Sunday update

Pre-orders are now being taken for the Memphis Flyer Coloring Book. This gives you something to do safe at home, and supports local journalism and art. Proceeds will be split 50/50 between the Flyer and the artists.

The Starbucks at the corner of Main and Monroe will re-open for to-go orders starting tomorrow.

Last week a video went viral showing a massive pool party at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, the crowd totally ignoring warnings to socially distance and wear masks. We all knew this was going to happen… someone who attended the pool parties has tested positive for COVID-19. Doctors believe the virus was incubating at the time of the parties, meaning the person posed a danger of infecting others.

COGIC has canceled its annual convention in St. Louis, the last one planned to be held there before returning to Memphis in 2021.

I went to Hung Over Like a Bear brunch at Blind Bear yesterday. New bartender Jay-Zee told me an inside secret: Get okra with a side of ranch, and mix a little sriracha into the ranch. Knowing that Socially Distant Perjorie would be excited about the okra (she likes foods that are the same color as her hair), I put in an order.

It was yummy, although I’m not sure what the best ranch-to-sriracha ratio is.

It was a day of extremes at the Bear… the morning started out with an infomercial for a product to treat enlarged prostates on TV. I looked over to see if the people at the corner table were watching… “wait, wrong bar,” I then thought.

The Pandora station of the day was playing, and the bartenders were surprised and impressed I knew the words to “My Neck, My Back, My Pussy and My Crack.” We need to add that to our 2020 BBQ team playlist.

Still later in the day, one of the other bar regulars told me what happened at the Peabody during the house arrest. With the lobby bar closed, the ducks got adventurous and started to wander. One time they got all the way to the back door, triggered the motion sensor, and nearly got away.

However, every day around 4:30, they would get out of the fountain, walk over to the elevators, and wait for the door to open. Like humans, ducks are always up for a reason to cut out of work a few minutes early.

Mayor Strickland wants to ramp up COVID-19 testing to 30,000 a day to boost confidence for people returning to work and sending their kids to school. The city would work with employers to provide the tests, which would be less invasive than the ones currently being used.

Local ag-tech company Indigo Ag helps farmers efficiently grow rice that is sold to make beer. Anheuser-Busch’s rice mill is in Jonesboro and most of the 29 farms participating in the rice program are within 70 miles.

Back tomorrow or maybe Tuesday with more news.

Saturday update: Goodbye Yao’s and welcome back Slider Inn

Yesterday as I walked down the Main Street Mall, I saw kitchen equipment being hauled out of Yao’s China Bistro at Main and Gayoso. I saw a range, a Coca-Cola refrigerator, and a vent-a-hood. Yesterday I speculated on Facebook that they could be closing, and a nearby business owner just confirmed it and said she bought some stuff from them.

The Downtown Slider Inn is back today!

Guess what? We’re #BackDowntown. 🙌

The Slider Inn fam is so excited to welcome you back tomorrow (Saturday, 5/30)! Obviously, re-opening comes with necessary adjustments. The grassy Slider Out lot will function as the main bar (with a shaded seating area), and the inside dining room, Courtyard, and Garage Bar will remain closed. Important info:

– Bar/TapBox hours: 10am-10pm daily
– Kitchen hours: 11am-9pm daily
– Social distancing protocol will be enforced (>6ft, you know the drill)

Atomic Rose posted this yesterday:

We can’t wait to see you all very soon! We are still closed as dance clubs in the city of Memphis are not allowed to open yet! Stay tuned and we will see you soon for a big grand re-opening!

Central BBQ got a mention on the TODAY show this week. The show looked at 11 restaurant meal kits you can make at home, and Central’s ribs & pulled pork dinner for 4 made the list. I surprised my mom with this kit for her birthday in 2015, and she loved it. It comes with your choice of dry rub and your choice of sauce.

Seen on Facebook yesterday: A T-shirt that said “Flush the Turd November Third”

For those of you who need some good news in your lives, check out this site: Beautiful News Daily

In case I have any Karens who read this blog: How to complain and get results

Kind of a short post today. That’s it for now, back tomorrow.

Friday update: Downtown food delivery just got better

Downtown has a new food delivery service built by a local entrepreneur along with the restaurants from whom food will be ordered. was developed by restaurants, for restaurants, to provide online ordering of food and safe delivery to the 38103 zip code. Delivery is available from

  • Kooky Canuck
  • Rizzo’s by Michael Patrick
  • Pontotoc Lounge
  • Silly Goose
  • Blind Bear
  • Wok’n in Memphis
  • Maciel’s
  • Primas Bakery + Boutique
  • Curry N Jerk

Dine-in is back open at 3rd and Court Diner:

Last month I reported that Desiree Robinson of Cozy Corner was a finalist for the National BBQ Hall of Fame. This week it became official: She’s in.

