Mon update: Ultimate Foods, Memphis in May, spring cleaning, Pastner’s salary

Our BBQ team sponsor Start Co. got hooked up with lunch from Ultimate Foods today. Ultimate Foods is a healthy subscription meal service that has both meat and vegetarian options. They are located inside WellWorx at the northwest corner of Madison and Main.

If you want to get the scoop on what will be happening at BBQ Fest and the other Memphis in May events this year, put Tuesday, April 8 on your calendar. That is the date for April’s South Main Association meeting. Memphis in May representatives will speak about the music, the BBQ, host country Panama, and more. The meeting will be held at the Leadership Memphis Gallery at 365 S. Main. It is free for SMA members to attend, $10 for non-members.

There will be a spring cleaning of Downtown Saturday, April 12. If you want to volunteer, meet at Court Square at 9 AM that day. You’ll be given a cleaning assignment, then you’ll return to Court Square at noon to celebrate.

I found something interesting in this article on whether UT should match Marquette’s offer for Cuonzo Martin. It’s not that I care what UT does, but there is a list of the top 25 highest-paid college basketball coaches. Coming in at number 9 is our own Josh Pastner, at $2.65 million.

That’s it for now. Busy day at work, got to get back to it.

If you had tickets to Cardinals vs. Redbirds last night…

Take your tickets to the AutoZone Park box office starting Monday, or mail them. Since last night’s game was cancelled due to weather, you will receive a voucher for a ticket to a 2014 Cardinals game at Busch Stadium, as well as credit to 2014 Redbirds games equal to the value of your ticket. Holders of VIP packages will receive credit equal to the value of their exhibition game tickets. You have 30 days to make this exchange. Credits cannot be used for July 4 game.

Quick update

Mudbugs in March happens in Court Square this afternoon 2:30-7:30. Details here. Seems like a lot of people are excited about this festival. My regular Saturday bartender Panda is taking the day off from Bardog to go, and my favorite blogger/MILF tweeted that she will be there.

Dayton vs. Florida tips off at the FedExForum at 5:09 PM. It will be broadcast on TBS.

Harrah’s gave the River Rat Rounders poker club a nice gift: A $70 comp to Harrah’s poker room will be up for grabs at ever 7 PM RRR game. That would include the Monday game at the Mad Earl, so come play and you might get to play some real cash poker compliments of Harrah’s. Just make sure you use your comp before June 2 when the casino closes.

Holly has posted a no-frills guide to brunch in Downtown Memphis that is well worth a bookmark.

Panda may be taking the day off from Bardog, but I’m not. I’ll be at Bloom’s bar for PBR and Fireball in about 40 minutes. I’ll probably drop by the festival later today.

Fri update: Cafe Keough news, more on SOFO, Redbirds, Dance Theatre of Harlem

Last night I went to Cafe Keough and took down the first-place prize in the cafe’s first-ever Thursday poker night. They pay out two places with $35 and $15 gift cards. The cafe also has sandwich specials for poker players. What a beautiful space to play in. I look forward to trying some of Keough’s food, which I’ve heard is outstanding, as I spend my gift certificate winnings.

While there, I picked up a couple of pieces of news. First of all, there is going to be a Frisbee golf tournament on Main Street on Saturday, April 12. Here are the details:

Photo Mar 27, 7 58 01 PM

Also, I got additional information about the new Monday trivia night at Cafe Keough: Happy hour will be extended to 9 PM that night.

More news about the SOFO center I posted about yesterday, to be located at Third and Butler: Both the CVB and Ticketmaster have disavowed involvement in the project.

The Brass Door will close at 2 PM today for a private event and will re-open tomorrow at 11 AM for lunch.

The Battle of the Birds, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Memphis Redbirds, happens today at AutoZone Park, and that’s not the only reason today is significant in Memphis baseball history: Today the Cardinals take ownership of the Redbirds, and the city takes ownership of AutoZone Park.

