Beale Street is getting out of control

You know, when something negative happens Downtown I always question whether I should blog about it. I love my neighborhood and I want people to come down here and visit and enjoy the amenities and even consider moving here. For years I have been saying that there is no other part of Memphis which has so much to do in such a compact space; there is no other area of Memphis in which it is so easy to make friends and find where you fit in.

On the other hand, I like to paint an honest picture of Downtown. No one pays me to write this blog so I can say whatever I want on here, and I generally do. Downtown is not perfect. Sometimes pointing out its imperfections, the things that get swept under the carpet because no one wants to talk about them, is the only way to get them addressed.

Sunday at 11 I grabbed a seat at B-RAD’s bar and got ready to enjoy a Sunday without a Monday behind it. I made my usual “D-RANKS with B-RAD” checkin on Facebook then scrolled through my news feed to see what was going on. There were multiple reports of a stampede on Beale Street just before 1 Saturday night/Sunday morning. Hundreds of people ran east on Beale from Second Street, then south on B.B. King/Third. A few minutes later, people stampeded in the area of Rufus Thomas and Beale. People were injured, a police car had a window busted out, and a section of iron fence surrounding Handy Park was damaged. This happened almost to the minute one week after there was a shooting at Second and Peabody Place just north of Beale.

I was sitting there debating whether or not to talk about this, when a friend came up and convinced me that I should. So I will.

Downtown Memphis Commission: You manage the street. I know it is only temporary until you find a company to take it over. However, the time to act is now. You need to do something to get this crap under control.

The trouble is, there is really no good solution. One thing that has been suggested is an earlier closing time for the street. I hate that idea. Beale Street bars currently can stay open as late as 5; all other bars have to be closed by 3. I have many friends in the service industry who get off around 3 and go to Beale to unwind after work. They need that. I don’t want it taken away from them.

Another solution that has been proposed is to charge a cover to get on the street in the entertainment district. Maybe a refundable cover of sorts – you pay $10 to get on the street, but then are given back $10 in tokens to spend there. I don’t know… I have mixed feelings about this one. It may be the least bad of a number of bad solutions, but I do understand the claims of classism that arise from this idea, that you have to have a certain level of wealth to be able to enjoy a public city amenity.

The real problem is that parents need to teach their damn kids how to act in public, but identifying that as the problem doesn’t bring us any closer to a solution.

This coming Friday night I am having dinner at the Majestic with a couple who lives out of state, who have been considering a move to Memphis for years and have been reading my blog. They think the time may be right and they want to pick my brain. I hate to say it but I am going to have to tell them that I don’t recommend going to Beale after 9 on the weekends.

I’m just fed up. I rarely go to Beale on the weekends anyway so it’s not like I feel like something has been taken away from me. It’s just that I hate the black eye these idiots put on my neighborhood and my city.

Off my soapbox and on to the news. The Dirty Crow Inn has a special for active or retired members of the armed services today for Memorial Day. Show a valid military issued ID and get one free order of pickle chips or onion straws, and 10% off your entire bill today only.

The National Hot Dog Council says to never use ketchup on your hot dogs. I didn’t know where was a National Hot Dog Council, but I agree completely with their advise. Mustard all the way.

You can purchase a special ticket for Thursday’s Redbirds game that includes an all-you can-eat wing buffet. $12 bluff, $16 fieldbox, $19 dugout, $23 club level. The buffet will be in the left field area and will run from the time the gates open through one hour into the game.

Fun day at the Blind Bear yesterday. It was good to have B-RAD back (he was sick the previous Sunday) and the bar was filled with members of two of Downtown’s best BBQ teams, Porkosaurus and The Moody Ques. Sarah from Porkosaurus wanted to take a photo “for England” so I guess she is going across the Atlantic to visit family soon. I wedged between Sarah and Katie (not Mac) and we took the photo. “It’s a sandwich with Porkosaurus bread and Moody Ques meat!” I exclaimed, eliciting a few “ewws” on Facebook. Anyway, just a superb crowd at Brad’s bar. Stacey who works there has a shirt that says “Drinks Well with Others” and I thought to myself, that describes every person here.

