Wednesday update

Having been out a few times this past week, I’ve learned a few things that restaurants and other businesses are required to do to ensure their compliance with COVID-19 protocols. I wanted to pass these things on for the information of those in that industry. Note: This is not legal advice. I am not a lawyer, and I speak only for myself. Just trying to help as a concerned citizen.

First of all, a copy of what the business is doing to be COVID-19 protocol compliant is supposed to be posted on every public entrance of a business. That means, on the front door. I believe the form they’re talking about is this one. This is the first thing inspectors look for when they’re visiting a business. Some restaurant owners have been so busy with re-hiring employees, PPP loans, inventory, etc. that this requirement has been overlooked.

The second big thing that inspectors will look for is whether restaurant employees are wearing face masks at all times. The masks can’t be pulled down so that nose and/or mouth are uncovered, and they can’t be hanging from one ear. Some people find the masks uncomfortable to breathe in, but for now, that’s the requirement.

HOWEVER… this week a friend of mine, who was a customer in a restaurant, was told by an inspector that he should have had a mask on too, that customers are required to wear masks as well as employees. I believe the inspector is wrong in this case. There is a proposed ordinance in City Council, to have its second reading May 19, to require citizens to wear masks whenever out in public. However, that proposal has not yet passed.

Part of the confusion is a result of the Code Enforcement office being assigned to investigate complaints. These types of investigations are new to them, and they might have inspected a gym, a retail store and a hair salon the same day as a restaurant. It’s understandably hard to keep guidelines they learned less than 2 weeks ago straight for so many different types of businesses.

The guidance for Phase 1 has been updated for restaurants to say that bar areas should remain closed. That was not in the original guidelines that were posted on April 30 when Back-to-Business was announced, and I wish more attention had been drawn to the guidelines at the time they were revised. Anyway, if you own or manage a restaurant, it would be advisable to pull seating away from your bar.

Also, it has been said in the daily noon press conferences that Code Enforcement has people working multiple shifts. Do not assume it’s a five o’clock world when the whistle blows and drop the face masks and pull out the bar chairs.

‘Nother thing I learned… phase 1 allows restaurants and many other businesses to re-open at up to 50% capacity… the key words being up to. Your business may have a capacity of 250, but you can still get in trouble for having 125 in there if your business is laid out in such a matter that 125 people could not be six feet apart.

I’ll make one final general piece of advice, and this applies to all businesses, not just restaurants. The more visible the inside of your business is from the outside, the more you need to make sure you are in compliance with COVID-19 protocol for your industry. I am fairly well convinced there are people with nothing better to do than drive around town who look for violations to report.

There are a lot of local restaurants out there who have yet to re-open, and I hope these tips help when they do. Again, do not take this as the Law and Prophets. If anything I said above was factually incorrect, email me at, point me to the official source, and I will issue a correction.

Let’s move on to the news, which starts off with a couple of re-openings in the near future. First of all, Ghost River:

For those of you who are reading this with Twitter embeds blocked, they will have “socially distant outdoor taproom seating” Wednesday-Saturday 4-9 PM. Only one customer will be allowed inside at a time to order, and that customer must have a face covering. There will not be any indoor seating at the current time.

From The Arcade Restaurant:

The Arcade Restaurant is excited to announce our (limited) re-opening, beginning Monday, May 18 at 7:00 am! We will be performing take out, delivery via our restaurant partners, curbside pickup, as well as limited in room dining!
Our management has been Serve Safe certified and staff have been trained in COVID-19 safety protocols! All staff members will be temperature tested daily and will wear masks and gloves. Tables and patrons will be kept at socially distance safe levels and community items have been removed from all table tops. Seating will be limited to 50% Capacity and no more than six guests will be allowed per table.
We look forward to serving you again starting Monday, May 18 in any capacity! (Take Out, Curbside, Delivery, or Limited In Seat Dining!)
Thank you Memphis for 100 Years!

I also read on Facebook that Max’s may reopen next week. That was an offhand comment made by a bartender and not an official announcement.

MK who does the home delivery lunch and dinner business has posted this week’s offerings:

This week our menu features
Philly cheesesteak with peppers and onions. Tortilla chips and rotel dip.
Bacon chicken ranch pasta!!!
Say. It. Again!
Garlic bread
Side salad
Tiramisu cake ☕️
Lunch is delivered on Thursday and Friday!
Dinner is delivered on Friday!
Text: 9015023072 to place your orders!

At least 3 friends of mine on Facebook are building chicken coops. What’s up with everyone’s sudden interest in chickens? Not that there’s anything wrong with that… I mean, I’ve posted links about going for a chicken walk in the past.

City deputy COO Kyle Veazey tweeted a photo of the demolition of the Civic Center Plaza clock tower and some information about the history of the plaza.

