Wednesday update

Lord T & Eloise has announced a concert at the New Daisy Theatre. The show will be Friday, October 28 from 8 to 11 PM.

Wiseacre Brewing Co. has announced its Oktoberfest for Saturday, September 24 from 1 to 10 PM. That was a smart day to schedule it, since BreakFest 901 will be happening nearby.

Choose901 has updated architectural drawings of the plans for the Tennessee Brewery.

I don’t know if any of my readers have ever sat around thinking, “I really wish I could buy a strap-on dinosaur tail,” but if they have, today is their lucky day. You can buy them here.

I see that one of the stories in the Memphis Flyer this week is “Delivering Congestion,” how delivery trucks stopping at businesses and restaurants create congestion during drive time on streets like Front and Union. Should be a relevant read for Downtowners.

For those who have been waiting on my Burger Fest photos, apologies for the delay. A couple of my photo management programs on my MacBook “upgraded” themselves and I can’t manage pictures the way I have for years. This is something I will have to figure out before BBQ Fest.

Exciting day at work! I’m being moved into a new role and will have lots of new opportunities to combine my technical and communication skills. Sorry for the slightly short lunchtime post, but I am going to go celebrate! Possibly back with a second post after work.

Tuesday update: Local teams do well at Burger Fest plus more news

The full results from Best Memphis Burger Fest are now in, and my team the Moody Ques performed well. We took 5th in Bloody Mary, 13th in Veggie Burger, 21st in Specialty Burger, 12th in Best Memphis Burger, and 13th overall out of 39 teams. Burger Fest may be our “fun” event of the year, but the top-one-third finish is a big deal indeed and a testament to how hard our pitmasters Frank and Erik have been working in the kitchen. Great job guys!

Also, great job to our friends on Squeal Street, who came in 6th overall. They’ve been putting in some serious work on their burgers and I would not be totally shocked if they earn one of the bids to the World Food Championship in 2017.

Frank Chin and the Flyer have a Burger Fest photo gallery.

A new food fest has been added to the fall calendar. The first ever Wings of Jubilee hot wing festival will happen Saturday, October 8 from 11 AM to 6 PM at Memphis Catholic High School at 61 N. McLean in Midtown. Admission is $5 and there will be live entertainment, games and food. Cooking teams who would like to sign up to compete, please email

The Redbirds had some good news to report this week. 2016 attendance was up 17% over last year, the largest increase of any Triple-A or Double-A team.

There’s yet another free yoga class Downtown tomorrow night at Circuitous Succession Gallery at 500 S. Second, 5:45-6:45 PM. It’s a chance to get in touch with your inner yogi. There are so many free yoga classes around Downtown these days that you could probably build a practice without ever spending a dime.

The Redbirds have a new, additional promo package for the nationally televised Triple-A championship game that will be played at AutoZone Park on Tuesday, September 20 at 7:05. With a $24 club, $20 dugout, or $17 field box ticket you get to choose from one of 17 popular promo items.

Friday, September 1 and Saturday, September 2 will be Downtown Museum Day. Enjoy discounted or free admission to the STAX Museum of American Soul Music, Sun Studio, Chucalissa, the Woodruff-Fontaine House, Elmwood Cemetery and more.

That’s it for now. Undecided on happy hour location but I will be out at one of the usuals.

Monday update

Whew… Best Memphis Burger Fest nearly killed me! They moved it to late August to avoid another year of it being bitter cold. You did too good a job with that, guys! Oh, man, it was broiling outside. By 3:30 I gave up and left. I took a lot of good pictures, but I was too tired to download them and go through them last night. Hopefully later this week I will get them online. Shout-outs to a few people:

Shout-out to my friends on Squeal Street for their generosity. They kept me well supplied with PBR from their enormous beer cooler. I really wish I could have spent more time in their booth.

Shout-out to our next door neighbors Weekend at Porky’s for the excellent meatball slider they made me. It almost made up for Hot Vegetarian Katie not coming down this year.

Shout-out to my friends on Cowboyardee (Memphis Flyer team) on getting first in Specialty Burger and third in Bloody Mary. How ironic is it the Best Veggie Burger was won by a team called Meat in the Middle?