In these uncertain times, many businesses are adopting protocols to keep employees and customers safe. To that end, IKEA is asking that customers please not masturbate in its stores.

The Blind Bear has added tater tots to their menu, with their famous Bear Rub as seasoning. Jeannette recommends asking for pepper jack cheese sauce.

Beer fans, pick up a 6-pack of Memphis Made Kitten Nap IPA this weekend at Kroger to support a good cause. Kitten Nap is their spring seasonal IPA, brewed with Calypso and Lemondrop hops for a fruity taste. With an ABV of 4.8%, it’s an IPA you can drink all day. A portion of all Kitten Nap sales at Kroger through July will go to a fund set up by Edible Memphis to provide relief to food workers affected by the pandemic.

May I suggest a place to drink that Kitten Nap, or PBR, or whatever your beer of choice is this weekend? OUTSIDE!!! Beginning tonight, the forecast has us at a 0% chance of rain for the next five and a half days. Tomorrow: 80/60, clear sky, less humid with a north wind. Sunday: Near 80/near 60, sunny sky. Hmmm maybe I’ll take a trip south and go to the Memphis Farmers Market and then Max’s Sports Bar tomorrow.

South Main Book Juggler made a recommendation yesterday: Amelia Thorn, a novel by local author Richard J. Alley. It was just published this month. Pick up a copy at the shop at 548 S. Main.

Another book by a local author was also published this month: Secret Memphis, by my fellow blogger Holly Whitfield. Discover Memphis places you never knew existed, and the hidden stories behind the places everyone knows about. It’s a guide to the weird, wonderful, and obscure. First 100 orders get a free Secret Memphis sticker.

New bar stools at Silly Goose:

They’re comfortable, heavy, and they don’t make noise when you move them.

The Goose is taking extra precautions to keep their customers safe. They’ve added signage asking people to stay in their seats and not migrate from one part of the bar to another. The bartender tells me they are going to have “triple security” at the door this weekend to enforce a strict one-in, one-out once the place reaches its Phase 2 capacity. If you plan on coming there tonight or tomorrow night, my recommendation is that you get there an hour or two earlier than normal to avoid waiting.

Shelby County had an 8.6% positive rate for COVID-19 tests yesterday. That is not good, given that most days have seen positives in the 3-7% range. I wish they would report where those tests occurred. If a lot of the tests happened in clustered locations like correctional facilities and care facilities, than the high number could be explained. However, if those tests were of the general public, that could cause the Health Department to hit the brakes on moving to Phase 3 if that number is sustained over several days.

In other local COVID-19 news, Mayor Strickland announced that the city is partnering with the YMCA to convert eight community centers to provide free child care for essential workers.

In somewhat related news, I’ll pass on a tip I got from my hair stylist this week: If you sing one verse of “YMCA” by the Village People while you wash your hands, it approximates 20 seconds, the recommended hand-washing time by the CDC.

Ducks live better than most Memphians:

In news about a drake of a different feather, former DJ Drake Hall has set up his website. You can become an insider to get access to exclusive content.

Check out this video in which Kendall Haney, president of the South Main Association, talks with Jennifer Oswalt, DMC president, and Penelope Huston, vice-president of marketing and communications, about the re-opening of Downtown.

SugaShack will host an online Soulful Watch Party tonight at 7.

That’s it for today. Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

Big festival news the past 24 hours: Cooper-Young Fest, normally held the second or third weekend of September, has been rescheduled to October 31 out of concerns over COVID-19. That festival draws a huge crowd and I don’t see how they could enforce any kind of distancing. Perhaps they think holding it on Halloween will hold down the crowd size.

The DM reports that Rhodes College is planning around the fall pandemic with a condensed schedule. Classes will start on August 26 and will go straight through to Thanksgiving break, with classes on Labor Day and only a one-day fall break to discourage students from traveling and potentially bringing the coronavirus back to campus. After Thanksgiving, the last few days of classes and exams will be held online.

Huey’s Downtown opened its dining room yesterday.

New local business that is worth your support: Mane St. Provisions. They offer fine sauces, meats, pickles, and more, all made with local ingredients.

The Daily Memphian has coverage of saxophonist Dr. Herman Green’s 90th birthday parade which happened yesterday.