Kyle also shared a link to a Creme de Memph post about the history of the Civic Center. Creme de Memph is a blog about the city’s design and history. Thanks to Kyle for tweeting; somehow this blog flew under my radar. I’ll have something to read after I get done with this post.

There’s a petition to keep drinks to-go forever in Tennessee. I bet the liquor store lobby is not going to be on board with this.

Lightclub Livestream returns to Twitch this Friday 8-11 PM. This week’s DJs will be Crawley, Maverick, and Drew Ray.

Edible Memphis has a round-up of Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscriptions you can sign up for. With the Memphis Farmers Market closed for a little while longer, this is a way to support your local farmers during the pandemic. In addition to meats and vegetables, floral and meat subscriptions are available.

Planning to Pivot, a discussion among event professionals on how to move forward with their businesses in light of COVID-19, is being virtually hosted by the Downtown Memphis Commission at noon today. Register here.

August 29 is the new date for the World Championship Hot Wing Contest.

That’ll do it for this morning’s post. Back later today or tomorrow.

Tuesday update

Got a meal deal for you to start off this Tuesday post. Flying Fish posted a new event to Facebook called #TakeoutTuesdays, where you can buy one entree and get a second for free, up to a $14.99 value, when you do call-in and curbside pick-up orders between 11 AM and 8 PM. There are just a few menu items that do not apply. When you’re ready to order, visit their website for details. Ignore what it says about “Texas Fish Locations Open” at the top of the page. Memphis Flying Fish info is in the list if you scroll down.

One other meal deal you can get Downtown: When you use the app to order, you can buy one footlong at Subway and get one of equal or lesser value free if you use contactless payment. There are Subways at Main and A.W. Willis, Main and Jefferson, and Second and Union.

Mississippi Terrace, a large outdoor lounge, will come to Bass Pro later this month. There will be plenty of room for social distancing, and once allowed by the Back-to-Business Framework, there will be live music and DJs.

Local businesses: The Health Department is conducting surprise visits to see if Back-to-Business Framework standards are being followed. Do not think you’re safe from these visits outside the normal 8-5 Monday-Friday business week.

Local restaurants: Menus4All is offering a free trial through September 1 where customers can scan a QR code on their phones to view your menu.

The Daily Memphian has a good piece this morning on what is happening with R, the virus’ reproduction rate, in Shelby County. For those of you who hate math, I’ll try to describe it in easy-to-understand terms:

  • An R of 2 means if 1 person has the virus, they infect 2 more people, who infect 4 more people, who infect 8 people, who infect 16 people, and so on. Therefore, by the fifth generation, 31 people total (16 + 8 + 4 + 2 + 1) have had the virus.
  • An R of 1 means if 1 person has the virus, they infect 1 more person, who infects 1 more person, who infects 1 more person, who infects 1 more person. By the fifth generation, 5 people total have had the virus. Even though each person only infects one other, over 80% fewer people catch the virus with an R of 2.
  • An R below 1 means that the virus cannot always find another person to infect while its current host has it; at that point the virus begins to die out.

Shelby County’s R sits at 1.14 today, a number with which health officials seem happy. It dipped below 1 in late April (why wasn’t that widely reported?) The DM article is rich with information for those who want to know about how the scientists’ models predict cases and deaths.

Late this week, medical officials will begin to have data to inform them whether Shelby County will be ready to move into Phase 2 of the re-opening plan next week.

Tin Roof will have a ’90s Day this Saturday from 11 AM to 10 PM. $5 frozen drinks, ’90s music, tables spread out among their 4 rooms so you can stay safely distanced.

The Green Beetle has announced their curbside and to-go menu for this week:

For my fellow customers at Rachel’s Salon in the Porter Building, it looks like they are choosing to play it safe and stay closed until at least Monday, May 18. When they open back up they will contact customers affected by their March 19 closing to see if they want to reschedule appointments.

Stock&Belle has a new website including a Made in Memphis section. They have locally-made face masks among their goods.

Face masks will be made available at all Memphis libraries beginning today. You don’t have to wear a mask while using the library, but the practice is encouraged.

Feast & Graze, the service that delivers hand-crafted charcuterie boards to your front door, is back in business.

There was a guy threatening people in the Downtown core yesterday. He was approximately 18, light skin, shoulder length dreads, glasses, about 5’8″, with another teenager, a few inches taller. He was driving a red mid-sized truck, possibly a Toyota Tacoma. He was screaming from his truck window and making a gun-like gesture, threatening to kill a homeless man. Later he was seen walking up the Main Street Mall with his friend, screaming that people were going to die. The Blue Suede Brigade got him outside of Aldo’s and he was later seen being loaded into about one of six police cars parked near Main and Gayoso. So he’s probably in 201 now, but he has been seen in the area before so I want to make sure my readers are aware of him.