A Monday where the office didn’t open at 8 and Bardog did… my kind of day! Seriously, I had people texting me at 8:17 and ask, “Why aren’t you here?” I’ve got a blog to write, people! On my way as soon as I take a shower. Five hours at Teryn’s bar sounds like exactly the right amount of time to pre-game for a cookout at our BBQ team pitmaster’s house this afternoon. Wearing my Friend of the Market shirt since both he and our vice-president are on the board of the Memphis Farmers Market. Fun weekend so far and it shows no sign of stopping!

Get some sweet shoes and feed the hungry at Stock & Belle

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Yesterday I walked down to the Memphis Farmers Market about 9:45. After checking in to retain my Farmers Market mayorship on Foursquare/Swarm, I looked around. “Not as many people here as I expected,” I thought. Then I walked to the back and realized where all the people were – standing in line at the food trucks! It was jam-packed back there.

I realized I made a stupid, stupid, stupid mistake. When I made my caffeine run to City Market earlier in the morning, I got a sausage, egg & cheese biscuit to eat. Not that there’s anything wrong with their biscuits, but it spoiled my appetite for the Farmers Market. The tandoori truck had added a new item – bison kabobs! I wanted to get them so bad, but I just wasn’t hungry enough to justify the $9 price. Maybe next week.

I turned my attention to the So Fresh juice truck, source of my weekly smoothie. There were seven people in line and it looked like another fifteen standing around waiting on orders. Based on experience, I knew I was looking at a 20-minute wait if I went up there. With little patience for crowds and no shopping list, I decided I was done with the Market for the week. I walked over to Earnestine & Hazel’s (love the 10 AM opening time) and had a couple of PBRs at Clarence’s bar. By 10:35 I was on my way back to the core. It doesn’t take 25 minutes to get to Bardog from South Main, so I had a little time on my hands.

That time ended up being well spent. As I walked past Stock & Belle at 387 S. Main, I saw a sign in the window advertising shoes with the Mid-South Food Bank logo on them. “The purchase of 1 pair feeds 150 people,” the sign said. I went inside to inquire about the shoes. “We have them through Wednesday,” the cashier at 387 Pantry next door told me. “Sizes 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12. The awesome thing about these shoes is that 100% of the proceeds go to the food bank.” Knowing I probably would not be back in South Main before Wednesday, it was now or never to get these shoes. I needed shoes anyway, and if they were $60 or less I decided I would get them. The price was $50. “Ring ’em up,” I said. Nice looking shoes and a great conversation starter about the food bank.

I showed off my shoes at Bardog then moved on to the Blind Bear. My BBQ teammate Tripp joined me. “Want to check out 901 Fest?” Tripp asked. I knew Tripp was of a like mind – we could give a crap about the bands, but we wanted to check out the food trucks. We finished our beers and headed down there.

Food truck success! I never expected to be eating chicken & dressing at an outdoor festival, but I did and it was really good. I didn’t get the name of the truck unfortunately. Tripp went to Sushi Jimmi and gave me an extra egg roll. That was just about the best egg roll I have had in my life! Sushi Jimmi, please come back Downtown soon! I want some more of those egg rolls!

On to the news… I don’t have a lot of news today, but what I have is pretty good, involving some updates to the Downtown bar scene. First of all, Friday afternoon Daniel from the Silly Goose posted to Facebook that lunches and a barista are coming soon. Daniel travels regularly to New York and keeps up with the latest bar trends there, and as a result he is always innovating at the Goose.

The Brass Door has some things happening. They have a new management team and they are rolling out a revised lunch menu with specials Monday through Saturday. Mid-summer they will be rolling out a full dinner menu and also a wine and cocktail menu by Brad Pitts, formerly of Bari.

The tube top burglar I wrote about Friday has been captured in Cape Coral, Florida. Cape Coral officials: If you’re short on jail space, feel free to use my bedroom as an annex.

