Catherine and Mary’s: To quote the timeless Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride: “Let me explain – no is too long. Let me sum up.”
Catherine and Mary’s is the latest super nova of the AM Catering constellation of stars run by Memphis’s culinary dynamic duo Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman. This new foray puts them in the heart of the South Main district in the historic Chisca Hotel apartment development near the Orpheum Theater.
With a foundation in Tuscan and Sicilian food, this is a nice dinner with craft cocktails and new riffs on old standards that will provide you with a wonderful dining experience.
The Lookout at Bass Pro: Normally a giant Big Box store wouldn’t make the cut. But this happens to be the most recognizeable building on the Memphis Skyline with a 30 story restaurant overlooking downtown Memphis and the Mississippi River.
This is like the restaurant in the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It’s just a unique perspective in Memphis that’s hard to pass up.
There are tickets that you have to purchase to go up but that keeps the crowd down at the top. The food isn’t particularly exceptional, but it’s good enough. The highlight here is the views and the sheer.
I like to go about an hour before sunset and get drinks and appetizers while we watch the barges ply the river and evening settle over the city back to the east. Then we typically go into downtown for dinner.
I’ve even bought an annual membership that I use to take family and clients to a truly memorable time for luncheons and apres work socials.
They have a military discount and I’d recommend buying tickets early and calling ahead to reserve tables.
Cafe Eclectic – I’d be hard pressed to find a restaurant that took as much pride in the artisan quality of their food as their role as a community building keystone. Founded in 2008 with a location near Rhodes College, they expanded to the downtown area with a little cafe in Harbortown. In 2013, they opened their University of Memphis location.
Each of the locations serves a slightly different, eclectic menu, but the quality of freshly prepared food is wonderful. Whether you’re looking for an excellent cup of coffee and scone for a study buzz or an delicious brunch for the family, Eclectic is the place. You won’t be disappointed with what you order.
In addition to excellent coffee’s, cafe’s latte’s and such, they also do homemade sodas and Mexican Coca Cola and Fanta (made with cane sugar vice corn syrup.)
They serve black bean patties as a meat substitute, so if you’re looking for a heartier vegetarian option this is also a good spot.
Locals Choice: Diablo Wrap (above), Black Bean Wrap or the Pear and Brie Panini (Below).
Cinnamon Rolls. Yes, they MAKE cinnamon rolls. Always a go-to option regardless of the time of day.
Loflin Yard: Located at the very endcap of the south main district, Loflin Yard is a great concept for hangout, drinks, spontaneous big groups and a good time. Its got two separate bars, a kitchen, a live sound stage and plenty of indoor and outdoor seating to hang with your friends.
Fire pits, picnic tables, large format jenga, rings games, corn hole, etc–there are plenty of hangout activities to play while unwinding after the day. We had a good time. Its also the only “bar scene” in Memphis that I know about that had small children running around, which gave it a cool family friendly atmosphere earlier in the evening.
(This is critical parenting intel. This means that there’s a place where you can meet your friends who don’t have kids for a drink and hangout. You don’t have to hire a babysitter to participate, and your munchkin can run around the yard and play without driving everyone bananas. Just parent responsibly. Capiche?)
We didnt eat, but they also have a pretty gourmet kitchen which appears to do high end small plates that look pretty good.
All in all, we had a delightful time at Loflin Yard, and would recommend it to anyone as a gathering place to hangout for drinks.
Bed Rock Eats and Sweets: If you are conscientious about dining and exercise and you like really well made food that is in the Paleo Diet discipline, then Bedrock is an excellent choice.
Started by Brandi Marter who was introduced to the Paleo concept at a local Crossfit Gym, she’s built a great business out of producing high quality food that is very nourishing. She’s reteaching much of the Memphis landscape what it means to “eat healthy.”
I ordered an enchilada that was a very tasty and satisfying knife and fork affair.
My lunch partner ordered a banana and waffle combo that was really excellent as well.
Essentially, if you’re looking for a nutritious, healthy option in the downtown area, BedRock is the place to go. They’ve also got great smoothies and a fridge full of takeout and catering options as well.
Tamp and Tap in Downtown Memphis is a great spot for coffee, a light lunch or a pint after work. Nestled across from the Peabody in the Gayoso alleyway. I have to admit, I didnt expect much from a coffee shop sandwich. However both my compadre and I were blown away by the sandwiches we got. They were just really really tasty and filling. This space and its accessibility to the rest of downtown Memphis are a great place to meet after work or a great place to start for an evening downtown.
Local’s Choice: The Imperial and a WiseAcre Draft
The bottom line: there is no other place in Memphis that serves authentic Cuban food, and in true Cuban style, Havana’s Pilon is a no frills approach to a fantastic fare at a reasonable price. The Pilon is worth the visit just to see what Fidel Castro might be eating at this very moment across the gulf.
Don’t stop at the Cuban sandwich, phenomenal though it may be. Stretch your palette and sample a ham and cheese empenada, fried plantain, and the picadillo. AND, because you really need to take our advice and go all in. Nothing on the menu will break the bank, so there is no point in holding back.
For the uninformed, Cuban coffee is similar to taking a venti Starbucks coffee and boiling it down to a knock-you-on-your-tail caffeine injection. Legend has it the keys to Fidel’s longevity lie within the local cafecito Cubano brew, and Havana’s Pilon is the best place to get it.