Automatic Slim’s weekend brunch

Last night I stopped by Automatic Slim’s on my way home, and they gave me a copy of their new weekend brunch menu they’re doing 10 AM to 4 PM on Saturdays and Sundays.  Nice menu, and the prices are quite reasonable.

The first thing Downtowners will want to know about is booze:  They have Bloody Marys and mimosas for $2.50 during weekend brunch hours.

Here’s a look at their brunch items:

  • Bananas Foster French Toast, $10
  • Chocolate Chip Pancakes, $10
  • Eggs Sardou, $12
  • Crawfish Eggs Benedict, $10
  • Automatic Omelet w/ jerk tenderloin, peppers, mushrooms and cheese $11
  • Omelet any way $10
  • Monte Cristo Sandwich $8
  • Salmon Lyonnaise Potatoes $12
  • Slim’s Grilled Chicken $8
  • Mess O’Greens $6
  • Grilled Cheese $7
  • Open Faced Roast Beef $9

They also have sides: two eggs, lyonnaise potatoes, two biscuits, fresh fruits, grits, and applewood bacon $2-3 each.  They have the soup of the day as well, $3 cup and $5 bowl.

For dessert they have creme brulee $6, and crepes $6.

Prices as reflected on the menu they handed me 12/17/08.  Subject to change, I’m sure.

Attn Sunday brunch crew:  This looks really good.  Any interest in giving Slim’s a try on an upcoming Sunday?

“Where’s a good place to watch the Tigers/Grizzlies game on TV in Downtown Memphis?”

It’s basketball season, and I’m starting to get e-mails asking me, “I want to come Downtown and watch the Tigers/Grizzlies on TV.  Where’s a good place?”  Different people have different preferences, so I’ll lay out some options and let you make your own call.

Calhoun’s, on G.E. Patterson just east of Main: 5 TVs

PROS: Downtown’s only true sports bar, and probably the friendliest neighborhood locals’ bar Downtown.  $1.50 PBR draft all day every day.  10 beers on tap.  Service is outstanding – in fact, bartender Michele won BOTH the “Best Bartender” and “Best Waitress” awards in the Memphis Flyer’s “Best Of” poll this year.  Every seat has a good view of a TV.

CONS: The place is tiny – it feels full with 25 people in there, and positively packed with 40.  When it’s busy you’ll find yourself getting bumped as you make your way to the restroom.  I’d rank them dead last for food among the choices here, even below Jillian’s and Hooters.  Beer only; not a full bar.

Summary: This is a good choice if you want to drink beer and meet some friendly people who are into sports.  Because of the bar’s size, you better get there an hour before the start of the game if you want a seat.


Hooters, Third at Peabody Place:  Many TVs

PROS: As stated above, there are many TVs, with many viewing angles.  Dollar domestic drafts.

CONS: Quite frankly, this place just sucks.  Mediocre food.  Boring corporate chain restaurant.  Downtowners rarely go there.

Summary: If drinking cheap beer while you watch the game is paramount, this may be the place for you.  Otherwise, look elsewhere.


Red Rooster, Second at George W. Lee Ave just south of Beale:  Ad says 10 TVs but I counted 11 last time I was in there

PROS: Extremely friendly staff that will go out of their way to make you happy while you’re watching the games.  I believe they have $1.50 draft specials during all Tiger games.  Interesting menu – the Sexy Fat Boy Nachos are piled high with meats, cheeses and veggies, enough to feed 2-3 people.  The Maxalicious Pizzas are also quite good.  Large venue with a capacity in the hundreds.

CONS: For some reason this place hasn’t yet caught on with locals for game-watching.  Sometimes I’ll go in there to watch games and there will be less than a dozen people.  Hopefully word of mouth will turn that around this season.

Summary: Large venue with lots of TVs, beer specials during games, and interesting bar food in huge portions.  Completely different feel than late night when it’s a popular nightclub.


Big Foot Lodge, on Second south of Union: 5 TVs

PROS: $3.99 34 oz. Super Cold Coors Light drafts; $4.99 34 oz. Molson drafts; $9.99 34 oz. mixed drinks.  Food menu is much more diverse than the typical bar.  Several Canadian-themed menu items.  Burgers include a “Sasquatch” burger with 4 pounds of meat, and a “Yeti” ice cream sundae with 18 scoops.

