Paul’s PBR Review: The Blind Bear

Welcome to another installment of Paul’s PBR Review, where I talk about the best places in Memphis to get a Pabst Blue Ribbon, the Cadillac of beers. Today’s post is about the Blind Bear, a speakeasy opened by three veteran Downtown bartenders in December 2011. The name was a play on common 1920s speakeasy names like “The Blind Pig,” substituting “Bear” since the grizzly bear is the mascot of Memphis’ NBA team.

The Bear is decorated in dark tones typical of a speakeasy. There is a long bar in the back that seats about 16. Two flat-screen TVs are there for patrons to enjoy. On Sundays in the fall the bar is a popular spot among those who play fantasy football, because the Bear subscribes to the NFL’s RedZone channel. Although not a sports bar per se, the Blind Bear has been nationally recognized as one of the best places in Memphis to watch Grizzlies games, perhaps because all three operating partners are big Grizzlies fans.

There is plenty of comfortable lounge seating throughout the speakeasy. There are also blackjack and poker tables, which during the week are covered and used for dining. On Sunday and Tuesday nights the covers come off the poker tables, for free-to-play Texas Hold’em tournaments with a $50 gift card as the prize (6:30 PM Sundays, 8 PM Tuesdays). Up front there is a coin-operated pool table with plenty of rail seating and another flat-screen TV. There is also patio seating outside.

“But Paul,” you’re probably protesting by now, “enough of the description of the place. Get to the important stuff. Do they serve PBR?”

Indeed they do. When the Bear first opened, PBR was on draft and served in Mason jars with handles. Recently, they switched to PBR in 16-ounce cans, to make room for local drafts on tap. The speakeasy has a Foursquare special: The “mayor” on Foursquare (the person who has checked in there the most in the past 60 days) gets one free PBR a day. Well, actually, you get your choice of domestic beer, but why would anyone ever choose anything but PBR for their freebie?

The Bear has entertainment throughout the week. I’ve already mentioned the Sunday and Tuesday poker games. On Wednesday there is trivia with Charles at 8, with a gift card for the winning team. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday there is live music. On the weekends, if you know the password to get in, you can beat the $5 cover charge. They post the password on the Blind Bear Facebook page, usually in the afternoon the day-of. However, your first chance to get the weekend passwords comes on Wednesday, when Charles announced them between trivia rounds. On Saturday and Sunday, the Bear has brunch (“Hung Over Like a Bear Brunch”) until 6 PM, one of the latest brunch times in town for those who make Sunday afternoon their Sunday morning.

A new chef, Fortunato Oliva, recently started at the Blind Bear, and he re-worked the menu, keeping some of the old favorites but adding new items as well. Having recently won poker a couple of times, I decided to use my gift card winnings to step through the new menu. “I’m sure the new dishes are tasty,” I thought to myself, “but what I really want to know is, does the food pair well with PBR?”

Crab cakes (click any image to view larger size)
Crab cakes (click any image to view larger size)

On Monday I went in and tried the crab cakes. In an earlier discussion with Chef Fortunato, I had learned that one of his issues with the old menu was that there was no seafood option. He wanted to get seafood on the menu, and he hoped to create a seafood signature dish. He may well have done it with the crab cakes. You get two enormous cakes with risotto in the center of the plate. If your idea of crab cakes is what they serve at Captain D’s, with lots and lots of breading and one or two tiny pieces of crab, the Bear’s cakes will change your thinking. These crab cakes are all meat – big, lumpy pieces of crab. The risotto provides a nice balance to the cakes, but what really sets off the taste of the crab cakes is the PBR. Seafood and PBR are a match made in heaven, kind of like bees and honey, toast and jam, breasts and tube tops.

One note I’ll make here is that two of the Bear’s servers, Kaylea and Christy, are anti-tube top. BOOOOOOOOOO Kaylea and Christy. What’s really surprising is that they are both good friends with Suzy, who has had photos in this blog many times and who is one of the most pro-tube top people I know.

