Saturday update

Just wanted to give one last reminder that the Bluff City Mafia, the supporters’ group for soccer in Memphis, is having their One Month Away party (one month away from Memphis 901 FC’s first regular season home game) today at Brass Door beginning at 4 PM. You’ll be able to talk to them about what it means to be part of Bluff City Mafia, and if it sounds good you can join for $25. Membership gets you a scarf, a sticker, preferred seating in the supporters’ section, and other perks to be revealed throughout the season.

The Handy Band will start playing a regular Monday night gig at Blind Bear at 7:30 PM. The 7-piece ensemble has been practicing at the Bear, and I have to admit that at first I wasn’t sure what style of music they were aiming for. Now, however, it all makes sense – they’re playing the early blues by somgwriters like W.C. Handy, and the music of the 1910s and Roaring Twenties. So, what they play might be the music you would have heard if you’d walked down Beale Street 100 years ago. That’s very cool!

Hatiloo Theater’s I, Too, Am America will play the Halloran Centre this morning at 10 AM. The lives of black historical figures such as Ida B. Wells and Sojourner Truth will be recounted, and scenes from the Montgomery Bus Boycott and other events of the Civil Rights Movement will be acted out.

Next door at the Orpheum, Dancing with the Stars: Live! will be on stage this evening.

The Orpheum will host two week-long theater intensive camps July 29-August 2. There will be a musical class where participants will receive instruction from Broadway professionals. There will also be a technical and design class where participants will get to learn from some of the best technical theater minds in Memphis.

New Downtown website design & digital marketing firm LAB Design Creative has a good article about color psychology in branding.

Everyone be on the lookout for Grizzy, a 7-year-old dog who escaped from Downtown doggy daycare Mutt Island. Grizzy is new to the area and may not know how to find his way back home. Despite the business’s name, Mutt Island is actually out in The Edge, at 320 Monroe, so folks in that neighborhood especially need to me on alert. Perhaps if there are any dog lovers who maintain a Facebook page about the Edge neighborhood, they could post a link to the story.

Earnestine & Hazel’s will open at 11 AM tomorrow for those who want to pre-game for the Memphis Tigers vs. UConn game at FedExForum at 1.

Memphis in May has concerns about the redesign of Tom Lee Park and whether it will reduce capacity for Music Fest and BBQ Fest. Not only would the festival lose revenue if the capacity were reduced, but Memphis could lose hotel stays and other tourism dollars. The Memphis River Parks Partnership says capacity will not be reduced for Music Fest, and BBQ Fest will accommodate the same number of team booths if not more. The festivals may have to be relocated in 2020 due to park construction and alternate locations Downtown (good, not Tiger Lane!) are being looked into.

Ghost River Brewery is having its Valentine’s Market in the taproom with several vendors selling their wares today from noon to 4.

That’s it for now. We have a BBQ planning meeting tomorrow, so I am headed to Bardog for a pre-planning session with president John D and senior deputy director of public relations Perjorie T. Roll. Perjorie and I came across an interesting opportunity last night that I want to present to the team. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update: Thank you Marc

The NBA trade deadline has come and gone, and this year the Grizzlies made moves. The biggest move is that Marc Gasol is off to Toronto where he will chase a ring with Kawhi. Thank you Marc for all you have done for Memphis. I have never had a team in the Eastern Conference to root for. Now I do.

JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple are off to the L.A. Clippers.

Shelvin Mack is off to Atlanta.

Omri Casspi was cut to make room for the players we got back: Jonas Valanciunus, C.J. Miles, and Delon Wright from Toronto; Avery Bradley from the Clippers; and Tyler Dorsey from the Hawks. The Grizzlies also got a 2024 second-rounder from the Clippers.

Meh. I don’t have a strong opinion on whether the trades were good or bad. I think we have to wait and see what happens this summer. I am glad we kept Mike Conley, and that the team is good enough where we’re probably going to convey our first-round draft pick (top 8 protected) to Boston this year.

On to the news… the Memphis Flyer’s annual Beer Bracket Challenge is coming up, and this Monday will be Match-up Monday at the Downtown Aldo’s Pizza Pies. The brackets, featuring 24 beers from 6 local breweries, will be revealed. This is your chance to pick up some swag from the breweries and talk to their representatives about the beers. 4:30 to 6 PM is the time. I plan on being there! I look forward to talking to the brewery representatives as I decide which beers to vote for in the bracket. Note: I can be bribed.

The Memphis Tigers have released their 2019 football schedule. Notable are the season opener vs. Ole Miss, a nationally televised home game vs. Navy, and a Black Friday season finale against Cincinnati.

The MBJ reports that a new fitness service, ClassPass, is now here in Memphis. You join ClassPass for one monthly fee, and then you pick classes from a number of gyms and fitness services. Downtown gym Envision Memphis is available with the pass, as is SpinCult out in The Edge.

Saturday is once again Wrestling Night at the Grizzlies, with the first 5000 in attendance receiving a scarf that doubles as a wrestling championship belt.

Hooters is giving away free wings on Valentine’s Day. Order 10 boneless wings, tear up a picture of your ex, and receive 10 more boneless wings free.