Sunday Fun Day! D-RANKS with B-RAD at the Blind Bear is first on the agenda. With no Monday Work Day behind it, this Sunday is going to be extra fun. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

A new event is coming to Tom Lee Park in October. The organizers of Delta Fair want to bring something similar to our side of town, so the first-ever Riverfront Fair & Festival will happen October 7-9. It will be family-friendly with a Ferris wheel and other carnival rides, as well as carnival games and food.

Food Truck Fridays are returning to the FedExForum in June. Here’s a list of dates and what trucks will be there.

In a previous post I wrote about all the things happening at the Friday, June 3 Redbirds game, most of which are related to the upcoming St. Jude Classic golf tournament. I have since learned that there is one more giveaway at that event which is not tournament related – first 1500 fans in the gate get a replica 1946 St. Louis Cardinals World Series ring.

Do you want to help develop and promote Downtown Memphis? The DMC has two positions open – a Planning and Development Analyst, and a Development Coordinator.

Volunteer opportunity: Pack produce bags for Bring It Food Hub, a nonprofit that serves lower-income Memphians and those who want to lead a healthy lifestyle. You can sign up for as many hours as you like anytime between now and November 17, Tuesday-Friday, 9 AM-2 PM. Of course, given my love for fresh produce, it is killing me that I can’t sign up for a bunch of shifts, but thanks to BBQ Fest I am short on vacation time at work. Bring It is at 694 Madison in The Edge.

Felicia Suzanne’s will be closed for lunch and dinner today (Friday, May 27) for a private event.

A burglar wearing a tube top has been stealing purses, jewelry, and perfume in Cape Coral, Florida. Hey, now! She can come burglarize my apartment anytime! Preferably when I’m home!

Starting Saturday, June 11, the World Food Championships will be shown on Destination America. Watch and you may catch a glimpse of local Memphis team The Fabulous Burger Boys who qualified for the event at Best Memphis Burger Fest last October.

Another team on TV: Life in Memphis Episode 1 featuring BBQ Fest is on YouTube, featuring our friends from Squeal Street BBQ.

WEEKEND! Office closed at noon. First stop is Bardog then to South Main for Trolley Night.

Thur update: Live music, Farmers Market and lots more

I’ll start off this post with some live music recommendations for tonight. On Felicia Suzanne’s patio, the South Side Supper Club will perform for the weekly “Tacos & Tunes” event. In addition to the music, there will be $2 tacos and $5 margaritas. The party kicks off at 7 PM.

Later in the evening, my friends Pam & Terry play the Blind Bear. This husband and wife duo is so much fun and there does not seem to be a song they don’t know. They take the stage at 10.

At Loflin Yard tonight, Chris Milam & Band have a CD release party from 6 to 9. Tomorrow night the Gayoso Bayou Boys will play the Yard, also 6 to 9.

Happy birthday to the Macs! My friends Katie Mac and Charvey Mac turn another year older today. No they are not twins. Don’t forget that you can catch Charvey every Wednesday night at the Silly Goose from 10 PM to 1 AM. Charvey also plays the Double J as half of Six String Lovers Friday nights from 9 to 1.

The St. Jude Classic, the golf tournament held in Memphis, is coming up June 6-12. In conjunction with the tournament, AutoZone Park will turn into an extension of the course on Friday, June 3. That evening, fans can purchase a special $30 theme ticket that will give them a Field Box seat to that night’s ball game and a one-day ticket to the golf tournament. The golf ticket alone is a $30 value. First 1000 fans will get “Hush Y’all/Loud Y’all” paddles. Fans are encouraged to wear golf gear. There will be golf-themed games and activities, and the Redbirds will be wearing one-of-a-kind jerseys which will be auctioned off after the game. Following the game there will be a special Friday edition of fireworks.

This could be useful: a wristband that measures how drunk you are. It transmits the information to your phone. It’s called BACtrack Skyn.

If you love BBQ Fest, here’s an exhibit you should check out at South Main Trolley Night tomorrow: High on the Hog: Ten Years in the Pits will be an exhibit by photographer Lawrence Jasud following 10 years of BBQ Fest. You can see it at Circuitous Succession Gallery at 500 S. Second from 6 to 9 tomorrow evening.

