Big Wednesday update: Music Fest lineup, possible grocery store, Brass Door news and lots more

It’s that day of the year, when half of your friends are going, “I can’t wait for Music Fest! This is the best lineup ever!” and the other half are all like, “Man, the lineup this year sucks. There’s almost no one I care about seeing.” View the 2018 Memphis in May Beale Street Music Fest lineup and decide for yourself which side you are on.

There’s speculation that the former Spaghetti Warehouse on Huling may be turned into a grocery store. The building is the right size for a mid-sized grocery store (Sprouts was mentioned as a possibility) and there is ample parking. Sounds good but I don’t know if Sprouts is exactly what I would want going in there… it would draw business away from the Memphis Farmers Market on Saturdays.

The Brass Door will host a special appearance by NYFD Emerald Society Piper Jim Lee Thursday night from 7:30 to 8:30. Jim is a former pipe major and decorated NYFD hero who entertains crowds around the world.

In other Brass Door news, they are stepping up their game at their 3-6 PM happy hour on the weekdays. Garlic shrimp, sausage roll, corned beef slider, pretzel twists with dips, and chips are only $4 each during this time.

There’s also cheap bar eats on the south side of Downtown.

Monday night I finally got around to trying one of the hot dogs on the new menu at Max’s Sports Bar. I got the Chicago Style dog with an all-beef frank topped with mustard, relish, a pickle spear, tomatoes, onions, sport peppers, and celery salt. It was very good. Most of the hot dogs on Max’s menu are in the $4 price range.

My troll thought the sport peppers and pickle were what really made this a great meal. She tends to like foods that match her hair. In fact, I’m drinking a Mountain Dew Throwback as I type this and she is asking if she can have some.

Hoppy Hour is coming to Bardog March 1.

Pint of Laguintas IPA and Jameson Caskmates IPA edition for $10 5 to 7 that night. By the way, I have to mention what an excellent job Bardog does curating a fine list of local and regional beers (and the Cadillac of beers, PBR) on tap.

Meme I saw on Facebook the other day:

Yup. Guess I won’t be putting any beers on that person’s tab anytime soon.

I Love Memphis has a fantastic interview with Shamichael Hallman and the plan to turn the Cossitt Library into a community hub that benefits all of Memphis’ citizens. Definitely worth five minutes of your time to read.

The Redbirds are looking to hire a visiting team clubhouse manager. The position is part-time and seasonal.


The first wave of ServiceMaster employees has moved into their new Downtown home.

And Sunrise Memphis had a welcome for them:

That’ll do it for now. Today could turn out to be exciting for me. I have been approached about doing some pro bono digital marketing work to help promote a great nonprofit down here that I have believed in since the day I moved Downtown. Hopefully today I will find out more about what I can do with them. Outta here, back tomorrow with more news.

Monday update

There will be a dinner and cabaret show this Saturday, February 24 at Cafe Keough, presented by Kitty Wompas’ Cathouse. It’s $25, with doors opening at 6:30, dinner at 7, band at 8, and show at 9. Performers will include Le Tumulte Noir, Goldie Dee, Hoop Rebel, and Kitty Wompas. The show is sponsored by the Memphis Flyer.

The Beale Street Caravan radio show and podcast has uploaded its latest episode: Music from the International Blues Challenge 2018 finals.

News on Gray Canary’s grand opening:

Daaaaang. WWE announced today that Jeff Jarrett, who cut his teeth in a wrestling ring here in Memphis, will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. If you’re familiar with pro wrestling history, you know that is like hell freezing over. Jarrett held up the then-WWF for a $150,000 payday in 1999, refusing to drop the Intercontinental title before leaving for WCW if he didn’t get the money. In 2001, after buying WCW, Vince McMahon publicly fired Jarrett on two national cable networks. The following year, Jarrett and his father started the company that has most successfully competed with WWE this century. Strange that Vince McMahon did an about-face and put Jarrett in this year’s HOF class.

My troll is not alone. The folks at the Majestic told me they have a troll too, and it has yellow hair.

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow I hope.

Lots of Sunday news: My dream chair, Belle Tavern charcuterie, learn about being on a nonprofit board, more

The Brass Door is giving away a BEAUTIFUL chair at its St. Patrick’s Day party next month.

Me sitting in a PBR chair, wearing my PBR hoodie, drinking a PBR. Best photo ever.

But wait, there’s more. The seat is a pull-out cooler.

Be sure to come to Brass Door on March 17 for a chance to win. Downtown’s Irish public house will be the place to party on St. Patrick’s Day.

