BBQ Fest Day 1: Thursday

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May 152015



The first public day of BBQ Fest 2015 is now in the history books. We got second in Best Booth. Our original design was cost-prohibitive so we had to scale back a bit. Still a great year though.


It just wouldn’t be BBQ Fest without an Uncle Ray pic.


Seamus from the Majestic Grille stopped by to pay us a visit















Sad to hear of the passing of B.B. King. His music influenced so many. He will be missed.

Also sad to hear of the passing of one of our local bar poker players, Bobby McGregor. It was a pleasure sitting with you at the table sir.

All right. Time for more shenanigans.

BBQ Fest Day 0: Friends & Family Night 2015

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May 142015


Y’all, BBQ Fest has nearly killed me and we haven’t even begun the part that is open to the public. This is going to be a long week.


Number 10 Main reunion: Mary Ann and Peter and the Nuh-Uh Girl



P1060166Media coverage. Team vice-president Clay on the news.


Every girl’s crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man


The Jello shots have started to kick in


Poland, the Memphis in May honored country for 2015


The booth


Uncle Paul


Next time Squeal Street claims there’s nothing to eat in our booth, show them this photo.


Mike from Squeal Street came over to see what a 2014 BBQ Fest trophy looks like


The Moody Ques are a vegetarian-friendly team


Chaddy Chad behind the bar




Stevie G and Mike from Squeal Street stopped by for some Moody Ques award-winning microwave popcorn and fashion advice from John D


I’m not the only one on the team with a nickname. Meet “Mr. Inappropriate”


This is what it’s all about.


We streamed the Grizzlies game. Nikki was really excited.


Sonya and Antara


Head cook Frank prepping the ‘que for today’s lunch

That’ll do it for this post. Full album (242 photos) here. It was, shall we say, an interesting walk to the Blind Bear after the park closed. Thanks to my teammate Misty for babysitting me.

Pre-gaming at the Saucer at 11, Tom Lee Park at 12.

Lunch at Rizzo’s and an afternoon with “Mr. Load-in”

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May 132015

“Paul, you have nearly broken your back constructing this tent,” came the text from BBQ team president Moody to “Mr. Load-in” at 10:24 yesterday morning. “I demand that you take the morning off. That is an order.”

Left with nothing to do, I decided to go visit one of my favorite chefs, Michael Patrick, at his new place Rizzo’s Diner at Main and Butler. I grabbed a seat at the bar and started off with the cheeseburger soup.

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Before I even sat in my chair, the manager looked at me and said, “The special.” That was all that needed to be said. It was a shrimp cake with a choice of three sides.

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That’s the “before” picture. Here is the “after” picture:

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Check Rizzo’s out if you haven’t already. I hear they have an incredible brunch on the weekends. “Like” them on Facebook here.

Coming back to the Downtown core, I saw this on Second across the street from the Saucer:

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That must have been an uneven walk home.

Some of you have asked, “Paul, I know your title on the BBQ team is ‘Mr. Load-in’ but what does that mean? What exactly do you do for the team?” Here’s a look.

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All right. Time to hit Publish and get down to the park. I know the blog has kinda sucked this week but it will turn around tomorrow.

You wake up at 1:50 and…

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May 122015

This morning I woke up at 1:50. Well, really 1:35 because I set my alarm clock 15 minutes fast because I hate morning. But, anyway. I woke up at effective 1:50. You know what people in Germantown do when they wake up at 1:50? Roll over and go back to sleep. You know what people in Olive Branch do when they wake up at 1:50? Roll over and go back to sleep. You know what people in Cordova do when they wake up at 1:50? Roll over and go back to sleep.

You know what Downtowners do when they wake up at 1:50?

Get dressed and go to a bar.

Yep, I managed to hit D-RANKS with J-NETTE at the Blind Bear and fit 3 PBRs and 2 Fireballs in before closing time. I love BBQ Fest vacation. And I deserved those drinks and shots after all the hard work I did at Tom Lee Park yesterday.


The booth is coming along very nicely for BBQ Fest. I would say we are a little bit ahead of schedule on construction, not a bad place to be.

Taking credit for the work of others… I would make a great middle management type in corporate America…

Thanks to the awesomeness of my friends on Facebook, I have learned of two new festivals, and I want to share the details. The Memphis International Rockabilly Festival happens August 15-16. I am in the process of gathering more information about this festival, but save the date.