It’s Time for a Patriotic Picnic is the theme at this Saturday’s Memphis Farmers Market. You can pick up everything you need to grill out at the Farmers Market – steaks, fresh fish, veggies to put on the grill. You can also buy ingredients for a nice side salad at the Market, and chips and dips too. For the benefit of any vegetarians reading this blog, I will mention that meat vendor Pigasus sells grillable BBQ tofu. Master Gardeners are back this Saturday from 9 to noon to answer all of your questions.

Hmmm… the Market should find a master gardener named Mary to volunteer. Then we could ask her, “Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?”

… Okay, anyway, continuing with the Market… there will be live music by Emma Web 8:30 to 10 and Nick Parr 11 to 12:30. By the way, shout-out to Mark who books the music at the Market, the South Main Songwriter nights, and at various venues in the neighborhood. There is a lot more opportunity for musicians because of Mark’s vision. I appreciate all that you do for South Main, Mark.

The Memphis Railroad & Trolley Museum will have a booth at the Market this Saturday. Stop by and see them and learn about what they are doing for National Train Day on June 4, right around the corner at Central Station. Real Good Dog will be adopting dogs at the Market. Local blogger/Farmers Market Foursquare mayor Paul Ryburn will be at the Market from 9:40ish until about 10:40. The Market happens every Saturday from 7 AM to 1 PM under the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson.

As you all know, I am a HUGE fan of fresh produce. Therefore, I read every word of this week’s vendor chitchat with the folks from Roots Memphis Farm Academy, teaching the next generation of sustainable farmers. They currently have seven students growing at an “incubator” garden at Shelby Farms. They sell not only at farmers markets and through their CSA, but to Bleu, Bari, and Tsunami as well.

Seth from Best Memphis Burger has good things to say about the RAWK ‘N GRUB food truck. The truck named a burger after him, the Seth (I Hear Ya Callin’). DUDE!

That’s all for now. Tonight will be a bit of a late night, because I want to catch Pam & Terry at the Bear. With only a half day tomorrow, I should be able to deal with it. Possibly another post after work.

Wed update: Screaming beer deal, Edge news, and more

Hey everyone. If you’re wondering why there are two posts back-to-back within minutes, it’s because I had problems with the tool I use as a staging ground for this blog. I had both posts pretty much ready to go about 7 this morning, then there was an outage and I lost access for about an hour. So I’m flooding you with information on your lunch break. :)

How would you like to pick up a case of local craft beer for only $16? Sounds too good to be true, but it’s not. Ghost River is closing out Midnight Magic for the season and $16 a case is the deal until it’s gone. Get it at the dock at Main and Crump.

Good news for dog owners in The Edge. A variance is being applied for, in order to open a doggie daycare at 320 Monroe. Looking at Google StreetView, that appears to be about a quarter block west of Danny Thomas. There is an attached grassy lot that the developers want to use as part of the daycare. The lot is the subject of some debate.

Friday is South Main Trolley Night, with many businesses in the area staying open until 9 or later and some with snacks and beverages to give away. The Songwriter Night at 550 South Main will be back. Other live music will include Roger Wild at Rizzo’s, Tim Plunk at Double J, Larry Randolph outside Obsidian PR and a full band outside Guidingpoint Financial. Sue Layman Designs at 125 G.E. Patterson will unveil her latest collection, and there will be wine and live music by Davy Ray Bennett. SMA will be grilling burgers next to Bluff City Coffee (free for members, $10 for non-members). Should be a fun night and my plan is to spend my Friday evening on the south side.

RealClearPolitics has a very good article on the potential for Tennessee Senator Bob Corker as Donald Trump’s running mate. I would have to agree, Corker has the foreign policy experience and the ability to build coalitions, and would not be a bad choice at all. Of course, the man at the top of the ticket is such a horrible choice that Corker will never get my vote.

