Wednesday update

An exciting food-related announcement came out yesterday: Steph Cook has agreed to come on board as the chef at the Blind Bear. Steph is best known for the RAWK’n Grub food truck, and for the restaurant he operated at Summer and Highland for several years. Most recently he has been working with the folks at The Vault. Steph and the Bear will be a tremendous combination and I can’t wait to see what dishes he comes up with.

More exciting news:

One more Veterans Day deal: Hooters is offering a buy 10, get 10 offer on their boneless wings for all active-duty military and veterans.

My feed for the COVID task force press conference yesterday cut out about 4 minutes in, but The Daily Memphian has a good recap. Biggest takeaway: If you get a call from the Health Department ordering you to isolate or quarantine, that is legally binding and you can face a misdemeanor charge if you go out.

Why is there not a free COVID-19 testing location in the 38103 zip code? The closest testing center is 360 E.H. Crump Blvd. and it is only open for testing Monday and Wednesday 5:30-7:00. That is not a neighborhood I would feel comfortable walking to after dark.

Memphis vs. Navy, set for Saturday, has been postponed due to a COVID outbreak at the Naval Academy. A make-up date is under discussion but the two teams do not have a common open date.

Michael Graber and Friends play the Central Station patio Saturday night at 6:30. You can join them in person or online.

Abbey Road, a Beatles tribute band, and Satisfaction, a Rolling Stones tribute band, face off in Beatles vs. Stones at the Orpheum Wednesday, May 19, 2021.

MSN Lifestyle has an article on The Check In mobile coffee shop in Memphis. The coffee shop is the creation of activist Keedran Franklin, who wanted to create a space for community conversation. The truck is known for its unique coffee drinks and for giving felons who had been denied other opportunities a chance. Franklin wants to operate more mobile trucks as well as a permanent location on Winchester.

If you’ve missed the strip clubs in Shelby County, good news. They are now permitted to reopen after submitting a plan to the Health Department demonstrating their willingness to follow stringent requirements. These clubs have to follow the incredibly stupid “service for an individual customer or group shall not exceed 2 hours” rule and lap dances are not allowed at this time.

Updated CDC guidance says that masks protect the wearer as well as others within six feet of the wearer. Previously it was believed the masks only protected others.

Action News 5 has a report on how COVID is changing visits with Santa at Bass Pro this year.

Grind City Brewing Co. hosts Hops & Haloes tonight. Get drink specials when you donate $11 or more (on 11/11) to AngelStreet, an organization that provides musical training, mentoring, and performance opportunities in the Memphis area. TACOnganas will be on-site if you get hungry.

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

Tuesday update

I want to throw a possible scenario out there. It’s not the best one to think about, but it’s one we ought to keep in mind, and be prepared in case it does happen.

Local medical experts (REAL experts, not the people who post COVID rants on Facebook) predict that the COVID-19 overflow hospital on Union will have to open by Christmas. A hospital overflow situation is expected nationally by the time President-Elect Biden and Vice-President-Elect Harris take office January 20.

I have noticed that the Shelby County COVID-19 task force has the capability to think several moves ahead, as though they’re playing a game of chess with the virus. What if they leave things as they are, or close to it, through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, realizing it’s futile to expect families not to see each other at all during the holidays…

… but then, to starve the virus of new hosts, they issue a 4-week Safer at Home order Monday, January 4 to Monday, February 2, or alternately, January 11 to February 8? That’s the slowest time of the year for most businesses (except gyms), it would be double the virus’s two-week incubation period, and it would get things back open in time for Valentine’s Day.

I have no inside knowledge that something like this is being considered, and to be clear, I am NOT ADVOCATING for such an order (a few of my Facebook friends would be thrilled though). However, I think there’s a possibility such an order could happen. So, I invite my readers to think:

  • If such an order is issued, what are you going to do to stay afloat financially? How are you going to make sure you have money squirreled away for your February 1 rent or mortgage payment?
  • How are you going to keep yourself entertained if such an order is issued? Might that possibility affect what gifts you give for the holidays?
  • What nonessential services might not be available for a while? For example, you might want to book an appointment at the hair salon mid-December if this prediction looks more accurate by that time.

