Downtown resident named “A Hero Among Us” plus Saturday news

Every year, at the dinner the night before the marathon, St. Jude names “A Hero Among Us,” to recognize someone who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to raise funds to save children’s lives. This year’s recipient is a name many Downtowners will recognize.

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Dennis James is A Hero Among Us for 2016. Dennis and his wife Mary Pat live in Madison, Alabama; however, they own a condo on Main Street and are here many weekends, so they are residents of Downtown too. Dennis is a school administrator and former principal in Madison. He and Mary Pat have run the St. Jude Marathon for years, and have spent years helping the needy through the St. Vincent de Paul society. I first met them at the Flying Saucer in 2008. At the time I was on my crusade against Downtown panhandlers – the career ones who scam people out of money every day, pretending they’re down on their luck, to score money to buy alcohol and drugs. Because of that, at first Dennis and Mary Pat didn’t know what to think of me, but as soon as it became clear I was not targeting those truly in need, we became fast friends. Dennis and Mary Pat joined the Ques Brothers, the predecessor BBQ team to the Moody Ques and Squeal Street, in 2009.

In the summer of 2016, Dennis and Mary Pat took on the extraordinary effort of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to fundraise for St. Jude. They took in over $15,000. For that achievement, and for their years of service raising money and awareness for the children’s hospital, Dennis was named A Hero Among Us. Congratulations to both of you and the honor is richly deserved.

On to the news… If you want something more intimate and low-key than the big events today (St. Jude Marathon, Stumbling Santa, Grizzlies vs. Lakers), check out this chili cook-off at the Memphis Made taproom from 1 to 5 this afternoon. $10 gets you a tasting of all the teams’ chili and access to a toppings bar. The cook-off benefits UCAN of Memphis, an organization that mentors boys and girls who have affected by bullying, low self-esteem and behavior factors that lead to low academic performance.

If you are going to the Grizzlies-Lakers game tonight and you’re one of the first 5000 there, you will get a free Grizz Girls poster.

Fantasy Shirley, the parody account of former University of Memphis president Shirley Raines, had this to say. Pretty funny tweet and most likely true:

The MemphisWeather.net blog has a look at the rain chances for today that could affect the St. Jude Marathon (especially the 1:30 kids race) and the holiday parade on Beale. They also took weather crap-apps to task for predicting snow showers for middle to late next week. An Arctic front will move through, but there is little evidence that precipitation will still have stuck around by that time.

In honor of Stubby Clapp being named Redbirds manager, the team is rolling out the Clapp Pack. This is a 5-premium game, 2-tickets to each pack that includes the Battle of the Birds (St. Louis Cardinals vs. Memphis Redbirds) in April and the July 3 fireworks show. Buyers of this pack also get invited to a lunch with Stubby!

Information you need if you take I-55 to Arkansas and back regularly: there will be lane closures on the bridge this coming week. The closures are due to routine, planned inspection.

Terence Patterson who runs DMC has been named Innovator of the Week by Urban Innovation Exchange. If you’ve never read Terence’s past accomplishments and his vision for Downtown, this is an article well worth checking out.

Higginbotham Dental wants to give a Grizzlies fan a VIP experience to the Grizzlies vs. Golden State Warriors game on December 10. A lucky fan will get two courtside seats, an autographed Grizzlies jersey, a piece of Grizzlies swag and the chance to get it signed on Autograph Alley, access to the pre-game shootout, access to the high-five tunnel pre-game and at halftime, and an on-court photo after the game. The winner will also get $3000 worth of dental work from Higginbotham.

Trying to figure out where to lead off this morning… Bardog is the usual but it fills up with runners every year. Might try Blind Bear or Silly Goose instead. I doubt I will be stumbling with the Santas tonight, but for those who do, have fun and stay warm.

Murphy’s Law of buying a car plus Friday update #2 with lots of news

I drove the new car to work today, played around with all the dials on the dashboard. It is the first time I have ever owned a German car, so it’s taking a little while to figure out what everything means. “I’ll just get through the work week,” I thought. “Then on Saturday morning I’ll take it out on the road and get familiar.”

Oops wait a minute. No I won’t.