The Flyer has results of a Greater Memphis Chamber survey of the effects of COVID-19 on local businesses.

The Little Tea Shop has a GoFundMe to help its employees with expenses during the pandemic.

The Daily Memphian reports (subscriber only link) that Grind City Brewing’s first beers will start hitting store shelves this week. The new brewery lies on the north edge of Uptown near the river.

It’s never the wrong time of year for a little truth about Tennessee Vol fans.

That’s it for now! Back later today or tomorrow.

Monday update

I found an article related to a study Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian mentioned last week: A study shows that if 80% of Americans wore a mask or face (nose/mouth) covering then they went out in public, COVID-19 infections could fall to one twelfth – 8.25% – of what their number would be in a society in which no one wears a mask.

Therefore, I have made the decision that I am going to wear a face mask every time I go out in public from now on. This includes restaurants and bars which I have been visiting since we entered Phase 1 of Back-to-Business, places I hadn’t previously been wearing a mask. Yes, it’ll be a minor inconvenience to pull the mask down and then back up every time I take a bite or a sip, but I’ll get used to it.

I also have decided to email the City Council this week and express my support for the proposed ordinance to require face coverings in public, to have its second reading next Tuesday, the 19th. I do agree there are issues with availability, and obtaining a mask/enforcement needs to be done in such a way that avoids creating undue individual financial hardship. I will mention these concerns in my email.

To summarize, I have decided to wear a mask for the foreseeable future, for three reasons:

  1. If at some point I come down with COVID-19 and symptoms don’t develop for a week or longer, I want to minimize the chance that I make a friend sick. Or a neighbor. Or the cashier ringing up my food.
  2. I’ll be a setting a good example – if the people around me see me with a mask on, they’re slightly more likely to be influenced to put one on themselves.
  3. As City Council member Dr. Jeff Warren, author of the ordinance points out, wearing face coverings could well be our best move if we don’t want to fall backward under the Back-to-Business plan, going into a second house arrest.

What I’m not going to do is get preachy and attack people on social media who come to a different conclusion than I do. It accomplishes nothing to turn on the CAPS LOCK key and @ someone on Twitter to tell them they’re selfish for going to lunch at Olive Garden with an uncovered face. If you like the reasoning I’ve laid out here, I invite you do join me in my decision to wear a mask. If you disagree, you do you and it’s all good.

Let’s get on to the news. From Tamp & Tap:

Open 5/11 from 8am to 2pm.
Online/phone/walk-in (to-go) only. No table seating for a bit. If you’ve ordered online, you can call us at (901) 207-1053 and we will bring your order out to you.
We should have most menu items available but bear with us if your favorite sandwich/salad/GnG item has yet to recover from COVID-19. Downtown is still pretty quiet and we’re re-opening softly to gauge demand. Regarding drinks – i can’t think of any of our menu items that we won’t be able to prepare – Fire away!
We appreciate your patience and look forward to seeing you all again!

There’s also news from Cordelia’s Market. Beginning today they will offer breakfast from 8:00 to 10:30 AM and lunches from their hot bar and sandwich menu 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. All cafe orders will be to-go and they will be serving Monday-Friday. The store also has new hours:

  • Monday* 7 AM-9 PM
  • Tuesday 11 AM-9 PM
  • Wednesday* 7 AM-9 PM
  • Thursday* 7 AM-9 PM
  • Friday 11 AM-9 PM
  • Saturday 9 AM-9 PM
  • Sunday 9 AM-9 PM

Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday the 7 AM-8 AM hour is limited to shopping by at-risk individuals, including seniors, expecting mothers, and those with health conditions that make them at risk for COVID-19.

Why didn’t I know that a Cinnamon Toast Crunch version of Rice Krispies marshmallow treats exists while we were all under house arrest for a month and a half? I almost always keep a box of the stuff at home.

The noon press conferences by city/county leaders and the health department should be must-see TV this week, as COVID-19 case numbers begin to reflect those contracted after Phase 1 of the Back-to-Business Framework went into effect. WMC Action News 5 and WREG both carry live streams on their websites, as does The Daily Memphian on its coronavirus live blog.

The Daily Memphian has an article about the street racing that has increased in Downtown and other neighborhoods during the pandemic.

The National Guard will salute medical professionals with a flyover tomorrow afternoon. Look to the skies at approximately 2:13 PM.

ESPN’s Woj reported that the most likely option for the NBA is to finish out the rest of the season and hold the playoffs in one or two locations, possibly Las Vegas and Orlando, without fans. That would mean no more home games. Grizzly Bear Blues takes a look at the implications on the loss of revenue on the salary cap next season and beyond, and how it could affect Memphis offseason moves.