Shout-out to my friend Hannah who was bartending at Aldo’s Pizza Pies Midtown yesterday, where I stopped on the way back. I had never been to that Aldo’s location before, but thanks to her it felt like home as soon as I walked in.

Most of all, shout-out to my neighbor Kitty Wompas who shaved her head for the kids of St. Jude yesterday! I hate it that I had to miss the big event. So proud of you, Kitty!

One of Downtown’s best festivals happens Saturday and Sunday: The Memphis Music and Heritage Festival, presented by the Center for Southern Folklore. It will be on the Main Street Mall between Union and Gayoso, with bands performing on five stages, two of which are indoors at the Center. There will be all genres of music, very much representative of what the region has to offer, in a low-key environment. There will also be cultural exhibits, marching bands, arts and crafts, and food. PRO TIP: Get the hot-water cornbread and greens for a taste of the South. The festival is free to attend.

Southaven RV is collecting supplies for the Louisiana flood victims. If you have stuff to donate but don’t feel like driving all the way to Southaven, I know a Downtowner who works there who can pick up your items.

The Salty Dogs runners group will be taking a week of, so no run tonight. Bardog needs a day to clean and recover following yesterday’s alley party.

Evelyn and Olive is having its grand reopening tomorrow, Tuesday, August 30, and will have a special surprise from 6:00 to 8:30 PM.

MATA is holding a meeting at Central Station tomorrow from 5 to 7 PM to discuss improvements to its routes.

That’s it for now. I’ll make my usual Melissa Monday stop at Bardog after work most likely. I would go see PBjaRni for some dollar happy hour PBRs at Max’s (a special every Monday) but it’s just too blasted hot.

Sinners for Saints Halloween party to return to Stop 345

sinners2Get ready, because one of the best Halloween parties ever thrown Downtown is coming back for 2016. The Sinners for Saints Ball will happen Saturday, October 29 from 9 PM to 3 AM at Stop 345 at the corner of Madison and Danny Thomas. There will be plenty of music to go around: Americana roots-rock band The Dead Soldiers will perform, as will party band The Super 5. Bringing his smooth tunes to the ball will be local favorite Charvey Mac, and Lil’ Egg Roll will be the DJ spinning the tunes. There will be an open bar including complimentary beer, wine, mixed drinks, punches, and Hipner’s legendary craft Jello shots. There will be food as well from your favorite local restaurants.

Costumes are strongly encouraged, and there will be a costume contest with over $1000 worth of prizes.

There will be free photos from the Amurica photo booth, and you’ll have access to Tad Pierson’s famous indoor trailer park. Tickets are $40 in advance, $50 at the door, with all proceeds benefiting the Church Health Center. Buy tickets here. 21 and up only.

I went to this party last year, and had a blast. There are three different rooms plus an outdoor area in which to mingle. Because people are bound to ask me, yes the party drew a LOT of hot girls. Food was excellent, craft Jello shots were outstanding. Well worth the price of admission and you’re helping a good charity besides. The only thing I hope they change is that they need to announce the costume contest loudly in every room and outside before it begins, and let the judges do their job independently. I WILL BE THERE and I already have a costume in mind. The costume will be an extension of my personality, according to some people.

A new movement called The Artery will reclaim public pathways as corridors for experience and inspiration. The DMC is calling for artists and creative types to create an outdoor gallery experience in Barboro Alley between Second and Front. (That’s the alley bordering Aldo’s Pizza Pies and Local among other businesses.) A variety of media will be selected including murals, lighting, sculpture, video projection, and more. Art is to be installed by November 17, 2016 (which I will mention is the day before my birthday if anyone is in the mood to buy presents). For interested artists, there will be an alley exploration party Thursday, September 1, from 5 to 7 PM.

BreakFest 901 is a festival celebrating breakfast and brunch on Saturday, September 24. It isn’t Downtown – it’s at the water tower on Broad Avenue – but I am happy to promote it because it is in support of an excellent cause, the Urban Bicycle Food Ministry that does so much to feed those who are hungry in Downtown and Midtown. There are a couple of spots for cooking teams still open, so apply before September 10 if interested.

As far as I’ve been told, my team The Moody Ques are not entering this one. There are some BBQ regionals in the weeks around BreakFest that we may have our eyes on instead.