Saturday is the St. Jude Marathon. Downtowners know that you do not drive a car that morning unless you absolutely have to. So I suppose the Jetta will spend the day getting familiar with its new parking garage home, and I will be at Bardog showing people pictures of the car.

DAMMIT ALL YOU WONDERFUL PEOPLE NEED TO STOP RAISING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO SAVE SICK CHILDREN’S LIVES SO I CAN GO PLAY WITH MY CAR!!!!!

I’m a horrible person.

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Just kidding. I am so proud of all the people running this race in support of St. Jude. If you are looking to donate in honor of a runner, but don’t know one, may I suggest my BBQ team treasurer Misty? #runmistyrun

Speaking of horrible people, Loflin Yard will host an evening for horrible people Wednesday night, December 7, from 8 to 10 PM. Cards Against Humanity Night will feature the card game for horrible people with Ryan “I can’t believe you just said that” Capebianco as the host. Bring a team or just bring your own horrible self. There’s no cover and no advance sign-up to play.

The following night at Loflin, there will be karaoke in the Coach House with DJ Lil’ Eggroll from 7:30 to 11. It’s not a contest and there is no cover; just come serenade your friends. It’s too bad Robo is not in town to share his rendition of “Cat Who Just Had Its Tail Stepped On Song.” $3 Fireball shots will help inspire you to sing.

Mutts for MIFA will happen tomorrow, Saturday, December 3, from 11 AM to 3 PM at 101 S. Main. Memphis Animal Services will have dog adoptions for only $40. There will be hot chocolate and you can donate to MIFA’s Pet Projects partners. Volunteers for MIFA’s Meals on Wheels program noticed that some of their elderly and disabled clients were saving half their meals for their pets, robbing themselves of needed nutrition. So bring a bag or two of pet food, or a cash donation, for Pet Projects.

Also on Saturday, River Dog Inn, the doggie daycare/boarding house at 248 Court, is having an open house from 2 to 6 PM. Reba Russell, RT Scott and Delta Joe Sanders will perform, and A Southern Delight food truck will be there. Pet photos with Santa, special open house pricing, dog treats, and free giveaways are among the reasons to come.

Congratulations to Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar at Main and Monroe on being named one of the top 100 restaurants in America in the OpenTable Diners’ Choice Awards. The award is derived from over 10 million reviews from diners on OpenTable’s website.

Here’s a list of the best and worst gift cards to give for the 2016 holiday season, based on several criteria. Target’s gift card was rated as the best, with Hallmark’s as the worst.

By the way – I take Peabody Place to work in the mornings, usually hitting the light at Main at 7:35. Wednesday was the morning of the Majestic Grille half-off gift card sale, and the line already stretched out the door all the way to the corner of Peabody Place, 25 minutes before the restaurant opened its doors. I was told that by 8, the line snaked far around the corner, and they sold out before some of the people in line prior to 8 got to buy. Those gift cards are popular! I know there are Downtown managers who buy them by the dozen to give as holiday rewards to employees. Not a bad gift. If you can’t find something you like at the Majestic, you’re just not into food!

There was a question about next Wednesday’s Paying it Forward for Gatlinburg event at High Cotton. Several news sources have reported that Gatlinburg is no longer accepting donations at the time. The taproom manager (who, by the way, like me is a fan of Clarence’s bar at Earnestine & Hazel’s on Saturdays) has been in contact with several groups from East Tennessee, and they have assured her they will accept the donations and spread them around as widely as possible. Baby items, toiletries, and cell phone chargers (many people escaped with their phones, but not their chargers) are among the most needed items.

Memphis has been added to Etsy’s Maker City network, citing a strong artisanal and entrepreneurial community here.

Tickets for the February 4 Garth Brooks/Trisha Yearwood concert at FedExForum are now on sale. Due to demand, a second show on February 3 has been added. And now a third show the afternoon of the 4th at 3 PM. And now I’m hearing there may be a fourth show.

The new Subway at Second and Union is now open, having had its grand opening Wednesday.

If it’s your first visit to the blog today, read on – my morning post is still news to you. Good luck to all the runners tomorrow.

Friday update

American Apparel will be closing its South Main location in late December. The company has been through two bankruptcies, so the closing is hardly a surprise. With Main and G.E. Patterson set to become a booming corner in 2017, do not expect the storefront to stay vacant for long.