For the ballgame tonight, gates open at 4:30, and there will be a block party in the plaza until 6 with live music and face painting. The Cards will have batting practice at 4:45. At 6:10 pre-game ceremonies will begin. There will be a first pitch by United States Navy Petty Officer First Class Laura Guthridge, colors will be presented by United States Marine Corps Civil Air Patrol Composite Squadron, and St. Jude patient Adrianna will sing the National Anthem. First pitch is at 6:35. For the 7th inning stretch, a member of Navy Band Mid-South will sing “God Bless America.” Keep an eye on the weather. Storms are expected tonight. The blog has the details.

The Dance Theatre of Harlem performs at the Cannon Center tonight. Tickets are $27-52.

The two teams that sent the most fans to Memphis for the Sweet Sixteen, Dayton and Florida, advanced last night in the NCAA tournament. That’s good news for Downtown Memphis, because those fans will stick around and spend money and local businesses while their teams have the day off today. Should be a fun night out tonight with Gator and Flyer fans partying on Beale and nearby.

Thur update: New retail center south of FedExForum, Harrah’s closing, Dishcrawl, the value of steals in the NBA, pay-per-views and bars, new poker and trivia nights, Redbirds uniforms, Bell Biv Devoe

The Memphis Business Blog has news of a $3 million retail and entertainment center to be built south of the FedExForum at Third and Butler. It will have room for a yogurt shop, office suites, a convenience store, a welcome center and ticket hub, a cyber cafe and a beverage cafe. The center will be called SOFO and will have a 68-space parking lot.

This isn’t Downtown news, but it affects some Downtowners so I’ll mention it. Harrah’s casino in Tunica is closing on June 2. That means that the Smokin’ Aces BBQ festival that takes place on Harrah’s grounds the third week of every September is likely not going to happen this year. My friends on Squeal Street BBQ will have one less festival to attend. I guess it will allow them to focus more on the Best Memphis Burger Festival, which is around the same time.

The Daily News has an excellent article on Dishcrawl. If you’re a foodie you should check it out.

Interesting article on stat site FiveThirtyEight: The hidden value of the NBA steal. Although he isn’t mentioned specifically in the article, it does a nice job explaining why a player like Tony Allen is so valuable to the Grizzlies, despite never having been a major scoring weapon.

From time to time I get asked why locally-owned bars like Max’s Sports Bar don’t show UFC pay-per-views, while chains like Hooters do. Yesterday I was on one of my pro wrestling sites, reading the Ask 411 Wrestling column, and a little more than halfway down the page someone asks about this. The column’s author gives a very good explanation.

There’s a new weekly poker game Downtown tonight that is free to play, with a prize for the winner. It will be in the back of Cafe Keough, the new cafe at 12 S. Main in the Number 10 Main building, at 8 PM. It will be hosted by Muruako who directs the Monday game at the Silly Goose.

I just got some more news about Cafe Keough. Starting next week, they will have trivia night at 7 PM on Mondays. The trivia host will be Charles, who calls the Tuesday game at Double J and the Wednesday game at Blind Bear.

From the MBJ: The Redbirds plan to wear Egyptian-themed uniforms on June 7.

Bell Biv Devoe will perform at the Cannon Center Sunday. Call 525-1515 for tickets. Tickets are $45-75. I had no idea they were still together.

Welcome to those in town for the NCAA South Regional. Accomplished burger blogger Seth has a good post about best Memphis burgers for the NCAA tournament.

As usual on Thursday, I’ll lead off at Silly Goose after work. I’ll be at Cafe Keough at 8 for the poker game, with maybe a quick Saucer stop in between. Outta here for now.

Wed update: Disco yoga, NCAA South Regional, D.J. signs, High Cotton, Kim Jong-un

Look what I won at the Blind Bear poker league final table last night!


I’ll have more to say about poker at the end of the post, but first, the news.

Paula Raiford posted a new event happening at her club. Tomorrow night, Thursday, March 27, Paula & Raiford’s Disco will host Disco Yoga with Rosalynn Ross. The schedule:

6:00: Doors open
6:30-7:30: Yoga
7:30: Let’s go disco!