Chicken paillard
Chicken paillard

On Tuesday I had the chicken paillard. This is chicken that is pounded until it is thin, and then cooked over high heat to get it up to temperature. I have to admit, I ordered this dish early on not so much because of the chicken, but because of one of the sides, crispy Brussels sprouts. I have been a big fan of Brussels sprouts since I was a kid, and I know that they go very well with PBR. However, once my plate came out, I was all about the chicken. The sauce on top was to die for. Not only was it amazing on the chicken, but it went well with the other side that came with the dish, garlic smashed Yukon potatoes. I would like to sit here and tell you that the PBR I was drinking completed this dish, but I can’t – the chicken paillard was so outstanding that I would have enjoyed it even if I had been drinking a Miller Lite or worse (ugh) a Coors Light.

By the way, I acknowledge that some people do like Miller Light and Coors Light, and if so maybe you should watch the Grizzlies at the Bear. During Grizzlies games and one hour before, they have those two beers and Miller High Life in bottles for $2.50.

Creme brulee

After finishing my chicken, I still had 40 minutes to spare before Tuesday night poker. With plenty of gift card space to spare, I decided it was time for dessert. I ordered the creme brûlée. As I was waiting for it, I noticed how much the PBR opened up my palate to prepare me for the next course. It’s kind of like when they give you ginger at a sushi restaurant to clean your palate. PBR kind of naturally does that. Chef Fortunato’s take on creme brûlée is a vanilla creme brûlée with almond brittle and cayenne reduction. It was rich and creamy and complemented the PBR I was drinking beautifully. There were almond pieces atop the dish’s hard shell. I’ve only had creme brûlée a handful of times, but that was the first time I have seen it topped with pieces of nuts.

Angus short rib
Angus short rib

Thursday night I was back at the Bear to try another of Chef Fortunato’s additions to the menu, the Angus short rib. This dish consists of beef short ribs, braised in cola to produce a rich brown gravy on top, along with sides of sweet potato mash and green beans. Beef short ribs are said to be the part of the cow most similar in texture and consistency to pork ribs, and I would agree, although they are a bit fattier. Braising them made them nice and juicy to the point where I hardly needed the PBR at all. However, I would like to mention that the PBR really brought out the taste of the sweet potato mash, and vice versa.

One thing to note about the Blind Bear’s menu – they do have sides available as single servings. They just didn’t have room to print them on the menu. Any side that is available with any entree can be ordered by itself as well. These would include sweet potato mash, haricot vert (green beans), garlic smashed Yukon potatoes, crispy Brussels sprouts, and asparagus tips. There is also one additional, special side which I will get to in a moment.

Pork belly confit

Having tried seafood, poultry, and beef on the Bear’s new menu, Friday night I decided it was time to try pork. I ordered the pork belly confit, described on the menu as “Crisp pork belly, green apples, washed onions, cilantro, ponzu with sweet soy.” Pork belly is a dish that has soared in popularity the last few years. I have to admit the first time I heard of it I thought, “They cook and eat the pig’s stomach? That doesn’t sound very appealing.” But, no, pork belly is a fatty cut of meat from the belly of the pig, the same area from which bacon is cut. Since bacon goes well with PBR, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that the pork belly went well with PBR too. I gave a bite to one of my BBQ teammates and he said, “Well, that’s about the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth.” The pork is crispy and full of flavor and the sauce it was drizzled in brought out the flavor even more, as did the PBR.

Since I mentioned BBQ, I should probably disclose that the Blind Bear is the bar sponsor of the Memphis in May BBQ Fest team I am on, the Moody Ques.  They joined up with us in the team’s first year, 2012, providing cups and napkins. When the bar situation in the 2012 booth proved to be a complete shitshow, the Bear stepped up and took over the bar for 2013. That year the bar ran smooth as silk, no problems at all, which was great because it was one less thing we had to worry about. We were able to focus more on throwing a good party because there were no problems with liquor. The Bear will be back with us for 2014 and we are delighted to have them.

Pepper jack mac & cheese
Pepper jack mac & cheese

Back to the pork belly… it appeared on the “Hotsy-Totsy” (appetizer) menu, as opposed to my choices earlier in the week which were on “The Great Gatsby” (entree) menu. Therefore, I expected the pork belly to be a smaller size, and decided that I should get a side to go with it. My choice was a classic item dating back to the very first days the Blind Bear was open: Pepper jack mac & cheese. This award-winning dish uses pepper jack cheese instead of cheddar for a one-of-a-kind taste. It’s creamy, as mac & cheese should be, and has just a little spice to make it interesting. They took it off the menu for a while, but it is back and Jeannette promised it will never be taken off the menu again. I really enjoy letting the spiciness build in my mouth through several bites of mac & cheese, and then I wash it out with a sip of ice cold PBR.

