“How’s the new job?”

I must have been asked “How’s the new job?” 30 times last night. It got to the point where I was thinking, “Oh no, not the same conversation again.” So I guess I’ll answer it on here.

– As I mentioned earlier, the new job is at a nonprofit near the airport. Now I’ll say a little more… it’s an organization that organizes and promotes the card game bridge. As a webmaster in the Marketing department, it’s my role to help promote bridge via the web. I had never played a real bridge game at the time I was hired (and still haven’t), but have already become familiar enough with the terminology to be able to write articles about the game.

– I’ll probably learn to play bridge at some point, but I don’t see myself becoming seriously addicted.

– The job has been good so far. I’m doing more writing than I am programming. In fact, I’ve been told that I was hired mainly to be an idea person, and the heavy lifting related to web programming will be handled by someone else. I like that.

– When I do write code it’s generally PHP. I like that too. I was sure I was going to get stuck in another .NET environment. I like PHP better.

– Getting to work with Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Flash, technologies I haven’t really used in a professional setting before.

– Commute is not too bad, about 15 minutes unless there are traffic snarls. I take the 240 loop to Airways. Going to work I’ll sometimes get off at Mill Branch and take Nonconnah Blvd. for the final mile to avoid traffic jams on the 240.

– Thanks to those who have e-mailed me with lunch suggestions. I’ve learned about the Italian Rebel, Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken, and the soul food place on Brooks (can’t think of its name right now but it contains the word “bistro”). Someone also recommended a Mexican restaurant on Lamar, not only for the food but because I can watch the hookers while I eat.

– I arranged for them to give me Thursday and Friday of BBQ Fest off, so I won’t miss any time with the team due to the new job.

– Schedule is 8:00 to 4:45. I’ll probably never get completely used to having to be at a job at 8 but I’m dealing with it. At least when I get to work, there’s usually a fun, creative challenge awaiting me, rather than a screen full of C# or VB.NET code.

So there ya go… now you have your answer. I’m still undecided whether I’ll do trivia tonight, or hit the first week of “Two-Buck Tuesdays” at the Silly Goose (see previous post for details).

Two-buck Tuesdays @ Silly Goose. Also: artist website


As if dollar depression-era cocktails on Mondays 5-7 weren’t bad enough, now they had to go and do this.  Menu above is in effect 5-10 PM Tuesdays at the Goose.  I don’t know how I’m going to convince my trivia team to show up at the Saucer at 7 with this menu down the street.  Hell I’m not even sure I’ll show up.

Did you know that Downtown homeless icon Scratchy is part owner of the Silly Goose?  Abe told me so tonight.  Apparently Scratchy is not as hard up as we thought.

After Depression cocktails ended, I went over to the Saucer for a few Pint Nite Dos Equis Lagers.  Bartenders Marci, Jim, Brittany, Sarah, and Brittney were working, and I’d like to particularly single out Marci, Jim, Brittany, and Sarah for their excellent customer service.  Marci, Jim, Brittany, and Sarah truly went above and beyond the call of duty and I appreciate it and that’s why I’m a loyal Pint Nite customer.

Oh by the way Sarah is a very talented artist.  Check out MySpace page displaying her work here.

Paul’s Drunkass Food = Bardog chicken tenders tonight.  Home early, actually going to get 8 hours sleep.

“I’m going to Raiford’s.” “Which one?”

I can see that, starting this weekend, there are going to be problems figuring out what people mean when they say they are going to Raiford’s.

“I’m going to Raiford’s this weekend, want to go?”

Such a question, up until now, would have referred to Hollywood Disco, the club in the same building at Mulberry and Vance where Robert Raiford ran his club from the 1970s until 2007. Even though Hollywood Disco has new owners and Raiford is no longer affiliated with the place, nearly everyone still calls it “Raiford’s,” as it’s very much a tribute to the club we remember.

However, Paula & Raiford’s Disco opens this weekend at 14 S. Second (just south of Madison). It’s being opened by Paula Raiford, Robert Raiford’s daughter, and Raiford himself will be the DJ.

So if someone tells you they’re going to Raiford’s, you’d just about have to ask for clarification… otherwise you’d risk meeting them at the wrong place.