Leadership Memphis is having a seminar on March 22, open to the public, on serving on a nonprofit board of directors. Brian J. Stephens, CEO of Caissa Public Strategy, will lay out the ABCs, expectations, and commitments associated with being on a nonprofit board. I served on the board of young professionals’ organization MPACT Memphis 2004-2005 and I can tell you, it is a very rewarding way to give back to the community and help shape the future of an organization you care about. It looks great on a resume and LinkedIn as well.

In recent weeks I have been hearing that Belle Tavern has an amazing butcher board/charcuterie/meat & cheese plate. I haven’t been hungry enough to swing by myself and give it a try, but this weekend they tweeted a photo.

Holy damn. That’s one of the best looking butcher boards I’ve ever seen. I need to get by there and try this. Although, I’ll probably need to fast for a day to be hungry enough to tackle it.

Wild Bill’s, the legendary juke joint on Vollintine in North Memphis, is back open Friday and Saturday nights. Doors open at 8, music at 9, and the place stays open until 3.

Seeing the writing on the wall that South Main is about to kick into overdrive in 2018, the Arcade is expanding. Front room will remain the same but they will enlarge the back room.

Tamp & Tap has added sandwiches, salads, and pastas from Passione Foods to their grab & go. Franco from Tap & Tap tried Passione’s creations at Miss Cordelia’s and immediately knew he had to start carrying them. He got in touch with the owner and within a day they had an agreement. The food flew off the shelves Friday but they will re-stock tomorrow.

The Blind Bear has added Pig Tail Porter, a brew made by Diamond Bear from my home town of Little Rock (North Little Rock, if you insist on being technical) to their tap selection. By the way, for my friends who are into craft beer, Little Rock is an easy weekend trip with a number of great breweries.

Proud Voter and the Tennessee Equality project have a website where you can register to vote, sign up for election reminders, and check to make sure your registration is valid.

Already getting “thanks for the Maciel’s recommendation” messages from readers who live in the University of Memphis area. True, authentic Mexican that is a must-try.

Moody Ques teammates – got a few things to share. Going to get an email out in the next day or two, but since many of you read this blog I’ll put it here as well:

First of all, we handed in our 2018 BBQ Fest application on Friday. In doing so, we had to write a check that almost completely drained our bank account. We really need people to pay their dues so we have money to pay vendors and other expenses that will be coming our way in March and April. You can pay on the team website or email to arrange payment by check or cash.

Secondly, at the last planning meeting we talked about forming a sponsorship committee. If you would be interested in being a part of it, email The more the merrier when it comes to pursuing sponsors, and this is an excellent way to step into a leadership role.

Thirdly, I have had potential members hesitate to pay and join for 2018 because they are concerned they won’t be able to get their invited guests into the booth. Member/guest experience at the door is a first impression and therefore I see it as a public relations matter. I’ve talked with our vice-president about it and it is going to be an agenda item at our next meeting.

We also had one of Downtown’s premier bartenders approach us about working our bar. Not sure we can make that work from a financial standpoint, but the fact that she reached out and let us know that the Moody Ques are her preferred team is quite a compliment.

Excellent quote about sports figures using their fame as a platform to express their political views:

That’ll do it for this post. Back tomorrow or Tuesday with more news. Shaping up to be a full week of skills tests and interviews.

Vermicelli Bowl @ Oshi Asian Kitchen

I rewarded myself after a fruitful week job hunting, including an interview at a company multiple people have told me is a wonderful place to work, with dinner at Oshi Asian Kitchen yesterday. Having had sushi the past few times there, I decided to explore the main menu.

The Vermicelli Bowl, I suppose, could be called a cousin to their pho and ramen dishes. It has a base of vermicelli topped with shredded carrots, purple cabbage, chicken, beef, shrimp, miniature spring rolls, and an egg. It comes with a side of fish sauce. “Should I pour the fish sauce over the bowl?” I asked, not familiar with this dish.

“The fish sauce is spicy,” they advised me. “Pouring it in the bowl might make the bowl too spicy to eat. We recommend you dip your food in the fish sauce.” Having made the mistake of putting too many jalapenos in my pho on a previous visit, torching my tongue in the process, I decided it was best to heed the advice. They brought me both a fork and chopsticks and I used chopsticks to dip the meats in the fish sauce.

Very filling and there was no shortage of meat in the bowl. The mini spring rolls and the fish sauce were nice complements. A delicious dinner and one that I would recommend next time you come to Oshi.

I talked to sushi chef Minh a bit, and he told me there will be karaoke tonight at Oshi from 8 to 11. Also, he said he was thinking about doing an all you can eat sushi night on Monday. Call the restaurant to confirm this, but he told me he was thinking $25 for the basic rolls or $30 for the deluxe rolls.