That’s it for now. Back later today or tomorrow with more.

Saturday update

Loflin Yard has re-opened. Here is the post they made to Facebook yesterday.

Good morning friends and family! After CAREFUL consideration, we’ve decided to open up the doors of Loflin Yard to the general public. Rest assured: your safety is our top priority. We’ve spent days putting together a careful plan to do just that.
We will have signs posted throughout the Yard reminding everyone of the Social Distancing Guidelines, in addition to Loflin Yard specific safety guidelines encouraging distance and healthy practices.
If you’re uncomfortable coming in, we get it! We will continue to offer safe, contactless curbside pickup and delivery options if you’re craving brisket or a frozen drink from home.
Thanks from the bottom of our hearts for sticking with us though these unprecedented times. We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust accordingly as we go. We’ve thought long and hard about this and think that we can offer a safe enough space in the wide expanse of our Yard, and we hope you will find our efforts satisfying.

There are reports of teenagers causing trouble in the southwest part of Downtown. They were seen crossing the train tracks near Carolina and Kansas Streets, where they vandalized property nearby. They (or possibly a different group of teenagers) vandalized cars near Tennessee and Nettleton. They may have a black SUV.

I ordered a Grizzlies face mask yesterday. Face masks are more to protect others than protect yourself; they don’t necessary prevent you from breathing other people’s germs, but they prevent most of your own germs from escaping. As the Daily Memphian’s Chris Herrington wrote, if we could get 80% of the people to wear masks that are 60% effective, we’d go a long way to pushing the re-infection rate of COVID-19 below 1, which will be the point when the virus begins to die out. Put another way, the more people who wear masks, the less likely you are to see any more posts on this blog whose titles start with “house arrest.”

Why a Grizzlies mask, other than the obvious reason of supporting our local team?

  • NBA proceeds from the sale of the masks will be donated to Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States, and Second Harvest, the largest food-rescue organization in Canada.
  • For every mask sold, Fanatics will donate a mask.

This is a good point:

Perhaps “nonessential” retail stores should consider adding hand sanitizer and toilet paper to their inventory.

Let’s hear it for the good guys! Bardog Tavern may not be open for dine-in right now, but they are cranking out the food for a good cause.

We just sent off 100 meals (Original Memphis sliders, monster veggie burritos, salads and brownies) to the medical teams at Church Health! 😋
Thanks to Feed the Front Lines, Memphis for this opportunity to feed our fellow front line workers who are operating COVID-19 testing sites around town – enjoy lunch and stay safe! ❤️

The Lobster Pronto Pups have returned to the menu at Rizzo’s, said Chef Michael Patrick yesterday.

We set a record low of 43 at the Memphis Airport this morning. Things could have been worse though… former Memphian Carbunkle Trumpet reported that it snowed in New York City this morning.

The zoo will reopen Wednesday. There will be a cap of 2500 guests allowed at all times, and there will be a number of other restrictions. Payment must be made with cards, no cash accepted. Guests will be required to wear face masks. Indoor exhibits, rides, and interactive exhibits will remain closed.

News from River Time Market and Deli:

Watch for new changes! We opened in November 2018 as a Market and Deli. With fresh Fruits, Vegetables and Meat it was a little too soon for the Core area so we moved towards the Fresh Deli with our Signature Cornbread Sandwiches. We are slowly moving back to our mini Fresh Market still with Fresh Meat, Deli Meat, Vegan Options, Fresh Sandwiches, Salads Deli Salads and lots of our Cornbread Sandwiches! Watch our Facebook for new items, snacks, sweets and specialty items.

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

Friday update #2: Local re-opens

From Local Gastropub on Facebook:

Local is OPEN! With 50% less people and 100% more rules, but open nonetheless 🙌

Our staff is eager to be back to work, and for the last week we have been scrubbing the place from top to bottom and going over the new procedures in an effort to be as safe for our customers and employees alike. Our staff is completely supportive of this and the decision was made with careful consideration.

We also understand that not everyone is ready to be back on the dining/social scene. We respect that and support your decision to stay home until the time is right for you. We look forward to seeing you soon!

We will also be adding breakfast to the menu full time and are now open daily at 7 am! Delivery is always free and we will still be offering curbside pickup. Please call 901-725-1845 (midtown) or 901-473-9573 (downtown) with any questions. Cheers!!⁠

Friday update

Local TV station Fox 13 obtained a memo sent to Beale Street tenants regarding the re-opening of Beale Street, and it sounds like the place will be No-Fun Street for a while. Although the restaurants, bars, and stores will be allowed to open, the entertainment district itself will remain closed. That means that drinks must be consumed on the premises where they were purchased, and cannot be carried out onto the street. Although the street will be closed to vehicles after 5 Monday-Thursday and after 2 Friday-Sunday, pedestrians will be directed to remain on the sidewalks. To-go windows and beer carts will not be permitted.