South Main Association members: There is an online monthly meeting of the organization tonight at 6 (Zoom link) It will be time to vote on the 2021 Board of Directors, and developer Chance Carlisle will be the featured speaker, talking about the projects his group has going on in South Main. There will also be presentations from other business owners:

  • Brit McDaniel of Paper & Clay, taking over the old Harley-Davidson space with a ceramic arts shop
  • Robert Clayton and Emeka “Cleopatra Bake” of Cupcake Cutie, which recently relocated to South Main
  • Tawanda Pirtle and Mady Perry of new gift shop Feelin’ Memphis at 509 S. Main

Slider Inn Downtown is planning a Ghost River beer dinner for Tuesday, November 17. I’ll post more details as I get them.

The Memphis Flyer will hold a virtual Pet Adopt-a-Thon, along with Hollywood Feed and the Memphis Humane Society, this Thursday 2:00 to 3:30. They’ll feature some of the adoptable cats and dogs, have a Q&A with the trainer, and give you a look at the work being done at the Humane Society.

Pfizer has a COVID-19 vaccine that has proved 90% effective in testing and for which paperwork could be submitted to the FDA for emergency-use authorization as soon as next week. That would be great news if it holds up. The FDA was shooting for greater than 50% efficacy, and Pfizer has beaten that standard by a mile.

Now the government has to find a way to make this vaccine free for all. To charge for the vaccine would be discriminatory. President-Elect Biden has said he has a plan to make this happen.

Downtown Yoga has announced that Cora Pitt has joined its staff. Cora brings over 500 hours in Pilates training, as well as Barre Above and TRX qualifications. You may know her from Aldo’s Pizza Pies or Slider Inn Midtown. Cora will teach Pilates-60 at Downtown Yoga every Monday night, with both in-studio and virtual options available.

The CA has a list of Thanksgiving to-go options. Note that for most restaurants, you will need to order well in advance. Downtown options listed in the article include Felicia Suzanne’s, Hog Wild BBQ/A Moveable Feast Catering, Memphis Soul, and the Peabody.

Plus I have a couple more for you. From Catherine & Mary’s:

It’s that time again! Bring a @hogandhominy pie home for the holidays. We’re offering whole Peanut Butter, Carol’s Delightful Smile and Lemon Chess pies this season for $40. Order them by Saturday, Nov. 21 to have them on your table by Thanksgiving! Place your order downtown or in East Memphis 🥧🍂
East Memphis call (901)347-3569 or email
Downtown call (901)254-8600 or email
**PIE PICK UP DAY: Nov. 25

From New Wing Order:

Arkansas head football coach Sam Pittman has tested positive for COVID-19. Pittman, fresh off a 24-13 whooping of the Tennessee Lady Vols powder puff football team on Saturday, will have to isolate for 10 days. Barry Odom, DC and associate head coach, will take the reins in his absence.

My recommendation for tonight is that you get out on a patio, because today is going to be the last really nice day, with afternoon and early evening temperatures in the 70s, falling into the 60s.

From Action News 5: Downtown Dining Week provided a glimpse of normalcy during the pandemic.

From Fox 13: Restaurant owners want to make to-go alcohol sales permanent, a move I support 100%.

Fox 13 also has a list of places where veterans eat free on Wednesday for Veterans’ Day. The list is a bunch of corporate chains so not much for Downtown. However, we do have:

  • Free 12-ounce tall coffee for veterans and active-duty members at Starbucks
  • 25% off dinner for veterans and active-duty at Texas de Brazil Monday-Thursday
  • Free small breakfast combo at Wendy’s for veterans and active-duty

We have a couple of events coming up in Health Sciences Park at Madison and Dunlap this week. Thursday, Opera Memphis will do a pop-up from 10 AM to 1 PM. The Stickem food truck will be on-site, and there will be free gifts and Poparoos popcorn for the first 50 attendees. Social distancing is required, masks are encouraged, and sanitation products will be available.

Acoustic trio Mommy Jamz performs at the park Friday from 11 to 1. Food truck (they didn’t say which one) on-site and the same COVID deal as the day before.

Politico has started a new Transition Playbook daily newsletter for those who want to keep up with the latest on the Biden-Harris transition plans.