By the way, if there’s a person in your dining party who doesn’t like PBR (horrors!) there are other beverages to pair with your food. The Bear has a selection of wines; ask your bartender or server for a recommendation for a good wine to pair with the food you want to order. There is also a “giggle water” menu of mixed drinks.

In my years Downtown I have learned that it is a very good sign for a bar when people who work at other restaurants/bars come there after they get off. They’re in the business themselves, so they know what’s good. It’s not uncommon to walk in the Bear and see people who work at the Majestic, Local, Bluefin, Flying Saucer, and Aldo’s Pizza Pies having food and drink.

I hope this post has convinced you that the Blind Bear is not only a great place to get a PBR, but a great place to have dinner as well. Give the new menu a try; I am sure you will find something you like. The Blind Bear is on the Main Street Mall, just south of Gayoso Avenue. It is open 5 PM to 3 AM Monday-Friday, 3 PM (noon during football season) to 3 AM Saturday and Sunday.


Thur update: Country Cares, Tigers, sweet dog needs home, Hard Rock job, alarm clock app, be a MFM vendor, Canadian blues and more

Roughly 1000 members of the country music and radio industries will be in town this weekend. They are here for Country Cares, a seminar that gives participants a look at the mission of St. Jude through tours, patient panels, and sessions on how to make radiothons a success. They will be here through Sunday the 19th. Welcome to all!

The Memphis Tigers host UConn at 6 PM at the FedExForum today. The game will be nationally broadcast on ESPN. UConn, ranked at the beginning of the season, has stumbled a few times, but a win over UConn would still be considered a quality win by the NCAA tournament committee.

dogA friend of mine had a really sweet dog show up on her doorstep in East Memphis a few days ago. My friend took her around the neighborhood to try and find the owners, but no luck. The dog gets along fairly well with other dogs and with cats, can be walked on a leash, and is housetrained. My friend has two other dogs and a cat, so she can’t keep her. Would anyone like to adopt this dog? If so email me at and I will put you in touch. My friend is willing to help with the cost of shots and spaying if needed. If no one adopts her within a few days, she will have to go to the shelter where her future would likely be grim.

Looking for a job? Hard Rock Cafe is looking for an experienced kitchen manager.

Retired pro wrestler/Twitter legend The Iron Sheik now has his own alarm clock app. Wake to the sounds of Sheikie Baby yelling at you. This morning he tweeted that he is more genius than the Steve Jobs and the Lanny Poffo for developing this app.

Want to be a vendor at Memphis Farmers Market? Here’s how. Deadline for applications is February 8.

Kooky Canuck announced that there will be an all-Canadian showcase for the International Blues Challenge at the restaurant at 11:30 AM next Thursday, January 23.

For those who appreciate tube tops as much as I do, might want to check out this post on the Hot Chicks with Douchebags site.

That’s it for now. Working from home while I wait on a car repair that was supposed to happen two weeks ago but didn’t. I’ll be out about 6 to watch the Tigers game.

Wed update: Fundraiser, free flu vaccines, Lansky sale, Hard Rock moving, Arkansas upsets Kentucky, LinkedIn launches Volunteer Marketplace, Memphis Car Show, boxing

Good luck to former Memphian the Nuh-Uh Sister, who is in L.A. filming an episode of Jeopardy as a contestant today.

Wet Willie’s bartender Jessica Braddy was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease in December, and Beale Street is holding a fundraiser for her. All the get-in-(almost) all-of-the-Beale-cubs wristbands sold on Friday, January 17 will be donated to paying for her care. Also, Jessica Braddy Benefit and Silent Auction will held on Friday, January 17 at Wet Willie’s with music by Eric Hughes and other musicians. Wet Willie’s will match every dollar donated. If you can’t make it to the fundraiser, you can donate here.

The Shelby County Health Department is now offering free flu vaccines.

