Sunday update

So nice to see the Memphis Tigers realize their potential yesterday, beating a team they weren’t expected to by 22. Maybe they should wear those Memphis State uniforms every game. Is an NCAA berth still possible if they play like this every game? Hmmm, no ranked teams left on the schedule, so I would guess it to be unlikely unless the Tigers win the AAC tournament. I suppose if they ran the table on the rest of the rest of the regular season schedule (also unlikely) and then lost in the AAC semis or finals they might be in as an 11 or 12 seed.

Coming up for the Tigers: An away game at Temple at 6 Thursday, and a home game vs. UCF at 3 Sunday, both on CBSSN. Hmmm, about that Sunday game, you know what I could do? I start out in South Main at B-RAD’s bar at Pontotoc Lounge most Sundays anyway. It’d be an easy walk over to Max’s Sports Bar mid-afternoon to spread a little sunshine and watch the game. I hear the gang down there has a new mascot, a gnome. I wonder wherever they got the idea to have a small mythical creature as a mascot?

Also, I wonder if they will be taking the gnome to Southaven with them the next time they watch a game at the Chili’s there?

Last week the Downtown Commission board members hit the road in a tour of Downtown projects that have benefited from incentives provided by the DMC. One interesting piece of news in the article: Planned renovations and upgrades to Tom Lee Park won’t affect Music Fest, but  some BBQ Fest teams will probably be forced to move onto Riverside Drive. Makes me wonder how they’ll do load-in and load-out then?

Then again, a booth on Riverside comes with a 100% guarantee that it won’t be a stinky mud pit. Some teams might actually prefer that location.

Probably it would be the Patio Porkers moved onto the street. Most of the Big Three competition category teams have booths too large to fit on Riverside.

The DMC board also toured The Edge District and will told that the old Wonder Bread sign at Monroe and Danny Thomas will be hung and lit once construction is complete. An interesting comment was made: “We would love for Monroe to be the pedestrian thoroughfare rather than Union.”

I know some of my readers like taking personality quizzes, so here’s one by stats site FiveThirtyEight that is said to be backed by science. In case anybody takes it and wonders what I got, here are my results:

  • Openness to experience: 79 out of 100
  • Agreeableness: 74 out of 100
  • Conscientousness: 54 out of 100
  • Negative emotionality: 42 out of 100
  • Extroversion: 29 out of 100

The Halloran Centre for the Performing Arts has added a Student Art Gallery, featuring works from students at Whitehaven Elementary, Havenview Middle, and Whitehaven High School.

The Skitch have been announced for a Hard Rock Cafe show the evening of Thursday, January 31.

My God.

I have never known anyone with such a capacity to make stuff up and present it as fact. Well, wait, I do know one such person, who I am glad I did not see Friday night when I made my trip to South Main.

Programming note: Unless I get a major, can’t wait piece of news to share, I am probably taking tomorrow off from posting. Holidays at Bardog are always so  much fun and I like to get there as close to 8 AM opening time as I can. So, probably back Tuesday with more news, but check tomorrow just in case.

Saturday update: Lunch at Central BBQ and lots of news

Warning: This is going to be a LONG post!

First of all, I want to say thanks to Xfinity for providing “breakfast on the go” for residents of my apartment building yesterday! I rode the elevator downstairs about 7:30 and walked up to their table. The ladies behind it put a keypad in front of me.

“This conversation may be recorded for quality control purposes,” one of the ladies told me. “Press 1 for English, dos para espanol.”

I pressed 1.

“Press 1 for a Chick-Fil-A Mini,” the other lady told me. “Press 2 for a cinnamon roll. Press 3 for a muffin. Press 4 for a lemon pastry. Press 5 for a cherry pastry. Press 6 for a cream cheese pastry. Press 7 for orange juice. To repeat this menu, press 8. For all other breakfast requests, press 0.”

I pressed the appropriate buttons on the keypad.

