Tue update: 3rd & Court, New Wing Order, Sage, Rawk’n Grub and more news

Yesterday I met my friend Joe for lunch at 3rd & Court, the new diner at the corner of B.B. King (formerly Third) and Court, in the ground floor of Hotel Indigo. It’s owned by the same people who run two highly successful Downtown restaurants, Sunrise Memphis and 117 Prime, so my expectations for the food quality were high.

The first thing I noticed when I looked at the menu was the hours of operation. I had heard 3rd & Court would be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but there are restaurants Downtown who claim to be open for dinner but only half mean it, closing at 7 or 8. Not so in this case. 3rd & Court is open 6:30 AM-11:00 PM Sunday-Thursday and 6:30 AM-midnight Friday and Saturday. That’s ambitious for a restaurant that is a couple of blocks off the beaten path as far as foot traffic is concerned. With all the law offices nearby they’ll do fine for breakfast and lunch, but I’m curious to see what they will do to build a dinner crowd.

They have burgers, dunked sandwiches (dunked in tomato soup or pork and beans), regular sandwiches, and salads for lunch, and they serve breakfast all day. However, the lunch specials caught my eye. $11 gets you the special of the day and two sides. The specials are

Monday – Beast Loaf
Tuesday – Smothered Pork Chop
Wednesday – Fried Chicken
Thursday – Mac Bowl (various toppings)
Friday – Catfish (Cajun broiled or fried)

The sides, also available a la carte for $3, are

Seasoned fries
Tater tots
Collard greens
Mac & cheese
Green beans
Mashed potatoes
Roasted tomato slaw
Farm peas

Joe and I both ordered the Beast Loaf and in about 15 minutes it came out.

The Beast Loaf is a loaf of cow, lamb and bison, wrapped in bacon. Mmmm mmmm this was yummy! Usually I get mashed potatoes as a side with a meat-and-two, but I just couldn’t resist tater tots, which complemented the Beast Loaf well. As for the collard greens, look at all that meat in them! Joe commented, “The greens definitely aren’t vegetarian.” No they’re not and that is A-OK in my book. When I come back for other lunch specials I will sample around the different sides, but the greens will be a constant on my plate.

Joe had the roasted tomato slaw as one of his sides and was complimentary of it. “Most places make their slaw too sweet, dumping 10 teaspoons of sugar in there,” he said. “You don’t need that. This is how it should be.”

I was quite impressed with my lunch. The $11 price point is slightly higher than many restaurants charge for meat-and-two, but it is not unreasonable. Besides, the quality of the food is so far above average that the $11 price point is justifiable.

A manager came over and asked how our lunch was, and told us he was very interested in any constructive criticism we had of the place, that he was serious about wanting to know what he could do to improve. Joe had one criticism, and now that I’ve investigated, I agree. By the time they opened their restaurant, they should have had their full menu on their website. As of this morning, their second day of operation, they only have a form to fill out to receive news about 3rd & Court. That can discourage people like me who want to check out a restaurant’s menu online before going in for the first time.

(You actually can see their menu online. Go to their Facebook page, scroll down until you see a photo post by Edible Memphis, and look for the “+7” in the lower right corner. Click on that and you’ll see photos of both the breakfast and lunch/dinner menus.

Overall, though, I enjoyed my lunch and was impressed with the place. I see potential in 3rd & Court to expand perceptions that there is no place to eat north of Monroe or east of Second. If that is the case, it may go a long way to making that area of Downtown more walkable.

Oh, by the way, fun fact… you know those Tiger statues all over town? If you sit in the back part of the diner (the end closer to Court Avenue), look closely and you’ll see one on top of a building on Court.

Whew! 30 minutes into typing this post and I’m still on my first news item… of many. You might want to grab a cup of coffee and a snack before you continue reading. Yesterday’s post was short but this one will not be.

My second item of business is more good news for people who eat lunch Downtown. The New Wing Order food truck has finally been approved to join the Thursday food truck rodeos in Court Square, and it will be there from 11:00 to 1:30 this Thursday. For those unfamiliar with the truck, these are good folks who became obsessed with wings, cooking, and entrepreneurship, competed in Southern Hot Wing Fest and won the grand championship twice, and then started a food truck. I’ve said it many times before, the best businesses are extensions of the owners’ personalities, and that is the case here.

Check out a preview post I did on New Wing Order last year to get a look at some of their offerings. Their full menu is on their website. If you don’t know what to get, I recommend starting with the Memphis Buffalo wings that got them their two grand championships. I’m surfing their menu myself trying to figure out what I’m going to have Thursday myself (see, 3rd & Court, this is why you put your menu online). It’s either going to be their hot wing nachos or their wings served in Nikki’s Hot Seasoning. For vegetarians and vegans there is an avocado taco (choice of fried or raw avocado) that is quite tasty.