Smurfey’s Smokehouse will be parked outside the 409 S. Main food hall this evening from 5 to 9 PM. Their stuff is seriously good and I recommend them if you’re thinking about BBQ for dinner. Here’s a photo of their pulled pork baked potato I had a couple of months ago at the Court Square food truck rodeo:

Speaking of food trucks, Holly from the I Love Memphis Blog tried a Cornish hen from the Flying Sobies truck recently. You can find the truck at the Court Square rodeo every Thursday and at Ghost River every Sunday. I agree with her, the Memphis Gold Sauce is the best.

Bluff City Coffee has released its Valentine’s Day pastry menu. Stop in and order early.

UCF faculty member Mike Redick was murdered recently and his wife is a suspect. Redick was an executive with the Grizzlies 2001-09 and had a lot to do with introducing the team to Memphis, building key partnerships, and planning FedExForum.

There’s going to be a new project for musicians at the Tin Roof on Beale Tuesday nights starting February 26, from 8 to 11 PM. There will be four acts per night, and they can be bands, songwriters, duos. It will be a mix of local and regional talent as well as bands just passing through. They want to build a fan base and a base of musical acts so that industry reps will make a point of stopping by. Email markmusic@att.net if you would be interested in participating. Include Backline Memphis in the subject field.

The 5th annual Cookies on Tap, pairing craft beer with Girl Scour cookies, will take place at Crosstown Brewing on April 4.

Bass Pro at the Pyramid has Crappie Madness going on right now. There will be speakers, fried fish samples, and kids’ activities. First 100 kids to punch their activity card each day get a free tin fishing box. Seminar attendees can enter to win one of 14 prizes, including a $15,000 fishing boat and a fishing trip for two to Grenada, Mississippi.

I made it a late night at the Blind Bear last night, but there wasn’t any TV to watch because Xfinity had the network down for planned maintenance at 12:30. Seriously? Bars close at 3 here in Memphis.

That’s it for now. The cold weather is back but I’m not going to let that stop me. Back tomorrow with more news.

 

Thursday update

Some of our favorite spots on the south end of Downtown are having a Mardi Gras pub crawl Saturday, March 2 from 2 to 11 PM. Ghost River will have Memphis Orleans Street Symphony in their taproom 2 to 4. Carolina Watershed will have a DJ all day long and will also have an Adult Intramural Sports Series. The Mighty Souls Brass Band will start performing at Loflin Yard at 8, and there will be a second line down Carolina Avenue to Watershed. Food and drink specials all day long.

Memphis new pro football team the Memphis Express will have something unique for their first home game at the Liberty Bowl on February 16: A silent disco in The Hub during the game. The Hub is a general admission section for the Express’ rowdiest fans. Get tickets here.

Legendary Midtown dive bar Old Zinnie’s is coming back this spring, thanks to new owners. Longtime bartender James Powell has said he will come back and has talked to others who worked there who may be interested in coming back soon. You know, it’s funny… in 2001 I lived at the corner of Eastmoreland and Avalon. I could have walked to Old Zinnie’s but I wasn’t aware it was such a cool place at the time, and I never did. If I had discovered it back then, I might never have become a Downtowner.

As your #1 source of news and information about The Edge District, it is my pleasure to tell you that there is an upcoming spades tournament at Premiere Palace ballroom  Get These Hands will happen at the ballroom at 629 Monroe on Saturday, February 23 from 7 PM to midnight. Proceeds will benefit MLK50: Justice Through Journalism. With your ticket, soul food bites and your first drink are included. Because alcohol will be served, this is a 21 and up event. If you don’t have a spades partner, one can be found for you. If spades is not your game, you’re still welcome to attend this game night; they’ll have dominoes, bid whist, Uno, and other games.

WMC Action News 5 has a good piece on how Victorian Village is coming back to life. The neighborhood around Adams and Manassas, Memphis’ first suburb, is seeing new construction for the first time in 100 years.

Arkansas beer-tracking Twitter account Woo Pig Brewey reports that Little Rock brewery Rebel Kettle is brewing a chocolate mint beer.

Wow! Too bad Rebel Kettle doesn’t distribute in Memphis. I could sure go for a pint or two of that!

Short post today, and that’s sort of by design. I plan on spending the hours between now and 2 PM refreshing Twitter every few minutes, hoping to hear the Grizzlies got a trade done before the deadline. Back tomorrow with more news.

Wednesday update

What an emotional game for the Grizzlies last night. For those of you who don’t keep up with Grizzlies news, around 5 yesterday it was announced that the Grizzlies were close to getting a deal done with the Charlotte Hornets. Charlotte would get Marc Gasol, it was reported, and Memphis would get either Miles Bridges or Malik Monk or Michael Kidd-Glichrist, Bismack Biyombo, possible other filler to make the salaries match, and a first-round draft pick.. The speculation became enhanced when the coaching staff sat out Marc, after he had dressed for the game. So Mike Conley, rookie Jaren Jackson Jr., and three players who weren’t in Memphis three weeks ago started the game and got out to a big lead. No one could have blamed Marc if he didn’t feel like being there, but he came out and watched his team from the bench for most of the first half. The Grizzlies nearly blew it like they have so many times lately, but held on to win.