“Thank you for choosing your food,” the first lady told me. “Estimated time for it to be ready is twenty. FOUR….. minutes.”


“Thank you for continuing to wait. Your breakfast is not ready yet; however, you are important. Please continue to hold while we get your. Chick-fil-A Mini. And. Your. LEMON… pastry.”


41 minutes later I was back in my apartment, happily munching on my breakfast. Thanks Xfinity!

With BBQ Fest now just 4 months away, the Senior Deputy Director of Public Relations (she got promoted last month in case you’re wondering how “Senior” got added to her title) and I decided it was time to do some research. We had plans to be at Max’s Sports Bar at 4:30 yesterday afternoon. “Let’s go to South Main at 3:30 and stop at Central BBQ,” she suggested. It was a good idea. Earlier this week the Commercial Appeal posted 3 meatless lunches for under $10, and the portabella mushroom sandwich at Central was one of them. It’s one of the few menu items I had never tried. I decided to give it a try yesterday.

At only $5.49, I had extra money to spend, and I was worried the mushroom sandwich wouldn’t be enough. Also, it just seems criminal to go to Central BBQ and not eat meat. My Facebook friends recommended the wings, and while they are delicious I have had those before. I wanted to try another sandwich I had never eaten before at Central, either the BBQ bologna or the smoked sausage sandwich, each priced at a quite affordable $4.25. Knowing my friends Rahul and Tony are all about the sausage, I went with that. I asked for it to be prepped in Central’s mustard BBQ sauce rather than the mild sauce which is traditionally used on all their sandwiches.

(Side note before we continue: I’m rooting for the Saints to beat the Chiefs tomorrow because Rahul is a Chiefs fan and he was a real butthead to me at brunch at Pontotoc last Sunday.)

I grabbed a Mountain Dew and cups of mustard sauce and hot BBQ sauce from the sauce bar and took a seat. I was surprised how busy it was, even for mid-afternoon. About 7 minutes after I ordered, my food came out. They are on their toes at Central and get your food to you quick!

The portabella mushroom sandwich is a 7 to 8 inch – as you can see it filled out the bun – mushroom topped marinated in balsamic vinegar, olive oil and spices. It is grilled and topped with Gouda cheese and Central’s mild sauce. I love mushrooms and frequently get them as a topping on sandwiches and pizzas. A friend commented that a portabella is a “meaty” mushroom and I would agree. Eating the sandwich felt a lot like eating a burger.

The smoked sausage sandwich was outstanding and I was pleased I ordered it in mustard sauce rather than mild BBQ sauce to differentiate it from the mushroom sandwich. I dipped it in extra mustard sauce as well as the hot sauce, my two favorite Central BBQ sauces. “If you don’t want slaw just say naw,” reads Central’s chalkboard, and I probably should have traded out one of my cups of slaw for a different side. It was good though, and the Senior Deputy Director of Public Relations liked it because it was (sort of) the same color as her hair.

The verdict? I knew I’d like the smoked sausage and I did. But the portabella mushroom sandwich? It was tasty, of course, and if I were a vegetarian I would not feel like I’m having an experience lesser than my meat-eating friends if we all went there and I ordered it. However, I am not a vegetarian. Was the portabella sandwich good to the point that I’d forego meat in favor of it on a future visit? On that question I’d have to say “Naw.”

However, I would do what I did for yesterday’s visit again: Go down there extra hungry and pair the portabella sandwich with an inexpensive meat item. The portabella plus the smoked sausage made for an excellent lunch. The BBQ bologna, the half-order of pulled pork nachos, or three of the whole wings (get the dry spice rub!!!) would be good paired with the sandwich as well.

You know what else would be good? Tops BBQ will top your cheeseburger with an ounce or two of pulled pork for an extra charge. If Central BBQ provided that as an option for the portabella mushroom sandwich, that would be awesome.

