Thursday update: Smurfey’s Smokehouse is coming to the Downtown core

When I walk to the new job in the mornings, I usually take Madison east to B.B. King, then south on B.B. King to Beale where I work. So, every day I walk past the storefront at 149 Madison, most recently home to “fam,” a fast-casual Asian & sushi restaurant.

I hadn’t been to fam since before the pandemic. “Is it open?” I wondered as I walked by last week. “It sure looks dark in there.”

Yesterday I got my answer when I saw two new signs in the window.

This is fantastic news for those who live and work in the Downtown core!! Smurfey’s is a BBQ joint that has operated out of a food truck for years. The truck was a fixture at Thursday Court Square food truck rodeos.

The first Thursday of 2019, I walked over to Court Square. I was in the mood for BBQ, but I wanted something different. I was burned out on pulled pork sandwiches and BBQ nachos.

Smurfey’s had the answer.

I got a jumbo baked potato topped with slow-smoked pulled pork, cheese sauce, and Smurfey sauce. I added veggies, which were optional, for a couple of dollars more.

That baked potato was one of the BEST things I have ever put in my mouth! The flavor profile of the pork along with the sauces was out of this world. I am so excited I’ll be able to get Smurfey’s pulled pork any day I want it, not just Thursday lunch.

By the way, if you don’t eat pork, you can get your potato topped with brisket or chicken. I think turkey may be an option too.

The sign in the window says Smurfey’s will be open for breakfast too. I’ll be excited to see what they come up with there. With the demise of Blue Plate Cafe and River Tine Deli, the city center is in need of more breakfast spots.

A Chancery Court judge has issued a ruling that could stop the construction of the Brooks Museum of Art at Front and Monroe. Friends for Our Riverfront, which asked for the ruling, will have to post a bond covering the costs of stopping construction.

Today is Circle K Day. The convenience store will offer discounts on in-store items as well as on gas and EV charging.

Memphis Beer Blog has a look back at 10 years of Wiseacre beer.

They’re setting up tents in Handy Park for the annual Beale Street Cigar Festival this weekend.

Lenny’s at Main and Peabody Place is finally back open a full complement of hours: 10:30 AM to 8 PM Monday-Saturday. They are also available for catering.

Use promo code PBR to buy a Throwback Thursday ticket to see the Redbirds tonight and receive a PBR T-shirt and 2 beers for free. There are throwback prices of $2 PBRs and $1 hot dogs. The ‘birds take the field in their Memphis Chicks uniforms to play Gwinnett at 6:45.

YUMMY special at Local on Main this week: Cheesy Collard Greens dip. I didn’t get a photo but it’s collards topped with 3 kinds of melted cheese and bread crumbs, with house-made chips for dipping. I had some and it was so good.

Another shooting Downtown: A 15-year-old boy was shot near Union and Wagner Place, half a block east of Riverside Drive, at 5:20 yesterday morning. UPDATE: The 15-year-old may have been breaking into cars

I received a beer + shot mixer suggestion yesterday that sounded worth passing on to my readers: Wiseacre Gotta Get Up to Get Down + Skrewball peanut butter whiskey

Montenegro and Lithuania are the next two opponents for Team USA in FIBA World Cup action. Montenegro has NBA All-Star center Nikola Vucevic, while Lithuania has a center Memphians are familiar with: Jonas Valanciunas. Game times:

  • vs. Montenegro Friday 3:40 AM
  • vs. Lithuania Sunday 7:40 AM

France will be Memphis In May’s 2024 honored country.

We will soon have a NERF theme park a day’s drive from Memphis.

Downtown’s Hilton Garden Inn has a temporary food & beverage director position open. The position runs through October.

Whet Thursday returns to the Metal Museum tonight. Smithing demos, live music, a food truck on site, yard games. Admission is free.

Jad Tariq plays the final Summer  Acoustic Concert in the courtyard of Caption by Hyatt tonight.

Sunset Skate returns to River Garden tonight from 6 to 9. “Groove and glide down Riverside Drive.”

Goodlife DJs play Eight & Sand Lounge in Central Station Hotel Friday night.

That’ll do it for today. I’m about to get out in this beautiful weather. Back tomorrow.