Someone is selling a Camy’s triangle menu on eBay for 18 bucks. Didn’t know that was a collectors’ item.

That’s it for today. Probably I will make a stop at Blind Bear after work this afternoon. Back tomorrow with more news.

An open letter to Donald Trump and Sunday news

Dear Donald,

You may have heard that I don’t like you. In this post, I’d like to address that.

You see, Donald, I like winners. I like people who win. And that’s not you.

You lost, Donald. You lost to Joe Biden, a man who is a minion of Barack Obama. Barack Hussein Obama, a Muslim from Kenya or Hawaii or one of those shithole countries.

You lost to a Democractic party that was divided. Fragmented. You had Biden along with Klobuchar, Mayor Pete and the other moderates. Then you had Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and the others on the far left. But at the end of the day it didn’t matter. There were some very fine people on both sides.

You’re a loser, Donald. Not only are you a LOSER, but you are a FAILURE. You are a failed one-term president. Only 3 other times in the past hundred years did the public think so little of a sitting president that they refused to give him a second term: Herbert Hoover, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush. And now you.

You know who else lost a presidential election? Crooked Hillary. Just think about that, Donald, you’re the same as Hillary now. A failure. All that remains is for you to be fitted for a pantsuit. What color do you want? I think pink would look good on you. We’ll probably have to make it out of M.C. Hammer parachute pants because your ass is so big.

You let Sleepy Joe swoop in and capture the presidency from you. I like people whose presidencies didn’t get captured.

Donald, you’re fired.

Or as a sign held at a celebration outside the White House put it yesterday: Game Over, Fascist Clown.

More losers: Clemson lost. Tennessee lost (to Arkansas). Good ole West Virginny lost. It must have been a sad day for the old poots at the corner table.

In this abbreviated season, I don’t see how Clemson stays in the playoff conversation. If Cincy remains undefeated and remains on the outside looking in at Clemson in the playoffs, that will prove that the Power Five are the haves and the other conferences are the have-nots.

Meanwhile, the Memphis Tigers came back from being down 33-20 in the fourth quarter to defeat the South Florida Bulls. On a Saturday in November when Memphis saw sunny 80-degree weather… could yesterday have been any more perfect?

From Bleacher Report: Winners and losers of Week 10 of college football

St. Vincent de Paul at 1306 Monroe, which has fed the homeless for many years, now seeks a permit to offer shelter as well. The organization plans to partner with Room In The Inn. COVID-19 has limited shelter beds this year, increasingly a problem as the weather starts to turn cold.

Here’s a link to James Aycock’s Shelby County COVID-19 week in review.

Several boats caught on fire at the Mud Island marina about 7 yesterday morning. One boat was a total loss. The marina itself sustained $200,000 worth of damage.

Speaking of Mud Island, if your life just isn’t complete without an unused ticket from the August 9, 1987 STRYPER concert at the amphitheater there, you’re in luck – there’s one on sale on eBay for the incredibly low amount of $14.99.

The Daily Memphian has a Day Tripper article about my hometown of Little Rock. If you go and only have one time for one meal, it should be Mexican and there must be cheese dip. They’re calling it Ark-Mex now, which is not a surprise since Texas is a dirty word there. Whoa, there’s an Argentian restaurant over there… now that’s something I’d like to try.

From Action News 5: National Civil Rights Museum reflects on historic Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris.

If Georgia is called for Biden – and he’s in the lead there right now – he will have a total of 306 electoral votes, two more than the 2016 “Electoral College landslide” that Trump has bragged about so many times.

Truck Fump and Cluck Femson. Back tomorrow.

Saturday update

There are reports on Nextdoor of several shootings that happened in the area of Seventh and Greenlaw last night. A woman who posted said her house and the one next door were shot up while she was in the living room with her grandchildren. Y’all who live in Uptown be careful. That neighborhood has seen a lot of redevelopment in the past 20 years, but from what I hear on the police scanner and see on Nextdoor, that neighborhood can still be pretty wild after the sun goes down.