“We’re meeting at the original Raiford’s” is vague too… would that mean the original building, which would be Hollywood Disco, or the club where you can find “the original” himself, which would be Paula & Raiford’s Disco?

“We’re going to the Disco” is also vague, because both clubs contain “Disco” in the name.

“We’re going to Hollywood’s”… nope, still vague. Hollywood Disco has that word in its name, but “Hollywood” has been Robert Raiford’s nickname for years. Still confusing.

I think we’re actually going to have to say the entire name of the club we’re going to, or at least the location – “Hollywood Disco, on Vance” or “Paula & Raiford’s, on Second.”

Funny how people tend to call a business by the first name by which they remember it. Most of my friends still call Kooky Canuck “Big Foot,” although the name changed 3 months ago. I even have friends who call the Second Street Shoppers convenience store “Carabella,” even though the two businesses shared absolutely nothing in common except location.

In other news… I continue to keep hearing how great the brunch is at Sauces. If I make it to brunch anywhere next Sunday, that’s where I’m going to be. The chorizo patty melt was especially recommended by those who went there. It doesn’t open until 12, an hour later than the time I usually head to brunch, but hey… extra hour sleep, not a bad thing.

Ate crawfish yesterday as I expected I would… but not at Orleans where I thought I would. I rode with some of the gang down to Calhoun’s, where I ate Benjie’s spicy crawfish while playing Buzztime Poker. Sunday afternoon is not a bad time to hang out there… ended up staying almost 6 hours.

Plans for tonight: Dollar depression-era cocktails at Silly Goose from 5 to 7. Pint Nite at the Saucer after that.

Sat update: New South Main businesses, Hope Clayburn @ CSF, and more

Several good newsbites in the Memphis Business Journal yesterday.  A “gastropub” called South of Beale is going to open at 361 S. Main.  According to the article, they’re going to take the concept of a neighborhood bar and make it more upscale, using local food products as much as possible, including products from the Memphis Farmers Market.

Also in the MBJ, flower shop Gestures has announced that it’s closing its South Main location and moving to Laurelwood in East Memphis.  I’ve heard rumors (but haven’t confirmed anything yet) that an Irish pub may be going into that location.

Speaking of businesses opening in South Main… last night at Trolley Tour I stopped in Beignet Cafe, on GE Patterson in the old Tri-State Defender Building, approximately across from Calhoun’s.  It’s not open for business yet – they were just giving Trolley Tour guests a sneak preview.  That is going to be a neat little spot – it feels like a French cafe inside.  I hear it’s going to be a coffee bar during the day and a wine bar at night.  The owner told me he’d let me come in and take some pics prior to opening.

The fabulous Hope Clayburn will take the stage at the Center for Southern Folklore next Saturday, April 4, with her band Soul Scrimmage.  Cover is $5 and the show starts at 9 PM.  It will be an evening of soul and funk with Hope on sax, flute, and vocals.

Story in the CA today:  Downtown stakeholders are using social media to drive visitors to the area.  The CCC, Southern Growth Studio, and Live from Memphis will partner on this, to use Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and other social media as well as more conventional media to get a buzz going about Downtown.

The Zodiac Ball raising funds for the American Cancer Society is tonight at the Peabody.

Orleans on Front will have another crawfish boil tomorrow, Sunday, March 29.  This one will start at 2 PM and they will have crawfish and shrimp, the Budweiser truck, and DJ Tree in the parking lot next to the restaurant.

Early night for me last night. I started at the Saucer for happy hour, then did South Main Trolley Tour, enjoying some delicious hot dogs, chicken wings, and Boscos beer compliments of the SMA.  By 9 I was starting to feel the sleep deprivation effects of my first full-time work week in 5 months… headed north to Bardog for a couple of beers, then home.  Will stay out later tonight.  Not sure of plans yet though.

Friday update: Lots of stuff

Lots of stuff to cover today, folks, let’s get to it.