A limited number of session tickets for the NCAA South Regional will go on sale at 1 PM today. Session tickets are $160. Games are Dayton vs. Stanford at 6:15 PM, and Florida vs. UCLA 30 minutes after conclusion of the first game. Winners will play Saturday, time TBD. These games will be held at FedExForum. More info here.

There are practice sessions for the NCAA South Regional teams this afternoon at the FedExForum that are free to attend. Schedule .

It’s official: The Milwaukee Bucks have signed D.J. Stephens to a 10-day contract.

From this week’s High Ground News: Downtown brewery High Cotton adds brewing capacity, employees

From Mashable: Men in North Korea are now required to get the same haircut as their leader Kim Jong-un. This is a crackdown from a list published last year of 10 approved hairstyles for men and 18 for women.

All right, back to poker. The 10 people who scored the most points in the Blind Bear’s poker league were invited to the final table to play for some nice prizes. There were $600 in $100 gift cards from six different restaurants. First place got to pick three of the cards, second place got to pick two of what was left, and third got the remaining card. Fourth through seventh got to pick from two grills, a Jack Daniels fold-up chair, and a gong.

With two people eliminated, I was desperately short on chips, with the blinds to hit me and reduce my stack by about half in two hands. I went all-in, and because I hadn’t played many hands everyone respected my raise and folded. Even winning just the small and big blind increased my stack by about 25%. Next hand, I went all-in again, and again everyone folded and I picked up the blinds. From the looks of the players’ faces, I could tell some of them were questioning whether I really had two good hands in a row, or even one good hand of the two. I knew the next time I went all-in I had better expect to get called.

Two hands later, I looked down to find A♣A. Nice to have the best starting hand in Texas Hold’em when you know people will call you! I was able to more than double my chip stack and get out of the danger zone for a while. I ended up in fourth place, and got the gong as my prize. Congratulations to Jon, Randi, and Craig, who finished top three.

I changed my Facebook profile pic to the one above with the gong. It’s the first time I’ve changed my profile pic since I joined Facebook.

That’s it for now. I’ll lead off at the Silly Goose after I get home from work. Should be a fun night with lots of Florida and Dayton folks arriving in town.

Tue update: Wine tasting for Hospitality HUB, South Main Trolley Night, nice Bardog poker prize, Civil Rights Museum, high-gravity beer news, bad news for long-term unemployed, Jimmy Ogle

There will be a wine tasting on Thursday, April 24 to benefit the Hospitality HUB, a nonprofit that helps people out of homelessness. The tasting will be at Jack Robinson Gallery from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. There will be music by Lee Taylor, and special guests will include Pat Morgan, author of The Concrete Killing Fields. Tickets are $50 each and you can buy them here.

South Main Trolley Night is this Friday from 6 to 9 PM. Live entertainment will include

  • Po Boys @ Green Beetle
  • Mara Danielle @ Sache
  • Pistol & The Queen @ Earnestine & Hazel’s
  • Joe Guyton @ Art Jamn: Listen!
  • Eric Crays/Steve Black/Brett Nelson @ Rizzo’s
  • Faith Evans Ruch @ Signal Flow PR
  • Wally Wright @ Grawemeyer’s
  • Tim Plunk @ Double J (6-8 p.m.)
  • Bean @ Double J (8-10 p.m.)
  • More music at Downtown Candle Company and Memphis Thing

as well as the following art shows:

  • Nancy Apple @ Ghost Lot next to Earnestine & Hazel’s
  • Opening of Rosa Jordan’s “People, Brass and Strings” @ D’Edge

Bardog Tavern is upping the ante for its weekly poker tournament. The winner of this week’s tournament will get two suite level tickets to the NCAA South Regional Sweet Sixteen at the FedExForum. The game is held every Wednesday night in the Underdog Room downstairs.