Sandwiches have been brought back to the menu at Aldo’s Pizza Pies.

Cossitt Library will host a virtual “ANY” book club tonight on Zoom from 6 to 7. Bring the book you’ve been reading, or one you recently finished, and tell the group about it. Register here

River Time Market & Deli on the south side of Court Square recently updated its menu boards. Let’s have a look:

I found out how the salad bar at Texas de Brazil works post-quarantine. They give you a list of everything on it, and you check off the items you want and they retrieve it for you. This avoids mass handling of serving utensils.

This is your last chance to order from Edge Alley for a little while. Owner Tim Barker plans to close the restaurant for the month of June, providing time to spruce it up in anticipation of a July 1 reopening. (h/t Edible Memphis for the info)

That’s the news for today. I plan on watching the COVID-19 task force press conference before heading out. I’ll be back with details from that and more news tomorrow.

Wednesday update

I didn’t watch the Shelby County COVID-19 task force press conference but I have read recaps. Geoff Calkins wrote (subscribers only) that Dr. Randolph, Shelby County Health Officer, was “hopeful and optimistic” about re-opening, and that health department director Dr. Haushalter was cutting the press conferences back to twice a week, no longer feeling it’s necessary to give daily updates. That’s a good sign!

Also, Dr. Randolph sort of expected for his phone to be ringing off the hook with complaints of violations of his Health Order 4, which is the legal document behind Back-to-Business Phase 2. He didn’t get them. He also said that a 78-team youth baseball tournament out in Cordova at GameDay went very well.

However, Dr. Haushalter recommends that any Shelby County residents who traveled to COVID-19 “hotspots” over the Memorial Day weekend self-quarantine. This map will help give you an idea where the hotspots are. New York City, obviously, would be one, as well as New Jersey and probably New Orleans.

Dr. McCullers on the task force said that Memphians need to work on wearing masks in public, a point reinforced by Mayor Strickland’s COVID-19 update. The more people the health officials see wearing masks in public, the more likely they are to agree to a move to Phase 3 on June 8.

A Fox 13 news story on what Memphians did over Memorial Day weekend features Downtown’s own Tawanda Pirtle, of Jack Pirtle’s Fried Chicken, with a cameo by Bloomers from Bardog.

Rizzo’s by Michael Patrick closed at 6 last night so they could give the restaurant a thorough sanitizing prior to the restaurant interior’s re-opening to the public next week. It’s just one of the precautions Chef is taking to keep employees and guests safe. The restaurant will re-open with outside dining and to-go today at noon.

Sabor Caribe out in The Edge is having some construction work done on its front door, and asks that you go to the back entrance on N. Orleans St. to pick up your orders.

The Midtown location of Aldo’s Pizza Pies is hiring servers, expos, and cooks. Email or apply in person.

Chris Herrington offers his best guess on what will become of the remainder of the Grizzlies’ NBA season. The league is considering a single-site location in Orlando. There’s talk of a late July starting point, and there are options for bringing in all 30 teams to finish the season, or just the top 8 teams in the conferences and going straight to the playoffs. There is considerable distance in the standings between the 8 seeds in the East and West (Memphis in Orlando) and the 9th place teams, so there’s a good argument to go straight to the playoffs, reducing the number of personnel brought to the site by almost half.

Don’t throw that unmarked envelope containing a prepaid debit card away! It may be a stimulus payment from the IRS. Look for an envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services,” with VISA on the front of the card and MetaBank®, N.A. on the back.

Memphis River Parks Partnership will host a Tom Lee Park Engagement Pop-Up event tonight 5:30-7:30 and every Wednesday through the end of June. You’ll be able to chat with the staff and see the park’s updated designs.

Also, the park has its own website now.

Attention Central Gardens residents:

A street racer was charged after he nearly hit an undercover officer cracking down on the racing. His Camaro just missed the officer and hit a police cruiser and a Jeep.

That’s the news for today. Back tomorrow.

Tuesday update

Yesterday I went online and made an appointment to get my first post-house arrest haircut at my usual place, Rachel’s Day Salon and Spa. Usually I try to get a haircut every 3 to 4 months. However, I am known to procrastinate, so my thinking was, “It’s been almost 6 months, I need to make an appointment soon” when the house arrest/Safer at Home order was put in place in mid-to-late March. So now I’m at 8. I was going to wait a few weeks after their re-opening date to give the ladies time to get their appointments in, but yesterday I happened to be sitting directly across from a mirror. “I can’t take this anymore,” I thought.

