You can’t win ’em all – and if you’re Memphis, you can’t win any of ’em, unless you play FCS schools

The Memphis Tigers absolutely proved yesterday why they should drop to FCS/Division I-AA in football. They were shut out by SMU 42-0. The only time they ever got near scoring, they managed to find a way to turn it over on downs on 4th and goal.

I got to the Saucer to watch the game about midway through the first quarter, and was just stunned by how bad the Tigers were. The game was nearly unwatchable. To take my mind off it, I ordered food. I went with one of the new menu items I had not yet tried, the hummus.

Let me see if I can describe the hummus in only one sentence.

The wings at the Saucer was very flavorable, and the hummus was decent, meaning it was average in taste, as compared to other restaurants where I get this dish, like the Amoco Food Mart on Poplar (although, my personal preference is dishes with meat in them, so people who eat a lot of hummus may feel differently).

Yes, I know “flavorable” is not a word, unlike some bloggers.

Seriously, though, the hummus was OK. If you’re at the Saucer already, and you’re in the mood for hummus, it’s perfectly acceptable. If I were going somewhere Downtown specifically to get hummus, though, I’d probably hit South of Beale instead.

My Arkansas Razorbacks shirt was not too popular with the day staff at the Saucer. Christina in particular was not pleased when she asked what other teams I pull for, and I replied “whoever’s playing Tennessee.”

About 1:30 I headed south to Max’s Sports Bar. I grabbed a seat at one of the tables and watched the rest of the horrendous Memphis game. I’ve absolutely had it. If one or both of R.C. Johnson/Larry Porter is not fired this week, I’m going to consider rooting against the Tigers for the rest of the season. Sports writer Dan Wolken tweeted that Larry Porter may be the worst head coach in the entire history of Division I-A, and I can’t see a reason to disagree.

With that fiasco over, it was time to turn attention to the Arkansas-Alabama game, and a bet my friends made last year. My friends Stevie G and Zane bet on the Arkansas-LSU game last November. The Hogs won, which meant that at some point this year, Zane had to put on Stevie G’s classic 1978-model Hog Hat for a quarter of a Razorbacks game. Yesterday, Zane fulfilled his agreement.

The Hog Hat didn’t do much good, though, as Arkansas fell to Bama 38-14. It was hard to tell, but I hope the game was a sign that Bama is that damn good, not that Arkansas is that damn bad. We’ll find out next week when the Hogs play Texas A&M in Dallas. There were a lot of disappointed Razorback fans at the bar, but Bama fan Moody was quite happy.

Major props to bartender Lauren. The place was packed all afternoon and she was both bartender and server, yet rarely did anyone have an empty glass.

About 7:00 I rode the trolley north, changed, and went to the Brass Door’s alley party. There was a $5 cover to get in, which I was happy to pay. The Brass Door did a couple of things at their alley party that I thought were particularly good moves. One was reasonably priced food. They were grilling out, and were selling $3 burgers and $4 Irish bangers. Some outdoor festivals jack their food prices up so high that you feel like you’re eating at the Memphis airport. This one didn’t. I had an Irish banger with grilled caramelized onions on a bun, and it was delicious.

The other really good move they made was booking WALRUS as the 9 PM band. WALRUS has a dedicated following around town, and with them on the bill a lot of people were guaranteed to show up, even if some of them previously had no idea what the Brass Door was. Booking them at the time when the most people would be out basically guaranteed the alley party would be a success. The Candy Company, who played before WALRUS, was quite good too. I hate it that I didn’t make it to see Irish band Big Betsy who closed the party, especially since some of my college classmates play in the band. I hope I get to catch them at a show in The Cavern sometime soon.

Now we move on to the second half of the weekend, Sunday Fun Day. Normally I start at the Majestic, but I drink mimosas there. After the long day yesterday, I can’t see myself starting with anything stronger than beer. So I think I’m going to take the week off from the Majestic. Probably my running order will be Saucer, then (weather permitting) head south to Max’s Sports Bar about 3 to see Whitney at her new job. That’ll be four days in a row at Max’s for me, for the first time in a while.

Since the Saucer doesn’t open until 12, I have nowhere to be for the next two hours and thirty minutes. Think I’ll treat myself to a nap. Happy Sunday Fun Day and try to stay dry!


Chef Michael Patrick to open Rizzo’s Diner Friday, September 30

Chef Michael Patrick, who has previously cooked up delicious food at McEwen’s, EP Delta Kitchen, Mesquite Chop House and Itta Bena, has announced the opening of his own restaurant. Rizzo’s Diner will open on Friday, September 30 (September Trolley Night) in the space formerly occupied by Harry’s Detour on G.E. Patterson.