This Thursday’s Peabody rooftop party features Fifth Kind with special performance by Shawn Hook. $15 at the door or $150 for a season VIP pass. Doors at 6, entertainment starts at 7, first 200 ladies free. Admission gets you a buffet of mini meatballs and fried ravioli. If you hold a VIP pass you get a second buffet of gnocchi with shrimp and pesto cream, rosemary pork loin, and Caprese dip with Italian bread. Peach margaritas and Firefly apple pie moonshine are the drink specials, with an additional pina colada drink special for those in VIP. Also if you’re VIP, there will be a beer tasting for you in the Corner Bar from 5 to 6 featuring Sweetwater Goin’ Coastal.

Great article from Smart City Memphis about Martin Luther King Riverside Park. That is the park west of I-55 that stretches from South Parkway to Mallory.

Here’s the menu for Chef Ana’s wine dinner at Bleu tomorrow (Thursday) evening.

We need these in Memphis! This huge camera rig busts people for texting and driving from up to three-quarters of a mile away. There have been a couple of times recently when I have been tailgated on 240 at 60+ MPH by people texting and driving and not paying any attention to the road. Scary.

The Redbirds are having that sweet club level ticket offer for $40 once again Tuesday, May 31. Air-conditioned, indoor and outdoor seating, buffet including wine and beer as well as favorite ballpark foods. One thing I didn’t know: There are pool tables. This seems like the way to see the Redbirds in style!

That’s it for now. This is the second post, so keep scrolling to read about the awesome birthday party I attended last night.

Happy 10th birthday, Majestic Grille

One day in December 2005 I was walking down the Main Street Mall, on my way for a beer or two at the Saucer, when I ran into my friend Patrick Reilly. I had met Patrick two years earlier when he managed the Gibson Lounge and I attended several events there. Later Patrick managed Swig, the martini bar in the location that is now the Silly Goose. On that winter day, Patrick told me about his latest project. “Have you heard about the new restaurant?” he asked.

“No, not yet,” I replied. “Is it going to be Downtown?”

“Yes, in the old Gordon Biersch space,” Patrick told me. I had eaten at Gordon Biersch several times and while I did like their crawfish pizza, I hoped that their closing would make way for something local. Patrick began to tell me about the new restaurant that he and his then-girlfriend Deni were planning. “Did you know the building used to be a movie theater?” he asked. “It was called the Majestic. In the 1930s it was the place to be to watch the latest movies and shorts and newsreels. We’re going to keep the movie theater theme and call it The Majestic Grille.” Patrick said that it was going to be a place that while classy and elegant, would also be a place where diners would feel comfortable being themselves. The menu would be upscale American, but unlike some nice restaurants, the portions would be sizable, not skimpy. They were planning a bar where guests could get a cocktail on par with any cocktail lounge in town.

Patrick and Deni, you NAILED it.

When people ask me “What is your favorite restaurant?”, the Majestic is my answer.

When out-of-towners ask where they should go eat, the Majestic is my first recommendation.

There is no dish Downtown that says “comfort food” like the Majestic’s half roasted chicken, in pan juices with garlic mash and green beans. Of course I always ask for their focaccia bread and plenty of butter.

My favorite steak Downtown is the Majestic filet. I get it cooked medium rare with the garlic mash. Sometimes I will get the filet the simple way, topped with Majestic butter. Other times I will get it Au Poivre with a peppercorn crust and Jameson sauce. Like the chicken, it never disappoints.

When I want something more low-key, I might order the Majestic Burger, which can stand up to any burger in town. Other days I might decide on the Majestic’s Famous Grilled Cheese, with aged cheddar, bacon, tomato, and Creole mustard.

In 2007, the restaurant added Sunday brunch. Our regular brunch spot Sleep Out Louie’s just closed and the Majestic’s bar was a perfect place for us to relocate. Many a Sunday I would start my day with the smoked salmon hash or the breakfast flatbread. One of our group, my “DAWG” John D, even got a breakfast named after him. The Majestic is a very popular pre-theater and pre-ballgame destination, so much so that they eventually backed up their opening time to 10:30 AM on Sundays.

