Wed update: Memphis Walker @ River Time Market & Deli, U of M excels, and more

Yesterday I tried a new Downtown deli, River Time Market & Deli. This is a place that is easy not to notice because it’s tucked away on the south side of Court Square, in between Blue Plate Cafe and the former Cupcake Cutie location (111 South Court is the address). I found their menu on their Facebook page and decided to walk up there for lunch yesterday.

The first thing to know is, be prepared to take your sandwich or salad back to your home or office. The place is small and they only have 3 tables, two 4-tops and a 2-top. Secondly, don’t expect to be in and out of there in a few minutes (unless you hit the grab & go; more on that in a minute). This is not a bad thing. They hand-cut the deli meats and cheeses at the time you order your sandwich, and they prepare it with care.

My lunch yesterday:

This is the Memphis Walker: Pit ham, Genoa salami, smoked turkey and mozzarella heated and placed on a sub roll, then topped with lettuce, banana peppers, mayonnaise, and Italian dressing. You get your choice of chips or potato salad on the side. Very good and a much higher quality sandwich than you’d find at one of the chain sub shops nearby.

I will be back, and I tell you, what I want to try next is breakfast. They have biscuit sandwiches for $2.99, and the Deli Ham Cheeser (pit ham, pimiento cheese on a hot buttered biscuit) and the Walkin in Memphis (fried beef bologna and praline mustard on a hot buttered biscuit) are high on my to-eat list. Also on the agenda will be a cornbread breakfast sandwich, which you can build with your choice of meat (pit ham, sausage, bacon, turkey) and cheese (cheddar, Swiss, American, pimiento). Breakfast hours are 8:00-10:30 and the deli is open 8 AM-6 PM Monday-Saturday.

As for the “market” part, they do have a very small selection of groceries including peanut butter, hot sauce, cookies, and candy bars. They have a lot of cold drinks including Coca-Cola products, health drinks, and specialties like South American beverage yerba mate. They have a grab & go with pimiento cheese and various salads like potato salad and fruit salad. They don’t have sandwiches in the grab & go; it’s like a smaller version of the grab & go at Holiday Ham.

If this place has flown under your radar and you work Downtown, I encourage you to get in there this week and check it out. This place is a true mom-and-pop business that needs our support if it is going to make it in that somewhat out-of-the-way location.

PRO TIP: I bet Thursdays are River Time’s least busy days if you want to avoid crowds. That’s the day they have to compete with nearby food trucks.

Yesterday I pulled up The Daily Memphian’s website and saw a headline from sports writer Geoff Calkins that the University of Memphis is nationally ranked. I thought to myself, as much as Penny has loaded the men’s basketball team with talent, I would expect the U of M to be top 10 in that sport. Then I thought, I’m surprised the AP poll and coaches’ poll are out this early, though.

Then I realized, oh, wait, Memphis must have made the top 25 in football this week, following their thundering victory over Southern University last Saturday. But, no. Memphis did receive votes, but not enough to get into the top 25.

I re-read the Calkins article and learned that the University of Memphis is ranked not in a sport, but academically. For the first time ever, Memphis is in the top tier of universities by U.S. News and World Report. I am SO PROUD of my alma mater (grad school) and the place where I worked as a full-time instructor for 5 years. I have kept my eye on the university since my time there, and I have seen a dramatic improvement in all aspects of learning: facilities, quality of instruction, you name it. Heck, they’ve even built a pedestrian bridge so students can get past the damn train and get to class on time.

Calkins rightly points out that the top-tier ranking is not only a result of significant improvements in instruction and graduation rates, but a marketing campaign by University of Memphis president M. David Rudd. He wanted to make sure the U of M did not remain a hidden secret in the world of academia. Dr. Rudd is a great follow on Twitter at @UofMemphisPres. He’s clearly a great communicator and a real people person.

Get ready for extremely heavy traffic on Saturday, as two of Memphis’ premier fall events happen that day. The Southern Heritage Classic is an annual football game between two historically black colleges, this year Tennessee State and Jackson State. Kickoff is at the Liberty Bowl at 6 PM. Expect very heavy traffic in that part of town not just during game time, but all day (I’ll get to why in a moment). The Classic is more than just a football game; it’s a four-day cultural celebration beginning today. There’s a Classic Concert with Gladys Knight and Jeffrey Osborne tomorrow night at the Orpheum, and a Classic Music Festival with Keith Sweat, Joe & Tamia Friday at the Landers Center.

Post-game, tens of thousands of attendees will come Downtown to party. Expect heavy traffic on Second, Peabody Place, etc. 9:30 PM to about 2 AM.

The other huge event happening Saturday, not far away from the Classic, is the annual Cooper-Young Festival. Since the late ’80s this festival has grown, to the point that it now extends down Cooper from Central all the way to Walker (about 10 blocks) and a couple of blocks on Young each way from the Cooper intersection. This is a massive event that draws tens of thousands of people (and actually I would not be surprised if attendance is over 100,000). There are over 400 vendors, bands on multiple stages, and plenty of good food as well as beer and other libations. Of course all the restaurants in the area will be packed, as well as the taproom of Cooper-Young’s brewery, Memphis Made. A few things you know if you attend the festival:

  • Dress for the weather. Temps Saturday are expected to be well above normal, with predicting a high in the mid 90s. It is going to be sunny which will make it feel even warmer. A feels-like temperature in the 100s is possible.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. You’re going to be doing a lot of walking. If you make a full circle of the festival, you’ll have walked two miles. Plus, don’t count on parking anywhere near the festival, so you’ll be walking even more.
  • Don’t expect to have cell service at all during peak hours (around 1 to 5 PM). The cell towers simply can’t handle that many phones in such a condensed area. If you need to check your football scores or call a Lyft to get home, you’ll have to walk several blocks outside the festival boundaries to get service.

If you’re into electronic dance music, my friend DJ Scotty B will have a dance party at the far south end of the festival (Cooper and Walker).

Little Italy is looking for hard workers to open their new location on G.E. Patterson in the former Scoops location. If interested call Giovanni at 631-626-2509.

This Friday, a full moon will occur on Friday the 13th for the first time in almost 20 years. It won’t happen again until 2049.

The Grizzlies are refusing to talk buyout with Andre Iguodala and want him in training camp. I like it. Have him serve as a mentor for the young players for a few months, then still get some value for him at the trade deadline.

That’s the news for now. Back tomorrow with more.