Other no-fun restrictions: Live music will be prohibited; DJs will be prohibited; outdoor speakers will be prohibited; gatherings of more than 10 people will be prohibited. Businesses must close at 10 PM, which is seven hours earlier than the normal closing time for some venues in the entertainment district.

I bet the Beale Street Flipppers took a huge financial hit during the house arrest, and will continue to under the new restrictions. Anyone know if they have a Venmo or Cashapp account?

LuLu’s, a women-owned co-op that has had a presence at the Memphis Farmers Market and the Cooper-Young Farmers Market, has found a space in Puck Food Hall at 409 S. Main. They plan to start off serving during the breakfast hours of 7 to 11 AM, and they will expand to lunch within 3 months. Check out LuLu’s online store to see what they offer.

Free masks:

Congratulations to Desiree Robinson, owner of legendary Downtown BBQ joint Cozy Corner. She has been named a semifinalist for the 2020 class of the National Barbecue Hall of Fame.

There’s been talk of a meat shortage due to COVID-19. Cordelia’s Market wants everyone to know that their meat department is fully stocked and full service. So slide that meat in your mouth like a hooker working the 3800 block of Lamar! (That last sentence was my own, not Cordelia’s.)

117 Prime is back open with a limited menu for curbside pickup and delivery to Downtown and Midtown. Check their Facebook page for the menu, which includes their Prime Burger, a couple of salads, and beef, chicken, and veggie Phillys. They open at noon and accept delivery orders until 8 PM and curbside orders until 10 PM.

Dine with ducks on Mother’s Day:

Edible Communities is selling a digital cookbook that contains more than 80 recipes, along with podcasts, video, and useful illustrations. One of the recipes is Chef Michael Patrick’s shrimp and grits.

The Flyer has an article on Lightclub Memphis’ weekly Twitch streams. DJ Scotty B and his guest DJs have created a bit of normalcy for us all to enjoy.

Margie’s 901 put its list of flavors in the window, hoping to attract business. In my opinion that list needs to stay in the window permanently. Margie’s is the former Maggie Moo’s ice cream shop on the Main Street Mall.

The Memphis Medical Center District Collaborative is back with another Virtual Friday concert today at noon. The concert will originate from Health Sciences Park and will feature DJ Chandler Blingg.

Hospitality HUB has continued to serve its clients on their path to get out of homelessness during the quarantine. Since March 17, the HUB has accomplished the following:

  • 8500 nights of Safer At Home shelter for clients experiencing homelessness
  • 31,000 individual meals served
  • More than 100 stimulus checks applied for, 45 received so far
  • 12 individuals permanently housed
  • And the best statistic of all… of the COVID-19 tests with which they assisted, there were ZERO positives.

Lyft will soon join its competitor Uber in requiring drivers and riders to use face coverings.

Some members of Congress want to fight unemployment by declining to renew H-1B work visas, giving Americans less competition for jobs. In theory this makes sense, but in practice this will MURDER the economy. Have you bought anything online during the lockdown? The website on which you placed the order was likely designed and maintained by people with H-1B visas. Thinking about local Downtown companies, AutoZone could be heavily hit by this decision. I hope someone smartens Congress up on this matter, but I realize I might as well hope pigs grow wings and fly.

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

Thursday update

I want to pass on an idea that a friend of mine had yesterday: Typically Beale Street Wine Race is the Sunday before the start of Memphis in May, which has placed it on the last Sunday in April. This year the First Memphis in May event is BBQ Fest, beginning Wednesday, September 30. So can we have Wine Race Sunday, September 27? Or September 20 if the 27th would cause too many people to miss Wine Race because of BBQ Fest load-in?

The 20th really might be the better option… not sure it’s a good idea to have the two most debaucherous events on the spring fall calendar in the same week.

Texas de Brazil re-opened yesterday “with some restrictions.” I’m assuming some of those restrictions are with regard to the salad bar, which is a community dining experience. Anyone eat there yesterday who can fill us in on the changes?

Buying gift cards to be used at a later time is a good way to support small businesses during a pandemic. Through May 20, Lansky at the Peabody is running a buy a gift card, get a bonus gift card free sale. Here’s how it works:

  • Buy a $100 gift card, get a free $25 gift card
  • Buy a $200 gift card, get a free $50 gift card
  • Buy a $500 gift card, get a free $125 gift card
  • Buy a $1000 gift card, get a free $250 gift card
  • Buy a $2000 gift card, get a free $500 gift card

Here’s the link to the gift card sale.