Advice for St. Jude Marathon runners:

The Delta Cats play a free lunchtime show at the Center for Southern Folklore today 11:30 AM-1:30 PM. They have great food for sale as well as music and art.

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker will be performed at the Cannon Center tonight at 7. Tickets start at $30.

Ghost River has announced its next Brunch at the Brewery this Sunday, December 4, from noon to 4 PM. They will have two signature brunch drinks. The Bloody Beer is a combination of Nikki’s Hot Ass Bloody Mary Mix and the beer of your choice. You can choose any of their 12 beers to blend, although they recommend the Grindhouse Cream Ale, 1887 IPA, or the Golden Ale. The second drink is the Vice-Mosa, combining Memphis Vice sour beer with orange juice, producing some tangy, interesting flavors. Flying Sobie’s will be on hand serving fried Cornish hens and waffles.

Members, guests, and guests who might be interested in becoming members are invited to the joint Downtown Neighborhood Association-South Main Association holiday party Tuesday, December 13 from 6 to 9 PM at Jack Robinson Gallery (corner of Front and Huling, entrance on Huling). Catering by Rizzo’s, cash bar, music by Eddie Harrison.

There’s a video producer/video production manager position open at inferno.

Applications are now available for the City of Memphis youth summer job program.

ServiceMaster has applied for an exception to the Downtown sign codes for signage for its new office building, the old Peabody Place Mall at Second and Peabody Place.

John Paul Keith plays Loflin Yard tonight at 10.

Time to drive to work… in my new car! Last week, I decided my Saturn could not be relied on to make it to Little Rock for Christmas this year. So I reached out to my friends David Graham and Michael Muruako at Gossett Volkswagen/Porsche, and they found me a late-model certified pre-owned Jetta. They made car shopping, a normally stressful experience, easy and painless. Thanks so much to both of you guys and if anyone out there needs a car, I would strongly recommend giving them a call.

Maybe another post around lunchtime, check back…

High Cotton to host “Paying it Forward for Gatlinburg” event + Thursday news

Want to help those who suffered losses in the fires in East Tennessee this week? High Cotton is hosting Paying it Forward for Gatlinburg next Wednesday, December 7, from 4 to 9 PM at their taproom. Tony Manard will play live music, there will be a food truck, and they will debut their Christmas stout that evening. Click through the link to see a list of needed donations and what to do if you want to donate but can’t make it that evening.

By the way, on that donation list they posted – don’t overlook the last item: pet food, bedding, and blankets. Many animals were left homeless or separated from their owners in the Gatlinburg fires. They need help too.

One of the most popular Memphis Redbirds ever is coming back home:

Read more about Clapp here.

Midtown bakery Tart is opening its second location, Tart Express, in One Commerce Square this month. They will also use the location’s large kitchen to operate a catering business.

Want to see classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life for free on the big screen? The Orpheum is having a benefit for the Mid-South Food Bank. Bring one non-perishable food item to the Orpheum or the Halloran Centre between 9 AM and 5 PM today through December 20, and receive one voucher for a free ticket to the screening at the Orpheum on the 20th at 7 PM. Donations can be brought the night of the screening. $5 ticket without donation. Doors open at 6 and there will be a holiday sing-along with the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ prior to the movie.

Job news: The Daily News is hiring a sales account executive to sell advertisements and sponsorships for its print and media assets and its events.

There’s also a head chef position available at Crosstown Arts. They’re seeking someone experienced and creative to come up with healthy dishes for a new cafe, for a multidisciplinary residential program, and to organize events.

And Archer Malmo is hiring a senior social media specialist. Downtown location and I’ve been told many times this is a great place to work.

Holly has everything you need to know about the St. Jude Memphis Marathon on Saturday. Pay special attention to the race times if you plan on doing any driving Saturday morning.

The Rendezvous will be closed January 1-11, 2017.

The Grizzlies are holding winter camps for kids ages 7-16. Participants get 28 hours of instruction from the pros, a reversible Grizzlies jersey, and two tickets to a Grizzlies home game.

Country hitmaker Joe Leathers and his friends will play South Main Sounds, 550 S. Main, Friday night from 7 to 9.

