Memphis: The Tastiest Town in the South…in My Opinion

Having fun with friends a few years back at the Beauty Shop

Today I voted for Memphis as the South’s tastiest city in Southern Living Magazine’s contest for The South’s Tastiest Town. I have to say that one of the things I really love about Memphis is the variety of restaurants that we have. Coming from Louisiana, I expect good food to be plentiful. I struggled living up north and in Seattle because I just didn’t go for the food there. So, I thought I’d give you a rationalization on why I think Memphis should be voted the tastiest town in the South.

My favorite restaurants, not in any special order, are:

  1. The Elegant Farmer
  2. The Beauty Shop
  3. Soul Fish Cafe
  4. Trolley Stop Market
  5. Bryant’s (for Breakfast)
  6. Restaurant Iris
  7. Las Tortugas (Cordova)
  8. Central BBQ
  9. Bhan Thai
  10. Flights

I prefer local flavor over fancy. And, I like good food over gourmet style. And, I know there are many restaurants I haven’t been to yet, so it may be that I just haven’t visited some other really good ones. I actually don’t eat out a lot because of the expense and because I try to eat pretty healthfully. It’s just hard to do that when you eat out a lot. Besides, I’m a really good cook. I’m not going to go out to eat when I can have better food at home. But, all of the restaurants on this list have better food than I can make at home.

For a long time, the Beauty Shop was my top place. I love the ambiance, and I love the fact that you can sit under a hair dryer for dinner. They say Priscilla Presley used to have her hair done at that shop before it became a restaurant. It is a fusion style of cooking, and the food is beautifully prepared and usually REALLY healthy. Most of it is sourced locally which is another big draw for me. But, the thing that always keeps me going to the Beauty Shop for celebrations is the Strawberry Cake. I think it’s from the Cake Lady Bakery. It’s my birthday cake every year unless my friend Michael bakes me one.

Interior of the Beauty Shop
Interior of the Beauty Shop

I love the Trolley Stop Market for a “meat and three” but the last time I went they ran out of all the vegetables before I got there. It was about 1:00 PM, and I had brought a friend there from out of town just because it was so good. It was a big disappointment. But, they have awesome pizza, too. If I’m having pizza, that’s where I’m going. They have really good desserts, too. I have a sweet tooth, so I do like to try desserts. The Trolley Stop has this apple cobbler that’s not overly sweet that I love. Their offerings change up all the time, so you never know what treats they’ll have. They have several good desserts. They have a Facebook page where they put their specials every day.

Bryant’s has the best biscuits in town, and they give you 3 with every order. They are awesome, and their “meat and 3” is really good, too. The cool thing about Bryant’s is that it has been open forever, and you stand in line to place your order at the counter. Bhan Thai is nice for a change. They are also only a mile away from my house, so I get takeout from there all the time. I like their Cashew Nut with Tofu. It’s spicy and hearty but not too heavy on the sauce. And, of course, cashews make everything taste good.

When I want to go really casual for lunch or dinner, I love Central BBQ and Soul Fish. Everybody has their favorite BBQ in Memphis, and mine is Central. I also love the fact that you can sit outside. Soul Fish has great sweet potato fries, and I love their vegetables. Their fish tacos are pretty good, too. My friend Michael swears by their whole catfish, and I do like their catfish, but I don’t eat too much fried food anymore. They have a great coconut cake, and I cannot pass up an order of their hush puppies.

The Elegant Farmer is my latest favorite. They are sort of a mix of home cooked, fusion and gourmet foods in a great little cozy setting. I’ve eaten there for lunch and dinner in the same day. I’ve never eaten anything there where I wasn’t tempted to lick the plate. It’s just phenomenal. They also have an outdoor garden where you can eat, but the inside is lovely too. They have different specials all the time, and a friend of mine works there and another friend runs the place, so I see their daily offerings posted on Facebook.

My friend Jessica wrote about the Southern Living contest in her blog today, too. She was encouraging people to vote. She lives in Austin now, but lived in Memphis for quite awhile. I wonder which city got her vote. I know Austin is a pretty tasty town, and I’m looking forward to being there next weekend to eat some food after running 13.1 miles. I think she promised a cupcake from a food truck there. Right now, I’m going to eat a bowl of chili from Sharon’s kitchen that smells like it’s going to be pretty tasty. C’est bon, y’all….

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