I have to say, I am very impressed with the list of rules Rachel’s has put in place to keep their customers and employees safe. Some of it you might expect: Customers have to wear a mask, they have to wait outside until their stylist is ready to see them, and they are asked not to bring anyone with them. Some of their other regulations, though, illustrate that they are really going the extra mile to keep everyone who comes in their shop safe. For example:

  • They’re not offering shampoos prior to haircuts at this time; customers are asked to arrive with clean, dry hair, washed 2-3 hours prior if possible
  • Everyone gets their temperature taken before their appointment, and anyone with a fever is sent home
  • Stations are stationed 8 feet apart. Why 8, when the recommendation for social distancing is 6? Probably because the stylists often stand to the left or the right of the chair, taking another foot off the distance. (By the way, many restaurants have been getting this wrong, spacing the tables 6 feet apart, rather than the chairs.)
  • Blow-dry services will not be offered at this time, to lessen the spread of particles through the air
  • They ask customers to download an app for contactless payment, although they will accept cash and credit cards too

The Daily Memphian’s Jennifer Biggs visited Mississippi Terrace, the new outdoor restaurant and bar at Bass Pro overlooking the Mississippi River, on its opening weekend. She went there to write about the food, but there are other important observations. She noticed that the outdoor restaurant was operating at well above the 50% capacity which is the limit for Back to Business Phase 2 – several people guessed it at 75%.

So here we have one of the very few restaurants in Memphis opening so soon after the house arrest was lifted. It’s a restaurant with views of the Mississippi River, and it’s a restaurant that is part of one of the city’s most prominent businesses, Bass Pro – a business city officials spent years recruiting here. How in the world did management not realize the media was going to show up on their opening weekend? And they should have realized that any food reviews would include a review of how well COVID-19 regulations are being enforced – Jennifer Biggs has done that pretty consistently since things started to re-open.

I betcha dollars to donuts that someone will send a link to that article to the city’s COVID-19 email hotline, and Code Enforcement will be out at Mississippi Terrace sometime this coming weekend. I hope management is ready.

Got a recommendation for managers of restaurants and bars where customers seat themselves: Look up the capacity on your permit and divide it by 2. Anytime you think capacity could be at or above that number during a typical, pre-COVID-19 week, have a doorman. Anytime you have reason to believe the media might come in your place, have a doorman. Give them a clicker to count up and down, and stop letting people in when the clicker is at half capacity.

Most customers won’t police themselves. They won’t look around the room and say, “There are too many people here.” They for the most part have been following rules all week… be at your desk at 8 or we’ll write you up, wear business casual, don’t get caught surfing Facebook on your phone during the pointless weekly meeting. They’re not going to voluntarily look for more rules to follow on their own time.  (Later in the post I’ll tell you a rule of thumb I’ve developed for figuring out when to depart my favorite watering holes because they’re about to get crowded.)

It’s not reasonable to expect bartenders and servers to police the crowd. If 75% of the place is full, they’re going to earn 50% more tips than if the place is 50% full. People do what’s in their best interest.

I mentioned that there are people who have been going out, taking photos of bar and restaurant crowds that violate the Back-to-Business rules. I know with one hundred percent certainty that those people were out this past weekend. You may see them as tattletales, but they see themselves as protectors. They’re protecting the clerk at the grocery store, the cashier at Walgreens, the nursing home attendant who will come in contact with the people who were at the crowded restaurant. Whether you agree with them or not, you need to be aware that they’re out there.

One more thing about that article about Mississippi Terrace… zoom in on that photo and notice how many customers have masks on. That is very consistent with my outings to restaurants and bars the past three weeks.

All right, now I’ll circle back around and share a rule of thumb I have developed. It will only work during the months of May through September. I have learned that anytime I go to a bar and hear a particular phrase spoken by customers (staff don’t count) for the third time, it’s time to tab out and leave because it will get crowded within the next hour.

The phrase? “Pool party.” I know that sounds ridiculous but try it out for yourself.

Are you guys as sick of reading about COVID-19 as I am writing about it? I would much rather by writing about the Cinderella story of the 8-seed who made it to the NBA Finals, led by a pair of 20-year-olds. I would much rather be telling you that the BBQ team took home a second top 10 trophy in shoulder in three years. I would much rather report that East Memphis is gearing up for Italian Fest this weekend.

Back tomorrow, and I’ll try to scrounge up some news that’s not related to this stupid virus.