Off to work. This evening I’ve got to drive out to Covington Pike to pick something up but I will be out after that.

Pastrami nachos @ Belle Tavern + Wednesday news

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Yesterday evening I stopped by Belle Tavern for a snack. They had nachos for $12. You could get them topped with Tavern chili, brown sugar beef brisket, or pastrami. “Which one should I get?” I asked Q.

“The brown sugar brisket,” she replied.

But for some reason I just wasn’t feeling brown sugar on nachos. “Other two,” I said to Q.

“Pastrami,” she advised, and that was my order.

A big plate of nachos came out about 10 minutes later. At first I wasn’t sure it was pastrami. I always thought of pastrami as a thinly-sliced deli meat (and therefore was wondering how that was going to work on nachos) rather than the bite-sized hunks shown here. Q assured me it was pastrami, and sure enough, it was. I liked it. Something different than the traditional ground beef or chicken nachos (or, given that it’s Memphis, BBQ nachos) that you see many other places. Variety! The nachos are $12 and are big enough to share or to take leftovers home for a second snack later.

On to the news… Art 101.3 will happen at The 101, 101 S. Main, tomorrow, Thursday, December 1 from 6 to 8 PM. Works of abstract artists Chuck Johnson and Tom Murray will be on display. Live music, wine, hors d’oeuvres.

High Cotton is having a board game night Tuesday, December 13 in the taproom 5 to 8 PM. It’s an opportunity to de-stress from the holidays. If you bring your own board game, you get a discount pint. Hey, I did a little Amazon surfing and discovered there’s now a Trolls version of Operation! Maybe I will bring that! Don’tcha just love those crazy trolls?

Trolley Stop Market will have a pizza party with Santa and Mrs. Claus Saturday from 5-8 PM. Bring your camera for pictures! Live music, kids’ crafts, pizza specials, and vendors.

Also Saturday, there will be an Urban Art Gallery at the Exchange Building at Second and Madison at 6 PM. Art gallery by Johnny Meant and local photographers, music by Ryan Haskett, open bar (!!!!!), and rooftop access.

Want to learn more about career opportunities and concepts? Love basketball? You need a ticket to the new Memphis Grizzlies Keynote Speaker Series. Ticket package includes entry to an Afternoon Keynote, a Grizzlies game ticket, and a Spalding notebook. Tickets range from $79 to $109.

A car ran off Danny Thomas and slammed into the Pentecostal Temple Church of God yesterday morning. It hit a gas line and caught on fire. The driver died from his injuries and damage to the church was estimated at $107,000 as the fire burned the fellowship hall.

That’s it for now, off to work. I will be late getting out because I am going to do the car shopping I didn’t get done yesterday.

Tue update #2

If you plan on driving a car anywhere Downtown Saturday, particularly in the morning, allow extra, extra time. The St. Jude Marathon kicks off at AutoZone Park Saturday morning at 7 and will draw tens of thousands to the area. Then at 4 in the afternoon, the annual holiday parade takes place on Beale. At 7 in the evening over a thousand Santas will assemble at the Flying Saucer for a toy drive/pub crawl benefiting Porter-Leath. By last year Stumbling Santa had gotten so big that they had to close Peabody Place and put a big tent outside to hold all the participants.

The Brass Door will open at 6:30 Saturday with free coffee and bag pickup for runners.

Bluesman Bobby Rush will perform at the Clayborn Temple Friday, December 9. Tickets are $28.

Paulette’s has released the menu for its December wine dinner Tuesday, December 6. $65 plus tax and gratuity.

The Metal Museum will hold a holiday open house Sunday from 12 to 5. Shop in the Museum Store, take an ornament making class, or keep warm by an outdoor fire put as you enjoy hot cider and holiday treats.

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There will be a Downtown safety meeting Thursday night at 6 at the Emerge Memphis building. Neighborhood Watch Coordinator Veronica Garner, RDC President Benny Lendermon and Colonel Gloria Bullock and Major Keith Watson of the MPD North Main Station are on the agenda. These monthly meetings are organized by Debra Streeter, security coordinator for the DMC. They are the public’s chance to learn more about safety programs and meet the officers and officials who implement them.

