried crawfish tails and catfish po-boys for lunch and dinner.
Maybe every ten years there’s a new Elvis or group of Elvii. Like the Beatles or the Bee Gees or U2 or the Fugees or the Black Eyed Peas or Kanye West or Justin Bieber. I’m sure I could keep listing people and groups. I’m not interested in a list. I’m interested in Graceland, the mansion of the King where he is still celebrated on a daily basis. Seeing a shrine to Elvis has its draws even if I’m not a big fan because have you seen those 70s rhinestone studded jump suits? I hope I get to wear one of those someday.
Any suggestions for things that I missed? Any additional recommendations for the area? Just let me know in the comments.
About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."