A Tasteful List

October 13th, 2011

Last Sunday, The Commercial Appeal published a curious if not bizarre story, another list supposedly representing what 100 Memphians think being a Memphian means. It began with the writer telling us that he wasn’t sure these people really represented Memphis or not, that many of the people he spoke to wouldn't speak to him, and that he was sure that people who run things don’t really represent Memphis, and what is Memphis really and ... he lost me at this point and I went for more coffee.

When I picked it back up, despite the big tease on the front page and the whole first page of the Viewpoint section, the article actually included the brief observations of only 14 people, not 100. If one were to care enough to actually find out what the other 86 thought, one would have to go online.

One didn’t.

With this cyberspace bait and switch, the paper itself proved the writer’s point – the printed article didn't represent what it represented to represent. Confused? So was I.

So I decided to publish a list myself – a straightforward, completely subjective, statistically irrelevant compilation of things made in Memphis, in places owned by Memphians, that should be eaten as soon as possible.

A very Memphis list – not overly deep but flavorful.

And the whole thing is both online and in The Daily News, October 14, and in The Memphis News, October 15-21.



Seems like everybody has a list these days, so, in recognition of the 125th anniversary of The Daily News, here’s mine – 125 things that make Memphis easy to swallow – a sort of alphabetical soup to nuts of local flavor. Friends old and new, and a few long-gone, but I can taste them still.

So chew on this:

#164 Pork and Egg Roll Vermicelli, Saigon Le; #5 Scrambled Eggs, Brother Juniper’s; Bacon Wrapped Shrimp, Café Ole, Molly’s, Saigon Le; Baguettes, La Baguette; Barbecue and Onion Pizza, Pete & Sam’s; Barbecue Pizza, Coletta’s; Barbecue Salad, Bar-B-Q Shop, Central BBQ; Barbecue Sandwich, Bar-B-Q Shop, Interstate, Neely’s, Payne’s, Tops; Barbecue Spaghetti, Bar-B-Q Shop, Neely’s; Beacon Salad, Pete & Sam’s; Beer, Bosco’s; Birthday Cake Sno Cone, Jerry’s Sno Cones; Biscuits and Gravy, Blue Plate, Brother Juniper’s, Cockadoos; Boston Cream Pie, Calvary Waffle Shop; Caramel Corn, Peanut Shoppe; Catfish, Soul Fish; Cheese Dip, Pancho’s; Cheeseburger, Belmont, Caritas Village, Ernestine & Hazel’s, Huey’s, Tops; Chicken Salad and Aspic, Calvary Waffle Shop; Chicken Salad, Bogie’s, La Baguette, Lenny’s; Chips, Las Delicias; Chocolate Malt, Wiles-Smith; Coffee, Republic Coffee; Corn Sticks, Little Tea Shop; Cuban Sandwich, Soul Fish; Cupcakes, Muddy’s; DeNiro, Republic Coffee; Dry Ribs, Rendezvous; Egg Drop Soup, A-Tan’s, Formosa; Eggplant Casserole, Cupboard; Egg Salad, Cheffie’s; Fish Pudding, Calvary Waffle Shop; Florentine Pizza, Fresh Slices; Fried Chicken, Gus’s; Fried Rice, Formosa, Saigon Le; Fries, Brass Door, Huey’s; Green Bean with (anything), Formosa; Grilled Cheese, Tomato and Bacon, Wiles-Smith; Guacamole, Las Delicias; Gumbo, Déjà Vu; Hoppin John, Little Tea Shop; Hot and Sour Soup, A-Tan’s; Italian Salad, Coletta’s, Fino’s, Pete & Sam’s; Italian Spinach, Pete & Sam’s; Knuckle Sandwich, Iris; Lyonnaise Salad, Café 1912; Miss Mary’s Salad, Frank Grisanti’s; New York Club, Fino’s; Omelet (any kind), Brother Juniper’s; Osso Buco, Sweet Grass; Peanuts, Peanut Shoppe; Pho, Saigon Le; Popcorn, Peanut Shoppe; Potato Chips, Central BBQ, Three Angels; Potato Leek Soup, Brass Door; Potato Soup, Huey’s; Pumpkin Seeds, Peanut Shoppe; Salad Bar, Cheffie’s, Jason’s, Kay Kafe at St. Jude; Salad Sampler, Bogie’s, Calvary Waffle Shop; Sausage and Cheese Plate, Rendezvous; Sea Bass, Tsunami; Self-Serve Yogurt Toppings, YoLo; Shrimp and Grits, Sweet Grass; Shrimp Elfo, Frank Grisanti’s; Shrimp in Black Bean Sauce, Saigon Le; Shrimp Po Boy, Déjà Vu; Shrimp Salad, Bogie’s; Souflima, Jim’s Place; Soup (any kind), Caritas Village; Stuffed Avocado, Little Tea Shop; Surf and Turf, Iris; Tamales, Fresh Slices (LaRosa); The Belt, Brass Door; Tuna Salad, Fino’s, Lenny’s; Turkey Burger, Huey’s; Turnip Greens, Elegant Farmer, Little Tea Shop; Vietnamese Egg Rolls, Saigon Le; Wet Ribs, Bar B-Q Shop, Central BBQ, Interstate, Neely’s; Wonton Soup, Saigon Le.

And in memoriam:

Barbecue Sandwich, Brady & Lil’s, Little Pigs, Pitchfork; Biscuits and Gravy, Ferguson’s; Chess Pie, Seessel’s; Club Steak, Bill and Jim’s; Coconut Ice Cream, Tropical Freeze; Crabmeat Justine, Justine’s; Fried Shrimp, Anderton’s; Green Pepper Beef, Joy Young; Horseradish Encrusted Grouper, Jarrett’s; Lady Fingers, Seessel’s; Mocha Cake, Carl’s Bakery; Onion Rings, Pig ‘n Whistle; Poo Poo Platter, Luau; Vanilla Soda, Normal Drug Store; Veal Cutlets, George & David’s.

I’m a Memphian, and I’m hungry.


legaleus: Don't forget the Black Bottom at the Toddle House. One of my best memories was having a piece with my dad and his best friend after Tigers' game at Crump Stadium.

Kat Gordon: Thanks for the shout-out! Love the list... and now I'm hungry too.

Rita Burton: I think this list is Fabulous, and thank-you so much for naming Dejavu Restaurant

Jencie: Bird net eggrolls - Saigon Le, Lamb riblets - Rendezvous. Just discovered the La Delicious chips a couple of weeks ago at their food booth set up for the Green Line 1 year celebration. I now crave them daily. Great job, I am going to start at the top rinse and repeat till I pop.

Ann Harris: This really covers many Memphis tastes now and back then! A fun read but now I'm hungry,too! AC

Dan: Love the list...a couple of others for the in memorium list: fresh glazed donuts, Thornton's. Chocolate ice box pie, Dobbs House. Root beer in iced mug, Frost Top.

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