Speaking of vegetarians and vegans – and while I don’t know for sure if I have any vegetarians who read this blog, I’m pretty sure I have one – I mentioned that Sage, the new soul food/fusion restaurant in the former Oshi space, would be doing vegetarian lunch specials every day this week. Here they are:

Today – Cucumber and watermelon salad with crispy jalapeno Tajin dressing
Soup: Broccoli and cheese

Wednesday – Impossible meatloaf with cauliflower mash and Brussels sprouts
Soup: Watermelon gazpacho

Thursday – Vegetarian lasagna with side salad
Soup: Chicken fiesta

Friday – Vegan or vegetarian pizza
Soup: Chicken, sausage, and shrimp gumbo (wait, that’s not vegetarian???)

I love a good vegetarian lasagna and would go in there Thursday, but that’s a conflict with the New Wing Order truck’s first Court Square food rodeo. By the way, Thursday is going to be a big day, with the US Women’s National Team playing Sweden in the 2019 World Cup at 2, and then the NBA draft at 6 (please don’t screw this up guys… pick Ja Morant).

One more thing about Sage: By popular demand, they’re bringing back the vegetarian version of their Soul Rolls egg rolls this week.

Got one more lunch recommendation for you to check out: Tre, one of the bartenders at the Blind Bear, has been getting really creative collaborating with the cooks on some lunch specials. He usually works the Tuesday and Wednesday lunch shifts, so check the Bear out to see what he’s dreamed up. The Bear is now open 11 AM-3 AM every day. One thing I really like: They keep it nonsmoking during lunch hours, although smokers can go into the back room.

Now that I’ve given you a few lunch options to check out this week, let me double back to New Wing Order for a minute. This Saturday at 2:30, they will team up with Crosstown Brewing Co. for a beer and wing pairing. $15 gets you sample sized  portions of 4 beers and wings, expertly paired, including

  • Terraplane Planer and award-winning Memphis Buffalo
  • Chowdah New England IPA and Grind City Gold
  • Boll Weevil Saison and Midtown Masala
  • Traffic IPA and Mud Island Jerk

The taproom will have its full offering of brews and the New Wing Order truck will be on site with its full menu. I’ve done a little research and there really doesn’t seem to be much of importance to do Downtown Saturday afternoon, so it might be a good day to hop into a Lyft or an Uber or onto an Explore bike and head out to the brewery.

I’ll even give you a bonus reason to head out to Crosstown on Saturday: Global Cafe in Crosstown Concourse has added a new chef who specializes in Venezuelan fare. He will be serving up tequeños, empenadas, arepas, pabellón and asado negro.

Edible Memphis went on a search for shrimp and grits and two of my very talented chef friends made it into the article. Rizzo’s by Michael Patrick, who I have known nearly the entire time I have been a Downtowner, was the first stop. For the article’s author it was a throwback to days at McEwen’s where she first tried the recipe. Since the recipe has changed and the one on Rizzo’s menu is different now, Chef agreed to share the recipe for the original in a bonus video.

Then Chef Michael made a surprising recommendation: For really good shrimp and grits, go to a gas station. I met Chef Steph Cook a few years ago when his RAWK’n Grub food truck was parked outside one of the local breweries where I was attending an event. (Now that I think about it, I met him the same day I met my troll for the first time.) Chef Steph moved into a permanent space in the Citgo at Summer and Highland a couple of years ago. Steph serves up bourbon sticky spiced shrimp over Gouda grits, scallions, and smoked blue cheese. Check it out, and if shrimp and grits aren’t your thing, check out the burgers and sandwiches. Best gas station food you’ll ever have!

But, good news: Soon, if you want RAWK’n Grub food, you won’t have to drive all the way out to Highland to get it. The Daily Memphian reports that Chef Steph is opening a second RAWK’n Grub location at Growlers, the music hall at 1911 Poplar. The Citgo location will remain open and Steph will split his time between them. The full menu will be offered at Growlers and there will be a late night bar menu as well. Growlers owner Tony Westmoreland has promised to do everything he can to make RAWK’n Grub successful there, including possibly opening for lunch there at some point in the future.

Yesterday was the Toronto Raptors’ championship parade. It’s good to see Marc Gasol so happy.

If you’re looking for a reasonably-priced apartment in South Main, one that is a block away from the new Malco Powerhouse and one which has a 333-year old landlord from the planet Zambodia, have I got news for you. Prince Mongo has a one-bedroom, 1100 SF apartment for rent at 481 S. Main. It’s a very secure building, all appliances included, and $950 a month rent includes utilities. Very secure building, great neighborhood, friendly neighbors. If interested email me at paul@paulryburn.com and I will put you in touch.

Looking to break into the hospitality industry? River Inn of Harbor Town has summer internships in guest services, accounting, and marketing. The positions are part-time and pay $11 an hour.

The CA has more info on the dog park that could be coming to the corner of South Front and G.E. Patterson. If a CCDC grant is approved, the dog park will be finished in about three months.

The MBJ has an exclusive: The first renderings of the proposed Snuff District along Wolf River Harbor in Uptown.

For my readers who are Scotch fans: Relaxed rules may soon allow Scotch to be aged in tequila barrels

Jennifer Biggs of the Daily Memphian talks with Cristina McCarter about Sunday’s Craft Food and Wine Festival in this week’s Destination: Delicious Podcast.

That’s it for this long post. I hope I’ve made you hungry! Back tomorrow with more news.