Winfield’s clothing store at 2 S. Main is back open. They have a fantastic selection of clothing and shoes, and many musicians stop in the store when they tour Memphis to pick up some new attire. Be sure to visit the liquor store next door on Madison too, now under the same ownership as Winfield’s.

Flight is offering a Mother’s Day lunch that feeds 4 to 6 people for pick-up for $185. The meal includes

  • Whole roasted beef tenderloin, 5 pounds
  • Spring salad (mixed romaine, strawberries, goat cheese, and candied walnuts)
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Sauteed mushroom medley
  • Roasted asparagus
  • Roasted heirloom carrots
  • House-made lemon blueberry tart

Dinner will be available for pickup beginning at 11 AM on Saturday. Reheating instructions are included. Call 901-521-8005 to order.

Rizzo’s by Michael Patrick is also doing a Mother’s Day meal for pickup:

The Rusty Pieces will be back online with a streaming concert this evening from 7 to 8.

It’s a pretty common practice these days to not answer phone calls from numbers you do not recognize. However, if you get a call from a number beginning with 901-222-, pick that one up. It’s from a contact tracer with the health department.

The city has announced the locations of 15 speed cameras that have installed in school zones and near S curves where speeding has been a problem in the past. None of the cameras are Downtown.

The Orpheum’s Songwriters Series: Virtual Voices continues Saturday night at 7:30 with The PRVLG.

Gayoso Avenue between Front and Main will be closed Monday, May 11 through approximately Wednesday, May 13 as MLGW does work on an electrical duct line.

From Max’s Sports Bar:

Although we will still be closed for sit down this weekend, @glazescrawfish will be cooking up crawfish/shrimp and we’ll be slinging it togo this Saturday. Mudbugs are $10/lb and shrimp for $15 (prices include sides). And dont forget to order your favorite drink(s) from the giant crawfish out front when you get here! Thanks again for your patronage and we hope to see you this weekend!
As always, we are trying to be as efficient as possible in order to get you guys on your way quickly. So please take note of the following –
1. Please comment on our Facebook post to preorder. Cutoff for preorders is 4:00 on Friday. Walk up orders cannot be guaranteed.
2. Preorders will be served from 11:30-1:30. If you are not here by 1:30 your order will not be guaranteed. (no walkup orders before 1:30).
3. Normal menu will not be available until 2:00.
4. We will offer curbside pickup in the alley. But please be patient as we try to take care of any customers in line on the sidewalk as well.

You can pre-order on their Facebook page – look for the post identical to the above and leave a comment.

Smart move by Max to keep dine-in closed. Those crawfish boils are so popular that there is no way he’d be able to enforce social distancing. Also, a lot of the people who sit at the corner table by the door are of an age where they’re at elevated threat from COVID-19. (Then again, some of those people are of an age that “natural causes” present an elevated threat.)

The Gourmade food truck plans on getting back out this weekend. They’ll be at 525 N. Main Friday 4-7 PM and they’ll be at Crosstown Brewing Co. (more on that in a sec) Saturday. They have been getting long lines, so they ask that you maintain social distancing while you wait, and they’re offering 20% off if you have a mask on.

From Crosstown Brewing Co.:

After a lot of hard work by our staff to prepare, clean and create the safest environment that we can for patrons we’ve decided to open our doors back up to the public for enjoyment starting TOMORROW. (Note: This was posted yesterday, so TOMORROW is TODAY, Thursday.) Our new temporary taproom hours are: Monday-Thursday 2-8pm| Fri-Sunday 12-8pm.
Curbside pick-up and delivery will both still be available. Delivery hours are 12-5pm M-Saturday.
Here are some of the rules/practices: We will be at 50% capacity with hand sanitizing stations around for your usage, we will be using plastic cups only that will not be reused and we will be implementing a continuous cleaning schedule on top of our already strict cleaning practices.
While we are excited to have you back, we ask that all customers adhere to social distancing guidelines and best practices. See you tomorrow!

From Curb Market (Downtown is in their delivery area):

We are running a Mothers’ Day BBQ special sure to keep everyone happy AND safe.
BBQ options include smoked brisket for $9.99 a pound, chopped pork shoulder for $8.99 pound, or whole smoked chicken for $16.99 each (or half smoked chicken for $9.99 each). Quarts of slaw and potato salad are $4.99 each, and and a half-pan of smoked mac & cheese is $19.99.
Pre-orders must be placed by Wednesday, May 6 at 7 pm. Call 901-453-6880 to place your order for pickup or free delivery.