First of all, if you monitor any earthquake watch sites, keep an eye on the Salton Sea in Southern California (it’s southeast of Palm Springs).  This below-sea-level, salt water sea has experienced dozens of small earthquakes in the 2.5 to 4 range over the past few days.  This is rather unusual, and so I researched it online… it appears that this could be (note: not is, but could be) a warning sign that the next Big One is going to strike along the southern part of the San Andreas Fault.  Some researchers believe that the faults under the Salton Sea could trigger movement along the San Andreas.  A big quake in that area could severely damage Palm Springs, Indio, and other towns in the Coachella Valley, as well as Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico.  The quake would be felt in San Diego and L.A.  Keep your eye on this if you know people who live in the area.  Here’s a link to an L.A. Times article about the quakes.

I’ve received several links to a CNN article about the website PimpThisBum.com.  A father-and-son web development team, wanting to get their name out there and wanting to practice driving traffic to a website, set up a donation website for a homeless man who panhandled in Houston.  All money collected went to the homeless man; the only stipulation was that he had to add “www.pimpthisbum.com” to signs he held up asking for money.  The ethics of this have been hotly debated.  I’m making no judgment either way, but here are the pros and cons:

  • PRO:  $50,000 was raised for the homeless man.  He also received a donation of a free week of alcohol treatment in Seattle, which he has accepted.  He realizes this is an opportunity to conquer his demons once and for all, and it looks like he’s serious about it. The 50 grand will finance a place to live and training he needs to find steady work.  He has developed real friendships with the site’s developers and many of the people he’s met in the site’s chat room.
  • CON:  People claim this is little more than exploitation, that the site’s developers are using the homeless man to make a name for themselves.  The site does not do anything, they claim, to cure the homeless problem in Houston and in other cities around the U.S.

Read the article, check out the site, make your own judgment.  That’s all I have to say about this one.

Look forward to spring block parties on three Thursdays:  April 16, May 21, and June 18.  These will be on the block of Main between Gayoso and Peabody Place, a block that features more Memphis Flyer “Best Of” winners than any other block in the city.  There will be food and drink specials, live music, retail discounts, and more.  Among the participants are the Majestic Grille, Circa, Center for Southern Folklore, Shelton Clothiers, Silly Goose, and Bluefin.

Due to popular demand, the Majestic Grille is bringing back its Sunday Suppers and a Movie.  This Sunday they’ll show It Happened One Night (1934), the Academy Award winner featuring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert.  A special menu will be available at 6:30 (movie starts at 7) including an iceberg wedge, beef pot roast, baked potato, and one of the Majestic’s signature desserts-in-a-glass for $22.

Our Tigers got eliminated last night… still, congratulations to them on a fantastic season.  They fought until the very end, pulling within six in the final minutes after being down 64-40.

Speaking of teams that have been eliminated, here’s a great article from the Onion about the Tennessee Men’s Lady Vols being eliminated from the NCAA tournament.  It contains quotes from Bruce Pearl, head coach of the Men’s Lady Vols.

Sole restaurant in the Westin was reviewed in the CA this morning.

If the severe weather stays clear of Memphis this evening, I’ll be at Trolley Tour.  Otherwise, not sure, probably somewhere watching the tournament.

Received some rather troubling information about Restaurant.com today

Over the past year, I’ve blogged about discount offers from Restaurant.com numerous times. Lots of restaurants Downtown and elsewhere in Memphis are part of their program, offering gift certificates at discount prices. Knowing that a lot of my blog’s audience likes to eat out, I figured this was a good offer to write about. Many of my readers have bought these certificates and successfully redeemed them, so I had every reason to believe the company was completely on the up-and-up.

However, today I learned something about Restaurant.com that concerns me. One of my readers bought a certificate on a recent 70% off promo. She didn’t have any problems redeeming it, but when she checked her bank statement she found a $14.95 debit from a site called shoppingessentialsplus.com. She researched the charge, and found out that as part of the Restaurant.com purchase agreement, she had agreed to share information – including her credit card information! – with ShoppingEssentialsPlus.com.

I Googled the two sites’ names and found numerous complaints about this practice. Needless to say, it goes unnoticed by a lot of people because 1) many people don’t read the fine print of offers they agree to, and 2) many people don’t go over their bank statement line by line every month.

