Memphis dining: Quetzal, Destiny Diner and more

I may not be Leslie Kelly from the Commercial Appeal, but at least for this post and the next one, this will be the Memphis dining blog.

My friend Mikey (who, by the way, says hello to everyone) tells me that Quetzal at the corner of Union and Marshall plans on remodeling. They opened about a year ago as an Internet cafe, and have since extended their menu and got a liquor license. Now they plan on building a bar in the middle of their big room and serving liquor there. Sounds good. Quetzal is a huge space and there’s so much they can do with it. In the back they have a pool room and a private meeting room. They also plan on staying open later. Last night they were open until at least 11:45 even though they officially close at 10. “We stay open as long as there are people here,” they said.

With Quetzal expanding and Hattiloo Theater planning on opening a cafe, The Edge neighborhood in the Madison/Marshall/Monroe area is becoming quite the destination. Of course, you also have the Complex for live music, Kudzu’s as the neighborhood bar (which now has a neighborhood to go with it), and various art galleries.

Oh. And of course we can’t forget Downtown Dolls, the new “adult” club in the old Six-1-Six building. One Downtowner told me, “The trouble with going there is, you see people you know, and you don’t want to be seen there and they probably don’t either.” Downtown may be a walking neighborhood, but if that’s your kind of entertainment maybe you’d be better hopping in the car and driving out to the Mt. Moriah Center for the Performing Arts.

Reminds me… someone told me that the Center for the Performing Arts has some Romanian girls dancing there. Let me make it clear that these are NOT the Romanians I’m friends with, who live and work downtown. But still… even though I’m not a fan of strip clubs, the thought of Romanians taking it all off may be enough to convince me to pay a visit to the ol’ Purple Church.

Last week at the Cooper-Young festival, someone handed me a menu for a new restaurant in Midtown that looks really interesting. It’s called Destiny Diner and is at 326 S. Cleveland, which I believe would put it right next door to Printer’s Alley, just south of Vance. They have the most unique menu I’ve seen in a while. They have the usual stuff like appetizers, pizzas, and sandwiches, but they also have something called “Destiny Dining.” You pick chicken, shrimp, vegetables or tofu sauteed in one of their marinades. The marinades include a Spanish one, an Indian Tikka Masala one, a garlic/oregano one, a super-hot jerk one, a mango/honey/ginger one, and a lime/cilantro/garlic/red pepper/mustard one. I’m really not doing them justice here with my descriptions. You gotta see the menu. You get a choice of rice or garlic mashed potatoes as the side.

They also have some unique burgers, including a Paradise (cooked in jerk sauce with three cheeses and onions), the Piggy Back (topped with bacon, ham, and cheddar), and the Old McDonald (topped with chicken, ham, American and Swiss – I don’t think I’ve ever seen chicken as a burger topping before).

And, they have a “Creative Dept.” where they invite you to design your own plate. They list their breads, meats, cheeses, veggies, specialty items, and sauces, and invite you to design your own dinner. Very cool. I gotta give this place a try. Anyone want to head out there with me and check it out?

The past couple of times I’ve walked down Madison, I’ve noticed that King of Wings has been closed. Anyone know the story? Is it closed for good, or are the owners just taking a break?

One other note – I’ve been told that the restaurant that used to be Elvis Presley’s Memphis will reopen next month (I’ve been trying to get the name of the new restaurant off the site, but it looks like their server is currently bogged down). They reportedly plan on catering to locals, and have told several Downtowners, “The upstairs bar, that’s for you.” Very cool. Now we have several Downtown business going after locals – Sauces plans to, the Majestic Grille always has, and BB King’s is trying to come up with promotions to get more locals in the door. Downtown – it’s not just for tourists anymore.

Oh that reminds me – I have several VIP passes to BB King’s to give away – was told to give them to people who are local and will actually use them. If that sounds like you, get in touch with me and I’ll give you one.

I have one more Memphis dining-related announcement to make, but this one is such big news that it’s going to get its own post. Check back later tonight or tomorrow – I have some very, very good news.