Let’s get on to the news. I hope I get this all done by the time Bardog opens at 11. Otherwise I may have to roll non-time-sensitive items over to tomorrow’s post.

The New Daisy appears to be closed. It is unclear whether the closure is temporary or permanent, and so far the owners have not commented. Hopefully it’s temporary. The Daisy is one of Downtown’s premier live music venues, and only a few years ago it went through major renovations and upgrades and got a new booking company that brought in nationally known acts.

Well, DUH… a new study has found that people who drink Red Bull vodka are more likely to get in fights. Science has proved what has been common sense for years. Some bars won’t even serve Red Bull as a mixer, knowing this fact all too well.

Bass Pro is celebrating Memphis’ 200th birthday with giveaways each month on the 22nd of the month. On January 22, The Lookout, the restaurant at the top of the Pyramid, will give away free branded mugs to the first 200 people who ride the nation’s tallest free-standing elevator up there.

Good news for my Mississippi readers: Crosstown Brewing Co. beers will be available in your area by the end of next week.

This is a general message to bar owners and managers in the Downtown core: You all need to do a better job checking the soap in the bathrooms. There is no excuse for a bathroom being without soap for more than a couple of hours.

Memphis’ AutoZone Park has been announced as the site of the 2019 Triple-A Championship Game, a game won by the Redbirds last year. One of the best ballparks in the minors, it is no surprise that AutoZone Park is in the rotation of venues for the game.

In other Redbirds news, 37-year-old Ben Johnson has been announced as the new manager. He was most recently a coach for the Durham Bulls who the Redbirds played in the championship game. Johnson played ball at Germantown High and was selected by the Cardinals in the 1999 draft.

Comedian Eddie Izzard brings The Wunderbar Tour to the Orpheum on Friday, May 10.

The Grizzlies have announced that furloughed federal workers will be admitted to Monday’s MLK Day game for free.

Ghost River will have a Valentine’s Day Market with four vendors selling Valentine’s Day goods Saturday, February 9 from noon to 4.

JOBS! Wiseacre’s new brewery at B.B. King and Vance will bring 40 jobs to Downtown Memphis. As production ramps up, the owners anticipate adding even more staff.

There will be an MLK Day parade Monday at 10 AM. It will depart from the Cook Convention Center, head down Exchange and then turn on Second going south to the National Civil Rights Museum. At the Museum there will be a day-long King 90 celebration.

Fun fact: The Republican Party elected more new members named Greg than they did women in 2018.

Got through all the news with about 40 minutes to spare. Time to lead off at Bardog then figure out whether I want to head south to Max’s Sports Bar to watch the SMU game.


Friday update

Do I have any furloughed federal employee readers, or federal employees working without pay? I’ve learned about a few deals that I wanted to pass on. Stax Museum is offering free admission to federal employees until the government shutdown ends. If you’ve never been, you should go – this museum chronicling the history of soul music is one of Memphis’ best.

The Harlem Globetrotters, performing at FrdExForum tonight, are offering free tickets to federal employees to their shows until the shutdown ends.

Also, my friends out at RAWK’s Grub inside the Citgo at 630 N. Highland are offering 50% off entree, side, and drink to federal employees for the duration of the shutdown.

While we’re on the subject of the shutdown, I’d like to place an idea in my readers’ minds. Over the years I have seen a group of about five Coast Guard members come in for lunch at Bardog Tavern. The Coast Guard is the only branch of the military not under the Defense Department, and therefore they are working without pay during the shutdown. It would be a really cool gesture if someone came up to Bardog, bought a $100 gift card, and asked for it to be left behind the bar to pay for the Coast Guard people’s lunch as thanks for their service the next time they came in. I’d do it myself if I were working full-time right now.

And while we’re on the subject of Bardog… the latest weather forecast has rain and thunderstorms throughout the day tomorrow, with the temperature steadily dropping from the 60s to the 30s throughout the day, which could cause the last few hours of the precipitation to fall as snow. I just want to remind everyone that there is $2 Fireball at Bardog when it is snowing.

