Wed update: Chisca Hotel, restaurant at Beale Street Landing, open mic night @ Brass Door tonight, new beer @ Saucer, Brad Birkedahl to play Double J Tuesdays

The Downtown Memphis Commission is supporting an intriguing plan to turn the Chisca Hotel at Main and Linden into apartments. Paul Morris, who runs DMC, said the units would be smaller square footage studio apartments that would rent for less than the Downtown market average. The group that hopes to redevelop the Chisca is the same group that is working to redevelop One Commerce Square. The Daily News has more details.

I think it is fantastic that these kinds of apartments are being developed. We haven’t had anything like that Downtown since the William Len closed in 2005 to be redeveloped as a hotel. It’s near impossible to find anything Downtown for less than $700 a month. I’ve said for years, we need affordable apartments down here to attract teachers, artists, college students and others who will make the community more diverse. I hope this project moves forward.

Besides, as Morris points out, the Chisca in its current state is a huge psychological barrier. It stands at the gateway between the core and South Main, and gives a huge impression that Downtown is still boarded up, dilapidated. Something needs to be done with it sooner rather than later.

The Riverfront Development Corporation has chosen an operator and concept for a restaurant/bar in Beale Street Landing. Riverside Grille & Dockside Bar will open by July 1. It will be operated by successful Beale Street restaurant owner Bud Chittom and his partners. Bud runs several properties on Beale, including two of my favorite places to eat, Johnny G’s Creole Kitchen and Blues City Cafe. Makes sense to go with someone who’s already been there, done that and been successful several times. That restaurant will be in too important a location to fail. More info on the restaurant in the MBJ.

Tonight is Open Mic Night with Diamond Dave at the Brass Door. They’ve got a full PA, a piano, and some guitars in the Cavern, so come on down and show ’em what you’ve got. It’s also Wine Down Wednesday at the Brass Door, with $3 house wines, $3 pints, and $3 wells.

Meanwhile, over at the Saucer, it’s Buy the Beer, Keep the Glass night. Tonight is the St. Patrick’s Day glass, featuring new (to Memphis) brewer Green Flash. You can get the glasses starting at 7 PM, unless you’re a Master of the Universe (5+ plates on the wall) in which case you can get it earlier.

Brad Birkedahl and his lovely wife Anna Marie performed an acoustic set last night at Double J SmokeHouse and Saloon. If you missed them, this morning the saloon announced that the former Dempseys frontman and his wife will be back. They’ll have a regular Tuesday night gig on the Double J’s Front Porch stage from 7 to 11. Blast it all, that’s going to be tough for me to get to for a few weeks. I’m trying to accumulate points in Blind Bear’s Tuesday poker league to get to the final table and win an iPad. There are four weeks left in league play I believe. Soon as I can get down south and hear Bradley D, I will.

Time to go eat a dull Zaxby’s lunch and wish I was Downtown eating at Lunchbox Eats or Majestic or a food truck. I’ll be out somewhere tonight. Too nice to stay in.