On June 27, there will be a Tamale Fest in Binghampton, at 2509 Harvard. Yummmmm!!! I love tamales. That’s the same date as the Memphis Flyer’s margarita festival and the two are not far from each other.

From the MBJ: Drinks fit for a King at the Arcade. I’m sure research for this article must have been really rough.

I remember sitting at Bardog one day making a list of when it’s acceptable to drink before 11 AM: Spring break, when you’re at a casino, BBQ Fest.



(I used the icon I use when I mention the device I’m not allowed to mention anymore :mrgreen: )

(I mentioned the device I’m not allowed to mention anymore :mrgreen: )

Bloom has been pouring ice cold PBR around the corner for 81 minutes now. I see no reason to wait. Lunch at Rizzo’s then down to the park for an intense day of back-breaking work. It’s all worth it for the BBQ team though.

Tom Lee Park: An inspirational visit by “Mr. Load-in”

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May 112015

2015-05-10 15.33.19 2015-05-10 15.33.23 2015-05-10 15.34.05 2015-05-10 15.37.35 HDR 2015-05-10 15.37.35 2015-05-10 15.41.15 2015-05-10 15.46.43 2015-05-10 15.47.03 2015-05-10 15.47.04 HDR 2015-05-10 15.48.22 2015-05-10 16.02.04


“Paul, we need you to go to Blind Bear,” came my orders from the BBQ team leaders about 10:30 yesterday morning. “Almost all of Brad’s regulars are on BBQ teams. He’s going to be more or less by himself all day. We need you to go keep him company.” Of course, I was planning on going down to Tom Lee Park and getting some dirt under my fingernails. But I went to Blind Bear as ordered and had 8 PBRs and 2 Fireballs at D-RANKS with B-RAD.

However, I do have a bit of a defiant streak. By 3:30 I couldn’t take it anymore. “I know I’m most effective when I’m not at the park,” I told myself, “but dammit, I want to roll up my sleeves and get to work.” So, without asking permission from the team leaders, I walked down to Tom Lee. As you can see, the team was mostly sitting around, and I think a visit from workhorse “Mr. Load-in” instilled in them the work ethic they will need to get through this week.

The team sent me to Max’s Sports Bar to make sure everything was okay there, and about 8 I got hungry. I did something I have not done since the year began with a “1”: I went to Spaghetti Warehouse.

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15-layer lasagne with a side salad with Thousand Island. The best part of the meal, however, was complimentary: Those loaves of bread with the garlic butter for dipping. Oh my God sooooooo good. I don’t know why I don’t think to go to Spaghetti Warehouse more often. It’s just slightly off the beaten path, but due to the fact that it’s on the way to the brewery it has come back on my radar.

To wish the Grizzlies luck for their game vs. Golden State tonight (8:30 tip-off, FedExForum, on TNT) I’m going to post Mr. Green, the icon I post when I mention the BBQ lighting device I’m not allowed to mention on this blog anymore. Because Mr. Green > Draymond Green.


(I mentioned the BBQ lighting device I’m not allowed to mention anymore :mrgreen: )

I closed the Flying Saucer last night. But I decided that wasn’t much of an accomplishment given the Saucer’s midnight closing time on Sunday. So I stayed out til 3 and closed Bardog too.

Time to get back at it. Maybe I can sneak down to the park before the team leaders come up with alternate things for me to do. I want some dirt under my fingernails!

Welcome back, Mr. Green

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May 102015

This guy.



If you’ve been reading this blog the past couple of months, you know this is Mr. Green, the WordPress icon I use when mentioning something I’m not allowed to mention anymore (we’ll get to that in a few minutes). For a long time I was running WordPress 4.0.4, but last weekend I made the upgrade to WordPress 4.2.1. And when I did, Mr. Green altered his appearance.

I am not a fan. The original Mr. Green used to make me laugh so hard that PBR almost came shooting out my nose a few times. There are few things in this world I have a weakness for like a smilie who can make me laugh. I miss the original Mr. Green terribly.

And you know what? Thanks to a plugin written by my BBQ teammate Otto, the mutant alien above is going away for good.


The REAL Mr. Green is back.

And I don’t mean Draymond Green. The Grizzlies ran that chump out of the building last night.