Saturday’s 3 PM home game vs. SMU will be Throwback Saturday for the Memphis Tigers men’s basketball team. They will have their Memphis State gear on and are inviting fans to do the same.

Speakers have been announced for the annual TEDx Memphis conference on February 2 at Crosstown Arts Theater. The focus of the conference will be “ideas for the next century.”

A new food festival, the Craft Food and Wine Festival, is coming to Memphis on June 23 at The Columns at One Commerce Square. There will be two 2-hour sessions, in which attendees go to vendor booths and receive samples of their culinary offerings. The event will benefit the Church Health Center.

The Washington Post reports that the Golden State Warriors are using a G-League assignment to measure Demarcus Cousins’ rehab and his ability to play. “Boogie” gladly accepted the assignment. So, let’s see… a multi-time All-Star being paid far less than his worth this season is willing to go to work in the G-League, but Chandler Parsons is not. I really hope Chandler never spends another minute in a Grizzlies uniform. I also hope no team is stupid enough to sign him to a new contract once his current massive contract runs out.

That’s all I have for today folks. Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

Yesterday I went to Blind Bear for their lunch special, a chicken fried steak with garlic mashed potatoes, jalapeno cream gravy, and fried okra.

This was so good. The jalapeno cream gravy was not spicy at all, but you could tell the jalapenos added a distinctive flavor. Plus, my troll liked the gravy because jalapenos are the same color as her hair.

I hear they’re doing another lunch special 11 to 2 today, honey habanero chicken with mashed potatoes and orange glazed carrots. I won’t be there for that one but I bet it will be good.

Popular painting class Paint & Get Lit is back at the Silly Goose tonight at 7. Artist David Yancy will lead the class through a painting experience, with happy hour until 8 for class participants.

From the CA: New brewery Grind City Brewing Co. intends to change the game in Uptown. There will be a taproom, a beer garden, and an outdoor stage for festivals. Owner Hopper Seely has dreamed of owning a brewery since high school.

Random thing I learned from Twitter yesterday: Richard Kline, who played neighbor Larry on the TV show Three’s Company, is in the cast of Waitress performing at the Orpheum this week.

Political scientist Michael Nelson said it’s time to bet on MATA. If sports betting were legalized in Tennessee, 30 percent of the proceeds would go to local governments, with half of that money earmarked toward transportation. A great public transportation system is the hallmark of a great American city. Let’s make this happen.

Drunk Grammar happens tonight at Loflin Yard. Compete for prizes to see who has the best grammar.

Robusto by Havana Mix is hosting Capricorns & Cigars tonight.

I got Best Team Name at trivia last night.

(In best Wimpy voice) “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamberder today.” In case you don’t get the reference, Donald Trump tweeted about the 1000 (actually more like 300) “hamberders” he served the members of the national champion Clemson football team.

In other Trump news, he dropped sanctions on Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a cohort of traitor and convicted criminal Paul Manafort. Trump also announced that he wants to eventually withdraw the U.S. from the NATO alliance. Daddy Putin must be mighty pleased with his boy in the White House this week.

That’ll do it for now. Off to get a haircut for the first time in six and a half months. Back tomorrow with more news.

Wednesday update

The Hungry Memphis blog reports that one of South Main’s best restaurants will be closing temporarily. Rizzo’s will close for about a month because a tree is growing into the north wall, making repairs necessary. Sunday brunch on the 20th will be your last chance to get in there before the closure.

The good news is that Rizzo’s won’t be totally gone during that month. They will do a pop-up at Fuel the 25th and 26th, and then from January 29-February 21 they will have a pop-up location inside the 409 South Main food hall. Chef Michael Patrick arranged the pop-ups so that his employees would not have to go without work during the month that the restaurant is closed.