Sounds like some of those Blue CRUSH cameras need to be installed…

The Daily Memphian reported a list of restaurants that are going to do weekly pool testing of employees, to go that extra mile to ensure that diners remain safe from COVID-19. Downtown restaurants include

  • 117 Prime
  • Bishop
  • Catherine & Mary’s
  • Central BBQ
  • Cocozza
  • Felicia Suzanne Restaurant
  • Gray Canary
  • Majestic Grille
  • McEwen’s
  • Rendezvous
  • Sunrise Memphis

One of my cigar smoking friends reports that the Tinder Box is back open on South Main.

Memphis hosts South Florida at 11 AM today at the Liberty Bowl. The game will be broadcast on the ESPN+ subscription service. Other notable games:

  • #23 Michigan at #13 Indiana, FS1, 11 AM
  • #8 Georgia at #5 Florida, CBS, 2:30 PM
  • #1 Clemson at #4 Notre Dame, 6:30 PM, NBC
  • Tennessee at Arkansas, 6:30 PM, SEC Network

The old poots at the corner table at Max’s are going to be up well past their bedtimes tonight watching those evening games. I doubt I will make it that far south today but I will be rooting for the Hogs and the Irish wherever I watch.

Fishbowl and The Lookout are open as Bass Pro at the Pyramid opens its restaurants top to bottom this week. Fishbowl is the former Uncle Buck’s with a new concept and management.

The Memphis Flyer reports that another brewery will open in Memphis. Hampline hopes to be open in the Broad & Tillman area by New Year’s.

From Local 24: Jake Schorr plans to keep his Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless alive at Westy’s this year, despite COVID. Guests won’t be able to dine inside this year because of social distancing.

COVID Act Now reports that the virus’s reproduction rate in Shelby County is back under 1, coming in at 0.99 this morning.

The Trumpster’s chief of staff has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Election update: As of this morning, Biden is leading the popular vote by more than 4 million. FiveThirtyEight reports that Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania is now over 28,000, with 90,000 mail-in ballots and 100,000 provisional ballots, expected to skew Democratic, left to be counted. There is speculation that Pennsylvania might be called for Biden this weekend, which would be ballgame, putting him over 270.

Here’s a link to the definition of narcissistic collapse. We all need to become familiar with this term, because we’re going to witness a very public one over the next two and a half months.

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

Friday update

The Downtown Christmas tree lighting has been announced for Friday, November 27, 4 to 6 PM, at the usual corner of Main and Peabody Place. If this were a normal year, kids would be able to get their photos taken sitting on Santa’s lap. However, having Santa come in contact with hundreds of kids could turn into a COVID-19 super-spreader event. So this year, they’re doing something different. Santa will be enclosed inside a snowglobe near the Christmas tree. The globe will be decorated with artwork from the kids at St. Jude. From 4 to 6 that afternoon, your kids will be able to pose for COVID-safe photos with Santa.

If you don’t want to wait until the end of the month to see Santa, he will make an appearance tomorrow 5-7 PM at the reimagined Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro at the Pyramid. Elves will hand out crafts and hot cocoa, and Christmas music will be playing. Bring your homemade signs to let Santa know what you want. Reservations must be booked in advance for this drive-by event.

I didn’t watch the COVID-19 press conference yesterday, but here are a few things @local24brad shared:

  • There is still a big problem with people continuing their day-to-day routines even after they have developed symptoms that could possibly indicate COVID
  • Quick, cheap pool testing/assurance testing will be rolled out to industries like restaurants whose workers are at a high risk due to contact with the public every day
  • Despite the surge, health department director Dr. Haushalter said there are NO plans to bring back restrictions. Well, that’ll make the Facebook “health experts” unhappy.

Tomorrow would be a great day to grab some soul food at Alcenia’s, as the restaurant in the Pinch celebrates its 23rd anniversary.

The PRVLG play the Huling Station outdoor dining space across the street from Grecian Gourmet and Memphis Soul Food today 5-7.

Ohio State has withdrawn from the Crossover Classic, to be played in South Dakota and in which the Memphis Tigers are a participant, the week of Thanksgiving. The DM reports that Saint Mary’s will be the replacement. If the name sounds familiar, they’re a frequent NCAA tournament team, known for being the second-best team in the conference Gonzaga dominates. If Memphis beats St. Mary’s in the opening round, they’ll face Texas A&M or good ole West Virginny in the second round, and a victory in that game would put them in the championship final. We won’t have to wait long to find out how good the Tigers really are this year.