The holidays are always a special time. During the month of December the Majestic hosts Sunday suppers, family-style dinners that feed four. Diners are treated to classic Christmas movies on the big screen. The big holiday event every year is Clark’s Christmas, with National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation on the screen, with a costume contest and tacky sweater contest. This is one of the most popular Downtown events of the season and it always sells out with a long waiting list.

I have spent several New Year’s Eves with friends at the Majestic. Those were some of my favorite NYEs ever. They have their regular menu plus a few surprises from Chef Patrick, and it is an elegant but unpretentious spot to ring in the new year, a place for my friends and me to feel at home away from the craziness.

I’ve been to wedding receptions there. I’ve been to art openings there. I’ve been to rallies for my Congressman there. What an asset to Downtown. Our neighborhood just would not be the same at all without this lovely restaurant which, as of yesterday, has been open for 10 years. Last night I had the pleasure of attending a gala celebration of this milestone, a fantastic evening with good friends, good food, and good cocktails.

Congratulations Patrick and Deni. Downtown is so much richer a place because of the two of you.

Tuesday update

Happy birthday to my Congressman, Steve Cohen! I first met Steve when I volunteered on his 1996 campaign when he ran against Harold Ford Jr. I lived in Midtown at the time and walked to his office on Union nearly every day that summer, mostly doing database work. I know Steve checks out this blog from time to time, so happy birthday if you’re reading this. I wish every member of Congress had the integrity that Steve has.

I have another “happy birthday” too but I will save it for later…

If you take Front Street home from work, figure out an alternate route for today’s drive home. The street will be closed between Union and Gayoso for Million Dollar Quartet filming.

The St. Jude Marathon happens the first Saturday of every December. Thousands run a marathon, half-marathon, or 5K to raise money for the children’s cancer research hospital. Have you ever wanted to support a Hero who runs the race, but didn’t know one? You can support my friend and St. Jude Hero Misty here. Not only has Misty been my friend for over a decade, but she does a fabulous job as treasurer for our BBQ team. #runmistyrun

For my out-of-town readers who have never seen the Peabody Hotel in person, Google StreetView has a HotelView with 360 degree angles.

From Meet the Chinese Internet trolls pumping out 488 fake social media posts a year

Oh my God you can vote once an HOUR in the CA’s Memphis Most polling? That is the biggest sham ever. Skip this BS and wait for the REAL Best of Memphis poll, presented by the Memphis Flyer in the summer, in which you can only vote once (and you know what that vote should be for Best Blog).

ESPN is in the final stages of producing a 30 for 30 episode on the life of the “Nature Boy,” Ric Flair. Whoooooooooo!

My plans for this evening are to spend some time with some wonderful people. Well, that tends to be my plan every evening, but this one more so than most. Possibly a second post later today. Toodles!

Mon update #2: Yoga, tamales coming to Mud Island, and more

I don’t know if I have any readers who are into yoga, but if so, MyHQ has a free class Wednesday evening at 6:30 at the park across Front Street from Raymond James. Hosted by Downtown Yoga, the free session will be followed by a picnic in the park. MyHQ will supply the mats (although you can bring your own), music, and wine; you bring whatever food you want to eat. There are only 40 spots, so RSVP here if you plan on attending. Free parking in the garage on Front with the large blue P (tell them you are there for yoga). This event is weather permitting. MyHQ is gauging interest in offering a free sunrise yoga class on Wednesday mornings. Sun salutation – isn’t that one of the poses?

News for Mud Island residents: By special agreement with the Riverfront Development Corporation, the Tamale Trolley food truck will be at the Mississippi Greenbelt Park every Tuesday until close.

From the MBJ: The folks in charge of the Medical Center District are looking to build on the creative culture of The Edge, the neighborhood encompassing Madison, Monroe, Union and Marshall that stretches roughly from Danny Thomas to Sun Studio.