CONS: TV visibility is pretty much limited to the 7 bar seats in front of the TVs, and another 7-8 people who stand behind the bar seating to watch.  TVs are non-HDTV CRTs.

Summary: Better get there early if you want a seat.  Great beer and drink prices.  Fun menu.  Locals love this place in general, but it’s usually not at the top of the list for basketball viewing because of the TV situation.


Flying Saucer, Second at Peabody Place:  5 TVs, 7 when they pull down the projector screens

PROS: Far and away the best beer selection Downtown.  About 75 beers on draft and another 120 in bottles.  Also the hottest waitstaff Downtown – Hooters isn’t even close.  Service at the bar is friendly and quick.  Large bar with pool tables and darts.  One premium draft beer is always on Fire Sale for $2.75; changes daily.  Probably the most popular of any bar on this list among U of M students.

CONS: Management has to be begged and cajoled to turn the sound on for games; sometimes managers aren’t even aware there’s a game on.  Service on the floor can be hit-or-miss due to the fact that they’ve had so many new hires (it’s gotten much better within the past 2 weeks though).  Sometimes little things slip through the cracks (e.g. running out of paper towels in the bathroom).  They don’t carry PBR.

Summary: A big, popular bar where lots of people go to watch the game.  Good place if you want to try new beers to drink.  Typical pub grub for a beer bar – brats, sausage and cheese plates, pizza, appetizers.  You may find yourself getting distracted from the game when the waitresses bend over to deliver beers to customers.


Bardog Tavern, on Monroe between Main and Front:  1 TV with a second one downstairs

PROS: Like Calhoun’s, a friendly neighborhood bar full of locals.  Unusually good food for a neighborhood bar – the saloon sliders and spaghetti and meatballs are among my top recommendations.  10 beers on tap.  $2.50 PBR.  Bartenders and servers are among the friendliest and best in all of Downtown.  Downstairs non-smoking dining area with its own TV.

CONS: They’ll be the first to tell you, “we aren’t a sports bar,” and don’t put the sound on during games, preferring that their customers practice the old-fashioned art of conversation.

Summary: If watching the Tiger game isn’t your sole objective, and you’re more interested in talking with friends you came in with and meeting new ones while the game is on in the background, this would be a good call.  Tiger fans who are extremely into the game might prefer to watch it elsewhere, then come here afterward for a great meal and some drinks.


Jillian’s, Second at Peabody Place:  Many TVs

PROS: Large area with tons of TVs (I’m guessing 15-20).  There are pool tables and there is bowling downstairs.  Jillian’s is starting to take steps to position itself as more of a neighborhood hangout than it’s been in the past:  Specifically, they’re getting rid of horrible nightclub Club Atlas and turning it into a Tiger Den where locals can watch games.

CONS: Not all seats have good views of TVs.  Uninspired menu consisting of cheese sticks, wings, and the usual bar crap.  Beer prices are on the high side.  They’re working on improving service but it’s still got a way to go before it’s up to the level of the Flying Saucer across the street.

Summary: If you like the Fox and Hound in Cordova, you’ll probably like Jillian’s.


Majestic Grille, on the Main Street Mall just north of Peabody Place: 2 TVs

PROS: Overall the best menu of all the places listed in this post.  Steaks (especially the filet), whole roasted chicken, grilled cheese sandwich (with BACON!!!), flatbreads are among my recommendations.  Bar is long and seats maybe 25.  Locally owned by Downtowners who treat their customers well.  A little more elegant than the other places on this list.  Bartenders will often turn the sound on for Tiger games on the flat-panel TVs, loud enough for people at the bar to hear while not disturbing those in the dining room.

CONS: TVs are only visible from the bar.  Not a place to go if you like to get wild and rowdy cheering the Tigers/Grizzlies on.

Summary: If you want to have a great meal while seated at the bar watching the game, this would be an excellent choice.