Those of you who are susceptible to colds and the flu might want to stock up on vitamin C, because the weather this weekend is going to be exactly the kind that makes folks sick. Saturday there are going to be thunderstorms with highs in the low 60s. Saturday night, however, the temperature will plummet to the mid to upper 20s and there could be some light snow overnight. Sunday the temperatures won’t recover much at all during the day and will fall to the low 20s that night.

Amidst all the news yesterday I missed that the hit Broadway musical Waitress has started its run at the Orpheum. There are shows through Sunday.

South of Beale is seeking a full-time cook. They want someone with at least 2 years experience and a passion for the food industry, someone who is reliable and who has reliable transportation. To apply, visit SOB’s Careers page, or stop by the restaurant between 2 and 5 PM to apply in person.

The Hilton Garden Inn across from AutoZone Park will open tomorrow. The Daily Memphian has a look at the hotel’s greyhound theme.

The Daily Memphian’s Geoff Calkins has a great piece of analysis on how there’s no easy fix for the mess the Grizzlies are in. It’s Adoptable Pet Night tonight as the Grizzlies host the Milwaukee Bucks. Free Grizz Girl & Puppy poster to the first 5000 fans. Tip-off is at 7 PM.

Wiseacre is hosting a Bleus, Blues, and Brews Tour and Pairing Saturday, January 26. The focus will be on blue cheese, and there will be pairings of Wiseacre craft beers with various cheeses. They will talk about how fermentation plays a role in the making of both beer and cheese. Cost is $20 and includes beer sampling, plenty of cheese, and blues music. There are tour times at 4 PM and 6 PM, and seating is limited so if you want to attend, don’t hesitate to make your reservation.

There’s a site called Pay It Furloughed where you can buy a beer for a federal worker furloughed by the government shutdown.

Say Cheese and Soi Number 9 will be the featured trucks at Food Truck Wednesday tonight at Cordelia’s Market. 5-8 PM.

That’s it for now. Heading out to Blind Bear for the chicken fried steak and jalapeno cream gravy lunch special the cook told me they would have today. Back tomorrow with more news.

Tuesday update

Apologies for taking a rare two days off in a row. As I mentioned in a recent post, I read a book last week that changed my life. It answered all the “Why did this happen to me?” questions I had about events the past four and a half years that previously made no sense. It felt like, although I had never met her, the author wrote the book just for me and I wanted some time to reflect upon it. If I had spare money lying around, I’d buy a copy for every member of the crew that sits at the corner table at Max’s Sports Bar. I know several of them have asked my close friends “What’s going on with Paul?” several times over the past few years, and this book would provide the answers.

A lot of news has piled up during my time away from the blog. Let’s go…

The Commerical Appeal is getting a new hone. Having consolidated its operations with sibling papers in Nashville and Knoxville, the CA no longer needs the massive building they have out in The Edge District on Union Avenue. They are moving into the third floor of 119 South Main, in the space formerly occupied by Oden. If the 119 S. Main address sounds familiar to my readers, it’s because the ground floor is occupied by one of the businesses mentioned most frequently on this blog – the Blind Bear. CA employees, when you move into your new digs, check them out for their weekday lunch. Or, if you can’t get away from your desk, they’re on UberEats.

This isn’t set in stone yet, but Marcus the cook at the Blind Bear told me he’s going to try to have a lunch special at the Bear this Wednesday – chicken fried steak with jalapeno cream gravy, mashed potatoes and okra. If that happens my troll and I will be there for sure. You know how I feel about chicken fried steak!

Here’s a recap of WWE Monday Night RAW from FedExForum last night. I didn’t go but it was said to be an above average show, setting the RAW brand up to go in new directions for 2019.

Before Monday Night RAW, a number of WWE Superstars toured the National Civil Rights Museum and presented a $10,000 donation on behalf of the company. Very cool move.

My friend Michael Butler, a talented photographer and author of the One901 blog, wants to pick one lucky couple to do a Valentine’s Day photo shoot, along with his creative team. Shoot a picture to by January 21 to enter for a chance to win.