There will be a Mid-Week Market at 101 S. Main tomorrow, Wednesday, November 30, from 11 AM to 2 PM. Local vendors will include La Belle Bakery, Pink Diva Cupcakery, Eddie Efaw Pottery/Glass, Vicki Babb, So Fresh & So Green, Crybaby Club, Cede Prints, My Heavenly Creations, Replinish Kombucha, and Gardens Oy Vey.

Prayers to all affected by the Gatlinburg fires. The company I work for has a regional bridge tournament there every spring that is much loved and highly anticipated every year. I hope it will not be affected by the fires.

I’ve moved my car shopping back to tomorrow night, because I forgot I told Jeannette I would be at the Blind Bear by 6. They are starting poker early at 6 tonight, with lots of extra chips for those who get there early.

Volunteer Odyssey pop-up parties today

Real short on time so this won’t be a long post, but I want to remind everyone that Volunteer Odyssey is having two pop-up parties at 101 S. Main today. This is a great chance to come out and learn about the ways you can give back to the community.

11 AM-2 PM: Attendees get a token that they can take across the street to Aldo’s Pizza Pies for a free slice of pizza when they buy a slice.

5 PM-8 PM: Wiseacre beer will be served

Outta here for now. I will probably be back at lunchtime with a post. I am car shopping after work this week so I won’t be out at the usual time for a few days.

Mexican dinner @ Cafe Pontotoc + Sunday news

Two years ago, I made a promise to my friend Captain Sparkles. A pilot, he had recently taken a job in Indonesia, and he had brought me a batik shirt from the island country. In return, he asked that I visit Cafe Pontotoc, and if I liked it, to blog about it. “The owners are such nice people,” he told me.

Yesterday it was finally time. Yesterday afternoon I did Tour de South Main, hitting Earnestine & Hazel’s to see what was going on in Clarence’s world, then over to my “home away from home on the south side,” Max’s Sports Bar. On the way back north, I stopped in South of Beale so Kaylea could lay eyes on the man of her dreams for a bit, then continued my walk back to the Downtown core. As I passed Pontotoc, I remembered my unfulfilled promise. “Why not?” I thought. It turned out to be an excellent decision.

They have a tacos & tamales plate, where you can choose tacos (chicken, blackened catfish, steak, blackened shrimp, or vegan) and tamales (traditional chicken or pork delta hot) 3 for $10. I got a chicken tamale, a blackened shrimp taco, and a chicken taco.

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After two days of turkey and ham, this was exactly what the doctor ordered. Delicious and just the right amount of spice. They had a large collection of hot sauces to select from, which I used to spice up my rice and beans.

I asked the bartender for a beer recommendation to pair with my meal. She suggested a couple of options, and I decided on the Wiseacre Ananda IPA. “This would be really good with something cinnamon,” I told her. “I could buy Cinnamon Toast Crunch and have the Ananda with it for breakfast. It would go well with pumpkin pie too.”

After dinner I walked north to the Blind Bear, where I watched the Tennessee-Vanderbilt game with bartender Mac. “Did you ever watch Gomer Pyle USMC growing up?” I asked Mac. He said yes. “Don’t you think Butch Jones looks like the offspring of Sergeant Carter and a special needs child?” Mac went through a range of emotions last night, from laughter at my witty observation to utter dejection as his team lost to Vanderbilt.

If you’re a fan of Pancho’s cheese sauce, visit The Dirty Crow Inn on Crump this week. They have a special that is a chicken Philly with Pancho’s cheese sauce on top.

From The Onion: Vacationing Man Excited to Try Fast Food Franchise Not Found in Hometown. YES. I remember visiting Austin in 2000, and although it is one of the most vibrant cultural blends in the US, I could not wait to go to Quizno’s, which Memphis did not yet have. I tried the turkey bacon guacamole sandwich, in case you were wondering. I bet there are a lot of people who plan West Coast trips with In & Out Burger being the main reason for their travel.

If you live in Albany, Oregon, you can do yoga with goats. If someone could pass this message on to the people who run Downtown Yoga, I’d appreciate it: Normally your studio is not something that would be on my radar. However, if you offer a “yoga with sheep” class, I am SO THERE. I will sign up for a monthly plan with you!

#sheep

YOGA!