So, yesterday afternoon about 3:30 “Mr. Load-in” was at Blind Bear. I was getting ready to get into workhorse mode and go down to the park and build the team booth, but my favorite pair of librarian glasses convinced me that a shot of Fireball would give me added strength so I could stay in for the long haul at the park. As I was about to do the shot, I got a phone call from team vice-president Clay. No one ever calls each other anymore, so I knew it had to be important.

At our second full team meeting back in March, the one at a backyard in Midtown, we used a device to light our team smoker. I have been requested not to mention that device anymore.

Back in the 1980s, Vincent “Chin” Gigante was the boss of the Genovese crime family, the largest of New York’s five families. To avoid surveillance, Mafia members were forbidden from speaking his name. If they had to refer to him in conversation, they were to say “that guy” and touch their chin with their finger. So that’s what we’re going to do on here from now on. It will help give Clay and Moody the impression that I follow their rules, so it will be easier to cover up the “we won’t tell Clay and Moody about this” moments that are coming later this week.

(I mentioned the device we used to light the smoker that one time back in March :mrgreen: )

Okay. I’m realizing something. Of our five team board members, two are married, two are in long-term relationships, and one is female. That makes it harder to enforce the Hot Girl Rule. The Hot Girl Rule is an unofficial rule that is followed by most BBQ teams, which states that all other BBQ team rules can be ignored if there’s a hot girl involved. I have to say this is one area in which our sibling team Squeal Street gets it a lot better than we do. The Hot Girl Rule still applies on our team, we just have to dance around the board members a little extra.

On to the news… big day at AutoZone Park for the 1:35 game vs. New Orleans. Mothers get pampered this afternoon, with a mini-massage and manicure station courtesy of Gildan. First 2500 kids receive a free ice cream treat, and kids can run the bases after the game. There’s a special ticket for an 11:30-1:30 Mother’s Day brunch too. There’s also a Share a Coke kiosk where you can personalize a can of Coke.

News for those of you who took the entire week off for BBQ Fest: Tomorrow’s game has an 11:05 AM first pitch. Of course “Mr. Load-in” will be down at Tom Lee doing the heavy lifting, but for those of you who can afford a few hours’ break, this could be fun.

The Green Beetle is hosting a benefit for Hope Lodge this afternoon beginning at 3. Live music by Chris Hill, beer bucket specials, great food.

There’s something called Uncle Curly’s Family Dinner at the Cannon Center tonight. I’m just going to paste the description in: “First, there was a grandmother named Madea. Then a father named Brown. Now meet the Uncle every family has but no one wants to claim, Uncle Curly. Featuring Jekalyn Carr. All tickets are $42 – additional fees may apply.”

Time to get down to the park. We have a lot to accomplish, but with our core values of HARD WORK and TEAMWORK we can do this. All hands on deck!

Absolutely loaded Memphis Farmers Market tomorrow, plus more Friday news

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May 082015

The calendar says May 8, but for me this is December 24. Tomorrow is the most wonderful time of the year: LOAD-IN!!!!! The Moody Ques have a 7:45 appointment to drop off equipment at Tom Lee Park. The scaffolding is already up, and team vice-president Clay sent out an email saying he needs six people tomorrow to help unload the smoker, grill, and bathrooms. Of course “Mr. Load-in” immediately hit the Reply button and typed, “COUNT ME IN!!!!!” However, before I could hit the Send button a second email from Clay came in, addressed to me rather than the whole team.

“Paul, I know you were looking forward to being in the park tomorrow morning, but we need you to be at Bardog at 11 AM to hold down the fort and handle any team business that comes up there. This is too big a job for one man so I am going to ask that you take John D with you. Yes I know you could get to the park at 7:45 and still make it to Bardog by 11 but I need you and John to be well-rested. Please don’t argue and be willing to make this sacrifice for the team.” Dammit… guess it will be Sunday before I get some dirt under my fingernails.

Yesterday evening, Clay and head cook Frank had a BBQ planning session at the Silly Goose, where they sought advice from two trusted and valuable resources: Majestic Grille co-owner and chef, Patrick Reilly; and “Mr. Load-in”. Frank, head of the all-new cook team for 2015, commented, “If I get 55th in shoulder I will have done better than the two cook teams we’ve had the past three years.” Aim for the stars, Frank!

In BBQ Fest news, Memphis in May has announced that Biz Markie will perform Saturday, May 16.

It’s Irish Heritage tonight at the Redbirds. First 2000 fans will get a limited-edition Redbirds T-shirt, compliments of Silky O’ Sullivan’s. There will be Irish music and you can get your photo taken with Silky’s famous crown and throne. Block party at 5 with $2 Irish green beer, first pitch at 7:05.