Trying to decide where to treat Dad for Father’s Day? That weekend, Friday, June 17 and Saturday, June 18, Bleu will have Steaks, Suds, & Spuds. Pick your steak, pick your draft flight, and pick your tater. Sounds so yummy it makes me wish I had children so I would get taken there… wait, no it doesn’t.

Also, Bleu will have a wine dinner this Thursday featuring California wines and cuisine.

Project Green Fork’s Loving Local fundraiser will take place at Loflin Yard Thursday, June 16 from 5:30 to 8:30 in the evening. There will be food by many great local restauants, Wiseacre and Memphis Made beer, and music by Sons of Mudboy. This is a 21 and up event.

Registration is now open for Tubby Smith basketball camps.

Vets are protesting at Trump Tower this week, and there was a sign that reads, “Trumpty Dumpty didn’t serve. Trumpty Dumpty broke his word.” That. Is. Awesome.

The Majestic Grille will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday, May 24, and will resume normal hours on Wednesday.

Heading out to Melissa Monday happy hour at Bardog, then over to Blind Bear. Back tomorrow with more news.

Monday update #1: New vegetarian restaurant, Beale book, and tons more

Mid-afternoon yesterday I found myself on the Silly Goose patio with friends. It’s graduation season, and people were parking and walking to FedExForum. It’s interesting to see what Memphians think is appropriate attire to wear to a graduation ceremony. One woman who walked past the Goose had on a shirt that read, “Kinda Classy, Kinda Hood.” Geez…

Congratulations to Ed and Brittney from South of Beale on their soon-to-open second restaurant. Ed became a vegetarian, then a vegan, in recent years. When he took a trip to DC and ate at a build-your-own veggie bowl restaurant, he was inspired. He is opening Zaka Bowl at 575 Erin Drive out in East Memphis. Customers will be able to choose from ingredients like quinoa, tofu, wild rice, roasted corn, apple slaw and more to build their bowl. I don’t know if I have any vegetarians who read this blog, but if I do, this is certainly good news for you.

My friend Darrell Cobbins recommended this book yesterday and I am about to start reading it: Beale Street Dynasty: Sex, Song, and the Struggle for the Soul of Memphis. Preston Lauterbach tells the story of how the Church family built Beale Street in the years following the 1866 race riot, and in the 20th century faced tension with the Crump political machine. Sounds like a great read.

Tickets are on sale for Saturday’s 901 Fest. Some of my friends were under the mistaken assumption that admission would be free. It’s not; nine bucks to get in. I plan on going to the new festival, although I need to coordinate with my friends and find out who is going and when.

The Grizzlies have a Director of Youth Basketball position open.

Style Blueprint has a good article about super-volunteer Katie Midgley.

If you’re a Cardinals fan and you plan on making a trip north to see a game sometime this season, I have some good news for you. Stats site FiveThirtyEight ranked MLB teams on their discounted pizza deals. Many teams have some kind of offer where fans can buy pizza at a discounted price if their team hits a certain milestone during a game. The Cardinals have the easiest milestone to hit of any MLB team – all they have to do is win. Three other teams have the same milestone, but the Cards win more than they do, getting fans discounted pizza 52.9% of the time.

FiveThirtyEight also has an article on how do you feed a T. Rex? There has been some debate lately on whether the king of the dinosaurs even hunted at all; that it may have been a scavenger. However, statistics indicate that the mighty lizard would not have had enough access to food to survive simply by eating already-dead animals that it came across.

The Salty Dogs are running to Sun Studio and back tonight. It’s free to participate, just meet at Bardog at 7 PM ready to run. There are specials for runners afterward in the Underdog Room.

Historian Jimmy Ogle is leading a free lunchtime tour of the Pinch tomorrow, Tuesday, May 24. Meet at Westy’s at 11:45 AM.

That Kentucky Hot Brown special is back at Bardog today. Good stuff.

Happy birthday to my Blind Bear buddy Nate. Nate’s hobbies include drinking moonshine, naps, and eating French fries off the plates of complete strangers. Other than his own bed, Nate’s favorite spot to nap is Best Memphis Burger Fest.