Lansky at the Peabody is having their biggest sale ever. Here’s what’s on sale:

50% OFF All BONOBOS Pants
50% OFF Select Mens/Womens TOMS shoes
Large Group of Sportcoats 40-50% OFF
Large Group of Outerwear 40% OFF
Large Group of Sportshirts 50% OFF (including select styles from Southern Tide, Thomas Dean, Bugatchi, Stone Rose)
Leather Jackets 40% OFF
Select Group of Nat Nast/Robert Graham 40% OFF
Select Group of Shoes – Up to 75% OFF
50% OFF SEC Collegiate Sportshirts

If you can’t make it to the store, email with your sizes/brands/styles interested and they will send you photos.

The MBJ reports that Hard Rock Cafe is moving into the building at 126 Beale. That building is the former home of Republic Nightclub, EP Delta Kitchen, and Elvis Presley’s Memphis.

After getting knocked out at poker last night, I watched the Kentucky-Arkansas game, which went into overtime. Tied at 85-85, the Hogs missed a three-pointer with about 3 seconds left… and then sophomore Michael Qualls put it back in with a SportsCenter Top 10-worthy dunk. That left the Wildcats with 0.2 seconds to pass the ball the length of the court and tip it in. However, the Wildcats threw the ball too high and it hit the arena’s ceiling scoreboard, considered out of bounds. That gave the Razorbacks the ball with 0.2 on the clock and that was the game. So much fun to see John Calipari screaming at the refs, the timekeepers, anyone who would listen. View the video of the dunk and reactions here.

This may be useful to some of my readers: LinkedIn launches Volunteer Marketplace, a place to connect and help out with nonprofits.

The Memphis Car Show is this weekend at the Cook Convention Center. Here are the details:

Friday & Saturday: 10 AM-9 PM
Sunday: 10 AM-5 PM

Adults 13+ are $8
Seniors 62+ are $6
Military with ID are $6
Children 6-12 are $6
Children 5 and under are free

Sunday is Family Day. Kids 12 and under are free with paying adults.

Meanwhile, over at the Cannon Center, there will be a nationally televised boxing card on Saturday.

That’s it for now. I’ll probably lead off at the Silly Goose after work around 6, then walk over to Blind Bear to continue my journey through the new dinner menu. Getting some good pics for the next PBR Review post.

Tue update: Kerfluffle, scarf giveaway, sidewalk repairs in Uptown, bad decisions

Recently I came across an email that said that certain events that had occurred had caused a minor kerfluffle. It was the first time in my life I could recall “kerfluffle” used in a sentence, and I looked it up on


row, disturbance, c.1930, first in Canadian English, ult. from Scot. curfuffle.

It wasn’t wrong before I heard the word again. Wiseacre Brewery has announced that their KERFLUFFLE Oatmeal Stout is now on tap at the Flying Saucer. Tonight’s 7:30 trivia game has a bonus round where you could win a chance to take a tour of the brewery.

Going to the Grizzlies game tonight? Get there early if you want a Grizzlies scarf. They are free to the first 5000 fans. Last week’s headphone giveaway ran out in 15 minutes. Game time is 7 and Oklahoma City is the opponent.

Pretty smart to do those giveaways. They get people in the arena early, paying $10 for an extra beer they’d get for $4-5 if they pre-gamed at a bar down the street.

Uptown news: Sidewalk repairs on North Main between Henry and Keel beginning tomorrow. The repairs are funded by the Main2Main project that will connect Memphis’ Main Street with West Memphis’ Broadway.

From Lifehacker: Why You Make Bad Decisions when You’re Attracted to Someone. I’m tempted to email this link to a few people with the subject “2013: Your Year in Review.”

I’ll be at Tuesday night poker at the Blind Bear at 8. I may show up a little early to try one of the Bear’s new menu items. I had the crab cakes last night and they were fabulous; I will discuss them soon in a Paul’s PBR Review, but if you’re a fan of seafood do not wait for my review to come out to try these.

Hopefully everyone will play nice at poker tonight and no one will start a kerfluffle. Happy Tuesday everyone and Go Grizzlies!