Friends of mine are looking to rent their 3 BR/3 BA condo at 575 S. Front. This would be just south of G.E. Patterson, right across Front from the Memphis Farmers Market. They are awesome people and would be great landlords.

Good show coming to The Dirty Crow Inn this Saturday night: Brad Birkedahl makes his debut there. Lots of good rockabilly and Elvis. Brad spends a lot of time playing Beale Street.

The CA has an editorial by Congressman Steve Cohen: It’s time to abolish the Electoral College

Grizzlies announcer Pete Pranica has tips on how to get picked as the FedEx Fan of the Game and receive great prizes:

Coredlia’s Market is having a Girl Scout Cookie and beer pairing on February 27.

The CA’s Jennifer Chandler has a look at 3 meatless lunches for under $10, and you can get one of those lunches Downtown: the grilled portabella mushroom sandwich from Central BBQ.

The Downtown Flying Saucer has a grilled lamb taco on special all week long this week. Sounds yummy!

Ballet Memphis has a job opening for a Donor Relations Manager.

The CA has a review of Justin Timberlake’s recent Memphis show.

If you’re looking for a reason to go to the Peabody’s Sunday brunch buffet, here’s one for you: chocolate covered bacon.

Sunday I thought back to a very Memphis-y game I had in my childhood: Pass the Pigs (originally called Pig Mania). The game has two dice, shaped like pigs, and you score points (or lose your turn) based on the position in which the pigs land. If I had known I would one day be on a BBQ team I would not have given that game away.

The Millennium Tour comes to FedExForum Sunday, March 24.

Statistical analysis site FiveThirtyEight has a great piece on why Kamala Harris and Beto O’Rourke have more upside than Biden or Bernie. Between them, they appeal to five key bases that are vital to electing a Democrat in 2020: The Left, millennials, African-Americans, Hispanics, and party loyalists. A Kamala/Beto ticket sounds like a winner to me. Some say Beto should be the presidential nominee because he has the “it” factor that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama had, but Sen. Harris has more relevant experience and it’s time to have a woman of color in the Oval Office. Beto is young and there will still be plenty of time for him to be the nominee in later elections.

By the way, I am not a Bernie supporter anymore. He’s too soft on Russia. I believe “hawk on Russia” has got to be the number-one quality in a presidential nominee, given all that has happened since 2016. I also am not a fan of any Democratic candidate over 70, except Joe Biden and that’s only if he promises to serve for one term and picks a youthful, progressive running mate .

All right. Finally to the end of this long post. I need to not skip days and let news build up in the future. Back tomorrow with more news.

Saturday update: News and the great pizza debate

If you have general admission tickets for the Justin Timberlake concert tonight, you must enter FedExForum at the east doors on Fourth Street, across from Robert Church Park. At that entrance you will be given your wristband.

Walk With Elias: The Commercial Appeal interviewed WWE superstar Elias ahead of Monday Night RAW at FedExForum.

Hard Knot Designs, makers of rustic home goods, are the featured shop at today’s Small Shop Saturday at Ghost River noon to 4 PM.

Drafts & Laughs with the Comma Comedians returns to Memphis Made Brewing Co. tonight.

The fine folks at have published the 2018 Memphis climate summary on their blog. Interesting reading if you’re a weather nerd like I am.

A Facebook friend of mine posted an article about a new device that is getting Kickstarter funding: The Pizza Fork. This is a utensil that combines a rolling pizza slicer wheel and a fork. It allows you to slice off a bite of your pizza slice then pick it up without need for a knife. So it’s time to discuss an issue I have brought up on my blog in the past, one on which I have strong feelings.

Should pizza be eaten with a knife and fork (or The Pizza Fork), or should it be eaten using your hands?

Well, first of all, if the pizza crust is too soggy to pick up with your hands without the cheese and toppings falling off, then yeah, in that case you pretty much have to use a knife and fork. But that’s an exception and also a sign that you need to visit a different pizzeria in the future.