Couple of good live music gigs on the south side tonight: Chris Hill plays The Vault, and Eric Hughes plays Dirty Crow Inn. If you’re more into the classical stuff, MSO will be at the Cannon Center performing Tchaikovsky’s Fifth.

In case you missed the news: Special Counsel Muller’s team handed down 13 indictments against Russian trolls who used social media to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and three Russian businesses as well. Sources I follow on Twitter indicate that this is an opening shot and a lot more dominoes are going to start falling rapidly. Also, Paul Manafort’s right-hand man Rick Gates has flipped and is singing to Mueller like a canary, which has resulted in a new charge of bank fraud against Manafort.

That’s it for now. Blog posts may be sparse in the next week as my job hunting efforts kick into overdrive.

Friday update

Crawfish Sunday has been announced by Max’s Sports Bar for this Sunday. Doors open at 11:30 AM, crawfish ready by noon. You get one pound for $12 or two for $20. They come cooked perfectly spiced with all the trimmings – corn, taters, and sausage. I haven’t been to every crawfish boil in town but I can vouch that the crawfish here are very far above average.

Expect to see more of me at Max’s Sports Bar the next two weeks. Great place to watch the Olympics and the time is especially opportune for some conversations with people who hang out down there.

Nice to see the Flying Saucer’s best Beerknurd, Gary Smith, getting some love on Twitter as he completed his 34th time around the Ring of Honor.

The Memphis Flyer has an excellent story about B.J. Tamayo, the lady behind the food at Alcenia’s. If you’re in the mood for some soul food, this place on North Main in the Pinch District is hard to beat. One note, though: Your lunch may run a little over an hour (it did the times I have been there) so bear that in mind if your work is strict about how long you take for lunch.

I recently found an excellent app called OurCalling that lists resources for the homeless nationwide. I searched for Memphis and there were a huge number of search results returned. If you get approached by the homeless asking for help, as many of us Downtowners do, might want to get this app on your phone.

A new cocktail bar called Tailors’ Union is coming to 115 Union. That is next door to where the 117 Prime steakhouse is going in.

The folks at New Wing Order contacted me recently to let me know they will be starting up a food truck and it will be out on the streets by this fall. Here’s the tentative menu.

The Memphis Farmers Market has announced new hours for its 2018 season: 8 AM to 1 PM, so it will be starting an hour later than in previous years.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association will meet Tuesday, February 27 at the Brass Door. Speaker is TBA. Social at 6, meeting at 6:30. Come check out this newly-reopened Irish public house if you have not done so already.

Many of my readers are probably too young to remember George Burns, but for those who do, Say Goodnight, Gracie is coming to the Halloran Centre tomorrow and Sunday. George Burns was part of a comedy/dance team, the straight man to his wife Grace Allen. After Allen died, Burns embarked on a solo career, gaining a reputation as a comedian who was really, really old (he lived to be 100).

Sorry I had to be away from the blog for a couple of days, but I was busy studying C# and T-SQL and prepping for technical interviews (and buying dress shirts that fit and remembering how to tie a necktie). My blog posts may be a little irregular for the week to come as well, because I have more on the horizon. Got “homework” from an interview I had this morning and I have two more recruiters wanting to talk to me about open positions.

For right now, though, I am at the point of information overload. I am calling it a week and heading to Bardog for the afternoon.

A first visit to Pontotoc Lounge

You’d think it wouldn’t have taken me three months to get to Pontotoc Lounge, the new jazz lounge on South Main in the former Cafe Pontotoc space. It’s only about 7 blocks from where I live, and it was opened by Daniel Masters (Silly Goose/Civil Pour) who I have known for 14 years. I’m a creature of habit, though, and it took me a while to break out of my regular rotation. Finally, Holly’s post last week made me realize I needed to get down there and try this place for myself.

I got there about 4:30, not long after opening, and was the first one there. This is the kind of place I like – classy and elegant, but not pretentious. Soft jazz was playing on the speakers and they have live jazz later in the evenings on some days.

They have PBR in 16 ounce cans for $3. I got one with my early dinner, although on a future visit I want to come back and let bartender Cady make me one of Pontotoc’s specialty cocktails. The thing about Daniel’s bars is, he spends quite a bit of time in New York studying the latest cocktail trends, and he brings what he learned back to Memphis and trains his staff. You can always count on getting a good drink at one of his places.

As for what to eat, the Mississippi Pot Roast Holly blogged about looked amazing, but I wasn’t hungry enough. Therefore, I decided to order two appetizers: The Trout Deviled Eggs and the Alligator Fritters.

The trout deviled eggs were delicious – I have loved deviled eggs since I was a child – and I thought getting four of them for $6 was a very good value. The alligator fritters were different from other places I have had alligator in that their consistency was more like that of crab cakes. They came with remoulade sauce and I thoroughly enjoyed them.