Mon update: AAC tournament tickets on sale, Shaq Goodwin, chocolate-themed Dishcrawl, Wiseacre gets distilling license, Marc Gasol

Tickets for the American Athletic Conference men’s basketball tournament are now on sale. The tournament will be held at FedExForum March 12-15 and you can get tickets here. One of the good things about Memphis’ move to the AAC is that the championship game will be at 5 PM on Saturday the 15th. No more awful 10:30 AM start time for the final game as we had in Conference USA.

Speaking of the AAC, congratulations to Memphis Tigers forward Shaq Goodwin on being named the AAC’s Player of the Week. It’s the second time this season Shaq has won the award.

A new Dishcrawl is being planned for Downtown on Wednesday, February 19. It will be a Savory Chocolate Crawl. Diners will walk from restaurant to restaurant to enjoy treats that are dipped, filled, or covered with chocolate. I imagine there’s hardly a wife or girlfriend out there who wouldn’t appreciate a ticket to this crawl as a Valentine’s Day gift.

Local brewer Wiseacre received its distilling license today. That means that the brewery will be able to produce beers greater than 6.2% in alcohol by volume. By Tennessee law those beers are considered liquor, so a different license is needed.

Chris Vernon announced this morning that Marc Gasol has been medically cleared to return to practice. It looks like the Grizzlies are only a couple of weeks away from having their best player back on the floor.

That’s the news for now. I’m home from work and on my way out. My first stop will be Flying Saucer for a few Pint Nite beers. Then I will walk over to the Blind Bear for dinner. I have four gift cards that I won at poker and I plan on using them this week to try out the new menu items. I’ll post photos of my food to social media, and start gathering up photos for a Paul’s PBR Review of the Bear in about a week.

Moody Ques update for team members

This weekend the team leaders of the Moody Ques BBQ team got together to discuss plans for 2014. If you’re a team member, you should have received an email this morning at whatever email address you registered with the team. Here’s a summary:

We need those who were paid team members in 2013 to get in touch with Moody or Clay and let us know if you’re in for 2014 as soon as possible. (If you don’t know how to get in touch with them, email me and I’ll forward.) We don’t need dues paid quite yet but we need to know who is committed to being back on the team. On February 1 the team leaders will look at the responses and determine if we need to add more members.

WordPress, which has been our main sponsor since the founding of the Moody Ques two years ago, has experienced incredible growth. As a result, a BBQ festival is no longer a venue where the company can hold an annual meeting. Therefore, we are parting ways with WordPress on the best of terms, and we thank them for all they did to help our team start up. We are working out other sponsorships to make up for the financial contribution WordPress gave us in past years.

A lot of things worked well last year, and we’re going to keep doing them. We had a large, open, two-story structure last year that won Best Booth. Brent from Holliday Flowers is back this year to help with the design. We expect to have a similar booth layout as last year. The honored country is Panama and we plan to come up with a design that will win first place for the second year in a row. No, we are not building a damn canal down the middle of the booth, in case you were wondering.

The Blind Bear is back to run the bar again this year. They did an excellent job in 2013 and we are pleased to renew that partnership.

Also back is Chef David Scott Walker as pitmaster. He did a fine job making sure everyone was well fed in 2013, and it’s going to be better this year. He’s bringing in several sous chefs from New York to assist with the cooking. We plan to have set menus for each day, published on the team website and social media, to help you better plan your BBQ Fest experience.

We are raising our dues slightly this year, to $300 for individuals and $450 for couples (couples must be established real-life couples and can’t be just two random people joining together to save money). Even with the increase, our team dues are still inexpensive compared to what many BBQ teams charge.

There’s a new opportunity for team members this year. Members who participate in load-in or load-out will be invited to a special post-BBQ Fest organizational meeting to share ideas and discuss the team. Food and alcohol will be provided at this meeting. In addition, team members participating in load-in and/or load-out will be guaranteed a spot on the team for 2015. Load-in usually happens the Saturday before BBQ Fest (weather permitting) and load-out is Sunday, the day after BBQ Fest ends.

There was also some budgetary stuff in the email, which I will leave out here since this is a public forum. Check your email if you’re interested.

Once again, 2013 team members please let Moody or Clay know ASAP if you’re in or out. I am excited and truly believe we built the groundwork last year for a BBQ team that will be successful for a long, long time.