Overall summary:

Friendliest locals: Calhoun’s

Best service: Calhoun’s, Bardog Tavern, Red Rooster

Best beer selection: Flying Saucer

Best beer prices: Hooters, Calhoun’s, Red Rooster, Big Foot Lodge

Best food: Majestic Grille, Bardog Tavern, Red Rooster, Big Foot Lodge

Most attractive waitstaff: Flying Saucer

Rowdiest, most rabid Tiger fans: Flying Saucer, Calhoun’s

College crowd: Flying Saucer

Downtowners rarely go there: Hooters, Jillian’s; although, I give Jillian’s credit for the work they’re doing to get us to change our minds

Best TV viewing angles from everywhere in the bar: Calhoun’s, Red Rooster, Hooters

Allow smoking (but not patrons under 21): Flying Saucer, Red Rooster, Bardog Tavern (upstairs), Calhoun’s

Large and spacious: Flying Saucer, Red Rooster, Jillian’s, Hooters

Small and cozy: Calhoun’s, Bardog Tavern

Best undiscovered gem Downtown for watching games: Red Rooster

My personal picks: 3-way tie between Red Rooster, Calhoun’s, Flying Saucer


Hope that helps.  Of course, these are my own personal opinions; your mileage may vary.  It’s not a complete list of places to watch games either – there’s also the Blue Monkey, Huey’s, the Tap Room, and many more.  This should be a good enough list to get you started though.

Wed update: Frank’s Deli, Tiger radio broadcast from Saucer tonight, is Downtown getting a Blimpie?, affordable rentals, more

In case you missed it, Time Magazine has named their Person of the Year, and the choice was obvious: Barack Obama.  Great call.  He’s made some really fantastic Cabinet picks this past month.  Looking forward to January 20 and beyond.

Here’s a Commercial Appeal article about Frank’s Deli, the new deli/grocery store at Main and Vance.  They have tricycle delivery within a 10-block radius, and are open until 10 PM Sunday-Thursday and midnight Friday-Saturday.  Friendly folks in there and it’s good to have a new place to get groceries and a sandwich.

I just stopped in the Saucer to find out what the Fire Sale is today – it’s Flying Dog Doggie Style, need to post that to Twitter in a minute – and while I was there, I learned that the Memphis Tigers sports radio team will do a live broadcast from there starting at 5 PM.  Tigers play UALR at the FedExForum at 7.  Also at 7 is the Saucer’s Christmas “buy the beer, keep the glass” sale.  It’s a HOpe! HOpe! HOpe! Barack Obama glass.

Picked up a copy of the Memphis Flyer while out on my walk.  Let’s see what’s in there:

p. 28:  Bardog Tavern invites its customers to bring an ornament and help trim its tree Christmas Eve.  It will open at 5 PM Christmas Day.

p. 31:  The Red Rooster has decided to start doing its “Girls Night Out” every Thursday, with chick flicks 8 to 11, $2 Miller 64, $2.50 UV Vodka drinks, no cover for ladies, and “qualify to spin the wheel of fashion,” whatever that means.

p. 50:  Interesting “Help Wanted” ad.  A new Downtown deli is hiring for all positions, taking applications at the Blimpie on Stage Road in Bartlett.  Is Downtown about to get a Blimpie?  Mmmm good subs.

p. 52:  Couple of reasonably priced rental units in condo buildings.  There’s a 1 BR in the Claridge House (Main at Adams) for $715/month, and a studio loft in the Paperworks (Front at Huling) for $900/month.  Nice to see units being rented for under a grand in two of Downtown’s most desirable buildings.

On a personal note, I’m celebrating a milestone today… yesterday was the first time that my websites altogether earned me more than $100 in commission income in a single day.  Of course, this being the Christmas season it’s not reasonable (yet) to expect that to happen every day, but it’s a sign that things are continuing to move in the right direction.  My newest site College Logo Cornhole has turned into an immediate success, and Mid-South Alcoholic Supply is also generating lots of sales.

Got a couple more stores in the works, and I’m still continuing my 4-week project rewriting and marketing personal finance software.  Time to get back to it.

Tue update: More Photoshop, Silly Goose, 80% off restaurant gift certificates

My BFF Stephanie has been having fun with Photoshop again.  Remember last week, when I told you one of my Facebook friends updated her “about me” to read “a nicer, younger, cooler version of Martha Stewart”?  Well, said friend had a tea party last Sunday in Cordova, and thanks to the magic of Photoshop, I “attended” the tea.