I extend my sincere apologies to anyone who has bought a Restaurant.com certificate through links on my blog over the past year. I had no idea this “partnership” with the other site was going on. Had I known, there is no way I ever would have promoted Restaurant.com. I definitely will NOT be linking to their site in future posts, and over the next week I’ll take down links to them on other sites I own.

If you’ve bought one of their certificates, you may want to examine your bank statements to see if ShoppingEssentialsPlus.com has been charging you. From the research I did, it seems most likely to happen when you agree to a $10 (or some amount) free bonus certificate from ShoppingEssentialsPlus.com when you make your Restaurant.com purchase.

Furthermore, I know that several Memphis restaurant owners who are part of the Restaurant.com program read my blog. I encourage you to Google the two sites on your own, and draw your own conclusions about whether your customers are being treated fairly.

Again, my deepest apologies. Back to your regularly scheduled blog in the morning (unless I wake up too late to post).

Thur update: Open practices, parking scammer, Battle of the Bands @ Hard Rock, more

The NCAA South Regional teams will have open practice today at the FedExForum. These are free and open to the public. Syracuse will practice first from noon to 12:50, then Gonzaga from 1 to 1:50, followed by Oklahoma 2:10 to 3, then North Carolina from 3:10 to 4.

Another parking scammer has been busted posing as a fake parking lot attendant, according to this CA article. The MPD’s Real Time Crime Unit saw Johnnie Upchurch, 53, taking money from people to park on a lot at Rufus Thomas and Beale. The lot was clearly marked “no attendant, pay box.” Officers were dispatched and Mr. Upchurch got a trip to jail. According to the arrest record, he lives at 692 Alabama, just east of Downtown. He told officers he was scamming people to get beer money. Kudos to MPD, and proof that their Real Time Crime unit is working. I’ve noticed an increase in arrests of parking scammers near Beale since the unit went into operation.

The Memphis Hard Rock Cafe is one of 24 Hard Rocks around the world chosen to host their upcoming Battle of the Bands competition. Beginning April 10, bands in each of the 24 cities will compete for a panel of artists and music industry professionals. Each city’s winner will advance to the finals, where they will compete for a panel of noted musicians, including Little Steven Van Zant of the E Street Band and Darrell “DMC” McDaniels of RUN-DMC. The final stage of the competition will be left to the fans, who will vote on Hard Rock’s website between May 25 and June 6.

The overall winner of the competition will receive a spot at Hard Rock Calling, a three-day festival in London from June 26-28. Headliners will be Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Dave Matthews Band, Ben Harper & Relentless 7, Pretenders, and Fleet Foxes will be among the other acts on the bill. Rounds 1, 2, and 3 at the Memphis Hard Rock will take place April 10, 17, and 24, each starting at 9:30 PM.

Memphis Tigers vs. the other Tigers tonight at 8:37 PM. I’ll be at the Saucer to watch the game. People from North Carolina, Oklahoma, Syracuse, and Gonzaga will be arriving and looking for get their party on before their games tomorrow. Should be a fun night. The Saucer has a patio area that seats over 100, with a large projection TV and two other TVs, as well as an interior area with a projection TV and three more HDTVs. Great place to watch the game while drinking one of their 200 beers.

Wed evening update: Puppy needs home, big butts, bacon Easter Eggs, SMA grilling at Trolley Tour, March Madness and crawfish at Red Rooster

One of my blog’s readers is looking for a home for the puppy pictured below.  A homeless man was trying to sell the puppy on the street, but she convinced him to give her the puppy for free because she could take better care of it.  She can’t keep the puppy, though, and needs to find it a home.  It’s a female terrier mix, about 10 months old, very sweet, playful, and affectionate.  If you’re interested in adopting this puppy hit me up at paul@paulryburn.com.



On SeriousEats.com recently:  Easter eggs made out of bacon. Nice.  My health guru would probably not approve.  Nor would she likely approve of the Big Mac combo meal I had for lunch today.

WikiHow article of the day:  How to make your butt bigger.  Who says you can’t find useful, valuable information on the Internet?