This morning it is being reported that trade talks with Charlotte have now cooled. We shall see what happens. If the front office fails to trade Conley or Gasol after publicly announcing their intentions, they are going to look like idiots. (Not that it would be anything new. Drafting Hasheem Thabeet… drafting Tony Wroten when Draymond Green was still on the board… sending out a first for Jeff Green… offering Chandler Parsons a max deal… failing to get back any assets for Tyreke Evans last year)

One thing’s for sure. Until 2 PM tomorrow, I’m going to have to check Twitter nearly constantly to make sure I don’t miss any breaking stories on Grizzlies trades.

Panic! at the Disco brings their Pray For The Wicked Tour to FedExForum tonight, with opening acts Two Feet and Betty Who.

It’s the Year of the Pig. Belz Museum is having a celebration of Chinese New Year this month. This Saturday will be Chinese New Year Family Day at the Museum from noon to 4, with winners of a student art contest revealed.

Hi-Que BBQ will be the food truck at Food Truck Wednesday at Cordelia’s Market tonight. It’s kid-friendly, there’s indoor and outdoor seating, and you can get a pint or growler of beer. 5-8 PM, with a 5-6 happy hour in which you get a dollar off growlers and pints.

Holly from the I Love Memphis Blog reports that there’s an opening date for Comeback Coffee in The Pinch: March 29. She has some good photos of the place. It will be at 358 North Main.

In other Pinch news, ALSAC, the fundraising arm of St. Jude, is readying a block near Second and Overton to build patient family housing.

The Memphis Hustle, the Grizzlies’ G-League affiliate down in Southaven, are looking for people to sing the National Anthem prior to the Hustle’s remaining home games at Landers Center.

Don’t want to wait until March to see Memphis’ new soccer club Memphis 901 FC in action? You don’t have to. They’ll play an exhibition against Christian Brothers on February 16. Note that this game won’t be Downtown at AutoZone Park, but rather at the field at 165 S. Finlay.

The Orpheum has announced a concert with Gladys Knight and Jeffrey Osborne for September 12. This will be part of the Southern Heritage Classic event series for that week.

The Flyer’s Hungry Memphis blog has more information on Swanky’s Taco Shop coming Downtown, moving into the former LYFE Kitchen space. They anticipate opening in April, probably keeping the kitchen open until 10 on the weekdays and 11 on the weekends, with the bar staying open until 12 or 12:30 on the weekends.

Anheuser Busch InBev has fully acquired RateBeer. Doesn’t that seem rather inappropriate, for a large beer company to own a platform on which beer drinkers are supposed to be able to leave honest and impartial reviews of the beers they drink?

If you’re looking for something different to do with your date on Valentine’s Day, Venezuelan restaurant Sabor Caribe out in The Edge (662 Madison) is offering a four course meal. Asparagus mousse will start things off, followed by shrimp with coconut sauce, then a main course of pork sirloin with beer and honey sauce, and then a dessert of creme brulee with red berry sauce. The menu is by chef Cesar Gonzalez. Reservations only. 901-425-5889.

Coming to Loflin Yard on March 21: Drunk Arm Wrestling

For my readers who are fellow pro wrestling fans, be sure to set the DVR for Monday, February 25’s show. That day is Ric Flair’s 70th birthday and there are reports that there will be a big party for him on the show.

All right. Time to hit Publish and get outside. Back tomorrow with more news.

 

Tuesday update: Swanky’s, State of the Union drinking game, and more

Months ago, I teased that I heard a rumor about a business going into the former LYFE Kitchen space in the Chisca. I wrote that while I could not yet reveal the restaurant’s name, it wouldn’t be a place that’s posh or upscale, but it could be a word that’s similar. What’s a synonym for posh and upscale? Swanky.

The MBJ announced it this morning: Downtown is getting a Swanky’s.

Tonight Donald Trump gives the State of the Union address at 8 PM. The annual State of the Union drinking game, updated for 2019, has been posted. Best rule of the game: Rather than a number of drinks to take for “says something untrue,” it says, “nobody could survive drinks for this.”

Miraculously, the Grizzlies survived the road trip without any personnel changes. If you want to see the team with its current roster one more time, I would go tonight. The trade deadline is 2 PM Thursday and the front office would be crazy not to make any deals at all. The Grizzlies host the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight at 7.

There will be a Coffee Brewing 101 class at the 409 South Main food hall Sunday, February 24 from 6 to 8 PM. All are welcome, whether you are a coffee aficionado or have no knowledge of coffee at all. In addition to coffee itself, the class covers the basics of brewing. After a brief explanation and demo, you will get to put your knowledge to work by brewing a cup yourself. The class is presented by Sustain Coffee Co. and there is a $5 cover charge.

Grizzlies PG Mike Conley may not have been selected for the All-Star Game, but he’s still headed to Charlotte to participate in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge Saturday night of All-Star Weekend. I wonder if Conley will still be wearing a Grizzlies uniform by then.

Also making the trip to Charlotte will be Jaren Jackson Jr. The Grizzlies rookie has been invited to play in the Rising Stars Game featuring players in their first two years in the NBA.

Earnestine and Hazel’s is having a Locals’ Night Out on Thursday, where you can get a Memphis Made beer and a Soul Burger for $9.01. Your Memphis Made beer choices include Fireside, Junt, and Cat Nap. Music by Tiffany Harmon starts at 8 PM.