Wednesday update

The Lobbyist, the new-ish restaurant in the Chisca, has announced that their chef’s table is now available for bookings. Chef Jimmy and Chef Jessica will thoughtfully create for you a 6- to 8-course meal.  There’s an optional pairing of two different tiers of wine. 901-249-2170 for reservations.

Blind Bear opens at 1 today with Jeannette herself behind the bar for happy hour.

Due to an air-conditioning system failure, Atomic Rose will be closed through Labor Day.

The DM reports that Hive Bagel and Deli will open Friday, September 8 at 276 S. Front. Owner Josh Steiner believes the high volume of foot traffic coming through the area makes the location ideal for a fast-casual breakfast restaurant.

The Memphis Redbirds host the Gwinnett Stripers tonight at 6:45.

Spaces, a co-working facility, will occupy the second, third, and fourth floors of 107 S. Main by November.

Today is Slinky Day.

Hurricane Idalia spins in the Gulf of Mexico and is expected to make landfall along the elbow-bend of Florida this morning. It is currently on track to hit Savannah and Charleston as a strong tropical storm before heading back out to sea in the Atlantic.

Neighbors are sick of truck crashes at a low bridge on East Carolina Avenue.

Just City Memphis seeks a program coordinator.

I notice 111 Madison has been rebranded as an event venue. I thought that’s where Cafe Lit was going to be. Is that plan no longer going to happen? Anyone got the info?

That’s it for now. My updates may be a little slow coming this week as I practice my Beale Street walking tour for work. Back tomorrow, or maybe Friday, with more news.

Tuesday update

Walking to work yesterday, I saw this sticker on a utility pole:

I can think of a few people who could wear that name tag proudly.

Here’s a look at one of “The Features” (specials) at Blind Bear this week:

BBQ nachos with pulled pork, cheese, jalapenos, tomatoes, and onions. This big ol’ plate will be available as a weekly special starting today for $12. Other specials this week: A chef salad for $14, and blackberry or strawberry cobbler for $8.

As I walked home from work yesterday, I noticed a sign saying that the Flying Saucer has half-price wings during NFL Thursday games.

There’s a blue supermoon this week. That means

  • It’s the second full moon of the month (blue moon)
  • It’s 90% or more to perigee, the closest it gets to the Earth along its orbit (supermoon)

People think behavior of Beale Street revelers is bad, but Memphis ain’t got nothin’ on Nashville. A Nashville man was arrested for standing on the rooftop of a bar and urinating on a hot dog vendor below.

Why doesn’t Beale have hot dog vendors like Bourbon Street? (Lucky Dogs) Actually, Beale did at one point. If you take my one-hour walking tour of Beale (sign up here; 1:30-2:30 PM Labor Day), you’ll learn who Hot Dog Jimmy was.

By the way, friends told me yesterday they plan to sacrifice an hour of their Labor Day pool time to come take my tour. I’m honored and flattered; I did not expect anyone to give up part of their holiday to come see me. The tour is limited to 14 people, so if you want to come, be sure to sign up before it fills up.

From the CA: Here’s what the Grizzlies are losing having moved on from Dillon Brooks and Tyus Jones. The team will be different, for sure, but I for one am looking forward to the Marcus Smart era.

The James Lee House in Victorian Village will host a Kimbrough wine tasting event on Thursday, October 5 from 6 to 10 PM. Food will be catered by Another Roadside Attraction. Two lucky guests will be picked to spend the night at the mansion. The theme of the tasting will be California wines. $85 ticket includes tax, processing fee, and valet parking.

Let’s say you have a drink at a restaurant’s bar before moving to your table for dinner. Should you close out with your bartender, or transfer your tab? Food & Wine has the answer.

From StyleBlueprint: 10 unique Memphis hotel stays

Bleacher Report has results from last night’s WWE Monday Night RAW at FedExForum. BR had this to say:

Only having five real matches on a three-hour show not only feels like a waste of the audience’s time for those watching at home, but it also feels like a waste of money for those who paid to see an entire episode of Raw matches.

From ABC 24 on YouTube: Business owners are calling on MPD to expand its Downtown safety plan following the latest shooting

Team USA defeated Greece in FIBA World Cup group play, 109-81, yesterday. Jaren Jackson Jr. came through with 9 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 blocks.