Friday is Trolley Tour night, and the South Main Association is firing up the grill for the first time this year.  Free burgers, hot dogs, and Boscos beer for SMA members from 6 to 8 PM (actually probably more like 6:45 to 8; last year they weren’t real punctual about firing up the grill).  Non-members can donate $2 for a beer.  You can also sign up for an SMA membership at the event.  It’ll be next door to Bluff City Coffee on South Main.

Cock-a-doodle-doo and go Tigers!  The Red Rooster wants everyone to know that, due to the late start time (8:37 PM) of Thursday’s Tiger game, they will not have a live band as usual.  Instead, the Tiger game will be on all of their TVs, with sound!  A DJ will spin after it’s over.  There will be Madness specials, with $10 pizzas and $2 drafts.  There will be a lot of pre- and post-game activities and prizes to be won.

The Rooster’s crawfish boils continue on Friday nights from 6 to 9.  This Friday they’ll put a Sweet Sixteen spin on it, and extend their basketball specials to Friday as well.

Outta here… on my way to the Saucer for happy hour, then a private party down the street with free booze.  My favorite.

Downtown Memphis info for NCAA South Regional visitors

Welcome Tar Heels, Sooners, Orange, and Zags! Several people have suggested that I write a local guy’s guide to Downtown Memphis, so our NCAA South Regional visitors can find their way around. Hopefully this will help you find the good spots that the locals like, and avoid the tourist traps.


– The first thing you need to do is pick up a copy of the Memphis Flyer, our weekly arts & entertainment newspaper. It will give you a more comprehensive overview of what’s going on in Memphis than I possibly can write here. A new issue hits the stands every Wednesday. It’s a free publication.

– If you need to ask for directions Downtown, look for the Blue Suede Brigade. These are Downtown guides employed by the Center City Commission. They’ll have on white safari hats, white shirts, and khaki pants or shorts. If it’s cold outside they’ll have on blue jackets. They can answer any questions you have, and they have maps and coupons that they can give you.

– The Main Street Trolley is a great way to get around Downtown, for locations that are too far to walk. It runs from 6 AM to 11:45 PM Mon-Thur, 6 AM to 1 AM Fri-Sat, and 10 AM to 6 PM Sun. It costs a dollar to ride.

Where to eat

– People have been known to travel hundreds of miles to get to Gus’s Chicken, on Front near Pontotoc. Not much in the way of ambience in the place, but many Downtowners believe it’s the best chicken in the world.

– For a good burger not far from the FedExForum, check out Dyer’s. It’s on Beale between Third and Fourth. Good milkshakes too, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

– You may have heard of Memphis’ most famous BBQ joint, the Rendezvous. If you want to eat there, it’s in an alley running north off Union Avenue across from the Peabody Hotel. However, I think the ribs are better at Blues City Cafe (Second at Beale). Good tamales and crab au gratin there too.

– If you want something a little bit nicer, the Majestic Grille (on Main just north of Peabody Place) has great steaks, chicken, seafood, flatbreads, salads. It’s my favorite restaurant Downtown. Even though it’s a nice restaurant, you can still walk in there casually dressed.

– Some other recommendations: Rio Loco (Mexican, on Union between Main and Second); Huey’s (burgers and bar food, Union at Second); Happy Mexican (Mexican, at Second and Talbot); Bluefin (sushi, on Main just north of Peabody Place); Kooky Canuck (Canadian-themed bar food, on Second south of Union); Flying Fish (seafood, on Second just south of Union); Texas de Brazil (meat meat meat, Second just south of Union).

– Breakfast recommendations: Blue Plate Cafe (Court Square); Elliott’s (on Second between Madison and Monroe); Arcade Restaurant (Main at G.E. Patterson).

– Lunch-only restaurant recommendations: Alcenia’s (soul food, on Main just north of the I-40 bridge); Leonard’s BBQ Buffet (Main at Adams); Little Tea Shop (meat and two, Monroe between Front and Main; be sure to meet owner Suhair, a Downtown icon).