The social event of the season happens Saturday, March 2, as the Paradise Entertainment Center at 645 E. Georgia hosts the International Players and Playerettes Ball. $500 prizes to the Player and Playerette of the Year.

I didn’t make it to Saturday’s crawfish boil at Max’s Sports Bar, but I ran into one of Max’s bartenders Sunday night and got an update. Remember how I predicted they’d run out of crawfish early? Not a problem this year, apparently. “We had 600 pounds,” Mike told me. “Probably should have had more like 400 or 500.” They still had crawfish at the official end time of the event, 5 PM, so they put an offer on Facebook: All-you-can-eat for $25 until it was gone. This year they are using Crawfish Haven out of Horn Lake, which showed up with a crawfish cooking rig every bit as impressive as the cooking rigs you see at BBQ Fest. Mike told me they’re going to try to do it every Saturday for the next couple of months, weather permitting. Usually around Thursday of each week they make the decision on whether or not to do the Saturday boil.

The Soulful Food Truck Festival comes to Clayborn Temple Sunday, March 10 from noon to 6. Black-owned food trucks from multiple states will be there, as will a game truck for the kids, live music, and shopping. This event is part of Memphis Black Restaurant Week.

I absolutely HATE it when I visit a web page of a major media outlet like CNN or ESPN, and a video starts auto-playing without me pressing the Play button. Well, there’s good news. Starting next month, Firefox will free you from autoplay hell, offering the option to disable autoplay. I bet Chrome will offer something similar in the near future as well.

The Daily Memphian’s Daily Briefs column lists the winners of this year’s International Blues Challenge.

Although he’s leaving for Knoxville to be with family, historian Jimmy Ogle will give an Elmwood Cemetery Tour on April 6.  Actually, he will give two tours that day, focusing on his favorite sites within the cemetery, and he will pick different sites for each tour. Many of Memphis’ historical figures are buried at Elmwood, so it’s a good way to learn a lot about our city.

Best Super Bowl tweet:

Controversy reigned at the Puppy Bowl, shown on Animal Planet during Super Bowl halftime, when a puppy shit during the National Anthem.

Last night I watched a Georgia Tech-Notre Dame women’s basketball game at the Blind Bear. One of the Georgia Tech players had spiky green hair, which made my troll very excited. “Do you think I should apply for a scholarship there, Paul?” she asked. Given that Georgia Tech got blown out, they will probably take any help they can get.

That’s the news for now. 70 degree days don’t come along too often in February, so I’m going to get outside and enjoy this one. Back tomorrow with more news.

 

Monday update

Over the weekend plans for the redesign of Tom Lee Park were released to the public. The plan converts the park from a big, open field along the river to a series of zones, each inviting in its own way. However, the folks who organize Memphis in May released a statement saying they fear the park’s redesign will hurt the festival’s revenue.

I want to take a minute to give my reaction to this. First of all, the renderings look beautiful, and I think the Memphis River Parks Partnership has a great vision for this woefully under-utilized asset. Also, I want to commend WREG for the coverage they did in the link above. Too often news station’s website posts tend to be in sound bites. WREG’s post was quite thorough and I appreciate it.

Will the park redesign affect park capacity, stage locations, customer experience during Music Fest? Someone other than I would be more qualified to answer. I’ve never been a Music Fest guy.

However, I’ve been on a BBQ Fest team for 13 years, and I have to tell you, I can’t see the same number of team booths fitting into that park under the new design, not even if the booths spill over onto Riverside. There’s just no way. In the current configuration, nearly every square foot of space is occupied by teams, vendors, or Memphis in May temporary headquarters. If you add trees, rolling hills, etc., you lose some of that space.

It’s very possible Memphis in May will have no choice but to reduce the number of teams allowed to compete, given the new park configuration. Some teams that previously got in might find their applications rejected. Now, the good news is, I doubt that would happen to my team. We got a top 10 finish in shoulder last year out of 59 teams, so we’ve proved our merit. Also, as frequent top 3 finishers in Best Booth, Memphis in May likes us because photos of our booths are good to use in marketing materials.

However, what would likely happen is application fees would go up, possibly way up, and we’d have to figure out how to pass along those costs. We haven’t set our dues for this year yet – we are having a meeting on Sunday to figure that out – but last year we charged $390 for an individual, or $580 for a couple (must be an established real-life couple). I’ve been told those dues are relatively inexpensive for a “big three” category (ribs, shoulder, or whole hog) team. What if we had to raise our dues to, say, $750, to be able to compete? At some point the cost increase would cause us to start losing members.

Or, we might have to make different deals with sponsors. One thing about us is that we’ve always managed to find sponsors who want to party with us, rather than order us around or take over our booth. A lot of teams have a dedicated “sponsor night,” usually in prime time, where team members and their guests are not allowed in their own booth except for members who are either cooking or serving their sponsors. I have witnessed first-hand how that kills other teams’ morale.

So yeah, as relates to my own personal BBQ experience, I am concerned about the upcoming changes to the park. However, I also recognize that I am extremely privileged to be able to pay hundreds of dollars and take a week’s vacation to participate in what is basically spring break for adults. There are hundreds of thousands of Memphians who can’t, and it’s just as much their park as it is mine. I also recognize the absurdity of having this wonderful asset, this front door to the river, and fully capitalizing on it only 8 days a year (3 days Music Fest + 4 days BBQ Fest + 1 day 901 Fest). It needs to be a resource that is used all the time, that taps into Memphis’ identity as a river city.