Sun update: New Blind Bear chef and menu, more taps at Bardog, School Disco party at Brass Door Saturday

There has been a change in the kitchen at the Blind Bear recently. Chef David Scott Walker has left the speakeasy. It was an amicable split. The chef plans to open a restaurant with his family in Summer 2014, and needs to focus his efforts on that. This change will not affect the Moody Ques BBQ team, and Chef DSW will remain as our pitmaster.

The new Blind Bear chef, Fortunato Oliva, introduced himself to me as “Nate” last Sunday. From my banter with my friends and the bartender, he figured out I was one of the regulars and came over to talk. “There’s going to be a new menu, but your old favorites will still be on there. They’ll be my takes on the old favorites. For instance, we’re keeping the potato skins but they’re going to be my homemade potato skins. Let me know if there’s anything you want to see on the menu, or if there’s every anything special I can make for you. I believe in taking real good care of regulars.”

Jeannette posted the new menus to Facebook yesterday. Here’s the dinner menu (I hope these links work; if they don’t let me know and I’ll try something else). Old favorites like the Bear BLT and the burger remain on the menu. New choices include cola-braised Angus short rib, jumbo lump crab cake, chicken Palliard, and Fortunato’s truffled gnocchi. For dessert there is chocolate soufleé and vanilla creme brulée.

The Hibernation menu (late-night 11 PM to 2 AM) retains a number of favorites as well: The BLT, the burger, the sliders, the wings, the sausage/cheese plate, the potato skins, and the Bear Balls. New choices include a house flatbread and bacon-wrapped shrimp. Some of the old favorites have new twists as well. For example, for the wings, the chef has added an onion teriyaki with sesame oil option in addition to the dry rub and Buffalo-style wings that were on the old menu. There’s now a black & bleu option for the sliders.

I have four Blind Bear gift cards in my wallet that were won at poker over the past year, so I’m going to use those to tear my way through the new menu this week. Expect some food posts. The new brunch menu will be out soon.

In other news, Bardog Tavern was closed Monday-Wednesday of last week for renovations. I was in there yesterday with my “DAWG” John D, and one of the new renovations was sitting right in front of me. They’ve added an 11th and 12th tap handle. The new beers will be Sierra Nevada Harvest and an as-of-yet unspecified Abita beer. I was about to comment, “Hopefully not Turbo Dog,” but then again, it doesn’t matter to me what they put on that tap, because the only beer on tap that matters to me is the PBR.

(Hmmm…. back to Blind Bear’s new menu for a minute… perhaps I’ll cover the new items in “Paul’s PBR Review” format. We haven’t had one of those in a long time.)

The Brass Door is having its first-ever School Disco in the Cavern next Saturday, January 18, from 10 PM until 2 AM. If you’re in school uniform, there will be $3 drafts, house wine, and well liquor for you. Prizes will be awarded for the sexiest outfits.

The Grizzlies host the Atlanta Hawks tonight at 5 at the FedExForum.

We had a very positive BBQ team leadership meeting yesterday at the Blind Bear. I took detailed notes and am putting together a post updating all the team members on recent developments. I just need to run the content by one of the team board members today to make sure I’m touching base on everything that we need to discuss. There are going to be some exciting new opportunities for team members this year. Look for a post early in the week. I think they’re going to send out an email to 2013 team members too.

That’s it for now. I’ll start off Sunday Fun Day at noon at the Blind Bear.

Sat update: The Cedar Room, Pageboy Salon, Tigers, Globetrotters, Grizzlies, Flight dinner, Cardinals Caravan, tube top news, Exchange Building and more

Apologies for no post on my lunch break yesterday. The reason for that was, I had no lunch break. I had a consultant at my desk and we were troubleshooting server issues. “Okay, I’ll push my lunch break back from 1 to 1:30,” I thought. Then it became 2. At 2 we were nowhere done. About 2:20 I had lunch, consisting of two bags of buffalo wing flavored cheese curls from the vending machine. They were not bad.

According to a post on Nextdoor, two new businesses are coming to Harbor Town Square. The Cedar Room will carry men’s clothing and accessories by established brands, and also cigars. Pageboy Salon will offer men’s and women’s washes, cuts, colors, and blowouts.