Watering holes

– A good place to start is the Flying Saucer at Second and Peabody Place, in my opinion the best bar Downtown. They have 70 beers on tap, another 125 in bottles, and they also have beer flights and beer mixers. 5 TVs plus two more big-screen projection TVs that they turn on for most NCAA tournament games. Pool table, two dart boards, free wi-fi. Every day they put one of their premium beers on “Fire Sale” for $2.75. They do have somewhat of a limited liquor selection, as this is mainly a beer bar. The Saucer is where I’ll be watching this weekend’s tournament games, so if you see me, feel free to say hello.

– Down the street from the Saucer (Peabody Place between Main and Second) is The Silly Goose, a fairly new bar that is catching on with the locals. Extremely huge liquor selection (something like 300 bottles). 10 beers on tap including PBR, 30 more in bottles, wine. Comfy couches in the back. 2 public computers if you need to check your e-mail. Free Wi-Fi as well. 4 TVs for game watching.

Bardog Tavern, on Monroe between Front and Main, is another place locals love. Well-stocked bar, 10 beers on tap including PBR. Unusually good food menu for a bar – the sliders and the spaghetti and meatballs are my top recommendations. 2 TVs upstairs, 1 down. Extremely friendly staff and regulars.

– If you must hang out on Beale Street, the Tap Room is a place many locals go. Unpretentious, just 20 beers on tap plus lots of liquor. Good mix of locals and tourists in there most days. You can order food off next-door restaurant King’s Palace menu. Food is very good – the Chicken Pontabla and the Mardi Gras Pasta are two of my top recommendations.

A note on smoking: Memphis still permits smoking in bars under certain circumstances – in particular, the bar can’t let anyone under 21 in. All of the bars listed above, and Calhoun’s below, permit smoking. Huey’s (Second and Union) and Kooky Canuck (Second just south of Union) would be good places to try if you have people under 21 with you.

Sports bars

– The main sports bar where locals go is about half a mile south of the FedExForum – Calhoun’s, on G.E. Patterson Avenue east of Main. Nine TVs plus a 120″ projection TV on the back deck. They have the NCAA Madness package. They also have Buzztime trivia/poker, only bar Downtown that does. 10 beers on tap including PBR. No liquor or wine, however. Very friendly regulars and bar staff. Extremely small bar, so you may have trouble finding a seat, although the back deck they recently added expands their capacity by 20.

– I don’t recommend any other place Downtown that uses “Sports Bar” in its name. You’ll have a better time at the “watering holes” listed above.

Where to hear good blues

B.B. King’s club at Second and Beale has some excellent bands. Highly recommended. They have a good restaurant on the third floor, named Itta Bena, which is the town where B.B. was born.

– Elsewhere on Beale, Mr. Handy’s Blues Hall (near Third) tends to have some really good blues bands. Small bar, so get there early for a good seat.

– A block south of Beale on Lt. George W. Lee Avenue is Ground Zero Blues Club. This is a large club, but it has that authentic juke joint feel. They have live bands Thursday through Saturday.

More live music

– Wednesday and Thursday nights, March 25 and 26, a band called The Dempseys plays Blues City Cafe’s Band Box, at Second and Beale. I cannot recommend highly enough that you go see this band. They play stuff like Elvis, Johnny Cash, and rockabilly tunes, but they play it like no one you’ve ever seen, doing crazy stuff on stage and trading instruments mid-song. They played in the movie about Johnny Cash’s life, and they played for former president Bush and Japan’s prime minister when they visited Memphis. Absolutely a must-see, even if you don’t think you’re into that type of music.

– The Hard Rock Cafe, on Beale between Third and Fourth, has really impressed me lately. Local bands on a great sound stage. They have one of the best music memorabilia collections Downtown (including Elvis stuff). They are known to donate proceeds from their door to local charities. Never mind that they’re a chain – they’re a good club and good neighbor.

Where to dance

– The Red Rooster (Second at Lt. George W. Lee, one block south of Beale) is a big club with good bands on the weekend, and a DJ spinning tunes between sets. It’s extremely popular and gets packed weekend nights. Full bar. Good food – the nachos and pizzas are my favorites.