Football insider Tony Barnhart talked to the DM about the University of Memphis’ chances of getting into a Power 5 conference – maybe I should say Power 4, since the Pac-12 seems to have evaporated.

The Trumpster’s trial for federal election interference will begin March 4 – right in the heart of primary season.

I’m out early this morning, taking our company’s founder and VP on a dry run of my Beale Street walking tour, then I’ll hang out on Beale until 2 doing tour sales and answering questions. After that I’ll probably head to Kooky Canuck to spend some of my gift card supply. Back tomorrow with more news.

Monday update: College football this week

Let’s have a look at college football games of interest to folks in the Mid-South region this week:


  • Florida at 14 Utah, 7 PM, ESPN
  • Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Tulsa, 7 PM, ESPN+


  • Virginia at 12 Tennessee, 11 AM, ABC
  • Arkansas State at 20 Oklahoma, 11 AM, ESPN
  • Mercer at 22 Ole Miss, 1 PM, SEC Network
  • Massachusetts at Auburn, 2:30 PM, ESPN
  • Western Carolina at Arkansas, 3:00 PM, SEC Network
  • UT Martin at 1 Georgia, 5 PM, SEC Network
  • Bethune-Cookman at Memphis, 6 PM, ESPN+
  • Middle Tennessee at 4 Alabama, 6:30 PM, SEC Network
  • 21 North Carolina at South Carolina, 6:30 PM, ABC


  • 5 LSU at 8 Florida State, 6:30 PM, ABC

… And that’s all I have for today. Back tomorrow with more news.

Sunday update

Television game show fans got some terrible news yesterday. Longtime host of The Price Is Right Bob Barker has passed away. Barker was less than four months shy of his 100th birthday.

In FIBA World Cup basketball action yesterday, Team USA handled New Zealand 99-72. Next up for USA: vs. Greece Monday at 7:40 AM.

Today is World Rock Paper Scissors Day.

Four people were injured in a shooting just before 3 this morning. Two locations were given: Vance and Mulberry (near The WKND) and Front and Madison (near the law school). One woman was shot in the head.

Eggo Nog is a 20% ABV “brunch in a jar” that tastes just like waffles.

Malcolm Dandridge will return as a Memphis Tiger this season.

Janet McCoy and therapy dog Lovie present Do Dogs Talk? at the Cossitt Library this Monday at 3:30. Participants will learn to translate specific types of messages from dogs.

The Broom Closet hosts Vibes from the Vines: The Sentient Sound of Plants this Monday at 7 PM. $20 per person, limited to 10 people.

Storyboard Memphis revisits the reporting of the Memphis Riot and Massacre of 1866.

That’s the news for today. I plan to stay home and memorize notes for the Beale Street walking tour I will be giving on Labor Day. Back tomorrow with more news.

Saturday update

Memphis set a daily temperature record yesterday, with the high maxing out at 102. That broke the record of 101 set in 1943.

Some people are questioning MPD’s Downtown safety plan following release of video of a large girl fight Wednesday on Beale Street. The safety plan is only put into effect Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. You can’t have a 3-day-a-week safety plan in a city that’s as ghetto as Memphis is 7 days a week.

Social media post from Bardog yesterday:

Allocated bourbons just arrived (@blantons_bourbon, Colonel E.H. Taylor, @staggbourbon & @wellerbourbon) – come & get ‘em while you can. We don’t price-gouge, either. 😉🥃

Hmmm they were clearly taking a dig at SOMEONE with that post… anyone know who? Who overcharges for bourbon?

Not Downtown but worth a Lyft or Uber: Cooper-Young Beerfest has announced its return for year 13. It will happen Saturday, October 21 from 1 to 5 PM in the parking lot of Midtown Autowerks, 795 S. Cooper.

I’ve been to that festival before, and let me reiterate: If your primary objective is to discover and learn about great beer – as opposed to get your photo in the society pages – CY Beerfest is the place for you. Breweries are required to have a brewer in their booth, not just a marketing rep, to discuss their beers with guests. There’s also a beer education tent with presentations all day that are just excellent.

CY is a regional beerfest. That means only breweries within a 1-day drive of Memphis are allowed to participate. So if you find something you like at the festival, you’ll be able to hit the road and visit some taprooms.