The cuisine will be Southern inspired dining fare, with the Chef’s fine dining twists and interpretations. Lunch will be $6-11 with meat and three options, sandwiches, and healthy salads. Dinner will be elegant diner style cuisine with a $16-22 price point. The restaurant will have homemade desserts, and hopes to have wine and beer permits within the month to come.

Chef Patrick has moved around from restaurant to restaurant quite a bit over the past six years, but he wants to stress that this is different. He is not only the chef, but the OWNER, and he doesn’t plan on going anywhere else for quite some time. He thinks that the combination of the vibrant South Main neighborhood, his reputation, and his excellent food will make this a viable business for years to come.

The Chef noticed that many restaurants in South Main are not open on Mondays, and he often saw people pulling on doors, peering in windows. He wants to stress that Rizzo’s will be open Monday nights. Hours will be lunch 11 to 2:30, dinner 5-10 weeknights and 5-11 Friday-Saturday. The restaurant will be closed Sunday and Monday day.

As for the big hole in the ground next door to Rizzo’s, in the near future it will be filled in. The plan is to eventually offer outdoor dining and live music in this space.

We miss Harry’s but this should be a fantastic addition to South Main! Looking forward to eating many delicious meals there.

Pro tip for marketers, social media gurus, developers

BarCamp Jonesboro is happening today. Keep an eye on the #BCJonesboro hashtag from lots of good stuff from experts who live not far from here. I’m not going because I have stuff to do (football, beer) but am definitely going to keep an eye on that hashtag and hope I score some new tips for work, and for my own sites.

In general, I’ve found that watching the designated hashtag anytime there’s a social media event is a great way to pick up information.

Recap of last night

As usual, I started my Friday night at the Flying Saucer. I found many of the members of the Squeal Street BBQ team sitting in the window, and decided to join them from a few beers. They told me all about the Smokin’ Aces BBQ contest in Tunica last weekend, where they brought home several awards. I just couldn’t be more impressed with that team. Well organized, strong leadership, and any time they get a chance to attend a BBQ cooking or judging class, they do. They have a lot of fun but are in it to win.

They told me the next BBQ festival they’re preparing for is a new one, to be held December 30-31 in conjunction with the Liberty Bowl. More info on the Liberty Bowl website.

About 8:00 I headed south to Max’s Sports Bar, where Windell the Miller High Life guy made an appearance. Here are a few pics:

Mikey, "mayor" of Max's Sports Bar, with Windell
Robert invites Windell to the Squeal Street booth at BBQ Fest next year
Sad face. I guess Mark didn't get one of the High Life Windell Tour commemorative shirts they were handing out.
Windell with Teach for America teacher D.J.
Someone must have just told him that Abita Turbo Dog was on Fire Sale at the Saucer yesterday.
Mike and D.J. Mike dressed for the occasion.
Max and Windell

Busy day coming up today. The Arkansas-Alabama game is on CBS at 2:30, and I’ll most likely head south to Max’s to watch it. After the game I’ll come back to the core for the Brass Door’s alley party. Five bands. The Chef will be in the alley grilling Irish bangers and American burgers. There’s a $5 cover, but some events are worth paying a cover on Saturday night.

Before I run down to Max’s, though, I have to 1) put up more blog posts, possibly as many as three of them, so check back; 2) eat somewhere; and 3) defend my Saucer mayorship. Foursquare has been awarding me bonus points for consecutive days there (56 consecutive days as of yesterday) and I wouldn’t want to mess that up.

They call Alabama the Crimson Tide, but after today they’ll be calling them 3-1! It’s time to CALL THOSE HOGS!!!

Trans-Siberian Orchestra to play FedExForum December 8; tickets now on sale

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra will perform at the FedExForum Thursday, December 8. As of today, tickets are now on sale.

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra combines a wide range of influences – classical, orchestral, progressive, rock and heavy metal to produce a one-of-a-kind show. They have released several Christmas-themed rock operas, including The Last Christmas Eve, as well as non-Christmas, historical-themed rock operas (Beethoven’s Last Night and Night Castle). Friends of mine who work at the FedExForum tell me it takes more than half a day to set up for this show, because their performances rely heavily on lights, lasers, and pyrotechnics synchronized with the music.

Their show appeals to all ages. The light show keeps the kids entertained; young adults get into the rock element; and older people appreciate the symphonic elements of TSO’s performances. This is an extremely popular act, and I’ve heard other cities tried to bid them out of the December 8 date. However, FedExForum management believed in the show so much that they successfully fought to keep it.

One of the things I try to do on this blog is celebrate the hidden gems of Downtown and of Memphis. If you’ve never been to a Trans-Siberian Orchestra show, you’re missing out on one of the gems. Great show to attend with friends, to take a date, or go to for family night out. You can buy tickets here.