From Bass Pro:

The Bass Pro Pyramid team is super excited to deliver 6,000 face masks to the amazing folks at St. Jude!
Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris is personally donating one million FDA-approved ASTM Level 1 Procedure Face Masks to healthcare workers and first responders working on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis across the United States.
“We are extremely grateful to our nation’s healthcare workers serving on the frontlines of this unprecedented global health crisis.” ~Johnny Morris

President Trump has bragged about how he was a great baseball player in high school, and easily could have had the option of turning pro had he wanted to. Well, here comes some shocking news: He lied. He had 4 hits in 29 at-bats for a horrendous .138 batting average. He had only 3 RBI and one run scored.

That’s it for now. Looks like we’re in for a beautiful day outside. Back tomorrow with more.

Wednesday update

A proposed ordinance was introduced yesterday in City Council to require the wearing of protective face masks in public. It passed the first reading, 11-2, and will have two more readings at the May 19 and June 2 Council meetings.

I have come around to supporting this measure, although like many people I was against it at first, seeing it as an inconvenience. You know what else is an inconvenience, though? Being trapped under a Safer at Home house arrest for 40+ days. Remember, the phases of re-opening can go backward as well as forward. If cases of COVID-19 surge, we could go back to Phase 0.

I do agree that the following points need to be addressed:

  • Availability – I only have a mask because my kind neighbors had an extra. You can’t tell people not to go out without a mask without telling them where to get a mask. Fortunately this looks like it is being addressed – more on that in a minute.
  • Cost – Many people are already not able to pay their rent or their MLGW bill right now. We don’t need to be telling them to go spend $12.99 on a mask. Masks would need to be available for free for anyone needing one.
  • Enforcement – by whom? In a city posting big numbers for violent crime and property crime, MPD cannot afford to have its time further divided.

Beginning this week, free face masks will be available to Tennesseans at county health departments. The Shelby County health department is located at 814 Jefferson.

There’s a bed for sale at Royal Furniture on Main Street that has a headboard that lights up.

I’m surprised it hasn’t sold yet, especially since stimulus checks were mailed recently.

You can get tested for COVID-19 in Shelby County even if you are asymptomatic, if you work in one of the following professions:

  • Jail or prison
  • First responder
  • Health care professional
  • Work in critical infrastructure (grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, restaurants)

Peabody Mother’s Day update:

This isn’t Downtown news, but good news for the Memphis metro: The Bojangle’s restaurant chain is indeed moving to the area, and is said to be opening a location on Goodman west of I-55 down in Horn Lake. Great sausage biscuits, steak biscuits, and country ham biscuits.

DJ Bay spins during the lunch hour on Thursday:

Belle Tavern will be back for window service only Friday-Sunday this weekend and Thursday-Sunday next weekend.

That’s it for this post. Back later today or tomorrow with more.

Tuesday update #2: Cinco de Mayo specials and other news

Max’s Sports Bar is running a Cinco de Mayo special today: Get a blood orange margarita for $12. They are open 11 AM-9 PM, to-go only. They’ve announced that they’re doing to-go boiled crawfish and shrimp with all the fixins’ again this Saturday. I hear the crawfish are monsters this year… like murder hornets with claws!

Over on Beale Street, Tin Roof re-opens its dining room today. They will open 4 PM weekdays and 11 AM weekends. Today they will have the following Cinco de Mayo specials:

  • $5 margarita – made with Torada tequila
  • $5 “skinny” margarita – made with Wheatley vodka
  • $6.50 frozen “Fire Rita”
  • $8.50 margarita & Fireball shot combo

And on Second Street, it’s Kooky de Mayo!

Investigative journalist and civil right activist Ida B. Wells (1862-1931) has been awarded a posthumous Pulitzer prize for her lifetime of journalism. Wells lived in Memphis and was a writer and school teacher here. She spoke out against lynching in the city in the 1890s. She eventually fled for her life to Chicago.

Free food alert:

In observance of Cinco de Mayo, the New Wing Order food truck will run a Tequila Sunrise wing special this month. The wings are made with fresh lime, cilantro, honey, and tequila.

Dammit… I was going to wear my sombrero out today for Cinco de Mayo, but everyone would want a picture with it, and it’s probably not a good idea to be sharing it in the middle of a pandemic. STUPID CORONAVIRUS RUINS EVERYTHING!

Global Cafe can deliver some Cinco de Mayo tacos Downtown:

WALRUS in concert tonight:

I know Ghana is the honored country for Memphis in May this year, but given the quarantine we’ve been through, perhaps its neighbor Togo would be a more appropriate choice.

That’s it for this post. Back tomorrow with more.

Tuesday update

More who’s open for dine-in and who’s not… in the case of Downtown businesses I will add these to the list I posted yesterday.