And then there’s the weather… obviously, we don’t know the exact forecast for October 21, being almost 2 months out. But normals in Memphis for that day are high 73, low 52. That’s just about perfect.

Tickets will be available at starting September 1.

Starting in 2024, the Greater Memphis Chamber will take over Memphis in May’s month-long slate of international events and duties interfacing with the government of the honored country. The 2024 honored country is expected to be announced next week.

Today is National Toilet Paper Day.

Manhattan’s Forsythia Italian Restaurant will open a Downtown Memphis location at 107 S. Main in 2024. WREG has details.

The CA’s Jennifer Chandler enjoyed a Salmon Nicoise Salad at the Majestic Grille this week.

Frankie Valli comes to the Orpheum tonight. Tickets are $64.50-$175.

Memphis 901 FC has a road match at Charleston Battery tonight. Watch on ESPN+ or WMC Bounce. Preview

That’s all for now. This heat has exhausted me, but it should be out of here by the end of the day.

Friday update

The Today Show’s Al Roker stopped by Memphis this week and shared his love for our city on Instagram. He posted pics/videos at Gus’s and the Mississippi River. View his posts, embedded in this CA story.

The CA also has a photo gallery of Curry N Jerk’s new location inside the old Bon Ton Cafe space.

The Groove on Demand ride share service, covering Downtown, Uptown, Crosstown, the Medical Center, and Soulsville, has announced that students ride for just 50 cents with a valid student ID.

The Blind Bear will have a couple of drink specials made with Tito’s Handmade Vodka for National Dog Day tomorrow, Saturday, August 26:

  • Greyhound – Tito’s and grapefruit juice
  • Hair of the Dog – Tito’s and Zing Zang Bloody Mary mix

Deep Roots plays Momma’s tonight at 8. The soft opening hours are still 11 AM to midnight.

At Slider Inn Downtown, the Slider Out food truck will start serving in the backyard for Trolley Night beginning at 7 tonight. Raneem + Better in Color will play at 8.

ARCHd, “two Memphis sisters making art, video, and design,” opened its first brick-and-mortar location at 65 Monroe Suite A yesterday.

There’s a Pour & Paint tonight at South Main Artspace Lofts from 7 to 9.

From the DM: Riverfront group, including Overton heirs, suing to stop new Brooks construction. Friends for Our Riverfront claim that the museum violates an easement set aside for a public promenade on land donated by the Overton family in the 19th century.

Today is National Whiskey Sour Day.

Video worth a watch: Large girl fight on Beale Street

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow.


Thursday update

I’ll say it once again: If you’re not a subscriber to The Vitals, the Memphis Medical District Collective’s e-newsletter, you’re missing out. The first several news items in today’s post are from the newsletter that went out yesterday.

Health Sciences Park will hold a 901 Day celebration from 11 AM to 1 PM on Friday, September 1.

  • The first 100 Medical District students or employees to register and show their ID will get a free lunch voucher
  • Food trucks will include Paper Plate Pavilion, Memphis AF Burrito, and Nancy’s Slush Fund
  • Live music by Courtney Little
  • DJ Lil Milton will spin

Taste of the District, an annual event celebrating the restaurants of the Medical District, will happen in Health Sciences Park Tuesday, October 3 from 4 to 6 PM. DJ RMZI will supply the tunes as guests sample food. This is a free event but registration is required.

There will be all-levels yoga in Health Sciences Park at 5:30 PM every Wednesday in September and October. Bring a mat and a water bottle.

There will be Saturday morning Zumba workouts in Health Sciences Park on September 16 and 23 and October 7 and 21 at 10 AM.

From the DM: The City Council threw a birthday party for member Martavius Jones on May 9, leaving an $1800 tab for taxpayers to pick up. The party was held at Downtown daiquiri bar Fat Tuesday.

I got a reader tip yesterday that Gould’s at Main and Union will be offering free chair massages every Thursday from 11 AM to 2 PM. They’re trying to capitalize on some of that to-and-from-Court-Square for traffic for the weekly food truck rodeo.

Pineapple and pickle pizza is a thing – and it’s not delivery, it’s DiGiornio.