One thing’s for sure… change comes whether you want it to or not, and all you can do is be ready for it and embrace it.

Since I’m on here spouting off my opinion this morning, I want to talk about a couple of trade deals involving the Grizzlies that were rumored over the weekend.

It’s been said that the Utah Jazz have offered Ricky Rubio and their 2019 first-round pick to the Grizzlies in exchange for Mike Conley. The Jazz would have to throw in a couple of expiring contracts to make the salary match (Conley makes $30 million, Rubio $15 million). I don’t hate this idea but I dislike it a little more than I like it. Having Conley’s $30 million off the books would allow the Grizz to make some moves in free agency this summer, and I’ve always thought Rubio would be an interesting fit here in Memphis. However, he wouldn’t be as good a fit as Conley is. People say Conley and Gasol are past their primes, and while I would agree on Gasol (age 34) I would not on Conley (age 31). I think he has some All-Star caliber games left in him.

Also, the Utah pick is currently projected to be 19th in what is considered not a very deep draft. There’s still value to be found in that area of the draft, but Memphis’ front office is not good at seeing it. Remember 2011, when the Grizzlies had a pick in the early 20s? Draymond Green was still on the board, but Memphis selected Tony Wroten. How’d that work out? So yeah, I’d prefer to keep Mike Conley. If Utah could involve a third team to send Memphis a better draft pick (top 14), then maybe.

The other deal I hear is being floated is, Houston gets JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple, and Memphis gets Brandon Knight and a first-rounder. Getting a first, even a late first, for two role players on expiring contracts is excellent. I like JaMyke a lot but he became expendable the day Jaren Jackson Jr. got here. He deserves to be in a spot where his abilities are needed more, and where he can chase for a ring. I would do this one.

Man that Super Bowl sucked. It was like watching 60 minutes of the Grizzlies playing themselves in the third quarter. I would bet the only people who enjoyed that game were people had the numbers 0 or 3 in the squares game.

MIFA is having a Family Day of Service on Monday, February 18. Register here and get your kids the experience of helping others at an early age. Meet at 910 Vance at 9:30 AM that day and you’ll be sent out to deliver meals for the homeless. After the deliveries, volunteers will re-convene at MIFA headquarters for pizza and to share their experiences.

Want to catch some games at AutoZone Park featuring Memphis’ soccer team Memphis 901 FC, but won’t be able to make it to all the games? No problem. The team has a 7 game flex ticket pack that will accommodate your schedule. Tickets start at $16. You pick two of their top 6 matches this season, and then pick 5 other matches.

Bluff City Mafia, the group of rabid fans that will support Memphis 901 FC, has revealed its perks of membership. $25 gets you a scarf, a sticker, priority seating in the supporters’ section, discounts at the Brass Door on game days, and a few other perks. Initial members will be taken at the launch party at the Brass Door this Saturday.

Sitting here watching the Local 24 weather with meteorologist Chelsea Chandler as I type this. The forecast is for temperatures in the 60s and 70s until Thursday morning, when we might see some ice on the back end of a cold front. Yep that’s my Memphis!

An event called MagicFest comes to the Cook Convention Center February 15-17.

Teach901 is having an educator job fair tomorrow night at Crosstown Concourse from 6 to 8 PM.

Elisa Sun and Blackwater Trio will perform at the Brass Door on Valentine’s Day. $5 cover gets you into The Cavern where they will be performing. Valentine’s Day is on a Thursday this year, so it will also be Steak Night.

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

 

Saturday update: Let’s talk Super Bowl food

Yesterday I was sitting at Bardog surfing Twitter, and I saw a retweet of an infographic @thekitchn did, listing the most popular Super Bowl food by state.

Really, Tennessee? CAKE? We are better than this. I blame Nashville and Knoxville. Here’s a list of my ten favorite Super Bowl pot luck foods, approximately in order:

  • Italian roast beef sandwiches
  • Buffalo chicken dip
  • Wings
  • Chili cheese dogs
  • Pizza, especially Mexican pizza and bacon cheeseburger pizza
  • Lil’ Smokies
  • Nachos *
  • Tamales
  • Chili **
  • 7 layer dip

Nachos: There is wide variance in types of nachos, which is why I say this list is in “approximate” order. Gas station nachos with the generic tortilla chips and the runny cheese sauce wouldn’t make my top ten at all. Now, if we’re talking brisket nachos with three kinds of melted cheeses, sour cream, pico, and guacamole, well then… now we’re getting up toward the top of the list (wouldn’t surpass Italian roast beef though).

Chili: Especially exotic chili. I’m going to paste in a comment from my friend Air Traffic Mike to illustrate. “Paul, I went to an Amish butcher shop and bought a huge “rope” of Italian sweet sausage. With it will be peppers, onions, Italian rolls, provolone, and marinara for sandwiches along with the black bean/filet chili.” Yep. That is how you do it.

Okay, time for another list. Let’s say you don’t cook at all, but you still want to be the rock star of your Super Bowl potluck. Here are some suggestions. These are not in a particular order; all are equally good.