The NBA’s Players Association has approved a 72-game schedule for 2020-21 with a December 22 start. The season would get done before the Summer Olympics™ get started in July. With a start two months later than normal, I wonder if that means back-to-back-to-backs will return.

From Local 24: The legend of music teacher Elmertha Cole lives on at the Eight & Sand bar at Central Station Hotel.

Vintage plays The Vault tonight at 8.

The presidential election remains undecided this morning, with Nevada and Georgia leaning Biden (just barely in Georgia’s case) and Alaska, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina leaning Trump. FiveThirtyEight reports that many of the outstanding Pennsylvania votes are mail-ins from the Philadelphia metro which could flip that state blue. A Biden win in any of the states mentioned except Alaska would give him enough electoral votes to win the presidency. (Edit 7:59 AM: Biden has taken the lead in Pennsylvania.)

Those are the facts. I am going to leave opinions out of this until the race gets called one way or the other. Could happen today. I don’t understand how a state as sparsely populated as Nevada could take this long. Someone ride out to the Ponderosa and collect the last votes from Ben, Adam, Hoss, and Little Joe so we can get this show on the road.

Today’s Politico Playbook discusses how the House and Senate could be a place for further shenanigans in January when it’s time to certify the vote.

FiveThirtyEight’s live blog is a good way to stay up to date with election coverage while you’re at work and can’t be in front of a TV.

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

Thursday update

Geoff Calkins interviewed local health experts Dr. Manoj Jain and Dr. Jon McCullers for The Daily Memphian this week, asking them, when will we get back to packed sports arenas? The answer is not what anybody wants to hear, with McCullers advising to shoot for Super Bowl 2022, and if we get there a few months ahead of schedule, that’s gravy.

My concern upon hearing that answer is not the Tigers or the Grizzlies but a different team – my BBQ team. If Tom Lee Park cannot be packed at any point in 2021, that could be the death knell for Memphis in May. Also, if packed arenas aren’t possible until 2022, does that mean restaurants have to put up with this social distancing crap for another year? That’s going to drive many of them into bankruptcy.

StyleBlueprint has a list of must-try Memphis coffee shops. Downtown shops on the list include Bluff City Coffee at 505 S. Main, Comeback Coffee at 358 N. Main, Tam & Tap at 1220 Gayoso Alley, and Edge Alley at 600 Monroe. I still have not been to Comeback Coffee yet. Are laptoppers allowed to hang out in there and sip a beverage while they work? Or is that still a COVID no-no? Now that I’m a professional writer, I would love a coffee shop where I could hang out and write. At least until the Cossitt Library opens… I am going to be ALL ABOUT that place.

Service industry jobs news: The Blind Bear, having released a new menu, is getting busier and is hiring a door host, barback, dishwasher, and cook.

Also, Rizzo’s by Michael Patrick is looking to hire a host or hostess.

If you know any seniors in need, there’s an opportunity for them to receive a free heated blanket.

Some big personal news this morning. Earlier this week I wrote a story on Medium entitled Tech Support: How to Save Time and Prevent Stress. When I woke up this morning I found a note from an editor of The Startup, the largest Medium-based publication with over 722,000 followers, saying they loved it and asked if I’d like to submit it for publication. I did and it has been accepted. I’ve been in four other Medium-based publications, but The Startup is as big as it gets. I feel like there’s no stopping me now!

Obviously I am watching the presidential election results with great interest. I will refrain from commenting until a winner has been called. If you haven’t been keeping up, one candidate is looking to be in much better shape than the other with votes still being counted in a handful of swing states. However, the tallies are close enough to trigger recounts and lawsuits.

That’s it for right now. Fairly slow news day because everyone’s waiting for the election results. Back tomorrow with more news.

Wednesday update

That election though… I just don’t have the words… not yet. It looks more and more like that electoral scenario of doom I floated Monday, with the election hinging on Pennsylvania with that state’s votes taking forever to count, may play out.