The U of M has announced upgrades to the Liberty Bowl improving the 2023-24 fan experience. Tiger Lane will now open 3 hours before game time and will stay open until 30 minutes before the game, with food trucks and beer sales added, as well as a larger KidZone. DJ Tanner will spin during games, enhanced fireworks will go off when the Tigers score, and two new Corky’s locations have been added.

Memphis 901 FC and Indy Eleven drew 0-0 at AutoZone Park last night.

There was a deadly shooting in the 300 block of Poplar last night.

Wrestling legend Terry Funk passed away at age 79 this week.

The Pumpkin Spice Latte and the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew have returned to Starbucks.

Central Station Hotel’s Eight and Sand Lounge has a busy music weekend coming up:

  • Tonight: Live at the Tracks 6:30-9:30
  • Friday: DJ Chairman Mao 9:00-1:00
  • Saturday: Cadillac Zac 9:00-1:00
  • Sunday: “We Got the Jazz” with DJ Dig Dug 7:00-11:00
  • Monday: Service Industry Night 4:00-11:00 with drink specials and 25% off apps

The Trumpster is expected to surrender at the Fulton County, Georgia jail today to be booked on racketeering charges. Trump will become the first president to have his mug shot taken.

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


Wednesday update

FOX 13 has a report on MPD’s presentation of the Downtown safety plan to City Council and of council members’ questions and suggestions. Some Council members want to get the sheriff’s office involved.

Know any folks in San Diego? Tell them to keep their eyes open for some great Memphis beer. WISEACRE products will be available there beginning this week.

Today is National Cuban Sandwich Day. The Cubano Torta from Maciel’s on Main would be my recommendation to celebrate the holiday.

Chris Stapleton’s All-American Road Show comes to FedExForum this Thursday.

Naturally 7 comes to the Halloran Centre on Thursday.

Artist Kong Wee Pang is the subject of Action News 5’s latest 5 Star Story.

Malco Theaters will offer $4 movie tickets this Sunday for National Cinema Day.

The first Republican presidential debate is on FOX tonight at 8. The Trumpster will not be there. POLITICO Playbook has a guide to tonight’s debate.

The Ducks Unlimited National Leadership Conference is at the Renasant Convention Center today through Sunday.

Why Isn’t Remembering Enough to Repair? is the topic of a panel discussion tonight at 6 at the National Civil Rights Museum.

Threads, the Facebook/Instagram rival to X (formerly Twitter), is finally rolling out its desktop version.

The Blind Bear has announced “The Features” (specials) for this week:

  • Burrata caprese – grape tomatoes, crostini, burrata, basil, balsamic reduction – 10
  • Chicken spaghetti – burrata, tomatoes, pine nuts, basil, garlic, lemon-butter sauce – 18
  • Italian lemon cream cake – mascarpone filling – 9

I got to try the burrata caprese last night:

You get two of these per order – only one is pictured because I split it with someone else. Burrata is a soft, chewy white cheese similar to mozzarella but of higher quality.

99 feels like 112 with a low tonight of only 80 is the forecast. Stay cool, Memphis. Back tomorrow.

Tuesday update

Downtown restaurant owners and operators got a tour of Tom Lee Park yesterday, less than two weeks prior to its opening. The tour was organized by Patrick and Deni Reilly (Majestic/Cocozza) to show that the newly renovated park will generate a stream of Downtown visitors all year long.

I Love Memphis has a look at newly-reopened Momma’s.

WDIA will host a Wine on the River party on Saturday, October 7. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Door of Hope, an organization that fights to end homelessness.

In other MATA news, GO901 smart cards and ticket vending machines have launched. The smart cards are reusable and reloadable and allow you to ride without carrying cash. There’s also a GO901 app you can use on your phone.

It’ll be $2 beer night as Memphis 901 FC host Indy Eleven at AutoZone Park Wednesday at 7:00.

Red Deluxe Brand Development seeks an art director.

MPD will update City Council today on how the first weekend under the new Downtown safety plan went.

The Orpheum seeks a box office patron services associate and a production manager.

Downtown Beer Runners invite you for a 3-mile run departing from the Wiseacre taproom at 6:30 tonight.

Hard rock group After Bridge plays the Orpheum tonight.

There’s 2000s music bingo at the Moxy Hotel tonight at 7:30.

Stay cool, Memphis. A heat index of 112 is possible today. Back tomorrow with more news.