Did you know that there are FIFTEEN hotel projects in various stages of development Downtown right now? If all of them make it through to completion, the number of rooms Downtown would double to about 6000. That would be a big help attracting conventions!

Local startup The TapBox is expanding. They bring their own taps to pour local and regional craft beer at events around the city. They are expanding the number of taps as well as the number of tap units, and they will soon be hiring more professional bartenders to pour the beer.

Craig Brewer and Black Lodge’s Pandemonium Cinema Showcase comes to the Cossitt Library at Front and Monroe from 4 to 11:30 PM today. These events will be interactive and will go way beyond just sitting there and watching movies. This first event will be a video game movie meltdown, featuring Tron, Super Mario Bros.: The Movie, and other classics. Free for the public to attend.

Farmers Market is up first today. I am going to embrace this weekend to the fullest!

Friday morning update

Yesterday evening I was ready to take off after work and go to happy hour, but wouldn’t you know it, storms popped up right over 55 North/240 North, and just sat there. My co-worker turned me on to a really cool site which shows lightning strikes in real time, and even shows the sound waves coming off the strikes, No kidding, I would hear thunder every time the map showed a sound wave reaching eastern Horn Lake where I work. Bookmark it and check it out next time it storms.

Pyramid Wine & Spirits in Uptown is having a wine tasting this evening from 5 to 8 PM. Sample wines in store for free, and there will be weekly specials if you want to take a bottle home.

South Main Book Juggler is having a signing tonight for How to Look Happy. Best-selling author Stacey Wiedower signs her story about finding love in the social media age.

Paulette’s is having a wine dinner Tuesday, September 6. Here’s the menu.

Davis Coen provides this week’s live music at The Dirty Crow Inn Saturday at 9. Mark the calendar: Next Saturday, September 3, Eric Hughes will play the Crow.

Downtown agency RedRover is hiring. They seek a Director of Business Development, experienced graphic designer, and experienced account manager/marketing strategist. RedRover is located in the Falls Building at Front and Court. Great place to work. Only company I know of where it’s entirely appropriate to submit a photo of your dog along with your resume.

Green Beetle is hosting Barks for Bucks Sunday, September 4 from 3 to 7 in the afternoon. It’s a benefit for Alive Rescue Memphis and your $6 admission includes your first Yazoo beer. Live music by the Rusty Pieces and lots of prizes for dogs and for people.

Random thing I learned yesterday: There’s a music festival called Project Pabst. It’s in Portland this weekend, Atlanta October 1, and Philadelphia October 8.

Off to work. Possibly a second post later today. If weather permits, I will be out at South Main Trolley Night.

Slow ride… Take it easy… (Thursday update)

The public is invited to a series of slow rides (bike rides, that is) through the Medical Center District five Wednesdays during the fall. The rides will originate at 6 PM next to the High Cotton brewery on Monroe and will last for one hour. The rides will not be strenuous exercise and are intended to build community and awareness of the neighborhood. Don’t have a bike? They have loaners. The dates are September 7 and 21, October 5 and 19, and November 2.

Hit the Sauce with Us is the theme at the Memphis Farmers Market Saturday. Hmmm… I will probably extend that theme after visiting the Market and hit the sauce lots of places… Earnestine & Hazel’s, Bardog, Blind Bear, Max’s. But anyway, they’re talking about a different type of sauce, sauces sold at the Market that can transform your food from boring to amazing. Insider tip from the current Foursquare “mayor” of the Market – check out the Crazy Good sauce booth for lots of offerings that can take your food to new levels. It’s usually toward the back, right before you get to the food trucks.

YOGA! Downtown Yoga will be back at the Farmers Market this week, offering a free 1-hour class from 10 to 11 AM. Bring a yoga mat and water. The Master Gardeners are back from 10 to noon, ready to answer your gardening questions here as summer is coming to an end and fall is approaching. Blueberry smoothies will be the food prep demo this week by the UT Extension Institute of Agriculture. Demos will be held at 10, 10:30, and 11. This is a demo when I might have to take a page out of the Nuh-Uh Girl’s book and show up right when the smoothies are ready for sampling. Live music this week by Shufflegrit 8:30-10, Tony Manard 10-11, and Karen Waldrup 11-12:30. The Farmers Market happens every Saturday from 7 AM to 1 PM under the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson.

Congratulations to AutoZone Park, which will welcome its 10 millionth visitor this Redbirds homestand. If you are the lucky 10 millionth fan, expect to be showered with gifts and prizes. As of Wednesday afternoon they were a little under 12,000 fans away. AutoZone Park has been open since 2000 and since then has been consistently rated as one of the crown-jewel parks of minor league baseball.

Are you the type who is always playing the victim to gain attention and sympathy? The Memphis Airport needs your skills Monday, September 19 (26th rain date) for its triennial emergency exercise. Volunteers get fed breakfast and lunch.

Downtown Animal Hospital is moving from its current location in the Pinch to 660 Jefferson Avenue in Victorian Village. Last night at the Silly Goose people were speculating whether that was the old Neely’s location – that is showing up as 670 Jefferson when I search.

The Daily News has an article on what this week’s Habitat for Humanity construction means to Uptown and newly-built subdivision Bearwater Park.

I know it’s only August, but beer: Beer Advent calendar lets you drink your way toward Christmas

The U.S. Fleet Forces Navy Band plays the Center for Southern Folklore this afternoon at 5.

Nik West plays the Halloran Centre tonight. Tickets $45.50-$55.50.

That’s it for now. Out at the Silly Goose after work. Glad this week is mostly over. Glad August is mostly over. Glad the summer is mostly over.

Twitter embeds write my blog for me (Wed update #2)

Thanks to Twitter, my blog is practically going to write itself for this post. First of all, Downtown Central BBQ got a visit last night from former president Jimmy Carter.

Next up, a couple of dinners. Bleu has released its menu for Chef Ana’s wine dinner on Thursday, with wines from Australia and New Zealand.

Meanwhile, over at Spindini, there’s an upcoming Jackalope Brewery beer dinner.

From FiveThirtyEight: Hurricane Hermine doesn’t exist yet, but experts are starting to worry. Note that one of the computer models has it headed right for Memphis. We are too far inland for a tropical cyclone to blow through Memphis at hurricane force, but tropical storms (most recently Katrina) have made it to Memphis. By the way, the same computer model shows the future Hermine scoring a direct hit on New Orleans. Let’s hope that forecast is wrong.

Let’s hope this forecast is wrong too: ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus system projects the Grizzlies to win 39 games and miss the playoffs. Boo.

For those of you who watched pro wrestling in the 1980s, you will be sad to learn that the southern Louisiana floods destroyed the home of The One Man Gang/Akeem the African Dream. A GoFundMe has been set up to cover the costs of repairing the damage and buying new furniture. Wonder if Slick donated some of the money he made pimpin’?

Apologies to a few people who I had previously told we would be next door to our friends Squeal Street BBQ at Burger Fest. At the time I believed that to be true. Wasn’t trying to mislead anyone. Don’t worry, though, Squeal Street is not far away and I plan on spending lots and lots and lots of time with my friends on that team for sure! Heck, for a couple of years in the past before the Moody Ques got in the game, I was on that team one day a year for the purposes of Burger Fest! As for the team that did end up being our neighbor, Weekend at Porky’s, I couldn’t be happier to have them nearby. The Mid-South Men’s Health Organization will be our neighbor too, and I look forward to teaching their folks how to be unhealthy eating burgers and drinking beer.

The Redbirds are back in town for their final homestand of the regular season. 6:35 first pitch vs. the Nashville Sounds. No special promos going on tonight.

Huge discovery by NASA this week: An Earth-like exoplanet has been found orbiting Proxima Centauri, the star nearest our own solar system at only 4.25 light years away. The planet is in the star’s habitable zone and is estimated to be 1.3 times the size of Earth.

Still planning on Silly Goose for after work. Could be a third Wednesday update before I go out, you never know.

Wednesday morning update

Yesterday the City Council voted to name Kimball Avenue between Huguenot and Lamar “Robert Raiford Blvd.” in honor of the DJ of popular Downtown club Paula & Raiford’s Disco. Congratulations and happy birthday, Mr. Raiford.

In other Council news, they voted to let WISEACRE lease the Mid-South Coliseum. The brewery plans on expanding its capacity and will increase number of employees from 27 to 80-100. WISEACRE will rent out the space it does not use in the Coliseum to other businesses. Restaurants and a climbing wall are planned.

So the Coliseum is saved. That’s great news. I never would have guessed a brewery would save it.

Friday is the last Friday of August, which means it will be time for South Main Trolley Night. It’s also National Dog Day, so bring the pups to South Main and mingle with your neighbors as many of the shops and galleries stay open until 9 PM or later. Weather permitting, the SMA will be grilling burgers and hot dogs and providing beverages for their members (guests $10) next to Bluff City Coffee. Over at 550 S. Main from 7 to 9 there will be a Songwriter Night with Frank McLallen Sr., Jesse James Davis, Frank McLallen, Jr. and Stephen Sciara.

I did not realize Tuscany Italian Kitchen & Eatery has a grab and go section. Good to know.

Rizzo’s is having a Ghost River beer dinner Tuesday, September 6 at 7 PM. Here’s the menu:

First course: Lost Hive Honey Wheat Ale paired with poached sole, fruit salsa, citrus pesto.

Second course: River Bank Red Ale paired with smoked pumpkin seed encrusted foix gras, malt vinaigrette, arugula micro greens.

Third course: 1887 India Pale Ale paired with brisket, caramelized onion, grilled cheese.

Fourth course: Crystal Method Hefeweizen paired with banana sorbet, ginger spiked lemon chocolate truffle.

Sounds yummy! Call the restaurant at 901-304-6985 to make reservations.

One of my readers asked me a question yesterday, and I thought the answer might be of interest to others: As fall weather approaches, the Downtown patios will get a lot of business. Where, he asked, can I find a patio where I can take my dog and get a meal and a beer? Well, most of the Downtown patios are dog-friendly, but I will suggest two in particular: Aldo’s Pizza Pies and the Blind Bear. I know those are patios that have been enjoyed by some of my readers.

Habitat volunteers working with the Carter Project this week: Life Is Good, the clothing store on Main, is offering 10% off to you this week.

The Psychedelic Furs play the New Daisy Saturday, October 15.

Here’s the Burger Fest post on my team’s website. It has a few more details than I blogged yesterday.

Off to work. Possibly another post later today.

New happy hour, Burger Fest information, and other news

A new happy hour has landed Downtown! Rizzo’s Diner is now doing a happy hour weekdays from 4 to 6 PM, with a special bar menu, all draft beers $3, and all house wines $3.

Nearly 92 years old, President Jimmy Carter has rolled up his sleeves in Uptown for construction of Habitat for Humanity homes.

From VinePair: The 10 Worst Beers in the World. Not surprisingly, Natty topped the list. Bud Light Chelada is not a surprise item on the list either. And no, PBR is not on the list. Last night I was at Bardog talking to a guy who just moved here from West Virginia, and handed him a wooden nickel so he could have a 5-cent PBR. “Greatest beer in the world!” he exclaimed.

The city of Memphis is considering investing in technology that will pinpoint the location of gunshots. That is SO Memphis, right there.

Listener-supported, independent radio station will celebrate its 40th birthday Saturday, October 8 from 3 to 10 PM at Loflin Yard. Mouserocket, Julien Baker, Chickasaw Mound, and supergroup The WEVLs will perform.

We have our booth assignments for Best Memphis Burger Fest on Sunday, and a lot of the local teams are together! Looking east from East Parkway toward the Liberty Bowl, the Moody Ques are the third team down, on the left side of the left-hand lane. Our next-door neighbors are Weekend at Porky’s, who have a new head cook this year. “We’re going to hand something in for every category, and we’re not going to use the George Foreman Grill this year,” she told me. Well that will be different! Weekend at Porky’s will be minus two members: Hot Vegetarian Katie from D.C. won’t be able to make it (vegetarians love the Moody Ques though) and since the festival is on a Sunday this year, B-RAD will be slinging D-RANKS at the Bear and won’t be there. Also not sure if Weekend at Porky’s member Nappin Ass Nate will be back in town by then.

Across the street from us will be our friends Squeal Street BBQ and Cowboyardee (AKA the Memphis Flyer team). Three booths to the east of us will be our friends The Fabulous Burger Boys who scored one of Burger Fest’s qualifiers to the World Food Championships in 2015. I look forward to visiting all my friend teams and in particular will spend some time with Squeal Street on Sunday.

Come see all of us – since we’re close together you won’t have far to walk! Bring cash, because the teams will be handing out burger samples in exchange for a donation to Memphis Paws, a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible pet ownership and generates support for animal care and rescue organizations around Memphis.

What if you want to go to both Burger Fest and Monroe Fest (Bardog alley party) on Sunday? That’s an excellent plan! My recommendation is to come to Burger Fest between 11 and 2:30, the times the teams are most likely to have burger samples out. Then get Downtown to Monroe Fest by 3, which should still give you time to see the two main events: the meatball eating contest and my neighbor Kitty Wompas getting her head shaved for St. Jude. Bring cash for donations to Monroe Fest too!

This past weekend I had a teammate asked if he could bring his kids to Burger Fest. Absolutely! Not only are kids welcome, but sponsor Jack Pirtle’s has a special Kidzone to keep them entertained. Monroe Fest (other than the interior of Bardog) allows kids too, although there will be plenty of alcohol consumption and a lot of the people there will not exactly be ideal adult role models that day.

What if you want to visit the Burger Fest teams but want something other than burgers? No problem, there will be food trucks. MemPops, Sushi Jimmi Rawk’n Grub, Joy Ride, Soul Pig, and Kona Ice will be at Tiger Lane on Sunday.

If you want to really do Burger Fest in style, go VIP. A $50 ticket gets you access to a shaded, covered, air-conditioned tent. From 12 to 2 there will be catered food by Sammy Hagar’s Red Rocker Bar & Grill. You get beer and other liquid samples, two all-day Kidzone passes, a souvenir cup, T-shirt, and event poster. Those who go VIP will be much appreciated by festival organizers, who are trying to make up a deficit caused by unusually cold weather at Burger Fest ’15.

That’s all for now. Not sure where I will be for happy hour after work, but leaning in the direction of Silly Goose. Possibly back with a second post before I head out this evening.

Sunday update

Yesterday afternoon about 1:45, I was at the bar at the Blind Bear. The phone rang.

“Hey, Paul, what are you doing right now? We’re at Blues City Cafe and we ordered way too much food. We have steak, ribs, tamales and chili, and cheese fries. Come help us finish it.”


I’ve mentioned these on the blog before, but the Gumbo Cheese Fries – cheese fries smothered in Blues City’s world famous seafood gumbo – are amazing. People go there for the ribs, but don’t overlook these fries. Easily enough for a group of three or four to split as an appetizer.

Even after I helped my friends out at Blues City, there was still enough to take a plate to Dusty who was bartending at the Silly Goose, as well as enough for a dog plate for recent addition to the Downtown family Dutch.

Okay. Time to get started with today’s news. I will lead off with an inspirational quote:

Bartending is a gateway drug to ass. -Crazy Joe Harris

On the way back from Blues City, I stopped at the Flying Saucer, where Christina told me she is going to come visit her favorite team at Best Memphis Burger Fest, the Moody Ques, one week from today. The Saucer is about to start selling their 2016 election glasses.

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Owen the manager showed me a photo of the actual glasses, and they are really nice. Best presidential election glasses I’ve ever seen at the Saucer.

Beer recommendation: Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot. Not only does it have an awesome name, but it has a Value Drinking Index of 17 (ABV * ounces / price). A VDI over 15 indicates a good value.

I ended up back at the Blind Bear after a nap, where I stayed until 2:58, two minutes before closing time. Colin put the Johnny Cash Pandora station on. Adding that one to my favorites this morning.

Interesting article I saw on RealClearPolitics yesterday: Milwaukee’s invisible racial cage: Lack of public transportation. This applies somewhat in Memphis too, especially being at the corner of a tri-state area.

It’s time for the final week of my 86-week streak of D-RANKS with B-RAD at the Blind Bear this morning. Best Memphis Burger Fest will break the streak next week. I’m bringing my headphones and my external battery charger, because I have SummerSlam to watch on the WWE Network tonight. Last week I had someone tell me wrestling was stupid as he sat there and played Pokemon Go. I have no words. Anyway, I am outta here, see you tomorrow, or if any major news comes up, later today.