Wow, that’s a nice necklace I have on!  Just to clear up any misconception, I wasn’t there.  I have dozens of witnesses that I was downtown that afternoon, attending a birthday party for my friend Lee at the Saucer.  Then I went to Barton Flats, where I ate some delicious venison and played Texas Hold ‘Em.  Then I went and saw the Dempseys at Huey’s.  Then I went to Hoop’s new place.  A very fun day, and it definitely didn’t include a tea party.

Last night I heard that the Silly Goose, the new bar opening in the former Swig location, will open December 31.  That’s certainly an interesting decision, to make New Year’s Eve its first night.  Not necessarily a bad move either, as there will be overflow from other parties in the area.  Looking forward to giving the Goose a try, but it won’t be until 2009.  I’m very much looking forward to the party in South Main I’m attending to kick off the new year. has a new coupon code to save on discount restaurant gift certificates. Through December 22, enter code SANTA at checkout to save a whopping eighty percent. That’s the biggest discount I’ve ever seen them put out there. It means that $25 face-value gift certificates, which normally sell for $10, can now be bought for $2 using the coupon code. You can use it to save 80% on their Dinner of the Month Club too. Over a dozen restaurants in Downtown Memphis, and nearly a hundred around the city, participate in this program.  If you’re still looking for Christmas gifts, this might be a way to get your shopping done for cheap.

All right.  Time to get some work done on my current project.  The Rapscallions will dominate trivia once again tonight at 7.

Another cat picture

My BFF Stephanie is incredibly talented at Photoshop.  Here’s one of her latest works of art:

June Bug, happy to be free from her Christmas sweater, is seen here using superpowers to destroy a factory that makes Christmas sweaters for cats.

100% price increase

I ate at the Flying Fish this weekend.  As I was leaving, I noticed this sign hung outside:

Six bucks for a dozen oysters isn’t a bad deal, but that’s a 100% price increase over what they were doing before (25 cent oysters every Sunday).  Wow I bet that’s going to tick a lot of their Sunday regulars off.

I love the Fish though… my health guru AL will be pleased to read that I got the grilled tilapia with red beans and rice and grilled zucchini and squash.  They have PBR on draft and in cans.  Wish some of that PBR would find its way down the street to the bar that’s owned by the same company as the Fish.

Couple new Monday night options

If you brave the weather and go out tonight, keep in mind that you have a couple of new options Downtown.  First of all, this is the first day of Calhoun’s Monday night beer specials, with all beers except PBR at half-price.  That means their regular domestics are $1.50 and their premium beers and imports are $2.50.  Five TVs to watch Monday night football, and a friendly neighborhood crowd.

Farther north, it will be Lauren’s second night behind the bar at the Voodoo Room at Orleans on Front (aka Hoop’s new bar) from 8 to 3.  They have $2 PBR cans.  I went in there last night after the Dempseys finished about midnight, and the place was surprisingly full – so full that they ran out of PBR!  I assume that situation will be rectified before the bar opens tonight.  Glad to see the place doing well.

Then there’s the usual stuff going on:

– Pint Nite at the Flying Saucer, most pints $2.75

– Unlimited bowling at Jillian’s for $10

– Di Anne Price playing the piano in the Westin lobby

– Trivia at the Blue Monkey, 8 PM

– Trivia at Huey’s, 9 PM

– $2 34 oz. Coors Light, $3 blue kamikazes, $4 100 proof tequila shots, and $9.99 wings at Big Foot Lodge during Monday Night Football.  Please be sure to tip Meghan appropriately at the bar when you buy those $2 beers.  A 15% tip on a $2 beer is 30 cents.  Or, if you want to be extra generous, tip her 18% or 36 cents.

My plan is to do Pint Nite, then walk over to the Voodoo Room to see Lauren.  Be extra careful if you drive tonight – the forecast looks nasty.  Trolleys, walking, and cabs are good alternatives to driving Downtown.

A&R BBQ coming Downtown?

I’ve received e-mails from several people telling me that the new restaurant taking over the old Roma space at Third and Court is A&R BBQ.  I’ve also been told they are breaking their long-standing tradition of not serving alcohol at their restaurants, and are applying for a beer license.