Fri update: Grizzlies games canceled, ice cream festival, new beer blog, Kudzu’s and more

The lockout is getting serious. Today the NBA announced that pre-season training camps have been postponed indefinitely, and pre-season games the week of October 9-15 have been canceled. More information here. Tens of thousands of dollars in lost ticket sales, concessions, revenue for businesses near the FedExForum… not to mention lost income for all the people on an hourly wage who were scheduled to work game night. I hope owners and players get on the same page soon.

There’s an ice cream festival at AutoZone park tomorrow, Saturday, September 24. It benefits the Ronald McDonald House. For $10 you get ice cream, frozen treats and drinks. There will also be a silent auction, live entertainment, and contests. All you can eat ice cream? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.

The Memphis Flyer is introducing a new beer blog called Memphis Beer Beat. An introduction to the new blog can be found in this Hungry Memphis post.

In the news: Kudzu’s has new owners. They plan to improve the bar but not change its feel.

I came in 5th at poker at Max’s Sports Bar last night. Not disappointed at all, just got unlucky, twice shoving all-in with big pocket pairs, only to run into bigger pairs. Afterward I went to the Brass Door. “We saved the last PBR for you,” they said. “We had a feeling you’d be coming.” Now, is that a bar that takes care of its regulars, or what? Afterward, I got Foursquare bonus points for checking in at the Saucer 55 days in a row.

After work I’ll grab a couple happy hour pints at the Saucer, then head south to meet Windell the Miller High Life guy at Max’s Sports Bar at 8:30. Plans TBD after that. One more post to come this lunchtime hour, so if you don’t see it check back.

Thur update: Bud Light fridge, Beetle to feed Windell, Civil Rights Museum, dragon boat races, Black Tie Yappy Hour and happy hour question

It’s the last day to enter to win the Bud Light mini-fridge at Bardog Tavern. Just order a Bud Light to enter. Only because he’s been hanging out at Slider Inn lately does my friend John D not have 100 entries in this contest.

In other beer news – yesterday I posted that Windell the Miller High Life guy will be at Max’s Sports Bar Friday at 8:30 PM. If you can’t be Downtown Friday night, you can meet Windell for lunch. The Green Beetle will be feeding him from 11 to 1. The Beetle will have Miller High Life specials all day too.

While you’re down in South Main seeing Windell tomorrow, stop by the National Civil Rights Museum for their 20th anniversary celebration. There will be family activities including outdoor civil rights games, music, rides, art, a birthday cake bake-off, and discounted admission to the Museum. The party is from 11 AM-3 PM.

The dragon boat races return to Mud Island tomorrow. From 10 AM to 3 PM. Teams of 20 paddlers, a drummer and steerer race in authentic Hong Kong-style, 46-foot-long dragon boats. More information here.

This isn’t a Downtown event, but worth mentioning… Friends of the Memphis Animal Shelter will be hosting a Black Tie Yappy Hour at Memphis Animal Services, 3456 Tchulahoma, from 4 to 7 PM today. All black/black and white pets will have their adoption fee reduced to $10 during the event. Refreshments will be served, including pizza from Memphis Pizza Cafe. Free food? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.

Question for my readers. Yesterday, two people asked if there are any happy hours Downtown that start before 4 PM. They want to go out from 2 to 4 this afternoon and are looking for a happy hour. If you know of anything, shoot me an email at and I’ll pass on the information.

Pork belly sandwich @ Flying Saucer

I didn’t eat lunch today, so a nice dinner was in order. “What do you think?” I posted on Facebook. I asked if I should try one of the two new Flying Saucer menu items I hadn’t tried yet, the hummus and pita bread or the pork belly sandwich, or go somewhere else.

I got several replies. One of the replies said he eats the pork belly sandwich all the time. Granted, it was from a very biased source – the GM, Kirk. But I’d heard from several people at the bar, as well as the bar’s staff, that it was good. I decided to give the pork belly a try.

It was very good, but I discovered a secret that I don’t think even Kirk knows. Rather than getting it with fries, I asked for a side salad (there’s a third option, hot German potato salad, as well). I got it with the jalapeno vinaigrette dressing. I dipped the sandwich in the dressing. It was pretty awesome. It consists of shredded pork belly, ham and bacon with lettuce and tomato on a sandwich bun. Pig x 3, how can you go wrong?

Time for bed. I have 18 hours to change my mind, but I’m leaning toward poker at Max’s tomorrow evening.

Windell the High Life Guy to make appearance at Max’s Sports Bar

If you watch sports on TV, you’ve probably seen the commercials featuring Windell Middlebrooks. He’s the High Life guy who is seen delivering beer to businesses, and removing it from those he does not think are worthy of carrying Miller High Life. Friday night at 8:30, you’ll have the chance to meet Windell in person. He’ll have a bunch of High Life swag with him so you’ll be able to load up. In honor of his visit, High Life is $2.50 at Max’s through Friday night.