Hollywood Disco (Vance at Mulberry, just east of Main) is a small club that spins great disco and ’80s tunes. Very unique decor with handprints on the walls, white leather couches, disco lights. They sell quarts of Bud Light to drink. You can carry liquor in and they’ll sell you set-ups. They have a limo if you need a ride home or back to the hotel. Only open Friday and Saturday. Doesn’t open until 10 PM; doesn’t get busy until after midnight, but by 1 the place is usually packed.

Other stuff

– The National Civil Rights Museum (Mulberry between Huling and Butler) is definitely worth a couple hours of your time for a tour. In its former life as the Lorraine Motel, it’s where Dr. King was shot on April 4, 1968. The museum’s exhibits chronicle the civil rights movement in the United States.

A. Schwab on Beale is a good place to visit for unique souvenirs. It’s a “dry goods” store that’s been there since 1876.

– If you need a drugstore, there’s a Walgreens at Main and Madison. Open ’til 8 weekdays, 7 Sat, 6 Sun.

– Grocery and convenience stores: Shell station (Main at Auction); Jack’s (Main at Jefferson); Easy Way (Main at Jefferson); convenience store (Second at Madison); Second Street Shoppers (Second South of Union); Frank’s (Main at Vance); Riverside BP (Riverside at Carolina).

– Don’t give money to panhandlers. Many of them will try to do a “tour guide” gimmick similar to what the Blue Suede Brigade does, except with a very aggressive request for money at the end. Sometimes they will try to hand you a Downtown Merchant Guide or other free publication. Just say “no thanks” and walk away. Also, don’t give money to anyone who tries to charge you to park on a public street or at a metered space – these are scammers and what they’re doing is illegal. These people are generally not homeless and your money will be used to support their alcohol and crack addictions. If you want to help the homeless, donate to the Memphis Union Mission instead.

And that’s it – hope that helps!

If you have questions I didn’t cover here, you can e-mail me at paul@paulryburn.com. Please note however that I started a new job this week, so I can’t promise a speedy turnaround time on answers, but I’ll do my best. Welcome to Memphis, and I hope you have a great time this weekend.

Wed update: Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Voodoo and Orleans news, restaurant discounts, and more

A few quick things before I head to work:

Big Sam’s Funky Nation from New Orleans will play the Center for Southern Folklore Friday, April 3 at 8 PM.  This is a band that really rocked it at the 2007 Memphis and Music Heritage Festival.  Big Sam plays trombone and combines the improv style of jazz with the horn-heavy style of funk.  Should be a great show.  Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door, with $5 off with a student ID.  Or, you can buy a $25 ticket which also gets you access to a meet-and-greet with Big Sam before the show, with beverages included.

News from the Voodoo Room, which has a new neon sign today… they’ll have a Jimi Hendrix concert on TV tonight at 10.  If this is as good as the Led Zep concert they showed last week, it’s more than worth a trip down there.  Thursday through Saturday they’ll have $1 PBR draft all night.

News from Orleans on Front as well… their $4 happy hour is still going strong.  They’ll have crawfish on Thursday in the restaurant, and they’ll also have another crawfish and shrimp boil outside in the parking lot on Sunday, at 2 PM.  If you don’t work Downtown and haven’t been able to try their lunch, they’ll be open for lunch this Saturday with the regular menu so you can.  Specials this week include a Stuffed Panko Catfish with jalapeno cream sauce with zucchini, and Crispy Pan Fried Duck Breast.

They’ll be showing the games on TV both upstairs and down.

The people at Calhoun’s asked me to mention that their back deck is open, expanding their capacity by 20, with their 10′ projection TV available for NCAA watching after sunset.

New Restaurant.com promo code: Click here to access the site and enter SAVE at checkout to save 70% through March 31. That means their $25 face-value gift certificates, normally $10, are $3 with the promo code. Many Memphis-area restaurants are part of the program; click through to the site to search for your favorite dining spots.

Congrats to the Rapscallions on our first-place victory at trivia last night.  After a few weeks of struggling performances, it’s good to be back on top.

Thanks to everyone who suggested good places to eat lunch near the airport.  Got several new ideas.

Several people have asked me to post a locals’ guide to Downtown for the benefit of those coming to Memphis for the NCAA South Regional tournament this weekend.  I’m working on it.  Should be up either at lunch or after work.