Let’s Get Sweet on Mom is the theme at the Memphis Farmers Market this Saturday. You can find lots of gifts for Mother’s Day at the Market, including potting plants, jams, pottery, cookies, soaps, lotions and Spring’s best flowers. Big day at the Market, with a chef demo and two cookbook signings. At 10 Felicia Willett of Felicia Suzanne’s will give a cooking demo, making her Tasso Shrimp recently demo’d on Little Rock’s THV11. From 8 to 11, Jennifer Chandler will sign her book The Southern Pantry Cookbook: 105 Recipes Already Hiding in Your Kitchen, and Justin Fox Burks will sign his book The Southern Vegetarian. At 9 kids can make flower recipe holders. Music by Paul Waits 8:30-10 and Jeff Hulett 11-12:30. 7 AM to 1 PM, under the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson.

I’ve made it to 4 of the 5 markets this year, but due to my duties as “Mr. Load-in” it is extremely unlikely I will be there tomorrow.

Jason Wexler of the Grizzlies tweeted that there is heightened security by the NBA during playoff games. If you want to be in your seat by 7 for tomorrow’s game, plan on being at the arena by 6:30.

Interesting CBS News article: Some color runs are scams.

All right. For the next 9 days this blog won’t operate on its normal posting schedule. There will still be plenty of posts, but scattered throughout the day. From Thursday to Sunday there will be BBQ Fest recaps and pics. Four more hours and I’m outta here!

Second Thursday update and Moody Ques team packet information

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May 072015

Enough news for a second post today. Let’s do this.

The Flyer has a very interesting article about The Majestic Grille and Celtic Crossing, two restaurants that beat the odds and made it through their first 10 years. The two businesses opened around the same time and there are a lot more similarities among the owners than I ever realized.

From Mashable: Yesterday a TV anchor wished everyone a happy dry hump day. There are probably a few nightclubs around town that could make a promotion out of this.

From the Daily Beast: B.B. King’s family is being held hostage by his manager, his family claims, and is not getting the care he needs and is cut off from his friends.

The Hungry Memphis blog has an article with a couple of pieces of news that may be of interest to my readers. First of all, there’s a beer festival this weekend – but not Downtown. It’s out on Broad Avenue at Wiseacre.

Also in the same article: Felicia Suzanne’s has a Mother’s Day dinner you can order for take-out.

Moody Ques announcement: There are a lot of first-year members who are confused about the stuff in their member bags. Here’s the deal:

  • Red/white swirl (in some cases pink) rubber wristband with “The Moody Ques” and “2015” on it: This is your team wristband. It’s how door security knows you are a member.
  • Red plastic Memphis in May wristband: This gets you in the park during regular park hours Thursday, Friday, and Saturday without having to purchase a ticket. You need to plan to keep this on for all three days straight, or put it on loose enough that you can slip it off at night.
  • Green plastic 24-hour Memphis in May wristband: This lets you go in and out of the park anytime, park hours or not. People who have these are expected to WORK. I get offered one of these every year and turn it down.
  • Paper wristbands: These are to be given to your invited guests, and they are used by our doorman to identify people as invited guests who are not on the team. These get guests in the booth, but they still have to pay to get in the park.
  • Wednesday night ticket: This gets you in the park for Friends & Family Night 5:30-10:30. Guests are not allowed this night. If you do not plan on being there Wednesday, PLEASE arrange to give us back the ticket because we need extras. This is always a problem with large teams.
  • T-shirt: I hope I don’t need to explain what you do with this.
  • Park map: Our booth is highlighted. If you enter from the north end of the park as I do, better wear comfortable shoes, because you have some walkin’ to do.

Any questions, shoot the team an email at In other team news, I have confirmed that we will have Jello shots and PGA-infused gummy worms again this year. Those worms nearly got me in a lot of trouble Thursday of BBQ Fest ’14. And yes, the Jello shots will be normal shots, not pudding body shots off a man in a Speedo and tiger head like a certain other team (who didn’t win a trophy in 2014 like the Moody Ques did).

Time for PBR. One more day until my spring break!