Sunday update

Multiple people have reported strange dreams during the COVID-19 pandemic, and after last night, I can sure relate. I must have had 30 dreams in one night and zoomed around to all kinds of different places and situations from my adult life. By the time I got out of bed, I had to stop and get a grasp on current reality, having to figure out which of my relatives are alive, whether I have pets, what city I live in, what apartment I live in, where I work, and if there’s a pandemic going on.

Got a couple of pieces of Sunday brunch news to start off the day:

Over at Silly Goose, Sunday bartender B-RAD will be back for his first shift since March 15. He and Jonathan will be behind the bar and Dylan will serve up wood-fired pizzas.

We even have live sports to watch today! Capital One’s “The Match: Champions for Charity” will tee off at 1 Central time this afternoon at Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Florida. The match will feature Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning vs. Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady. The event will raise $10 million to go toward pandemic relief. The match will be broadcast on TNT, TBS, truTV, and HLN. Format is best ball on the front nine and modified alternate shot on the back nine. For an explanation of the formats, player comparisons and prop bets, check out this Bleacher Report article.

From The Withers Collection Museum photo gallery on Beale Street:

The Withers Collection Museum and Gallery is now open by Appointment Only for groups of 10 or less with 24-hour notice!
In an abundance of caution, all guests and staff members are required to wear a mask or facial covering at all times while on the premises and in the museum building. As a courtesy, anyone entering the museum will be required to have a temperature check by our staff with an infrared touchless thermometer.
Please call (901) 523-2344 to schedule your appointment at least 24 hours in advance!
We look forward to sharing the exciting photographic history displayed in the museum with you, our valued guests! Thank you.
All public events and programming are canceled while the museum is closed which includes the monthly Talk About It Tuesday Community Forum.
We will provide updates on any changes in the status of our operations. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation in the steps we are taking to ensure a safe environment for the Withers Collection team and our patrons.
For more information from health officials regarding the coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
All online orders will be processed, fulfilled and shipped within 14 days of the museum re-opening. Please contact Jazmin Withers at, if you have any questions.
If you have any questions or would like to contact anyone on the Withers Collection Museum and Gallery staff, please direct all communications to

Fun Sunday brunch at the Blind Bear, really the first day since the house arrest ended that things felt close to normal. Hanin was asked about the new moonshine slushies.

“The green one tastes like green, and the blue one tastes like blue,” Hanin explained. Well that’s helpful. There is a precedent, though: Go to Max’s Sports Bar and ask what Purple Drank tastes like.

Not a whole lot of news today, which is typical for a holiday weekend. Back tomorrow.

Saturday update

Lots going on this weekend! First up, from Wiseacre Brewing Co.:

Hello all! As you know, we made the choice to not open during Phase 1 as we felt it was right to err on the side of caution. We’re super excited to have you back, and we’re happy to announce that THIS UPCOMING MONDAY we’re opening up the WISEACRE Beer Garden on Broad Avenue! To ensure that safety and fun go hand and hand, we’ve made several changes to how we operate. We’d greatly appreciate it if you take the time to read and understand these policies and procedures. All of this is subject to change as we see fit. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns don’t hesitate to DM us or email
-To manage capacity, we are selling tickets for two hour time slots through Fareharbor, and you can find this on our website. Each person in your party must have a ticket to enter, and that ticket gets you your first beer. Tickets can be purchased at the gate if space is still available.
-At this time, we are only allowing adults over the age of 21, so that means no children or pets. We’re sad about it too!
-We are setting up a contactless payment system through Arryved, which is available through Google Play and the App Store. Please download the app and follow the instructions to set up your account. This will allow you to start a tab from your phone and close your tab without us needing to handle your credit/debit card.
-Parties are limited to 6 people, and they cannot be combined osmotically.
-We are doing self seated table service outside, and will have updated ordering procedures to limit interaction.
-The taproom itself will be closed, with the exception of the bathrooms , which now have foot pulls.
-We are asking customers to remain at their tables, with the exception of said bathrooms.
-We’re looking into socially distanced games/entertainment, stay tuned!
-We’re using compostable cups instead of glassware, and we will provide recycling bins for their disposal.

Ticketing systems sound like a colossal pain in the ass, but they provide a record of who was there and when. Should the need for contact tracing arise, that will help a lot.

Got info on a couple of Memorial Day weekend deals for you. First of all, when you shop online at Walking Pants Curiosities this weekend, use code MEMORIAL20 to get 20% off everything on their site.

