When visiting a new city, it can be challenging to figure out where is the best place to eat. You can read reviews or take a chance and hope it turns out well. Or you can wander around and look for the long lines because that is a sign of a good restaurant. Here is a list of the best Memphis Restaurants and Bars that you must try when you are in town.
The Arcade has been serving customers hearty breakfasts and lunches since 1919. It is the oldest restaurant in Memphis and listed as a historic landmark. The diner has been the location of many films such as Great Balls of Fire, The Client, The Firm, 21 Grams, Elizabethtown, and Walk the Line, among many others. And the Arcade had the honor of making great southern breakfasts for their regular, Elvis, back in the day. The Arcade’s open hours are Sunday to Thursday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on the weekends, it is opened to 10 p.m. You can find the Arcade at the corner of South Main Street and G.E. Patterson.
Central BBQ is one of the best BBQ joints in Memphis and always has a line out the door when it opens at lunchtime. You can eat pulled pork sandwiches, brisket, ribs, chicken wings, smoked sausage, and their famous barbeque nachos. And you can order all the traditional sides as well. Central BBQ’s open hours are Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on the weekends, it is opened to 10 p.m. You can find the downtown Central BBQ at 147 E. Butler Ave. There are four locations within Memphis, so you are never too far from a great BBQ dinner.
Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken
Gus’s Famous Fried Chicken has been serving the spicy fried chicken family recipe for three generations since 1953. Founded in Mason, Tennessee, the downtown Memphis location opened up in 2001. You might see long lines at lunchtime, and throughout the day, it is still hard to get a table. They do provide take-out. Each chicken meal includes a slice of white bread as a nod to their history of starting with selling chicken sandwiched between two slices of bread. Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken’s open hours are Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on the weekends, it is opened to 10 p.m. You can find Gus’s Famous Fried Chicken at 310 S Front St. There are now 25 locations around the United States.
The Capriccio Grill offers steak, seafood, and American dishes in an upscale environment within the Peabody Hotel. I enjoyed a fabulous petite filet mignon for dinner one night. Capriccio Grill’s open hours are Sunday to Thursday from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on the weekends, it is opened to 10:30 p.m. The Capriccio Grill can be found in the Peabody Hotel.
Loflin Yard is where you can find American dishes and cocktails in a relaxed outdoor and indoor setting. They offer taco briskets, sausage and cheese plates, grilled vegetables, chicken wings, and of course, cocktails and wine. You can book the Safe House or the Barn for your special event or just come and enjoy the scenery when it is open to the public. Loflin Yard’s open hours are Wednesday and Thursday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Saturdays 10:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.; and on Sundays 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. You can find Loflin Yard at 7 W. Carolina Avenue.
Railgarten is an old rail yard that has been transformed into a place where you can eat, listen to live music, have a drink, hang out with friends, or play outdoor sports such as ping pong or volleyball. They also have special events and activities that you can participate in. Railgarten’s open hours are Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. – ’til it is closed on Mondays. The yard opens at noon. You can find the Railgarten at 2166 Central Ave.
Silky O’Sullivan’s is an Irish Pub in a 100-year-old building in downtown Memphis at 183 Beale Street. They have a small indoor bar and a large outdoor patio where you can listen to live music. You might even get to see their pet goat. Silky O’Sullivan’s offers Southern, BBQ, and pub food. Their open hours are Tuesday – Thursday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m, Friday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m., and Mondays from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Dyer’s Diner is known for the taste of their burgers and fries. The secret to the great taste is the ageless grease that has been used since 1935 (strained daily). They offer hamburgers, cheeseburgers, wings, chicken, and old-fashioned floats. Dyer’s open hours are Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and on the weekends, it is opened at 3 a.m. You can find Dyer’s Burgers at 205 Beale Street.
The Peabody Rooftop Party
The Peabody Rooftop parties go on every Thursday night in the summer (April-August). There is live music, and if you get a VIP ticket, you can get some fantastic Memphis snacks. Cocktails are plentiful on the roof, and this is a great place to meet people in Memphis. You can find the Peabody Hotel at 149 Union Avenue.
Old Dominick Distillery
Interested in learning more about how they have been distilling whiskey for over 100 years? You can book a tour through Old Dominick Distillery or schedule your special event to be held on the rooftop. If you would like to stop in for a cocktail, the bar is open on the main floor. You can find Old Dominick Distillery at 305 S Front St.
Memphis is a happening place in the south, and if you are coming for a short weekend visit or longer, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from. These are some of my favorites that I came across on my visit to Memphis. I hope you enjoyed seeing all these options and weren’t too hungry after seeing all the great southern food. Let me know if you have come across any other Memphis restaurants that need to be on this list.