I discovered a website which is good if you want some in-depth reading to take your mind off America’s troubles: Longform. If you prefer to listen rather than read, they have a podcast too.

If you need another reading distraction: I’d hardly call today a Celebration Day, but Memphis magazine has a long piece on the role Memphis played in the recording of Led Zeppelin III. The album’s 50th anniversary is this year.

The COVID-19 task force press conference yesterday was about as exciting as watching paint dry. Health Department director Dr. Haushalter stressed once again that if you express any symptoms, whether they could be attributed to COVID, the flu, or the common cold, you need to cease all activities immediately. You need to go get tested for COVID, stay away from others, and stay home until you either get a negative result or until the 10-day isolation period for COVID (including 1 day free from fever and symptoms) has passed.

County Health Officer Dr. Bruce Randolph spoke to faith-related venues. He stressed that the Health Department is available to advise on best practices for safely returning to in-person worship.

WREG has more on the demise of Lew’s Blue Note Bar & Grill, one of the few African-American owned businesses on Beale, due to COVID-19. Fellow business owner Tater Red was quoted as saying more businesses on the street could have to close soon.

Tomorrow’s Stout Day at the Wiseacre taproom – the Broad Avenue one, not the Downtown one. (When is cool stuff like this gonna start happening Downtown?) Details:

Stout Day 2020 is right around the corner, with dark beers taking over Thursday, November 5th. The world will join in a global toast to this rich and full-bodied style and we hope you do too!
15% discount available on Gotta Get Up To Get Down Draft, 6pk, 12pk ONLY + we will have a few surprise Stouts as draft only releases too!

Good news: The forecast shows highs in the 70s for the next week with little chance of rain until next Tuesday.

The never-ending debate goes on: Memphis in May wants to tweak Tom Lee Park redesign plans

The Downtown Fogleman YMCA holds a hiring fair today 10 to 2. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Bring forms of identification to fill out an I-9
  • Be prepared to undergo a health screening before your interview. Mask must be worn at all times inside the building
  • Bring references, including contact email addresses
  • Drug testing will be done onsite

That’s it. I’m tired, having stayed up until 11 then got up at 4 to keep an eye on the election results. I said that after work Wednesday, I’d go out for a few PBRs either to celebrate, to drown my sorrows, or to dull the frustration of not knowing. Looks like it’ll be door number 3. Back tomorrow with more news.

Tuesday update

The day we’ve all been anticipating is finally here. Please get out and vote today if you haven’t done so already.

The big news coming out of Downtown the past 24 hours is that Downtown Memphis Commission president Jennifer Oswalt is stepping down at the end of the year. She was not actively job-hunting but was sought out by the Haslam family, including former governor Bill Haslam and his brother who owns the Cleveland Browns. They want her to manage the family fortune. Although unexpected, it was the dream offer of a lifetime and she couldn’t say no. Congratulations Jennifer, and thanks for leading Downtown’s growth through a very challenging time.

The Memphis Business Journal has a slideshow of King & Union Grocery, which has taken over the former TGI Friday’s space at B.B. King and Union across from the ballpark. The accompanying article is behind a paywall but the slideshow is free.

From Dr. Bean’s Coffee and Tea Emporium:

Hey friends. Most of you have probably heard by now that our storefront and home @409puckfoodhall is officially closing by the end of the year. Though this saddens us deeply, we are so incredibly lucky to have worked out a move that’s right across the street! The Dr. Bean’s crew will be returning to the place Memphians were first able to buy our beans in person almost 5 years ago— 387 South Main! Stay connected with us on social media to learn more about the move as it comes. Thank you for your continued love and support of our team and our coffee.

COVID-19 has claimed another Memphis restaurant, this time on Beale Street. Lew’s Blue Note Bar & Grill has bitten the dust. Here’s the announcement:

Closing of blue note bar and Grill 341beale street Memphis Tennessee it is with a heavy heart that my family and I have made the difficult decision to close our doors at Lew ‘s blue note bar and Grill effective October 27 2020.The covid 19 pandemic has caused a struggle. We would like to thank each and every one of you who have supported us over the last seven years. We will miss seeing, serving and entertaining you all and we pray that you will pray for us and for our nation during these desperate times. Lastly we ask that you please get out and Vote because our lives and livelihoods depend on it. Always remember that when we stick together we can’t be broken. Thank you for patronizing our business over the years and please share this post with our many guests and friends. We love you all and will miss you deeply. Lew ,marilyn and blue note staff.