The Flying Fish is doing 4 pounds of crawfish for $20 this weekend at all their locations except Little Rock. I wouldn’t rate the Fish’s crawfish as the best in town (those would be Glaze’s crawfish boils at Max’s Sports Bar) but they’re certainly not bad and that’s a heck of a deal.

From Primas Bakery + Boutique on South Main:

🎊We are happy to announce that we will be re-opening the shop on June 2nd!🎊

We are planning to be as safe & cautious as possible. We will be operating new hours at this time until we feel comfortable with our “new normal”.

Our temporary walk-in hours will be:

Tuesday-Friday 11am-3pm
Saturday 9am-3pm
Sunday 9am-2pm

Online ordering is still encouraged from both the bakery & boutique! Order online and choose store pickup. Pickup anytime during our temporary store hours.

To promote social distancing, no more than 10 people will be allowed in the shop at one time (this includes Primas staff.)

Face masks are required at all times while you are in the store.

Hand sanitizer will be stationed throughout the store. Please sanitize before touching any merchandise.

The boutique will not allow clothing to be tried on at this time and no returns will be honored. Shop Online: 💃🏻🛍

At this time, the bakery will be offering grab-n-go items from the bakery case. These items may be pre-ordered online for same day pick up or purchased directly from the case (these items are available to-go only! Dining in is not an option at this time!)

The bakery will continue to offer custom and online cake orders for future dates (curbside pick up and no contact delivery is still available on these orders!)🎂👩🏻‍🍳

No cash accepted—credit cards only please!

Thank you so much for your willingness to adapt to our new and temporary restrictions. We are so excited to open back up and see our Primas fam!! 🌈💕

From Lifehacker: Use your washing machine to thaw frozen food. WTF?????

I have not yet had a reason to visit Downtown’s new Jimmy John’s, preferring to support local sandwich shops. However, a friend of mine had an Unwich from there yesterday, and it looked really good. Any sandwich on the menu can be made as an Unwich, with a lettuce wrap replacing the bread. Making a sandwich an Unwich reduces calories by 280 to 400, and any Unwich has less than 10 g total carbs.

I missed yesterday’s COVID-19 task force press conference. It sounds like it was mostly about testing and safety measures in correctional facilities. Bill Dries of the DM has a report.

Rendezvous news:

WREG has a warning: Don’t leave hand sanitizer in your car on a warm day. Think about it.. alcohol is a major ingredient in most hand sanitizer, and alcohol is flammable.

GrubHub sucks: They are buying up thousands of restaurant domain names, meaning mom-and-pop stores won’t be able to own their own name.

Rhodes College will host Zoom webinars featuring responses of its faculty and special guests to COVID-19 on four successive Wednesdays at 7 PM:

The links posted above can be used to register for the webinars.

Backbeat Tours and Explore Bike Share are working together to produce a Memphis Bike Tour this afternoon at 1:30 as well as 1:30 Sunday and Monday. The 7 mile tour will cover the river parks, South Main, and the Lorraine Motel. Other than one hill, the course is relatively flat. $25 fee, age 16 and up.

Those of you who get to-go food or drinks from Bardog Tavern this weekend, post a photo of what you got to @bardogtavern and hashtag #BardogAtHome on Facebook or Instagram, and you’ll be entered to win a $25 gift card. The winner will be chosen Friday, June 5.

All of the Aldo businesses – Bardog, the two Slider Inns, and the two Aldo’s Pizza Pies – will be closed on Memorial Day.

There will be an Armed Forces Walking Tour at 1 PM and a Civil War walking tour of Elmwood Cemetery at 2:30 today. Space is highly limited due to social distancing requirements.

From Vox: Why are liberals more afraid of the coronavirus than conservatives? Interesting read no matter how far to the left or right you lean.

I was surfing RealClearPolitics yesterday and came across their no toss-ups map: How each state would vote if the election were held today. The 2016 critical states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin would flip back to blue, as would Ohio, Florida, and North Carolina. In addition, changing racial and age profiles would flip Arizona blue for the first time in many years, giving Biden a 352-186 victory. If that map is accurate (and I have to admit I have trouble believing Biden is ahead in Ohio and North Carolina), the Trumpster has his work cut out for him getting to 270 in November.

That’ll do it for now. Back tomorrow or later today with more news.

Friday update

A woman was seen peeing outside Waterford Plaza this week. If you’re not on Nextdoor, this is the kind of vital information you’re not seeing from your neighbors. Better join now!

Happy Friday, everyone! Today is the day when many of us will miss out on the experience of jetting out of the office early to mid-afternoon in anticipation of the long holiday weekend.