The Tigers play Temple this afternoon in a 2:00 road game. You can watch it on ESPN2.

Meanwhile, back at the FedExForum, the Harlem Globetrotters put on a show tonight at 7. Get tickets here.

In other basketball news, the Rendezvous will host the official Grizzlies watch party Wednesday night, January 15 at 6:30. The Grizzlies vs. the Milwaukee Bucks will be shown on the upper level on the big screen. There will be a free sausage & cheese buffet plus other surprise samples, $2.50 Bud Light bottles, and valet parking will be only $5 if you have on Grizzlies attire. Free sausage & cheese buffet? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up. No, wait, she’ll be out of town watching her sister be a contestant on Jeopardy. So, plenty of sausage and cheese for all.

Flight is having a Piggy Bank Dinner to raise funds for the Southern Foodways Alliance on Thursday, January 23. The first three courses will include Hawaiian bigeye tuna carpaccio, Benton’s bacon and poached apple salad, and scallop and lobster Benedict. Entree choices will be Muscovy duck, slow smoked Newman Farms pork shoulder, and braised Wagyu short rib. A pineapple upside down cake will be the dessert. Tickets are $75. Call 901-521-8005 to purchase tickets. To find out more info about the Southern Foodways Alliance, visit their website.

The Cardinals Caravan makes its yearly trip to AutoZone Park next Sunday, January 19. Gates at 5:30, program at 6:30. This year’s attendees include former Redbirds Keith Butler, Seth Maness, and Kerry Robinson. Former National League All-Star Andy Benes and the newly-acquired Randal Grichuk will also join the Caravan along with broadcasters and former Cardinals Al Hrabosky and Rick Horton. Autographs for kids 15 and under following the event. They’re implementing an autograph ticket system and limiting it to 400 kids, so get there early. The Redbirds’ store will be open 5:30-7:30. The event is free and complimentary food and drinks will be served. Free food? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up. She should be back in town by the 19th.

One of my Twitter followers tweeted me this link: Things We Wish Women Would Wear More Often: Leather Tube Tops. Now, I’m not saying I agree or disagree with this article. I’m just putting it out there as information my readers may find useful.

Bad news for folks who live in the Exchange Building at Second and Madison: A pipe break has caused the building to shut down the elevator system. As someone who lives in a 16-story building myself, I feel the pain of the people who have to take the steps to the building’s upper floors. I hope it gets fixed soon. Glad my buddy Duck Finkley is working a shift on the boat on the Mississippi so he doesn’t have to deal with it.

Here’s a unique idea for a coffee shop: The coffee is free, but you pay a few cents a minute to sit there.

If you’re wondering why there are dudes in dress shirts and blazers walking around Downtown this weekend, it’s the annual Pi Kappa Alpha national convention.

The Church Health Center is having an open house from 9 to 1 today. There will be exercise classes available (boot camp and yoga). They will have information on membership options and benefits, a model for healthy living, the medical clinic, diabetes education, insurance reimbursement plan options, faith community outreach, and behavior health resources. They will offer free blood glucose screening and free bone fracture risk assessment. The center is at 1115 Union in the medical center district.

I’m starting off at Brooke’s bar at Bardog today as usual. Later in the day the team leaders of the BBQ team are getting together to talk. I’m not a team board member, but I have a trusted senior advisor-type role on the team so I get to go to some of these meetings. It may seem like we’re off to a late start, but we figured out so much last year that we have a huge head start. We figured out the ideal booth design (with a generous assist from Holliday Flowers), we got the right guy cooking the meat (Chef David Scott Walker), and the right people running the bar (Blind Bear). With that groundwork in place, our time and resources are freed up to focus on the remaining pieces of the puzzle. If anything blog-worthy comes out of the meeting I will let you know. I’ll also find out whether we’re seeking new members, because I’ve had a couple of people inquire already.

All right, outta here for now. Looks like it may be warm enough to wear my PBR hoodie and shorts to the meeting, which will make me quite happy after all the cold weather we’ve had lately.

Thur update: Tigers vs. Louisville, recycling, WWE Network, Mexican restaurant, Cafe Keough video, blood shortage, art show at Blind Bear tonight

Big game on ESPN tonight. The Memphis Tigers play at Louisville tonight at 6 PM. A win would look really good to the NCAA tournament committee. A loss would mean goodbye to the Top 25 for a while.