I Love Polish Girls

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May 072015

A few years ago, I ran into my friend the Polish Princess at the Silly Goose. She was not happy with the I LOVE ROMANIAN GIRLS shirt that I wore in my profile pic at the time. “What about Polish girls?” she asked. “We deserve appreciation too. You should order a shirt about Polish girls. Go ahead, I dare you to order one.” She totally didn’t think I would, so of course, I did. However, I rarely see the Polish Princess (she lives in Cordova) and I saw no reason to wear the shirt otherwise…

… until Poland became the Memphis in May honored country. Last night the shirt made its debut. I had a photo taken in it and tagged the Princess to prove its existence.

Photo May 06, 8 52 19 PM

Twin Soul with special guest Andy Grammer are tonight’s entertainment at the weekly Peabody rooftop party. Special $15 admission price this week. Doors open at 6, ladies free until 7. Your admission includes a buffet of Polish foods in honor of Memphis in May. There is also a casting call on the rooftop for the Memphis Flyer fall fashion issue.

The Blues Hall of Fame Grand Opening is tomorrow at 10.

A parking garage is planned for the Tennessee Brewery. It will be across the street on Butler Avenue. Wow. Never thought I’d see a parking garage in South Main, but with the plans for the brewery and Central Station, it’s probably necessary.

This looks yummy: BBQ salad in a Mason jar at Capriccio.

Find out how to get free Grizzlies shirts here.

From the CA: Residents of The Pinch face obstacles getting to Bass Pro.

Moody Ques: Load-in time is almost here. It looks like the majority of work will be done on Monday, after the scaffolding people have erected the booth structure. Vice-president Clay will know more soon. We don’t have an exact time but he’s asking for all hands on deck. We also need a few people to help paint the facade at Holliday Flowers on Union tomorrow (Friday) afternoon and Saturday, Contact Clay if you can help. If you don’t have Clay’s contact info, email me at or hit me up on Facebook and I will pass it on. I have to work Friday but I’m sure it goes without saying where “Mr. Load-in” will be Saturday.

Really looking forward to the alley party that’s coming up in a little over three months…

May be a second post later today. I’ll be out at the usual spots this evening. This is the only night of the next 10 when I have to get up and go to work the next day. Pretty excited about that. My spring break is almost here and I am ready!

Your Wednesday Christian inspirational message

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May 062015

When I did my last post, I looked at my blog’s administrative dashboard for a moment, where there are recent search terms that led visitors to my blog. Someone searched for “christian inspirational message for women’s meeting in june.” HUH??? Is that what they’re calling Tube Top Month these days?

By the way, I am debating whether or not to bring back Tube Top Month for an 11th year. I don’t know, I will see how I feel after BBQ Fest, but I am at least considering not doing it. It will begin May 22 if it does come back.

Papa Murphy’s, the world’s leading take ‘n’ bake pizza franchise, has signed on as a sponsor for BBQ Fest. To celebrate National Pizza Day on May 15, Papa Murphy’s will be handing out free samples of its new BBQ pizzas during the days BBQ Fest is open to the public, May 14-16. There are three different pizzas, made with chicken, angus steak, and pork sausage. Free food? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.

I heard from someone who was at the Tennessee Brewery last weekend that they are now selling big beers, twice the size of regular beers, for $10. If you want to go back to the bar half as often, there you go.

I got my BBQ team bag last night. The bags are at Cafe Keough for pickup (must show ID), but when you’re “Mr. Load-in” you get your bag hand-delivered because team leaders want you to conserve your energy for the build. Here’s the 2015 Moody Ques soccer jersey, front and back.

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Already had a Polish princess ask if we have an extra shirt in size small. I don’t think we ordered a lot of extras but I will see what I can do.

Mud Island news: A boardwalk is planned for the Wolf River harbor.

On May 8, 1985, Rum Boogie Cafe opened, one of the first clubs to spark the rebirth of Beale. Friday they are having a 30th anniversary celebration.

I want to mention another of the Start Co. 2015 accelerator class that pitched to me Monday night. MLS My Nest offers two ways to sell your home for a flat fee, avoiding the 6-7% commissions that real estate agents usually take. You can get representation from an agent, or represent yourself but still be listed in MLS. Great concept and I have to mention that they think I’m the coolest blogger in Memphis (they’re right).

By the way, Eric and Andre from Start Co., if you’re reading this – give MLS My Nest a gold star. Of the companies that pitched me Monday night, they were the only one to follow up with an email.

Time for a run to Target then back to work. Two and a half more days until BBQ Fest. Out at the usual places after work.