Got a ton more news, so there may be a second post after work before I head to Melissa Monday at Bardog. Check back about 5:30 for more.

Well-known Downtown bartender to relocate + more Sunday news

Before I get started, let me say happy 40th anniversary to my friends Gary and Boo. When I think of people who make Downtown the special neighborhood that it is, you two are among the first to come to mind. Love you guys.

One Sunday in June 2003, I was hanging out at Sleep Out Louie’s with my friends Kit, Kelly, Shane, Leigh, and Aunt Terry. It had been an extremely long day, but the sun was still up and we didn’t feel like going home. “Let’s go over to the Flying Saucer and throw some darts,” Shane suggested.

The Saucer is known for the girls who work there, but the bartender that night was a man. “We have Sunday Night Swill for a buck fifty,” he told me. “PBR, Schlitz, or Old Mliwaukee for $1.50 a can, and we give you a paper bag to put it in.” I knew from college that Schlitz and Old Milwaukee were pretty nasty, but I was willing to give PBR a try.

“The name’s Jim,” he told me, shaking my hand. Over the next 13 years I would see Saucer girls come and go. Some would only be there a brief time, some for years. They would eventually, though. Through it all, Jim was the constant.

Well, folks, Elvis has left the building. But that’s a good thing.

Yesterday Jim announced that starting in a few weeks, he will be bartending the coach house by the stage at Loflin Yard on Friday and Saturday nights. If Jim has ever served you a beer, go by and see him – and not just to see Jim, but because the yard is one of the neatest spaces in Memphis.

Lunch yesterday was tamales from Maciel’s Tortas and Tacos.

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Like everything else at Maciel’s, these are the real deal. Chicken or bell pepper (rajaz) tamales wrapped in corn shucks, with lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado on the side. I ordered two of each, and sides of rice and beans (not pictured). If that sounds like a lot of food, it is. The reason I got so much is that Maciel’s is closed on Sunday, and so I wanted enough to last two days. I’m eating leftovers as I type this post.

I don’t know if I have any vegetarians who read this blog, but on the off-chance that I do, I will mention that the bell pepper tamales were even better than the chicken. Not that carnivores should not branch out and try the rajaz tamale too – you definitely should.

They recently got the second floor open for expanded dining. I will get up there soon and get photos. I should have done it yesterday but my mind was on nothing but tamales.

I will say it one more time – Maciel’s is not a “I hear it’s good, one of these days I will get around to trying it” type of restaurant. It is a GO IMMEDIATELY, YOU ARE MISSING OUT type. The food there really is that good and the prices are quite reasonable. I have friends who eat there five or six times a week.

Joe Walsh is coming to the Mud Island Amphitheatre Saturday, August 13. Along with the former Eagle, JD & The Straight Shot will perform. Tickets go on sale June 3 at 10 AM.

Therapy Session Tour featuring NF with Social Club comes to the New Daisy this evening. Doors at 6, show at 7. Tickets start at $9.

The Redbirds host Fresno in a 2 PM game this afternoon. The first 2500 kids will receive a free ice cream treat.

As expected, yesterday I got to introduce two new customers to the Memphis Farmers Market. They enjoyed the fruits of the Fuel food truck, having a breakfast burrito and some bison tacos. Afterward they bought some strawberries and flowers. Chicken Fried Steak Rodger, one of the Market newcomers, told me yesterday evening that those were about the freshest strawberries he ever had, and he regretted not buying two boxes instead of just one. We also had The Bad, Bad Man with the Smoothie in his Hand times two, as Otto joined us and paid a visit to the So Fresh juice truck. I’ll be back at the Market next Saturday, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.

By the way… Market customers, if you have never wandered behind the pavilion to where Bluff City Coffee is set up, you need to go check them out. Those pastries looked out of this world! Next week I am going to get in a breakfast kind of mood before I go up there and get a cinnamon roll or muffin or something else yummy.

First stop today is D-RANKS with J-NETTE. I was told last night that B-RAD will be out of pocket. The substitute is more than acceptable, though. It’s time for Sunday Fun Day!