Service was excellent. I bet this place has a great vibe later in the evening when more people are gathered. I will be back.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: I may take a couple of days off from this blog. I have a technical interview Friday morning with a company I would really love to work for, and I want to spend lots of time preparing. So, if it’s a few days before I’m back with a new post, please forgive me.

Tuesday update

Got a question for my readers who live in the Shrine Building: HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO SLEEP? At 3:45 this morning I heard the sound of construction equipment and jackhammers digging more holes on Monroe as they have been doing for over two years. I can hear it a block away. I can’t imagine what it must be like actually living on Monroe. I understand why they do it early, so as not to disrupt traffic, but is disrupting sleep in a residential neighborhood any better?

Twitter account to follow: @mem_saysnomore. Memphis Says No More is a nonprofit whose mission is to end sexual assault, rape, and domestic violence in our city. It’s not the most pleasant issue to discuss but it’s one that we cannot afford to sweep under the rug.

On to a lighter subject: chips.

The Tennessee Brewery is hiring a part-time leasing professional. You can hit them up on Facebook if interested.

Memphis in May’s 2018 Volunteer Expo is this Thursday at the Memphis Botanic Garden 6 to 8 PM.

If you’re not on Nxtdoor, you’re missing out.

Surprising news: Sache, the clothing and hair boutique on South Main, is closing April 1.

Memphis Pets Alive plans on holding an introduction for prospective volunteers on February 25. Follow them at @MemphisPetsAlive on Twitter for more details in the days to come.

The MBJ has a slideshow of Memphis’ newest brewery, Crosstown Brewing Co.

Musical The Color Purple is at the Orpheum today through Sunday.

Memphis Black Restaurant Week has been set for March 5 through 11 with 12 participating restaurants.

Woohoo! Just set up an interview for Friday morning with an awesome company. Hopefully I will be back in the game soon. Back tomorrow with more news.

Monday update

The Brass Door is having a countdown to Paddy’s Day this Saturday, February 17, exactly one month before St. Patrick’s. There will be live music and Jameson IPA ‘Hoppy’ Hour Tasting featuring Caskmates IPA, Stout and Black Barrel. They’ll be giving away Jameson swag, and there will be a raffle to win a Jameson Coleman grill.

Seth who’s organizing the Jalapeno Popper Throwdown next month made jalapeno cornbread poppers this weekend. Here’s a recipe.

In other cooking news, Chef Zach Parks of South of Beale is interviewed by Southern Living on how to make salmon.

Sad to hear of the passing of WMC TV-5 newsman Ben Watson. He was a gentle soul who was deeply respected in his field.

Lifehacker has an easy way to track how many medals each country has won at the Winter Olympics in real time.

Last Friday when I was typing my post about Kalua Pig, I mis-typed it Kalua Pug, and as I corrected it I thought, “I wonder if you can get Kalua Pug at the Olympics in Korea?” Sadly, it looks like the answer is yes. Dog meat is still a delicacy in Korea, although younger generations are increasingly steering away from this dietary habit.

An arrest has been made in a shooting that happened outside a theater in The Edge in December.

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow.

Sunday update: Downtown Night at the Grizzlies, second Maciel’s location to open and moreu

Grizzlies Downtown Night is back Friday, March 9. Downtowners can get a special ticket package for $85 Pinnacle Level or $35 Terrace Level. The package includes a seat to the game, a reception in the Draft Room on the Pinnacle Level, and a special Grizzlies 38103 T-shirt. Game time is 7 PM and the Utah Jazz are the opponent. To purchase the ticket package, contact Carl Rosen at 901-205-1445 or email

Great news for those of you in the University of Memphis area: Maciel’s Tortas and Tacos is opening a second location out there. It will be at 525 S. Highland, formerly R.P. Billiards and the Highland Cue. Y’all, I’m going to say this one more time. This is not a “one of these days I’ll get around to eating there” type of place. This is a “drop everything and go there NOW” place. The food is that good.

The World Championship Squirrel Cook-Off is Saturday, September 8 in Bentonville, Arkansas. Squirrel corn dogs, squirrel-stuffed pickles, squirrel ice cream and more. Sounds delish.

Chisca Bar at LYFE Kitchen will host Eat Your Heart Out, a special four-course dinner ending with a chocolate temptation dessert, on February 14 from 5 to 9 PM. $35.

The Memphis Tigers host UCF at FedExForum today at 3.

LUNCHBOXeats will be on the Travel Channel tonight at 8 on Chowin’ Down the Mississippi.

Sunday Fun Day! With the Olympics on, I see myself spending more time at Max’s Sports Bar in the days to come. Back tomorrow with more news.