Speaking of Bardog, I was in there last night for happy hour and Melissa gave me two really nice PBR buttons:

Photo Mar 24, 5 45 30 PM

Photo Mar 24, 7 19 31 PM

The newly renovated National Civil Rights Museum is about to reopen. On April 4 there will be a program in honor of the 45th anniversary of Dr. King’s death starting at 11 AM, with a commemoration and candlelight vigil at 6. The following Day, April 5, Community Day, the museum will open to the public.

From the MBJ: Tennessee craft brewers are getting closer to getting high-gravity beers in grocery stores.

Also in the MBJ: A study indicates that only 1 in 10 long-term unemployed get hired each year. For more information, CNBC has an in-depth article about the study.

Congratulations to Jimmy Ogle, who was named Shelby County historian yesterday. He is known for his walking tours of Downtown, including his famous manhole cover tour.

It may be cold outside, but things could be worse. The Nashville area is getting thundersnow right now.

Tonight is the 16-week poker league final table at the Blind Bear, and I have qualified for a seat. Play starts at 8 PM. Jamie has said he has a lot of really awesome prizes for this final table. Good luck to all my opponents tonight, and especially to my buddy Dennis who is celebrating a big birthday. For those who didn’t qualify, there will be a side game. See you at the table!

Mon update: Tigers, D.J. Stephens, teams coming to Memphis, Viva Panama, War Horse, food truck competition, new Memphis Made beer, eighty3 gumbo, Grizzlies

I’d like to start off this post by saying THANK YOU to Memphis Tiger seniors Joe Jackson, Chris Crawford, Geron Johnson, Michael Dixon Jr., and David Pellom. It has been a pleasure rooting for you this year. The Tigers got eliminated last night, losing to Virginia 78-60. There’s no shame in losing to a 1-seed; that’s what 8-seeds are supposed to do.

With three starting guards and our sixth man leaving, there’s going to be a lot of room for other Tigers to step into bigger roles. I bet Damien Wilson will be a big factor for us next season. And where the Tigers have been “Joe’s team” for the past four years, next season they will be Shaq’s team. It will be fun to watch these guys develop.

A former Tiger is in the news. I’ve seen reports on Twitter that D.J. Stephens will sign a 10-day contract with the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday. Very happy to see D.J., who developed into a crowd favorite here in Memphis, get his shot at the big time.

With the round of 32 over, we now know which teams will be here Thursday through Saturday for the NCAA South Regional: Florida, UCLA, Stanford, and Dayton. Looks good. Florida fans always travel well, and Memphis is a day’s drive from Dayton so I would think the Flyers will be well represented here too.

Memphis in May will present “Viva Panama,” an evening of Panamanian jazz, folkloric dance and authentic cuisine, at the Orpheum on Thursday, May 8 at 7:30 PM. Bailes de Panama will peform, as well as Danilo Perez: Panama 500. Chef Charlie Collins will prepare the cuisine. Tickets are $15 ($10 for groups of 20 or more) and are available now on Ticketmaster.

Also at the Orpheum, War Horse starts there tomorrow and runs through Sunday.

The Daily News reports that part of the revitalization of the Tennessee Brewery, which will be taken over short-term by Taylor Berger for April and May, may include a food truck contest. Aspiring chefs will be given access to a food truck for a day. The winner could be invited to become the chef at Berger’s new restaurant Truck Stop in Midtown.

Memphis Made Brewing Co. will debut its newest beer tonight at the Flying Saucer. The new beer is Cocoa Reverberation. This is a change to their Belgian stout. It is still a collaboration with local coffee company Reverb, and still features freshly roasted dark Sumatra coffee. The addition of cocoa nibs will add more chocolate notes to the coffee flavors. The beer is 5.8% alcohol by volume and will go on sale at 7 tonight. If you drink the last glass of Cocoa Reverberation and kill the keg, you will get a free ticket to Memphis Made’s April 3 beer dinner at the Saucer. You can also buy tickets to the dinner if you don’t want to kill the keg.

Downtown restaurant eighty3 won Best Gumbo at Youth Villages’ Soup Sunday this year. They wanted to take it even further, so they are donating 10% of all gumbo sales between today and Friday to Youth Villages. If you haven’t tried their gumbo yet, this is a good time to do it!