  • Chicken from Gus’s, Uncle Lou’s, or Jack Pirtle’s
  • Wings from Kooky Canuck or New Wing Order
  • Nachos from Central BBQ or Huey’s (I’d include Maciel’s but they’re not open on Sundays and nachos don’t keep well for a day in the fridge)
  • Pan pizza from Wise Guys in Horn Lake (worth the drive and the extra long wait time, trust me on this)
  • Nikki’s Hot Chips with a dip that offsets the heat
  • A bag of weed
  • Or just pull a Trump and bring “hamberders”

And finally, here’s a list of things to bring to a Super Bowl potluck if you never want to be invited to a Super Bowl potluck again:

  • Baked kale chips, or really kale anything
  • Anything with tofu on or in it (I’ve heard that tofu nachos at RP Tracks are good enough that they might be given a pass)
  • Granola bars
  • Spam
  • Pizza with pineapple on it
  • I’m tempted to put Krystal burgers on here, but since I suggested “a bag of weed” above they would probably be appreciated.

Here’s a general rule of thumb: If you’re the type of person who goes, “There’s so much junk food at Super Bowl parties, I want to provide some healthy options,” you are to the Super Bowl as the person who gives socks and underwear as presents is to Christmas.

You know, it’s funny, we talk about things “going viral”… that’s how the Super Bowl got its name. When the first championship game was played in 1967, the AFL-NFL World Championship Game was what it was called. Lamar Hunt, owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, started calling it the Super Bowl, and it got picked up by the media and the name went viral. By 1968 it was widely called the Super Bowl in the media although that was not the official title. The following year, the organizers of the game gave in and the game played that year became Super Bowl III, the previous two games back-named Super Bowl I and II.

If you’re not into football, Lifehacker has some great advice: Super Bowl Sunday is the best day to do anything else. Think about it: Short lines at the movies, you can get dinner at fine restaurants that normally require a reservation without one… lots of options when everyone else is busy watching the game.

I’ll throw in one additional inside tip: Because the Super Bowl doesn’t kick off until 5:30, the Downtown restaurants and bars are going to be dead as a doornail from 11 to 3 tomorrow as people conserve their energy for the game. So, if there’s someplace you’ve been meaning to try for brunch, tomorrow would be a good day to do it. I’ll even offer a suggestion: Go check out Rizzo’s pop-up restaurant in the 409 South Main food hall. They’ll be there until the 19th.

Max’s Sports Bar will be giving away a foldable tailgate grill, a tabletop football set, and many other great prizes during the Super Bowl. 1 drink = 1 entry into the drawing.

Local is having a Delta Sunshine tap takeover tomorrow with $3 drafts.

Huey’s is having 2 for 1 domestic drafts and well drinks all day tomorrow, starting at 11 AM. They will also have their regular brunch specials from 11 to 6, which are $3.50 Bloody Marys and mimosas. No live music tomorrow night, of course, since people will want to watch the game.

New Wing Order has a special Mud Island Jerk flavor as its February special:

They’ll have the truck on the Memphis Made parking lot from 3 to 8 today if you want to give the new wings a try. By the way, if you haven’t seen the forecast, it’s going to be patio weather this afternoon, with temperatures well into the 60s. This is the beginning of a warm spell with highs in the 60s or 70s through the middle of next week.

Chris Stapleton’s All-American Road Show with Brothers Osborne and Kendell Marvel has been announced for FedExForum on Saturday, October 5. Tickets are now on sale.

From Food & Wine: There’s a sports bar in Sacramento called Costanza’s that dedicates one TV to reruns of Seinfeld episodes. That is a great idea because there’s always one or two people in a group who want to hang out with their friends, but don’t care about sports, and this gives them something to watch. And a George-themed sports bar makes sense – after all, he worked for the New York Yankees.

Time to heat up a slice of leftover pizza, throw my PBR hoodie and shorts on, and head to Bardog. Yes it is shorts weather! My threshold for wearing shorts is “feels-like temperature not predicted to be lower than 48 all the hours I plan to be out.” That is the case today. I don’t know if I’m going to do a post tomorrow. Super Bowl Sunday is one of my lowest readership days of the year. If I get any timely news I’ll do a post, otherwise I will be back Monday.

Friday update

There’s a Commercial Appeal opinion piece that is a must-read. My friend Deni Reilly, co-owner of the Majestic Grille with her husband Patrick, is a firm believer in the Downtown revival and she spells out the reasons why. I couldn’t agree more! Thursday of next week will be my 17th anniversary as a Downtown Memphian. Even if I won the lottery, I wouldn’t live anywhere else.

The Downtown core neighborhood doesn’t have many fast food restaurants, but among the ones it does have are two Lenny’s, one at Front and Court (Falls Building) and the other at Main and Peabody Place. Next week is Guest Appreciation Week, and from February 4-9 all 7 1/2 inch subs will be $4.99. I will definitely be making a stop or two in the Falls Building next week.

The Daily Memphian’s Daily Briefs from yesterday has a piece about Lab Creative LLC, the new web design and digital marketing firm at 119 S. Main. As I wrote yesterday, they are having a launch party at Pontotoc Lounge Wednesday at 6. I should probably go up there and network with those folks since my skill set and theirs overlap.