Tin Roof is doing an Ugly Sweater Ball on Beale Tuesday, December 13. They will have a build your own sweater booth, whatever that means, and there will be live band karaoke and holiday-themed drink specials.

United Against Violence 901 will hold an interfaith prayer vigil tonight at Clayborn Temple at 6 PM. There will be a discussion about the recent outbreaks of violence.

Breeze Cayole and New Orleans play Downtown Huey’s tonight at 8:30.

I am issuing a HIDE YOUR FOOD WARNING through midnight tonight. The Nuh-Uh Girl is in town for the holiday and has announced that she will be out for Sunday Fun Day today. If you eat in public Downtown today, don’t be surprised if a girl shows up at your table and says “can I have a bite? :-)” then proceeds to devour two-thirds of your food. If you’re tired of turkey, she will gladly take Thanksgiving leftovers off your hands.

Time for my weekly Sunday school lesson with B-RAD at the Blind Bear. Today’s lesson is about customers who get a couple of mimosas in them and start to feel emboldened and get mouthy. Brad used to have a regular like that, but I ran her off last year and she hasn’t been back since. The Blind Bear should give me a “Director of Quality Control” title. Pay me a dollar a year like the country is going to do with President Cheeto. That would allow me to use my employment to get industry discount on drinks at the other bars.

Time to go embrace the last day of avoiding adulthood for a while! Come join me at D-RANKS with B-RAD!

 

Tiger Nachos @ Max’s Sports Bar, a visit to the Ghost River taproom, and Saturday news

What a fun-filled day yesterday! Before I get to the recap, however, let me start off with a piece of news. I don’t know if any of my readers are dog owners who travel frequently, but if they are, a new doggie daycare has opened Downtown. It’s near Downtown Elementary and has 12,000 square feet of space for your pups to play. Click the image below to see details in a larger size.

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I led off the day at Bardog, where they did something that I thought was really smart. People who don’t do Thanksgiving at home miss out on one of the best parts of the holiday – leftovers the next day.

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Bardog had a leftovers plate for lunch – turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce and all the trimmings. It was a popular menu item. With a Friendsgiving dinner that evening at 7, I knew it was too much for me to eat though. I’d spoil my appetite if I tackled that plate.

I didn’t try it, but Bardog has a New Belgium Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale that sounds like it would be mighty good.

Next stop was Max’s Sports Bar to watch the Memphis-Houston game. By then I was starting to get a little hungry, with more than 6 hours to go until dinner. I grabbed a menu. “Not the BBQ nachos,” I thought. “Even a half order is enormous.”

 

However, I found a new item on the menu: Tiger Nachos for $4.

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Simplicity. It’s a bag of nacho cheese Doritos covered with melted pepper jack, baked in Max’s oven. They did it right, too. It’s not just the top chips that are covered in pepper jack. Nearly every chip, all the way to the bottom, had cheese on it. This was the perfect sized snack to get me through the afternoon hours without filling me up.

Can you imagine how Tiger Nachos would sell if it were legal to smoke weed in bars here like it is in Denver?

After the Tigers scored a fine victory, I walked down Main to the Ghost River taproom, where my friends South Side Supper Club were playing.

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You know, I’ve heard South Side Supper Club before at Earnestine & Hazel’s, the Farmers Market and other venues, but yesterday was the first time I really listened to them. This is a group with a clarinet, accordion, bass, and banjo, and there’s a certain range of songs you would expect them to stay in. They did play those songs – “This Land is Your Land” for example – but they have an uncanny ability to take songs from other genres and make them their own. I was blown away when they covered “Material Girl” by Madonna. These guys are really, really talented. They play Earnestine & Hazel’s every Thursday at 9 if you want to check them out.

As for the taproom itself, it is gorgeous.

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There are 12 taps, so you are bound to find a style of Ghost River beer that you will like. I chose the Grindhouse, a cream ale. There is no shortage of seating inside and out, and whether you are by yourself or with a party of 20 you will find seating that works for you.

I thought there would be maybe 6 or 7 people inside the taproom. As i walked down Main, I soon realized I was wrong! There were parked cars lining Main all the way up to Virginia Avenue to the north. There were maybe 20 people (and the Monkey Train Grazing Co. truck) outside on the patio, and another 75 or so inside. The place wasn’t completely packed, but it was busy, especially as people who had been at the Tigers game arrived. I never thought I’d see the day when so many people would congregate at Main and Crump.