Recycling has returned to South Main. There are bins located next to the Farmers Market at Front and G.E. Patterson. You can drop off glass, paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, plastic containers, and cans. The bins are “single stream” so you don’t need to sort out by type of item. If you want to make a donation to support continued recycling in South Main, you can do it here.

Exciting news for WWE fans: WWE announced the launch of the WWE Network last night. The official date is February 24. For $10 a month, subscribers get all the pay-per-views on pretty much any device (smartphones, tablets, gaming devices, etc.) That’s a heck of a lot better than the $45-65 charge per individual PPV in the past. Subscribers also get a lot of other content, including archives of RAW and Smackdown, WWE NXT (the best wrestling show on TV), reality shows, and on-demand footage from 30 years of WWE, WCW, and ECW tape libraries. Here’s a FAQ explaining how the network will operate.

You bet I will be joining this the first day I can. Most WWE pay-per-views are Sunday nights when I play poker at the Blind Bear. We already have one player who brings her Kindle Fire and watches Netflix as she plays. Soon, one Sunday a month, I will be watching sports entertainment on my iPhone as I play.

Before I get off the subject of WWE, I’ll make a bold prediction: Current developmental talent Alexander Rusev will break The Undertaker’s streak at WrestleMania 31 in 2015. You heard it here first.

The Daily News blog has more info on the new Mexican restaurant to open Downtown this spring. It will be located next to Parking Can Be Fun, which would seem to be the old Papa Pia’s/Cafe Samovar space. Yay, walking distance! It will be called Agave Maria and is described as “an old school cantina meets Mexico City bistro.”

The MBJ posted a video of the inside of Cafe Keough. Glad they did that because still photos don’t do it justice. Beautiful space they have there.

LifeBlood is currently experiencing a critical shortage of O-negative blood. Donors are asked to come to one of the six donation centers.

Mixed media artist/photographer Natalie M. Henderson will have a show at the Blind Bear tonight at 8 PM. More info here.

I’ll probably stop by the art show, preceded by stops at the Silly Goose and Flying Saucer. Right now, it’s time for a quick lunch and then an afternoon of models, views, and controllers. If you don’t know what that means, trust me, you’re better off. Unfortunately they’re not the kind of models that look good in tube tops. Back tomorrow with more news.

Wed update: City buys ballpark, Central BBQ, new restaurants, win a Wiseacre tour, Disney trivia and more

Yesterday afternoon the City Council voted to buy AutoZone Park. This will allow the St.Louis Cardinals to proceed with their purchase of the Memphis Redbirds AAA team. As a result, the Redbirds will be playing at Third and Union for many years to come, and the Cardinals are committed to do a lot to upgrade the park. The city’s purchase of the park does not appear to be financially risky. EXCELLENT move by the City Council. The vote was 8-4, with Shea Flinn abstaining due to a conflict of interest.

Tomorrow night, Central BBQ will have all-you-can-eat nachos and sliders for $10 during the Tigers vs. Louisville game (start time 6 PM). They will also have cheap beer from Memphis Made Brewing Co. in these glasses.

Holly from the I Love Memphis Blog has the scoop on two new restaurants coming to Downtown. One is Oshi, a gourmet burger restaurant which will open across from Local, and the other is a yet-unnamed Mexican restaurant.

Starting next Tuesday, the Flying Saucer will add a bonus round to its trivia night. Winner of the bonus round gets a Wisacre Special Release growler and a chance to win a tour of Wiseacre’s brewery, led by the Memphis and Cordova Saucer girls. Trivia is at 7:30 and 10 PM Tuesdays.

If you’re a Disney fan, there’s Disney trivia tonight at 7 at Tamp and Tap.

Important news from Denver: Dixie Longate, described as Denver’s Tupperware Lady, will return to Denver for performances in March and April. One piece of her performance will be “Never Wear a Tube Top while Riding a Mechanical Bull (and 16 Other Things I Learned while Drinking Last Thursday).” THAT. SOUNDS. AWESOME.

That’ll do it for now. Back tomorrow if not sooner with more news.