Memphis in May tweeted a photo of its 2019 Great American River Run medallions:

Interesting article: Are restaurants getting too loud?

Joe Austin plays the Blind Bear tonight at 10 PM.

Drink-N-Draw is back at the Ghost River taproom this evening.

Tripl Thret plays the blues at the Dirty Crow Inn tonight.

I was at Silly Goose happy hour last night when the bar’s phone rang. Jessica answered it. “Paul Ryburn? Yes, he’s here.” It reminded me of a few years ago, when a woman would call B-RAD’s bar at the Bear (she was a vegetarian, I recall?) and ask if I was there, and upon hearing that I was, she’d come up there. After Jessica hung up, she told me yesterday’s caller was none other than B-RAD himself, and he was on his way up to the Goose. The good news is, he brought his friend Mary Ann.

The bad news is, he also brought Rahul and Tony. I told Rahul and Tony about Saturday’s crawfish boil at Max’s Sports Bar, featuring taters, corn and sausage in the boil.

I guess the construction worker, the cop, the G.I., and the motorcycle/leather guy were not available for this picture. A friend of ours had posted to Facebook that Chipotle’s hot sauce had been rough on his butthole and Rahul “Liked” the post. Tony asked if anyone wanted to see a “dicture.” They both spent substantial time telling everyone how they are straight and like women a lot, because, you know, that’s what straight guys talk about all the time.

Been a productive morning… I’ve paid the rent and got shopping at Walgreens done. Think I’ll go see what the lunch specials at Bardog are. They always put that info on Twitter so I could just go look there, but walking over sounds like so much more fun. Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible will be performed on stage at the Halloran Centre for the Performing Arts on Saturday, February 16. This story of a witch hunt, set in 1692 Salem, was inspired by the era of Joseph McCarthy. It’s a story of the bad things that can happen when truth is bent for political means. Sounds relevant for the times we live in today, no?

Cirque de Soleil is in town for 4 days starting today for performances of their show Corteo at FedExForum.

The first crawfish boil of the season is set for Saturday at Max’s Sports Bar. I’ll repeat what I said last year: When Max’s does crawfish boils, the crawfish are better than at any crawfish festival in the city. They are spiced to perfection and corn on the cob and taters are cooked in the boil as well. And yes, Rahul and Tony, sausage is cooked in the boil too. I know how you guys are all about the sausage.

The hours on the Facebook listing are noon to 5 Saturday, but don’t expect to show up at 4:30 and get crawfish. The first boil of the season at Max’s is a huge event and they will sell out early. The cost is $12 for 1 pound or $20 for 2 pounds, and if you’re hungry I recommend going ahead and getting 2 pounds right off the bat because there might not be any left if you try to go back for seconds. Max’s opens at 11 AM and the Tigers basketball game vs. South Florida will be on TV, so the place will fill up quickly. They will have a satellite bar on the patio and extra seating on the patio to accommodate demand. My advice is to be there by noon and let your bartender/server know you want crawfish as soon as they are ready.

The Memphis Flyer’s Beer Bracket competition is coming back soon, and this year they are making it more interesting. This year local breweries will be able to pick which four of their beers they want to compete. Also, if there is a particular beer a brewery does not want to compete against (such as Meddlesome’s 201 Hoplar, last year’s winner), they will be allowed to swap – but they can only swap one time. Voting starts February 13.

The Blind Bear has announced its promotions for Super Bowl Sunday. Starting at 4 PM, they will have $3 aluminum bottles (16 oz.) of Bud, Bud Light, and Mich Ultra. They will have $3 cinnamon whiskey, $4 Diamond Bear 16 oz. draft, $5 Bear Balls (mozzarella balls), $5 beef nachos, $5 beef tacos, $5/7 (cup/bowl) chili or cheeseburger soup, $5 chili cheese fries, and $5 chili cheese dogs. Their Hung Over Like a Bear brunch menu and specials will be available until 6 PM. The Sunday night Texas Hold’em game will happen as usual at 6:30.

Tug’s over on Mud Island is also having specials for the game. $2 Bud, Bud Light, Miller Lite, Coors Light, Mich Ultra. Happy hour prices on drinks. $5 food specials including bacon wrapped meatballs, chili cheese nachos, jalapeno poppers, chili cheese dogs, and buffalo chicken tenders.

Local Gastropub has announced its buffet menu for Sunday’s game: hot wings, chicken tenders, nachos, pizza, buffalo dip, spinach dip, hot dogs, and cold beer from Delta Sunshine Brewing Co.

Cordelia’s Market is hosting a wine dinner on Thursday, February 21. Five courses, each paired with wine.

Former Memphis Tigers running back Darrell Henderson has been invited to the NFL scouting combine.

A team captain has been named for Memphis new pro soccer team, Memphis 901 FC: Marc Burch, a 13-year veteran of Major League Soccer.

LAB Digital Creative, a firm of designers and digital marketers founded by South Main residents Michael Newsome and Alan Hudgins, is having a launch party at Pontotoc Lounge on Wednesday, February 6 from 6 to 8 PM. First 25 people to show up get a round on LAB.

The Blind Bear will hold an ’80s party on Saturday, April 6, with DJ Brad Eiskamp spinning the tunes, a costume contest, photographer, and drink specials.