This next item, I’ll title, “Just because you can do something, doesn’t make it a good idea.”

I was shown a Facebook post where the person posting said “looks like… a reunion soon” (implying, this weekend) and tagged approximately 20 other people. About five more commented and said that they want to come too.

Now, the Phase 2 Back-to-Business rules allow purposeful gatherings of up to 49 people, so legally, there is nothing wrong with their plan. But is it smart? Will all the people in this meetup have masks on? (Mine’s in the washer as I type this.) Will they practice social distancing, refraining from hugs and handshakes among those not in their immediate household? Will they refrain from taking a big group photo, as they are known to do?

Furthermore, will they put restaurant and bar staff in the uncomfortable position of having to play social police? I had a discussion with a Downtown bartender last Saturday about how much they hate this. If they tell a crowd of 25 people they need to disperse, that affects their tips. On the other hand, they’re aware that Code Enforcement is actively out, even on weekends, ensuring that the rules are being obeyed. Shelby County Health Directive 4, issued Monday, lists parameters for specific services and businesses. Page 9 lists parameters for restaurants and limited-service restaurants (many of the businesses we think of as “bars” are licensed as limited-service restaurants), and says that groups should be limited to no more than six people. Those of you who go out, please follow these rules voluntarily, rather than putting it on staff to enforce them.

Dr. Bruce Randolph, Shelby County health officer, in yesterday’s COVID-19 task force press conference, flat-out said that what we do this weekend will play a large part in determining when we move to the next level, meaning Phase 3 and eventually beyond.

Delayed gratification is the name of the game. We can have the Redbirds and Memphis 901 FC back this summer. We can have Music Fest and BBQ Fest this fall. We can have a full season of TIger football. We can have Cher in concert at FedExForum in September. We can have Shinedown and Willie Nelson at the Orpheum this fall. We can have live music at restaurants. But all of these things depend upon us making smart decisions now.

On to the news… want to stock up on sweet treats for the holiday weekend? The Peanut Shoppe can help with that.

Robusto by Havana Mix, the Downtown cigar bar featured on the TV show Bar Rescue, has a unique opportunity for the right person: They are looking to hire a Humidor Specialist. They want someone passionate about cigars, tobacco, and accessories who loves people and has previous sales experience.

Ghost River has some specials going on this weekend in the taproom: 6-packs for 20% off, and 32-ounce Crowlers for $8.

From Max’s Sports Bar:

We’re back! Starting today at 4:30, we will be open for patio and courtyard seating (no seating inside).
Our new temporary hours will be
Sunday – Thursday 4:30-11:00
Friday 4:30-12:00
Saturday 11:00-12:00
See you guys soon!

Smart move by Max to enlist the great outdoors as his ally in re-opening. There is plenty of space to socially distance and he has TVs on the patio to watch sports, if any are on.

Got two pieces of food truck news. First of all, I found out more info about that 117 Prime food truck. It will be all over the city the next several days, serving Philly cheesesteaks as well as chicken and vegetarian versions.

Several times now I have posted about delicious Lockdown Lunches and Quarantine Cuisine dinners by MK, which she has been making from scratch and delivering during the house arrest and beyond. Yesterday I saw her post something about a food truck and I asked her, “There’s going to be a food truck?” and she replied “YES!” This is great news and I’ll post details as I learn of them.

The Blind Bear is the latest place to return seats – well, half of them, spaced out – to its bar. Socially Distant Perjorie was excited to get to hang out with her buddy Tre again.

Memphis and Arkansas State already have a home-and-home scheduled for 2020-2023, and now they’ve added another:

High Ground News recently spoke to Volunteer Odyssey on how to help during a pandemic.

Sad news for beer fans:

That’ll do it for this post. Back tomorrow or later today with more news.

Thursday update

The Daily Memphian has the info on the updated plans for the remodeling of Tom Lee Park. This proposal does more to connect the park to surrounding neighborhoods as well as other parks to the south and the promenade on the north. Construction will focus on those connections in the first half of 2021, allowing Music Fest and BBQ Fest to remain in Tom Lee in 2021, but they will have to move for a year in 2022.

Silly Goose has re-opened for dine-in, and Socially Distant Perjorie and I went down there for a PBR yesterday.

Up until yesterday, it had been open primarily for take-out. The barrel tables are back in the middle of the room, the TVs are back on, and seating with proper social distance has been restored to tables, the patio, and the bar.

