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.


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 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.


I’m a horrible person.


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.

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.


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.

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.


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.



12 tap handles await you:


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


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.


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.







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.

Thanksgiving Day update: Bad news for hungry people coming out of Club 152 or Purple Haze late at night

Verizon is streaming the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for free this morning on YouTube, without a cable subscription required. Here’s how to watch.

In the news: Some of you are familiar with the guy who runs a BBQ pit out of the back of his truck and sells food late at night to people coming off Beale Street and out of Purple Haze. Shelby County officials are cracking down on him and others doing what he is doing, selling food illegally. Food vendors without proper permits will be dragged into Environmental Court if they continue to remain out of compliance. Allowing the practice to continue could cause people to get sick, health officials said. I understand where they’re coming from, but I’m a little sad for my friends who have partied late night and have told me those are some damn good smoked sausages and turkey legs.

Going to the Saturday, December 10 Grizzlies game? Here’s info on how to be invited to the Bud Light after-party:

Did you wish you could volunteer to help the homeless at Thanksgiving, but your schedule didn’t permit it? You can volunteer from home making gift bags to help them get through winter.

One more bar opening time for tonight: Local will open at 6. Scroll down to see more opening times in the previous post.

Music Heals, the Daystock Musician Benefit will happen at The Warehouse Saturday from 1 to 8. This is a fundraiser to benefit David Skypeck of FreeWorld, Cecil Yancey in memory of wife Linda Yancey, and the Church Health Center. Over 10 bands and musicians will perform, headlined by Valerie June. $10 at the door, 18 and up event. There will be a cash bar.

The new Kooky Canuck location opened last night and I stopped by. I will get a photo gallery up soon but I have to say it is VERY nice. Great job Shawn and Lana. Love the huge TVs at the bar and around the restaurant.

Heading out to Thanksgiving with friends here in a bit. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Wed update #2: Who’s open Thanksgiving night and more news

I’ve been gathering a list of Thanksgiving Day bar opening times Downtown… when you’re full of turkey and ready to get away from the family, there are plenty of places you can go to get a beer or a drink.

  • Bardog opens at 5 PM with $4 Shiner Holiday Cheer and Thanksgiving dinners for sale
  • Flying Saucer opens at 5 PM
  • Max’s Sports Bar opens at 5 PM
  • Rum Boogie opens at 5 PM
  • Blind Bear opens at 6 PM, with poker at 8 and Kaleidoscope at 10
  • Silly Goose opens at 7 PM

If you know of others I missed email and I will add them. Also don’t forget to check I Love Memphis and Choose 901 for their holiday guides.

Geoff Calkins’ The 9:01 daily column is an interesting read today. It talks about plans to redevelop The Pinch, comparing South Main and The Pinch to Downtown Minneapolis and Downtown St. Paul, only a few miles apart.

The Ghost River taproom is having two drawings tonight for Grizz vs. Heat tickets for Friday. The first will happen at 6 PM, and the second at halftime of tonight’s game. Ghost River will have the Grizzlies vs. the Sixers on their three TVs tonight and beer will be pouring from their 12 taps. If you’re going to a Thanksgiving potluck and don’t cook, a growler or two from Ghost River would be a fine thing to bring. A growler is a 64-ounce glass container of craft beer, for those not in the know (I thought everyone knew but I had to explain what one is and why I might bring one to a Friendsgiving event this week).

Speaking of Friday’s Grizzlies game, there will be puppy races at halftime, and you will be able to adopt rescue pups.

Former Tennessee District 9 rep Harold Ford Jr. is being considered for a position in the Trump Cabinet, possibly as Transportation secretary.

Lyfe is Dope has an event at the New Daisy tonight. The production and clothing company presents events and pop-ups around the Mid-South. Tickets are $20 in advance, $30 at the door, and the event is 18 and up.

Memphis supergroup The Pirates reunite at Loflin Yard Saturday night from 10 to 1.

That’s it. Work closes at 3, so I will be out by 4.

Wednesday morning update

The date for the Bubbles Dinner has been set at Rizzo’s by Michael Patrick. It will be Tuesday, December 13 from 6:30 to 9 PM. It is a celebration of all things bubbles. The menu isn’t released yet, but Chef is one of those people I would trust enough to make dinner reservations, menu unseen.

It’s Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and is one of the biggest going-out nights of the year. I know that many of my readers who normally stay home on Wednesdays will be out this evening. What to do? My suggestion is come to the Silly Goose, where talented singer Charvey Mac does his weekly “Cheers with Charvey” gig from 10 PM to 1 AM. Good music and there should be a fun crowd there.

Over at Brass Door, Seamus will be the special guest caller at British Bingo tonight. 7:30.

Diamond Bear Brewing Co. from my hometown of Little Rock will be at Miss Cordelia’s tonight, sampling their beer for Food Truck Wednesday 5 to 8 PM. The Sushi Jimmi and El Mero Taco trucks will be on site as well.

There’s going to be an Important Meeting at the Ghost River taproom, 827 S. Main, Friday from noon to 10:30 PM. The South Side Supper Club will play 2 to 4, a group featuring a clarinet, accordion, bass, and banjo. There will be food trucks there all day, with Monkey Train Grazing Co. there from noon to 4 and El Mero Taco from 5 to 10:30. If you’re stuck with your family all day Friday and need to get away for a beer and some football, tell them you have an “Important Meeting” you have to attend. Or bring them along, either will work.

Out at the Wiseacre taproom, they will have Black Friday karaoke 6 to 10 on the 25th.

If you’re going to the Stumbling Santa pub crawl on Saturday, December 3 to stumble around with hundreds of Santas from one Downtown bar to the next, don’t forget the event is a toy drive for the kids of Porter-Leath. The highest need is for preschoolers (age 3-5) and toddlers (age 1-2). They have a list of toy ideas if you’re not sure what to buy. They are not accepting toy weapons, toys with small parts, or stuffed animals.

Yesterday was the first day of the Work Local program, where the city partners with Hospitality HUB of Memphis to provide homeless men and women the opportunity to earn a day’s wages. Participants clean blight and litter and get a free lunch as part of the deal. Yesterday 10 participants cleaned up 2 miles of road. Want to donate to make sure this program keeps going? You can do so on the Work Local ioby page.

This week is the 50th anniversary of the Beatles recording “Strawberry Fields Forever,.” Rolling Stone has a fascinating article on the evolution of the song from an intimate John Lennon studio demo, to the other Beatles contributing to the layers of the song, to George Martin mixing the final version. A must-read if you are a fan of the band or the song.

Time to go to work. At least I get out early today. I will probably lead off at happy hour at Silly Goose after work. Not sure if I will have time to do a post before I leave for dinner tomorrow, so if I skip a day, Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers.