Thursday update

Memphis Italian Fest is this weekend. It’s not a Downtown festival – it’s out in East Memphis at Park and Mt. Moriah in Marquette Park – but I always like to mention it for my readers who are new to Memphis. Like BBQ Fest, this is a cooking competition where teams set up elaborate booths and have great food all weekend. Also like BBQ Fest, it’s definitely more fun if you know one or more teams and are invited into their booths. Is it worth going if you don’t know a team? Yes. There are vendors selling Italian food to the public, as well as live music and more to do. One exception: It’s not worth going if it has been raining all week and the park is a mud pit, but it does not appear that will be a problem this year.

And no, my team the Moody Ques does not compete in Italian Fest. It would be a Herculean effort to do that and BBQ Fest only two weeks apart.

Voodoo Gumbo, a cover band with songs ranging from rock to pop to dance, will provide the live music for tonight’s Peabody rooftop party. $10 general admission, $20 VIP, ladies and hotel guests free before 7. Admission includes a buffet of mini meatloafs and tater tots. If you’re in VIP you have a second buffet of chicken & waffles, mini beef brisket sandwiches, and mini cheesecakes.

Side Street Steppers will play Felicia Suzanne Restaurant’s patio for this week’s edition of Tacos and Tunes starting at 7 PM. Every week there is live music along with $2 tacos and $5 drinks.

The Hernando deSoto Bridge, AKA “the new bridge” (although it’s 45 years old) AKA the I-40 bridge AKA the “M,” will be getting the LED treatment that the Harahan Bridge got to celebrate the opening of Big River Crossing. Construction will begin next month with the removal of the old lights, and the new display will be turned on in October in conjunction with RiverArtsFest which moves to the riverfront this year.

The Memphis River Parks Partnership will have its first volunteer weekend next weekend. Sign up for one of three shifts:

Friday June 8 2-5 PM
Saturday June 9 10 AM-1 PM
Saturday June 9 2-5 PM

You’ll be assigned a task such as mulching, planting, painting, fixing, or surveying. Are you the type of person who was born to lead? Come to a group leader pre-training session Thursday, June 7 and then you’ll be assigned a small group to manage and train.

The Rock & Soul Museum tweeted a great quote by Elvis Presley:

Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.

Oh man, now I want to hear some Elvis! Maybe I’ll play some of his hits on the jukebox at Earnestine & Hazel’s next time I am in there.

A new art installation called Treedom is coming to A.W. Willis Avenue between Second and Third. This will be an interactive installation providing space for community meetings, meals, yoga classes and more. This Saturday, June 2 from 4 to 6 there will be a launch party for Treedom with live music, food trucks and more. The event will start off with a Second Line Parade led by Mighty Souls Brass Band.

There will be free Tillamook cheddar samples at Ghost River from 4 to 8 today. Also note that the brewery taproom will be closed for a private event.

Bring the kids to Mud Island this Saturday from 10 to 2 for Touch-a-Truck. Kids will be able to explore fire trucks, police cruisers, ambulances, motorcycles, tractors, and big mudder trucks. There will also be a splash park, face painting, food trucks, MemPoPS, and free photos at the Amurica photo booth. Admission is free.

If you missed Downtown soul food restaurant Alcenia’s on Sunday’s Today Show, here’s the video.

There was literally a wild goose chase at the Detroit Tigers game last night. The Canada goose showed up on the field during a rain delay. After several attempts to chase the goose off, it flew into the video board and fell into the stands. A fan retrieved the goose and it was deemed healthy and released outside the ballpark.

So Roseanne got canceled due to Roseanne Barr’s racist tweet. My first reaction was, “Damn, that guy who played D.J. had a good job for the first time in 20 years, and now Roseanne went and f’d it all up for him.”

Trump wants to ban the import of luxury German cars into the U.S. You just can’t fix stupid. How the hell does this guy have a 42% approval rating?

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow with news about this weekend’s Memphis Farmers Market and more.

Wednesday update

I made an interesting discovery on the Main Street Mall yesterday.

The Downtown core is getting a Starbucks! It will be inside the Residence Inn at Main and Monroe. They plan to open at the end of June and are currently hiring baristas, with a meet & greet today and tomorrow from 10 AM-1 PM. Apply in person at the Residence Inn.

I posted the “coming soon” photo to Facebook, and it quickly generated some strong emotions. Some clicked the “Love” button, while others clicked “Angry,” not wanting the corporate coffee chain Downtown. Personally, I am happy to have Starbucks as an option, although I will point out we already have a great place that serves coffee, Cafe Keough, in that same block. In addition to coffee Cafe Keough has great food and a full bar. They have a loyal customer base as well and I don’t expect their business to be seriously impacted by Starbucks.

Swanky Downtown Asian fusion restaurant Blue Fin has rolled out a new deli menu. (Click to see in a larger size; you absolutely MUST see this)

You can get a K-Pop Taco, a Memphis Ball (I think they mean “bowl” but I’m really not sure), or a wrap with “wrap sauce.” Just don’t ask for combo #3. You know, I have several Asian fusion places out in Germantown near where I work, and not one of them serves a 4 pc chicken tenders. Leave it to Downtown to lead the way in culinary trends!

The Orpheum has announced that Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite will play a September 11 show. Tickets go on sale this Friday.

Justin Timberlake plays FedExForum tonight for his Man of the Woods Tour. The people-watching Downtown (and by people-watching I mean hot women) should be exquisite. PRO TIP: It’s hard to beat the window seats at the Flying Saucer on nights like this.

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

Bingo with Pattee @ Oshi Asian Kitchen + Monday news

Every Sunday night at 6 Pattee O’ Furniture AKA Positive Pattee calls bingo at Oshi Asian Kitchen. Winners of each of the 11 rounds get their choice of a prize bag and the grand prize is a $25 bar tab.

Pattee has all kinds of different formats for her rounds of bingo: Make an H, make an L, make an I, make an M, standard bingo, blackout. It’s a lot of fun and if you’re hungry there’s great sushi and Asian food.

I hit a bingo on two of the eleven rounds but tied both times and lost rock, paper, scissors to break the tie. I used to be a champion (Flying Saucer 2008) and I must admit it’s difficult to be entering the twilight of my rock, paper, scissors career. Maybe I can pull a Z-bo and sign one last big contract.

Pattee is great at making all of her guests feel welcome and special. Between rounds she pointed me out to the crowd and announced my BBQ team’s 7th place finish in shoulder and I got a round of applause.

I found a great website this week: Mid-South Flair. They sell T-shirts featuring the Memphis of days gone by. The Shoe on Lamar… Fat Jimmy’s Pizza and Ribs… Captain Bilbo’s… etc. I have a suggestion for an addition though – Pat’s Pizza. When we went to Rhodes we used to go see Mrs. Pat and watch the rats run around the overhead lighting.

Reminds me… over my BBQ Fest vacation I was at Bardog and Bloom told me, “You went to Rhodes? You don’t seem like a Rhodes alum at all.” She meant it as a compliment.

We have one more place in the Memphis metro making great local craft beer. Rock ‘n Dough Germantown is now brewing. Great place – I go there for lunch from time to time. No beer for me on my lunch break though.

It’s 9:36. Bardog has been open for 96 minutes and I’m not there yet! Gotta go. Back tomorrow with more news.

Seafood boil @ Brass Door and Sunday news

The Brass Door has a seafood boil Fridays and Saturdays before Redbirds games, and although I did not attend the Redbirds game, yesterday I decided to check it out. You get clams, mussels, shrimp, sausage, taters and corn, along with bread to sop up the juices, for $18.

It’s a meal worth changing your shirt for! Having ruined shirts eating crab legs with butter sauce, and given that I had my Moody Ques shirt designed by a retired Simpsons illustrator on, I stopped at home to change. The pinch-shirt made it through dinner just fine, though. Delicious! What a great Saturday afternoon meal!

The Brass Door, by the way, is moving their normal Monday oyster night to Tuesday because of Memorial Day. Starting at 3 PM, raw or chargrilled flavor of the week just $1 each.

Great article from the Tri-State Defender: Business is booming for local culinary tour guide. Cristina McCarter and her team offer 6 tours ranging from $45 to $75. They take you to different restaurants around town, and it’s all-inclusive with food and beverages. These tours have made several stops at Pontotoc Lounge on weeks I have been in there for Sunday Fun Day, and it looks to me like the tour participants have a blast and get more familiar with what Memphis restaurants have to offer. Check ’em out if you want to sample some great food. You’ll learn a few things too: For example, there’s a black history tour that takes you through Downtown and Soulsville.

Cordova’s first brewery, Meddlesome, is turning one year old. They will have a Born On party June 30 with a 0.5K benefiting ALZ, music from Goner Records, rare beer tappings and cask beer tappings, food by Yippie Trippie and the Pork Stars and Sushiside Squad, and more. Save the date!

Yesterday I walked to the Farmers Market, and on the way there I saw that the Explore Bike Share bikes were in heavy use. Good to see! That’s what you’ve got to do – try all types of different ideas and see what works. Explore worked, the Peabody re-striping didn’t. But there’s nothing wrong with trying and failing some of the time.

Shame that I couldn’t do the entire south loop and hit Clarence’s bar at Earnestine & Hazel’s and PBjaRni’s bar at Max’s Sports Bar post-Farmers Market, but I had to get back north to Bardog and tell people about the cooking trophy my team won at BBQ Fest.

On the way back north from the Farmers Market I noticed a new event space for rent on Front.

Brickwood Hall at 391 S. Front is a Downtown venue you can rent for a variety of events. Follow them on Facebook (click the link) or on Twitter at @BrickwoodHall.

The cleaners across the street from Bardog Tavern on Monroe, in the ground floor of the Shrine Building, is back open under new ownership. Here’s the 411:

I don’t know if I have any readers who do the “21-day cleanse,” but if I do, here’s a nugget of knowledge for you: Roach milk is the next superfood. Yeah I’ll be over here sipping my Mountain Dew and pretending not to judge you.


Gates open at 3:45 for the Redbirds today, MPD vs. Shelby County Sheriff softball at 4:15, Redbirds at 6:35. Police honored as part of heroes’ weekend with equipment and interactive displays around the park. $2 beers in the Plaza before the game and fireworks afterward.

A message to the people who organize the zombie walk: First of all, you guys make Memphis a more interesting place, and you raise money for charity. I’m glad you’re here. I also understand fake blood is involved and you can’t clean up every drop of it. That’s fine, it seems like it rains every other day this time of year. But: Would it be possible to clean the fake blood off Main Street between Huling and Butler? Here’s the thing: Look down, see fake blood. Look to the left (or right, depending on direction you’re walking), see the balcony where Dr. King was assassinated. See what I’m saying? I know it’s not intentional, but it’s a bad look for our city.

A new indoor skate park and restaurant is under construction in Midtown and they need carpentry people for the next 2 weeks. If interested hit me up and I will put you in touch with the people in charge.

Back tomorrow or maybe Tuesday with more news.

Saturday update

Art Village Gallery will feature Portugal in the next of its cultural exhibition and dialogue series. The event will happen Saturday, June 30 and will feature Portuguese art, music, and food. Chef Ana Gonzalez will present five courses native to Portugal, and artist Mario Henrique will present his first solo exhibition in the U.S., “Somnium” (Dream). Seating is very limited so it is recommended that you purchase early bird tickets available through June 5. Get tickets here. As for the menu, I’m just going to be lazy and quote Art Village.

THE MENU? Starting with a platter of charcuterie, assorted cheeses & assorted marinated olives, served with fig and quince paste; next, a delicious Portuguese tomato soup prepared with organic olive oil drizzled over poached egg; on to freshly cut lettuce and coriander, heirloom tomatoes, onions and heirloom tricolor carrot shavings served with roasted lemon vinaigrette topped with balsamic glaze. The main course is traditional baked Cod with stewed fingerling potatoes in tomato, fresh coriander and black olives; and finally, the sweet ending, a traditional Portuguese dessert; buttermilk custard served with poached pears in Port wine.

The Brass Door is hosting a World Cup Kickoff Party Tuesday, June 12 from 5 to 9. Again I am going to be lazy and quote.

We’re ‘Putin’ on a party! The World Cup is in Russia this year! No better way to kick off the festivities than with $4 White Russians, right? How about $4 Heineken Pints, Food Specials & World Cup Swag Giveaways?! It’s also your chance to fill out your Official World Cup Bracket! GRAND PRIZE: Heineken Bluetooth Speaker Tower!
Join us & the Outlaws to cheer on the USWNT v. China & gear up for a fun summer of World Cup Soccer!

“We’re ‘Putin’ on a party!”? How patriotic of the Brass Door to put on a party about President Trump’s favorite person.

In other Brass Door news, they posted an opening for Bar Manager to Facebook and said they are hiring servers and bartenders.

I’m excited to hear about a new development planned for 27 W. Carolina. The 6-story building will include 57 apartments, but this is the really cool part – 8000 square feet of retail. South End already has Loflin Yard, The Dirty Crow Inn, and the Ghost River taproom, but some good shopping would make it even more of a destination. Foot traffic is always good to have in a neighborhood.

Loflin Yard will host Kick the Cask: Out with the Red, In with the Rosé Thursday, June 21 from 6 to 10 PM. This will be an evening of high-end wines presented by sommeliers and industry professionals and paired with Smoke House food. Tickets are $75 plus tax and grat and you can email to reserve your spot.

The military will be honored at tonight’s Redbirds game with equipment and interactive displays around the plaza and the park, and members of the military honored before the game. $2 beers in the Plaza prior to game time, and fireworks post-game. Gates at 5:00, first pitch 6:35.

News about tomorrow’s Redbirds game: Both the 4:15 “Battle of the Badges” softball game (MPD vs. Shelby Co. Sheriff’s Office) and the 6:35 Redbirds game will be broadcast on BOUNCE TV. BOUNCE can be found on channel 5.2 (antenna) or 906 (Comcast).

DJ Cody will perform a rare Sunday set at the Silly Goose tomorrow night. The tunes and videos will commence at 8 PM.

Annie the “Dance-sical”, performed by Ballet on Wheels Dance School Company, comes to the Halloran Centre this weekend. Come enjoy this youth dance company presentation of Annie and her orphan crew.

I had lunch at Pyro’s Pizza for the first time yesterday. Like its competitor PizzaRev, you pick your sauce, cheese, meats, and toppings and they build your pizza as you watch. Then they put it in their wood-fired oven and it is ready in minutes. Pyro’s is slightly less convenient to get to than PizzaRev from where I work, but they had some different ingredients so I wanted to give it a try.

I built a pizza with a pesto base, mozzarella cheese, bacon, spinach, mushrooms, feta, and roasted garlic. A pretty good creation if I do say so myself, although on my way back to work I was questioning the choice of garlic. Fortunately we had Muddy’s cupcakes for a work birthday, and that helped get the taste out of my mouth. Pyro’s has buzzers to let you know when your food is ready to be picked up, much like the Flying Fish. However, since it wasn’t busy when I ordered they brought my pizza out to me. Pyro’s has a good selection of beers on draft, including local beers from Memphis Made, Wiseacre, and Ghost River – all great choices!

Tea Pain cracks me up:

I wonder what it’s like to have a perjury enthusiast in your BBQ team booth? Guess I could’ve asked last night.

Last night at Max’s  Sports Bar I was sitting next to the 2017 group photo, and people were looking at it. “There’s the boss guy,” one of them commented. “What’s his name?”

I’m up early enough to get a Farmers Market visit in before my 11:00 appearance at Bardog. Rest of the day TBD. Undecided about going to 901 Fest, but I’m going to put on sunscreen just in case I make the last-minute call to go. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

115 Vance, the former home of the legendary original Hollywood Raiford’s Disco, is finally getting a new tenant. WKND, a popular bar in Nashville known as a “hang suite,” is expanding its reach with a Memphis location. WKND Nashville’s website explains that a hang suite is a “hangout spot, a place where friends gather for socializing and fun.”

Amenities at WKND Nashville include premium liquor flights, hookahs, and champagne by the bottle. Damn they have a $500 bottle of champagne, which is $485 more than I’ve ever paid for champagne at a bar.

Couple of things happening in conjunction with South Main Trolley Night tonight. Local author Debra Parmley will be at South Main Book Juggler. The best-selling author and Mid-South resident of the past 22 years will be signing copies of her books including Check Out, a romance suspense novel set in Bartlett, featuring a Bartlett librarian, a Marine veteran, and a stalker.

Down the street at South Main Sounds, Talia Keys, Tyler Preston, and Magnolia Wind will perform for Songwriter Night #87. If you like what you hear from Talia, head over to The Dirty Crow Inn at 9 for more.

The Dirty Crow Inn’s name makes me think, I need to count the number of (adjective)(animal) bars in Memphis. If I ever open a bar, you know what I’m going to call it? The Crazy Troll. Do trolls count as animals? I asked my troll but her only response was something about “a very superior form of life.” Sometimes I think the troll and Donald Trump drink the same Kool-Aid.

Back to Songwriter Night for a minute… I wonder if they’re going to have a big blowout bash when they hit #100. I’ll ask Mark when I see him at the Farmers Market tomorrow.

Speaking of the Memphis Farmers Market, pack a patriotic picnic basket is the theme tomorrow. The Market has everything you need, including local meats and catfish to grill, salad fixins, desserts, popcorn, and pastries. They have ready-made dishes too if you don’t feel like cooking. Live local music 8-1. The Master Gardeners will be back 8-1 to help take your plant game to the next level. There will be a kids’ craft table too. The Market runs 8 AM-1 PM every Saturday under the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson.

Firefighters and EMS will be honored at the Redbirds game tonight as part of Heroes Weekend presented by Ford. Equipment, displays, and interactive experiences about these heroes will be located in the plaza and around the ballpark. $2 select beers and entertainment in the Plaza prior to the game. Opponent is Colorado Springs and first pitch is 7:05, with gates at 6.

So yesterday I had Google Maps/Satellite pulled up to try to figure out where the Edge Triangle dog park was. While I had it pulled up I noticed a marker for something called C-Lou Patton’s House at 648 Marshall, and it was marked as a restaurant. I had never heard of it, but it had 27 reviews on Google, most of them raving about the food. I did a little research and found this Hungry Memphis article from several years ago. Although this is mostly a catering business, you can call ahead and order one of their 30 different types of quiches and pick it up an hour later. So there you go… if you’re into quiche, your #1 source of news and information about The Edge District has uncovered a hidden gem for you.

The Brass Door will be showing the UEFA Champions League final, tomorrow, Saturday, May 26, at 1:45 PM. Real Madrid will play Liverpool in the final.

Brass Door will celebrate the most marvelous day of days, when Leopold Bloom wandered the streets of Dublin and ate most everything in sight, with a Bloomsday Dinner on Tuesday, June 19. This will be a feast based on James Joyce’s Ulysses with readings by some well-known Memphians. Five course dinner with wine and cocktail pairings. $75 + tax and gratuity. Call 901-572-1813 to make your reservations. Seating is limited.

We all know Roxie’s Grocery on North Third has great burgers… but High Ground News has a piece on what a pillar of the community Roxie’s is.

Grindhouse Cream Ale turns 1 today and Ghost River is throwing a party in the taproom! Ono Poke will serve lunch until 2, then the Gourmade food truck will be on site at 3. Live music by Martin & Taylor at 7.

Some of my neighbors went to happy hour at Agave Maria a couple of nights ago and posted what a great experience and great value it was. Just wanted to pass that nugget of info along to my readers.

Downtown soul food restaurant Alcenia’s will be featured on Sunday Today with Willie Geist this Sunday, May 27 on NBC 7-8 AM.

If you’re wondering why the storm that formed in the Gulf is Subtropical Storm Alberto rather than Tropical Storm Alberto, here’s an explanation.

Yesterday I went back to Cafe Med at Kirby Parkway and Poplar for another of their varieties of gyros. This time I got the Athenian.

I never thought of hummus as a topping on a gyro before, but it totally works although a bit messy. Banana peppers, onions, tomatoes and cucumbers rounded out the flavor profile. The great thing about Cafe Med is that they get the food out in only a few minutes and I’m usually done and paid in 30. Yesterday that gave me plenty of time to walk over to Bougie Kroger and get my shopping errands for the week done.

Yesterday Trump broke the plans for the North Korea summit. Reminds me of an 11th grade girl going, “I canceled my date with him to make him want me even more.”

Kudos to Trump on the Jack Johnson pardon though.

It’s a beautiful day and after work it’ll be time to play outside! South Main Trolley Night is my plan. Music at the South Main Stage, a visit to the new Harley-Davidson store, Earnestine & Hazel’s… all on my list. If they let us go early today I will pre-game at my “home away from home on the south side,” Max’s Sports Bar. Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

All-You-Can-Eat Thursday returns to AutoZone Park tonight, where fans purchasing a specialty ticket get access to a two-hour buffet. This week’s theme is breakfast, and items on the buffet will include scrambled eggs, sausage links, bacon, roasted potatoes, and bagels. Hot dogs will be part of the all-you-can-eat menu as well. $2 select beers around the park for Thirsty Thursday, and college students can get a bluff ticket for $5 with valid ID.

Walrus, an extremely popular Memphis band playing alternative sounds from the ’80s, will headline the Peabody rooftop party this evening along with special guest Logan Henderson. Admission is $15 general and $30 VIP and includes a buffet of mini meatballs and fried ravioli. If you’re in VIP you get an additional buffet of chicken parmesan skewers, mini muffalettas, and grilled Italian sausage. Tonight is Memphis Flyer Night on the rooftop and you can enter to win two tickets to Bonnaroo.

Tomorrow is the first South Main Trolley Night in nearly four years for which the steel-wheeled trolleys will actually be running. The Downtown Memphis Commission will offer free trolley rides for the first 100 guests, and after that rides will be just $1. To celebrate, a special South Main Stage will be set up at the bocce ball court at Main and Talbot, with House in the Mid-South playing 5:30-7:15 and The PRVLG 7:30-9:00. There will be other live music and DJs around the South Main District as well. South Main Association members, your member area will be near the South Main Stage this month, with complimentary food and beverages. Also, you can pick up your SMA membership card at the member area if you don’t already have it. What does the membership card get you? Discounts at

Civil Pour
Grecian Gourmet
Pontotoc Lounge
Silly Goose
Two Girls and a Whip
Walking Pants Curiosities

If you aren’t a member but this sounds like a great deal, inquire at the SMA member area about signing up for a yearly membership only $35. Between the gift card benefits, complimentary food at the monthly meetings, and complimentary food and beverages at the SMA member area at Trolley Night every month, this is a membership that pays for itself.

Last night I walked south to Max’s Sports Bar and made some discoveries. First of all, the new Explore Bike Share station at Main and Talbot is up and running.

The Memphis Daily News has coverage of the Explore Bike Share launch that happened yesterday.

Further down Main, I discovered that the shop that used to be Sache (525 S. Main) is now Bumpus South Main Harley Davidson.

That’s a big change… from custom shirt printing and hair extensions to motorcycles in under two months. Wow.

When I arrived at Max’s Sports Bar I intended to get Purple Drank, but bartender Mike suggested I get Tiger’s Blood Coke instead.

After I got back north I won trivia at Blind Bear. I had two partners, but they were ineligible for the gift card because one is an employee and the other is a troll. The question that won it for us: Name an African country that formerly had a 9-letter name beginning with A. Answer: Ethiopia (formerly Abyssinia)

The MBJ has a photo gallery of the progress made in the Central Station redevelopment. The 8-screen Malco Theater is set to open around Thanksgiving, and the hotel in around a year. There will also be a restaurant, a ballroom, and non-restaurant retail space as well as the Amtrak station itself.

High Ground News has coverage of a co-working space at 340 Monroe in The Edge District that will provide a place for artists and creatives to work and collaborate. The space will be by the artists, for the artists, and will be a place that’s ideal for those in between working out of their home and having their own studio or workshop.

In other news about The Edge, Yappy Hour is tonight at 6 in Triangle Park, the off-leash dog park. I have to admit I had no idea where Triangle Park was, and had to pull up Google Maps and put it in satellite view. The park borders Madison, Orleans, and Monroe. Across Monroe there is a parking lot, which Google Maps told me three people had given a 5-star rating. Who rates a parking lot?

The Flying Saucer has a new happy hour. Tuesday-Friday 4-7 PM all of their beers on draft (ALL of them) are $4 each. Those of you looking to get 200 beers to get a plate just got a way to get some of those beers done more cheaply.

My lunch adventure yesterday was a return trip to Neil’s Music Room for one of their specials: chicken fried steak.

Neil’s meat-and-two lunch is very reasonably priced at $6.99. The white beans were the real standout, and the steak, cornbread and the mashed potatoes were very good as well (although my buddy Chicken Fried Steak Rodger will surely have something to say about brown gravy as opposed to white gravy). Check them out if you’re nearby and in the need of a good, wholesome lunch.

That’ll do it for now. Back tomorrow with more news.


Wednesday update

Downtown took a major step forward yesterday: The State Building Commission’s executive committee approved the addition of Mud Island and the riverfront to the city’s Downtown Tourism Zone. This will pave the way for an aquarium to be built on Mud Island, and for the Brooks Museum to move Downtown. Of course, there are many more steps ahead, the next of which is a feasibility study, but the first hurdle has been cleared.

I headed over to Sleep Out Louie’s for their grand opening last night. Pam & Terry had already wrapped up their performance, but good news: They’ll be performing at Sleep Out’s every Friday and Saturday in June from 7 to 10 PM. I’ve already been talking to a couple of the original Sleep Out’s regulars/employees about finding a night to meet up.

Explore Bike Share launches today. You’ll be able to rent a bike by the ride, day, month or year and pick up a bike from one of dozen convenient locations. Here is a station map showing where you can pick up and drop off bikes.

Stone Temple Pilots play the New Daisy tonight. Doors at 7, show at 8.

The Redbirds host Oklahoma City tonight at 6:35. They’ll have a treat for Thursday’s game: Alex Reyes, one of the top Cardinals prospects, will be pitching a rehab game here.

The tickets for Nine Inch Nails: Cold and Black and Infinite Tour that did not sell last Saturday will be put online for sale Thursday at 10 AM.

The Grizz Den, the Grizzlies store in FedExForum, will extend its hours to 7 PM today through Friday, with most merchandise 50% off.

Belle Tavern has Maker’s Mark Cask Strength half off this week through Sunday.

Oshi is adding a bingo night on Sundays at 6 with host Pattie O’Furniture.

Some of the Start Co. tech startups are looking for summer interns. In the past talented high school students have gained valuable experience working for Start Co.’s affiliated startup companies.

2018 BBQ Fest winners have been posted. I forgot to congratulate another of our local BBQ teams in my posts this week. Porkosaurus tied for first in tomato-based sauce. If you didn’t get to try it at BBQ Fest, you can buy it on Amazon.

Interesting wrestling fact I came across today: WCW held Great American Bash 1986, one of its major events of the year, at the Liberty Bowl. The event had all the big names: Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, the Road Warriors, the Midnight Express, the Rock ‘n Roll Express. Yet it drew less than 2000 fans. The reason? No Jerry Lawler and no promotion on Memphis Wrestling TV. Memphis wrestling fans are loyal. Credit to Jim Cornette for tweeting that information.

For yesterday’s lunch I went to Asian Eatery, one of the few Asian places near work I haven’t yet tried. I ordered the Tom Yum soup, also known as Thai gumbo.

This is a soup with thin rice noodles, chicken, shrimp, bell pepper, onion, scallion, tomato, bean sprouts and mushrooms topped with cilantro and jalapeno. “It’s spicy,” the server warned me when I ordered. I ensured her I was fine. It was hot when it came out – not in terms of spice but temperature. I had to stir it for about 5 minutes to let it cool down. Once I finally started eating, I found that the soup was in no way overpoweringly spicy. If you can tolerate spice at all you will be fine. A delicious and filling meal. Asian Eatery is in the same center as West St. Diner on West Street in Germantown.

Going to hit happy hour at Max’s Sports Bar after work, then over to Blind Bear to hear Charvey at 10. Back tomorrow with more news.

Pam & Terry to play Sleep Out Louie’s tonight

They’ve been doing a soft opening for about a week, but today is the Grand Opening of the new Sleep Out Louie’s. The opening will be from 5-til, and very appropriately given the history of the old Sleep Out Louie’s, Pam & Terry will be playing. The new Sleep Out’s is next door to Texas de Brazil on Second Street.

The final two Memphis in May events happen this Saturday.

Great American River Run is a half-marathon and 5K taking place on the banks of the Mississippi and through Downtown Memphis. After the run, there is a post-race party with food, drinks and live music.

901 Fest is a celebration of our great city at Tom Lee Park Saturday afternoon and evening, with local live music, local food for sale, and local vendors. There will also be an air show, fireworks, knockerball and Zorb ball, a creative arts tent, and a cornhole tournament.

Most people have Monday off, and if you’re looking for something fun to do late night Sunday, I have a suggestion: FreeWorld is having a grand celebration for their founding father Dr. Herman Green’s 88th birthday at the Blues City Band Box. The evening will be full of surprises and musical guests honoring Dr. Green. Should be a special night.

Classic film To Kill a Mockingbird will be shown at Cemetery Cinema at Elmwood Cemetery this Friday from 8:30 to 11 PM. The La Guadalupana and MemPoPS food trucks will be on site, and libations will be available for purchase. Children 12 and under are not permitted at Cemetery Cinema, nor are pets.

I hate to post bad stuff about Downtown, but this time it’s necessary: Police are showing photos of a person of interest in a sexual assault investigation. The assault happened in an alley near Front and Vance Sunday, May 6 around 5 AM. That would be Music Fest weekend, a prime weekend for predators looking for victims.

Also, shots were fired at a horse carriage Saturday night of BBQ Fest near Front and Pontotoc.

Some random BBQ Fest musings

One of my most treasured moments in the booth this year was when the family of a team member who passed away came to visit. I realized I taught his sister math at the U of M in the 1990s. His 18-year-old son, planning to major in computer science, asked if I had any advice. “Do some side projects, projects that interest you,” I told him. “That’ll build up a portfolio for you that you can put on your resume, giving you an advantage over other new graduates when you finish school.”

“What if a project I want to work on is not related to my career?” he asked.

“Then ESPECIALLY do it,” was my reply. I know a guy who has been doing a side project for 14 years, and while not related to his career it has brought him much success, happiness, and connectedness to the community. In case you haven’t figured it out, you’re reading that side project right now.

It still makes me laugh that the troll recruited two of our members. It started with a conversation at Bardog on a day when I had forgot to take my troll out of my pocket and set her on the bar. “Where’s the troll?” I was asked, and that led to a conversation about BBQ. (The troll is Deputy Director of Public Relations for the team.)

I’m also very happy that I recruited my friend Mac to join the cooking team, consisting of our members who had previously competed in regionals as Memphis Squeal and our 2015-17 pitmaster Frank. From what I’ve been told, Mac was a fantastic addition to the cook team, and he said he learned a ton from the others because he’d never done shoulder before. “I’m so happy to be back cooking and I can’t wait for 2019,” he told me Saturday after the festival was over.

Thursday night was the best, dancing with teammates and their guests until midnight. Wait, no, make that second best. Nothing beats finding out we had a trophy that wanted to meet us.

I apologize to anyone who I cut a conversation short with Friday night. I was feeling sick and it was a combination of the heat and too many people being around. I left the park around 9 that night.

Back to my East Memphis lunches

Yesterday I tried another new place (new to me) not far from my office, Amerigo Italian Restaurant in East Memphis. I got the Cannelloni al Forno, an egg pasta stuffed with roasted chicken, spinach, ricotta cheese, fresh herbs and Parmesan; topped with mozzarella, tomato and cream sauces.

It came with bread and oil for dipping. My entree was out quick and I was in and out in 40 minutes. I will be back to try other menu items. I like it that they have their full dinner menu available at lunch and not just the lunch menu.

Plans for tonight: Given my commute from Germantown, I don’t get out until around 5:45 these days. Sleep Out Louie’s will probably be packed with ServiceMaster folk around that time, so I will lead off at Blind Bear then head over to hear Pam & Terry 7:00-7:30ish after the place has cleared out a bit. Back tomorrow with more news.

Monday update

A Memphis in May Panel of Grillers will be the presentation at tomorrow night’s monthly Downtown Neighborhood Association at Beale Street Landing (6:00 social, 6:30 program). There will be BBQ catering by Hog Wild BBQ and a wine and beer bar. Free for DNA members, $10 visitors.

The experiment with bike lanes and a pedestrian promenade with seating on Peabody Place is coming to an end. It was an interesting project but it was under-used. The lack of turn lanes clogged traffic turning into garages and parking lots for FedExForum and Orpheum events. Peabody Place will be reverted to its previous striping next month.

The week before BBQ Fest I posted that I visited the new Sleep Out Louie’s, and that it had a great menu and friendly staff but the beer prices ($4 for a PBR 16 oz. can) were a bit high. Last week Sleep Out’s tweeted me that they had reduced PBR prices to $3 per can, very much in line with what surrounding bars charge. At happy hour the PBR is $2.50. I’ll try to get in there for a second visit soon.

I want to give a little link love to local coffee maker Launch Process Coffee. They had a free giveaway at the Blind Bear Saturday to introduce their product – unfortunately, the place was nearly empty due to BBQ Fest. The guy behind Launch Process came up and introduced himself (knew me by name) and offered to make me a cup of gourmet coffee. Trouble was, I am not a coffee drinker. I felt bad that he didn’t have a better launch. BBQ Fest is just a bad week to schedule any kind of event Downtown.

As your number one source of news and information about The Edge District, I want to link to a couple of articles that seem to have been missed by other sites. High Ground News has a great piece on the transformation of 10 acres in The Edge by Development Services Group (DSG). There will be a mix of office space, residential, and retail, and will adapt existing buildings and add new ones.

Meanwhile, the CA has news on the plan for the Edge Motor Museum at 645 Marshall. The blue streamers at Monroe and Marshall attracted Richard Vining to the neighborhood and helped convince him to buy the building, formerly a guitar workshop. Edge Motor Museum will house vintage cars and have a display on the history of American sports cars.

The Redbirds return to town for a game against Oklahoma City tonight at 6:35 (gates at 5:30). No special promotions tonight, just good baseball to be watched.

High Ground News has information about the Mini Ramp SK8 Jam held by Memphis Athletic Ministries at the Greenlaw Community Center on May 12. This was an all-ages skateboarding competition.

As I typed yesterday’s post about my own team The Moody Ques’ success at BBQ Fest, and in part because I was so tired I could barely put words together, I neglected to mention that my second BBQ family/fellow shoulder team Squeal Street BBQ also enjoyed success, improving from last year’s score in the 20s all the way up to 14th this year (out of 57 teams). They are applying a Memphis style of grit-n-grind to their BBQ strategy that brings incremental improvements every year. There aren’t many increments left before they will jump into the top 10.

That’s it for now. Back on my regular blogging schedule, so I should be back tomorrow with more news and a non-BBQ lunch photo.