The Grizzlies play Minnesota tonight at FedExForum at 7.

That’ll wrap it up for today. I’ll kick off the evening at Melissa’s bar at Bardog, then walk over to the Saucer for a few Pint Nite beers while I watch the Grizzlies game.

Saturday update

The Memphis Tigers have advanced to the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament. They beat George Washington University 71-66 last night. As I watched the game, I noticed that the Tigers seemed comfortable at the tournament, and it felt like they belonged there, whereas last year they didn’t seem comfortable and were lucky to win their first round game. The Tigers move on to face 1-seed Virginia at 7:40 Sunday night on TNT. If the Tigers bring last night’s mindset into Sunday’s game, I think there’s a good chance they will knock Virginia off and Coach Pastner will see his first Sweet 16.

Not such good news in the other basketball game of interest yesterday: Not only did the Grizzlies lose to the Heat, but Marc Gasol left the arena in a walking boot with a sprained ankle. He will be evaluated Monday. Our playoff hopes look dim if we lose our best player at this time in the season.

Felicia Suzanne’s is celebrating their 12th anniversary tonight with a special 4-course dinner. Vegetarian, meat, and seafood options will be available. $65 per person plus tax and gratuity, and part of the proceeds will benefit Project Green Fork. Call 901-523-0877 to make reservations.

The federal government has denied the city of Memphis funds to demolish Foote Homes, Memphis’ last housing project, on Danny Thomas near Mississippi in the southeast part of Downtown. More information here.

The Grizzlies host the Indiana Pacers tonight at FedExForum at 7.

The BBQ team got some more good news last night. Our teammate Kao (Mardoqueo) from Monclova, Mexico, who has been with us since the beginning of the old Ques Brothers team, will be back with us this year. He had to take 2013 off to concentrate on business.

Holly has an excellent post about Alcenia’s, the soul food restaurant in the Pinch.

FiveThirtyEight has updated its predictions. Memphis is a 29% underdog against Virginia tomorrow. If the Tigers win that one, they have a 10% chance to get to the Elite Eight (they likely would have to beat Michigan State to get there) and a 4% chance of making it to the Final Four.

Off to Bardog for Saturday PBR drinking and tournament watching. My bracket is already shot so I can not worry about it and just enjoy some excellent basketball.

Moody Ques BBQ team announces Start Co. as sponsor

The Moody Ques, the Memphis in May BBQ Fest team that I have been on since its founding in 2012, has brought a new sponsor on board. I am very happy to announce that Start Co. will be partnering with our team this year.

Start Co. helps budding entrepreneurs build their ideas into businesses. The company has accelerators, programs, workshops, meet-ups, mixers and more to help give entrepreneurs the tools they need to get going. They also work with business professionals and community leaders to provide mentoring to those with ideas.

Empowerment is a big part of Start Co.’s ideals. They believe that women and minorities should have the tools they need to turn their vision into reality. The company also believes in empowering students, with programs at the University of Memphis and Rhodes College utilizing its resources. Another area of focus is community empowerment, serving as a mentor to public service organizations.

In addition, the company has launched Start Co. Angels, a network of business leaders committed to growing the Memphis region’s economic base. These leaders not only provide crucial early-stage capital to startup businesses, but strategic guidance as well. “Success takes more than investment. It takes involvement,” reads the company’s website.

I am thrilled beyond belief to have Start Co. as a sponsor. I have met people involved with several businesses that take advantage of Start Co.’s services, and they are some of the most creative, dynamic people in Memphis. I look forward to meeting a lot more entrepreneurs in our team booth this year.

The Moody Ques compete in pork shoulder, with Chef David Scott Walker (who is soon to open Schweinehaus in Overton Square) as pitmaster and four talented chefs assisting him. With the Blind Bear managing the bar and a couple of other sponsors lined up (not sure who I’m allowed to name, so I’ll leave them out for now), this is shaping up to be a great year. Thanks Start Co. for coming on board. I’m sure it will be a successful partnership for both of us.