A bill has been introduced in Congress that would stop members of Congress and the president from getting paid anytime there is a government shutdown.. Betcha Mitch McConnell doesn’t even allow a vote on it.

Memphis Made Brewing Co. is having a board game night featuring Photosythesis tonight at its taproom.

Lunch time!

Today’s visit to the Court Square food truck rodeo led me to a Philly cheese steak sandwich from the Say Cheese food truck.

Cordelia’s Market has announced that they will no longer be offering plastic bags as of February 5. Stop by Monday to pick up a free re-usable bag. Read why the folks at Cordelia’s made this decision.

Outlaw Tony Maynard will provide the live music at brunch at Sunrise Memphis this Sunday. He will begin at 10 AM.

The Commercial Appeal talks to chef B.J. Chester-Tamayo of Alcenia’s in this week’s In the Kitchen.

Downtown marketing firm RedRover has a job opening for a Senior Account Manager. The successful candidate will more or less be acting as an outsourced Chief Marketing Officer for client firms.

Long, newsy post today but I’m finally to the end of it. Back tomorrow with more news.

 

Wednesday update

Every day I walk south on the Main Street Mall past an office furnishings store on the ground floor of Barboro Flats. I don’t know if anyone who works there reads this blog, but if they do, I’ve got to ask: How do you work there without going insane?

I mean, the three-and-a-half foot cubicle walls are bad enough. Everybody can see everybody, all day long. Everybody can hear their cubicle neighbors’ conversations whether they want to or not. There is not a smidgen of privacy at any time. But to make it even worse, they have all of Downtown looking into their workspaces all day long. I would feel like an animal on display in a zoo if I worked there!

Call me old-school, but I sure do miss the days when corporate work environments had walls and doors.

I had a really good lunch yesterday. I walked over to Sam’s restaurant at 7 N. Main, next door to Well Worx. Now, Sam’s is mainly known for their burgers and hot dogs, but as I walked up to the door I noticed several pictures of Mediterranean items in the window. They had a  falafel plate! I am a big fan of falafel, so I got the plate to go and brought it back to eat at my computer desk at home.

This was as delicious as it looks! There was a side salad too, but I didn’t have room for it in the photo. They have a gyro plate as well and I want to get back in there and try that soon. They have a pretty large menu so you won’t get bored if you eat there regularly. Their pizzas are another item I want to explore.

Memphis is losing someone who has made our city a more interesting place for many years. The CA reports that historian Jimmy Ogle is moving to Knoxville to be closer to his family. Ogle is known for his tours of Downtown, including his famous manhole cover tour. Family comes first and that’s understandable, but he will be missed. Just don’t start rooting for the Vols when they play Memphis, Jimmy.

Memphis in May is only a few days more than 3 months away. Have you ever thought about volunteering for the month-long festival? Here’s your chance:

Friends of mine who have volunteered there have told me it’s a lot of fun, and they have come away from the experience with memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.

Indie rock band Bon Iver has announced an Orpheum date of Monday, April 1.

The Blind Bear’s Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre party returns Friday, February 15. In 1929 Al Capone’s gangsters gunned down rival Bugs Moran’s gang on the north side of Chicago. Come re-live the era of gangsters and flappers at this party. There will be food and drink specials, as well as costume contests. There will be a photographer there and they will be replacing many of the photos on the dining room wall. Starting at 10 PM there will be live music by A.M. Whiskey. The password to get in that night without paying a cover charge will be, “Capone sent me.”

Downtown’s Calvary Episcopal Church has announced its Lenten Preaching Series speakers for 2019. They always have some great names who speak as the church serves plate lunches during Lent. The speaker series begins March 7.

Statistics site FiveThirtyEight has updated its predictions for the Super Bowl. They have the Patriots as a 53%/1 point favorite over the Rams. I know it’s unpopular to root for the Patriots but I’m probably going to anyway. At least they won their conference championship game fair and square.

Lifehacker has information on how to name a cockroach after your ex for Valentine’s Day.

The Daily Memphian reports that good things are happening in Victorian Village on the eastern end of Downtown. Wright Cafe will open at 657 Adams. The cafe will have high-end coffees and teas and eventually desserts, and two bed-and-breakfast suites will be located above it. Also, Mollie Fontaine’s is expanding its patio to activate the space closer to the street.

The new Downtown Baron’s Man Cave will host a grand opening fundraiser on Thursday, February 7 from 6 to 9 PM. The fundraiser will benefit St. Jude and will feature a raffle with prizes from the man cave’s neighbors including The Orpheum, Catherine & Mary’s, and Pontotoc Lounge. You’ll get a chance to check out the new space and 10% of all sales that night will go to St. Jude. Complimentary beverages and bites will be provided.

For those of you whose interest has been piqued by my recent recommendation of the book The Gaslighting Effect by Reva Steenbergen, check out my Twitter account at @paulryburn. I follow the author on Twitter and I retweet memes and quotes from the book that she tweets which I feel are especially relevant. If you’re one of the people who has gone to my friends John D or Misty or Katie Mac or Clay and asked them, “What’s going on with Paul? Why has he seemed like a different person the past few years?”, this book is your answer. It’s an easy read at just over 100 pages, and is very thoroughly researched.

That’s it for now. Trivia night at the Blind Bear is my plan for this evening. Back tomorrow with more news.