Insider tip for you… when the Goose switched over to take-out during house arrest, they re-priced their pizzas at $10. So far they have not raised the prices back up yet. If you’ve been craving a wood-fired pizza, now’s the time to get one at a great price.

There won’t be a DJ this weekend, but Daniel is going to see if he can get a playlist from one of his DJs.

As your number-one source of news and information about The Edge District, it is my pleasure to report to you that Sun Studio has announced a June 1 re-opening date. Before that, they will post a COVID-19 protocol on their website that will be in place to keep staff and visitors safe.

Ghost River Brewing Co. has logo-themed functional headwear that can be used as a mask on sale in their taproom for only $5. The taproom is open (outdoor seating only, one person allowed inside at a time to order) Wednesday-Saturday 4-9.

Itta Bena, the restaurant atop B.B. King’s club at Second and Beale, is back open every night at 5 PM, serving their famous she-crab soup and their other favorites. Call 901-578-3031 or visit OpenTable for reservations.

Someone who works on Beale Street told me that establishments on the street can stay open until 11 now, adjusted from the previous closing time of 10 under the street’s re-opening plan.

Here’s a recipe to get you good ‘n hammered over the Memorial Day weekend: Long Island Iced Tea Pops

Former Grizzly Mike Conley continues to keep Memphis close to his heart, having recently made a donation to Code Crew, which will help supply Wi-Fi and laptops to help students with distance learning.

From the Orpheum:

All right let’s look at a few notes from yesterday’s press conference. Mayor Strickland and health department director Dr. Haushalter attended.

Memorial Day tips

Dr. Haushalter was asked a great question: With Memorial Day gatherings coming up this weekend, what advice could she offer to help people stay safe?

One of her big concerns about the spread of the virus was potlucks where many people touch a serving spoon. Haushalter recommended having one person in charge of serving the food, the spoon being touched by that person only, wearing gloves if possible.

Other tips Haushalter gave for weekend gatherings:

  • Use disposable utensils, plates, bottles
  • Wipe surfaces down frequently
  • Protect seniors, and help kids understand why they can’t be around their senior relatives right now
  • Outside events are better than inside
  • Don’t hesitate to cancel plans if you feel sick
  • Courtesy crews will continue to monitor parks over the weekend to educate visitors about social distancing

I’ll add one.

  • Don’t be afraid to be THAT WEIRDO who wears a face mask inside a bar – and if you hang out in the same bars as I do, I can promise you that you won’t be the only one. We aren’t in high school anymore, and the nerds are the cool kids in this case.


The health department reported 127 new cases out of 1701 tested yesterday, a 7.5% positive rate (EDIT: Oops, looks like I got this number wrong. The Health Dept. website shows an even higher rate of 9.8%). That’s a higher positive rate than we have seen in a while. Dr. Haushalter pointed out that cases where the virus was transmitted by those who went out on Mother’s Day are starting to show up in the data.

She was asked at what positive rate would she become concerned enough to consider tightening some health regulations. Haushalter said if the positive rate went north of 10%, she would be concerned. She reminded everyone, however, that the positive rate is just one piece of a constellation of data the COVID-19 task force considers as a whole.

The duplication rate is the number of days it takes the number of cases of the virus to double within a community. When China and Italy were raging with the virus, the duplication rate was once every 5 days. Since the incubation period of COVID-19 is 14 days, this overwhelmed the hospital system in those nations. Shelby County is at once every 26 days. That is good, and we want to keep pushing that number farther and farther out to flatten the curve.

The replication rate, sometimes called R or “R-nought,” currently sits right around 1 for Shelby County. That’s down from a reported 1.14 last week. R represents the number of people infected by each person who has the virus, so a lower number is better. 1 or below 1 is ideal. Below 1 represents the point where the virus can’t find new hosts and starts to die out. Wearing masks, social distancing, and washing hands help lower the replication rate.

A look at the contact tracing course…

This isn’t from the press conference by the way, just an entertaining note on which to end this post. One of my Facebook friends took the online contact tracing course, I’m assuming the one offered by Johns Hopkins for free. She posted screen shots of workbook questions, which I will paraphrase here:

  1. A woman tests positive for the coronavirus. She tells you that she works as a bartender at a popular local nightclub, and she worked sick for a couple of nights before she came in for testing. What do you do?
  2. A married man tests positive for COVID-19, and his side chick tests positive too. His wife, of course, is one of his contacts who you have to inform. How do you handle this?

I may have to take a day off from going out this weekend and take that course, just for fun.

Back tomorrow, or later today if the need arises.