Wiseacre Brewing Co. has made the decision to keep its taproom on Broad closed for a couple of weeks, after reading the CDC guidelines and Brewer’s Association recommendation. The Broad location will continue to operate for curbside and delivery sales, and only employees will be allowed inside. Their current plan (subject to change) is to open the Broad Avenue taproom, at 50% capacity with modifications to keep everyone else safe, on Monday, May 18.

But here’s the really exciting news… they’re going to take what they learn from operating the Broad Avenue taproom and apply it when they open the Wiseacre 2 taproom, located Downtown at B.B. King and Butler, in early June! That’s right, folks, we’re only about a month away from Wiseacre Beer, served from the source, a short walk away!

Starting today, Paulette’s will provide dine-in service as well as take-out.

Hair salons have been moved into Phase 1 of the Back-to-Business Framework and will be able to re-open tomorrow in Memphis and Shelby County. However, there will be restrictions: Customers must wear face coverings, work stations must be 6 feet apart, and there must be 15 minutes between the end of one appointment with a stylist/barber and the start of the next. Related businesses like nail salons, tattoo parlors, and massage parlors are not included in the revision to the order.

My compliments to the Daily Memphian, which is now reporting number of tests per day at the same time they report number of new cases per day in Shelby County. Reading that there were 100 new cases reported has a much different meaning if you know those 100 new cases were out of 1500 tested as opposed to 150.

Some people have speculated that it was widely known in the restaurant business that May 4 would be the re-opening date, well before the public release of the Back to Business Framework, maybe even as long as a week and a half ago. I tend to believe that’s not true. The reason why is that some restaurants saw the downtime as a chance to undertake renovations, renovations that would not be finished by the 4th.

You’ll soon need a face covering to take an Uber.

A couple of videos

Award-winning bartender Cady shows how to make a classic cocktail, the Penicillin, at Pontotoc Lounge.

Dylan demonstrates making a wood-fired pizza at the Silly Goose:

General notes about bars…

One bar owner explained why he wasn’t re-opening for dine-in as of yesterday. “People come in here in big groups, of like 10 people,” he said. “You know they don’t all live in the same household. So, how do I tell them, you have to sit apart from each other?” This is especially a concern tonight, being Cinco de Mayo, a popular drinking holiday.

One thing to note… bars that haven’t opened for dine-in, but are open for take-out/delivery, will at least no longer get in trouble if people are found inside who are hanging out, not waiting on to-go food. I suspect some of these places may allow people to linger a bit, as long as they maintain social distancing. If that’s the case, people who tip the bartender well and don’t come in big groups will probably have the most latitude.

Oh yeah, that reminds me! Friday I mentioned that I had one other observation about the re-opening, but wanted to hold it until Saturday… then I ended up holding it until today. In the re-opening orders in Arkansas and Nashville, restaurants could re-open at reduced capacity, but they weren’t allowed to sit anyone at their bar areas. I was worried we would see a similar provision in the Memphis/Shelby County re-opening order. We did not, and customers can sit at bar areas, although like the rest of the restaurant they must remain at 50% capacity or less.

Why did I wait on posting that observation? The media read this blog. I didn’t want to give them a chance to get in front of Mayor Strickland and ask that question before May 4.

Opinion time (about the re-opening, not political stuff)

I’ve held back my opinion, for the most part, about the re-opening date, wanting to be an objective source of information during the quarantine. Now that Phase 1 of re-opening has begun, though, I will let loose a little.

I personally thought Monday, May 11 was the ideal date to move into Phase 1 of a re-opening, with Monday, May 4 (the actual date it happened) five to ten percent less than ideal, and anything sooner considerably worse (from a health perspective). I saw a re-opening date of Monday, May 18 as slightly less than ideal, and anything more than a week after that considerably worse (from an economic perspective).

However, I do see one benefit to May 4. Typically, landlord-tenant agreements are such that rent is due the 1st of the month, and late on the 6th. A lot of people are already behind on their April rent, and as of tomorrow will be two months behind. The May 4 reopening allows a number of people to go to their landlord and say, “I’m not going to be able to get you everything I owe by the 5th, but I’m working again, so I’m in the process of catching up.” As opposed to, “I’m two months behind, and I have absolutely no idea when I will have any money to even pay part of what I owe.”

The May 4 date reduces worry in that regard. With the exception of hate, worry is the most unhealthy, unproductive, unnecessary emotion there is. It may not be the threat that COVID-19 is, but it has been known to take years off people’s lives. There are few bigger causes of worry than the unknown. It causes people to dwell on an absolute-worst-case scenario. For people behind on rent or mortgage, that scenario is losing their home, which is pretty horrible and unhealthy to dwell upon.

That’s it for now. I’m about 50-50 on whether I will get out today for Cinco de Mayo. If I do, I will high-tail it home at the first sign of overcrowding/disregarding social distancing at the places that are open. Back later today or tomorrow with more news.