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My, how Downtown has grown! “By 2022 I bet the north and south boundaries of Downtown will be Chelsea and McLemore,” I told a friend. That sounds ambitious but remember, as recently as 8 months ago there was just about nothing to do south of G.E. Patterson.

I did have one awkward moment at the taproom. The woman who stood me up on Valentine’s Day 2015 came in. I smiled and waved at her from a distance, letting her know there were no hard feelings and she was welcome to come join my friends and me. She stayed put, though. Back at the long table where our group was sitting, a mutual friend offered a possible explanation. “Paul, it isn’t your fault, but you may be making her self-conscious. Your hair is just so much more fabulous than hers.” Yeah, I kinda can understand that.

By the way, thanks so much to my Squeal Street friends for inviting me to come sit with them. There’s just no telling who would’ve ended up in that empty seat if I hadn’t come over.

About 5 I tabbed out and walked back up to Max’s for a bit, then at 7 I was back in South End for our Friendsgiving dinner.

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(Photo stolen from B-RAD’s Facebook timeline)

There was turkey, ham, meatballs, more meat, even more meat, side dishes, beer and Fireball. Of course B-RAD wanted to hear all about my visit to the taproom. Thanks so much to our hosts Staci and Darin, and to everyone who helped organize Friendsgiving.

By the way, I also want to thank my hosts Stevie G and Sarah for inviting me to Thanksgiving dinner at their house on Thursday. The food was delicious and I ate way too much of it. I got to meet Stevie G’s family and talk Tiger football with his dad, a season ticket holder for over 50 years. When I got there, my friend Katie (not Mac) was in the kitchen with Sarah getting things ready. “I smoked a turkey and a pan of mac & cheese.” YASSSSS! Mac & cheese fans who read my blog, don’t be jelly that I got Katie’s smok’d mac & cheese and you didn’t!

:mrgreen:

This is really cool: With one simple gesture that went unnoticed by most people, Tubby Smith proved he is a player’s coach. With the Tigers way up in the second half vs. McNeese State, there was no need to have the Lawson brothers on the floor. However, Coach Smith looked at the stats and saw that Dedric and K.J. each had 9 rebounds. Smith put each brother back in briefly, letting them earn one more rebound so they could each have a double-double. It’s the little things that earn players’ loyalty. Josh Pastner never would have thought to do that.

Stock & Belle at 387 S. Main is having a holiday vendor market today from 10 to 6. Custom holiday wreaths, artist demos, a holiday card workshop, popcorn samples, El Mero Taco truck 12-4, and a mimosa and bloody Mary bar.

Susan Boles signs her book Death of a Wolfman at South Main Book Juggler tonight from 6 to 9.

Back to my regular rotation of Saturday bars today. Bardog at 11, Blind Bear 1ish, rest of the day to be determined.

 

Get Kooky 2.0: Kooky Canuck’s new Downtown location opens

Kooky Canuck’s original location at 97 S. Second closed at the end of October, moving next door to 87 S. Second. Yesterday they got the new location open and I stopped by for a look.

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The bar area is a big improvement over the old location, with more seating, 70-inch TVs, and no seat has a TV blocked by a post.

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12 tap handles await you:

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For dinner I ordered Mimi’s Tourtiere, a traditional French Canadian meat pie.

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This pie was LOADED with meat in a creamy sauce, with a side of gravy. It was so rich I could not believe it. I only managed to finish half of it, and I was pretty hungry when I got to the restaurant. Great value for $10.99. Two people could probably share this.

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Despite being full, I couldn’t resist ordering one of Kooky’s skillet desserts. I chose the peach cobbler.

Here are some more photos of the restaurant.

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I like the decor a lot. It pays homage to the old location while at the same time being its own distinct space. Shawn told me that the animal heads that were mounted on the wall at the old Kooky will be back at the new one soon. Understandably, getting the new space open was the priority over hanging them.

I noticed several new things on the menu. The waffle Monte Cristo sounds interesting.

Glad to have Kooky back and I really enjoyed the new space. I plan to eat many more meals there.