Rather than doing a signature wing sauce this month, the New Wing Order food truck is celebrating National Nacho Day this Friday with a month of Nacho November specials.

Here’s the food truck’s schedule. No November dates Downtown, unfortunately, but they’ll be a short ride away at Crosstown Brewing on the 11th and Memphis Made on the 21st.

The Grizzlies have announced a partnership with online sportsbook FanDuel.

Shred415 will host a donation-based fitness class on the river on Thursday, November 5. Join them in Tom Lee Park for a 45-minute HIIT workout, then stick around for a cold beer by Grind City Brewing while you hear plans about changes to the park. Donations will go to Memphis River Parks Partnership.

Tech nonprofit CodeCrew, which has taught more than 2000 kids in Memphis how to write code in the past 5 years, has received a $50,000 donation from Verizon. Among the classes they offer is drone programming. It’s an exciting time to be a kid!

Shelby County has fallen out of the red zone for COVID-19 cases. We are down to 22.8 new cases per day per 100,000 this morning, according to COVID Act Now, down from a high in the low 30s and below the threshold of 25 at which Harvard says stay-home orders should be considered. R-nought, the reproduction rate, is down to 1.07 from a high of around 1.25 last week, and the positivity rate has dropped back below 10%. Still not great news, but at least things are starting to trend back in the right direction.

Meanwhile, Nashville, despite still being in the red zone, has moved forward into Phase 3 of its reopening, allowing restaurants and bars additional freedom. That’s a promising sign that the bars won’t close a third time here; it’s unlikely the SCHD would move backward when the most similar major municipality in the state is moving forward with reopening.

Don’t forget: Free fares on MATA vehicles today. It’s for Election Day, but why not take advantage and hop a trolley to a restaurant offering a Downtown Dining Week special?

Everyone’s talking about the states that will take days to report election results. However, the majority of states should report results tonight, unless it is a very close call. These include three Eastern Time Zone swing states:

  • Florida
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio

I have not seen an electoral simulation in WEEKS in which Trump won a second term without carrying all three of these states. (Mouse over the red dots in FiveThirtyEight’s electoral simulator to see what I mean.) If one of these states gets called for Biden, Trump is in big trouble; if two are called for Biden, Trump is all but done. On the other hand, if all three get called for Trump, Biden is not necessarily finished but becomes the underdog. As of this post (about 5:30 AM Election Day) the RealClearPolitics polling averages for those states were

  • Florida: Biden 0.9
  • North Carolina: Trump 0.2
  • Ohio: Trump 1.4

That’s all I’ve got this morning. VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE.


Sunday update

Downtown Dining Week has arrived! Today through Saturday, November 7, 66 restaurants are participating, offering some amazing deals and enticing you to get out and try new things. I’m going to repeat my yearly comments here, with an additional sense of urgency because of COVID-19.

  • Please, please, PLEASE don’t make reservations for the same time, same night at multiple restaurants because your group hasn’t decided where to go yet – and then no-show all the restaurants but one. Even in the best of times, this is rude to other diners who miss out on a table, and to the restaurants who miss out on revenue. This is magnified by social distancing restrictions that cut the total number of guests to half or less.
  • Please be understanding of your servers. They are going to be very busy. Try to let them know everything your table needs all at once and don’t run them back and forth to the kitchen.
  • 30% tip. In previous years I suggested this as “a nice thing to do.” In pandemic times I suggest this as “ought to be mandatory.” Your servers had their restaurants closed for at least a month and a half this year, and since then have tried to survive waiting on social distanced tables. Recognize that you’re getting a deal on your food and take care of your servers very well.

I’m still digging through the DDW menus trying to figure out if and where I want to dine… those fried ribs with two sides, a drink, and dessert at Chef Tam’s Underground Cafe sure sound tempting. I might have to hit that place later in the week.

Looks like DDW is my only piece of news for today… it’s a heck of a piece of news though. Back tomorrow with more.