The answer to the question, as I see it, is on an individual basis. Let’s say that it’s Sunday afternoon, and you’re home by yourself, sitting on the couch in your underwear watching the Bears play the Steelers. The Domino’s guy just delivered a pizza to your door.

If you eat the Domino’s pizza with a knife and fork, then it is perfectly fine to use a knife and fork when you go to a nice restaurant like Spindini and order pizza.

However, if you eat the Domino’s pizza using your hands, then you should also use your hands when eating pizza at a nice restaurant.

I know that many of us had parents or teachers who taught us, “A gentleman/lady does not eat food with his/her hands.” But come on, use some common sends. Yes, it is bad manners to grab a Brussels sprout out of the bowl and pop it in your mouth. But pizza? For heaven’s sake, it’s pizza. It was meant to be eaten with hands.

Just my two cents on this highly important debate. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

Yesterday I went over to the Court Square food truck rodeo with no particular lunch in mind. After looking over the selection, I decided to visit the Soi Number 9 food truck.

I went up to the window and ordered the Khao Soi Noodles – egg noodles with stewed chicken in a yellow curry sauce with onion, pickled greens, onions and a lime. The lady at the counter asked my name so she could call it out when the order was ready. When I told her it was Paul, she said, “You write a blog?” Yep, this was not my first visit to Soi Number 9 and I have blogged about good past experiences with them.

My food was ready in about 10 minutes and she asked if I wanted a cup of Thai hot chili sauce to take with me. I love spicy, so of course I’m not turning that down!

What a beautiful presentation! As it turned out, I did not need the hot sauce. I don’t eat a lot of yellow curry and was pleasantly surprised to find it was hotter than I expected. All the flavors worked so well together and it was a delicious lunch. As is often the case with food truck Thursdays, I couldn’t finish all my food so I had leftovers.

The CA reports that the historic Ambassador Hotel on South Main will be renovated into apartments, about half of them being rented out using AirBnb, with a restaurant on the ground floor. The developer says there is a high demand for short-term rentals in the area, which is true, especially during Music Fest and BBQ Fest. A “well-known hospitality company” is said to be interested in opening the restaurant and further developing the South Main food scene.

The Man of the Woods is back at FedExForum tomorrow night at 7:30. Justin Timberlake already made one tour stop here in 2018, but demand was so high that he added a second date. There’s always some excellent people-watching Downtown on the nights of JT concerts. Many women tend to dress to the nines for his shows.

Great post by Holly of the I Love Memphis Blog on the soon-to-open Greyhound, a new craft cocktail bar in the Downtown core. What’s up with the name, you ask? The bar is inside the new Hilton Garden Inn across from AutoZone Park on Union, on the site where the old Greyhound bus station used to be located. Holly reports that gin drinks will be a specialty.

Vance Lauderdale of Memphis magazine has a look at Madison and Main in the early 1900s.

Classic 1952 movie Singin’ in the Rain plays on the Orpheum’s big screen tonight at 7.

The Andrew Michael family of restaurants is having a Guest Chef Series in 2019. This will include two of their Downtown restaurants. On Sunday, January 27, Kevin Nashan of Sidney Street in St. Louis will be in the Gray Canary’s kitchen. On March 4, Catherine & Mary’s will host Rebecca Wilcomb of New Orleans restaurant Gianna.

The MBJ has a sneak peek at what is going on with redevelopment of the former Wonder Bread bakery space over in The Edge. The project’s 290 apartments should be ready to be occupied by May of next year.

Downtown Yoga is having a Galentine’s Day Celebration on Wednesday, February 13 at 6:45 PM. This is a 45-minute restorative yoga class that will be a celebration of female friendships. After the class there will be sweets, beverages, and flowers. Everyone, both women and men, are welcome. YOGA!

Job news: Explore Bike Share has two positions open, a Membership Marketing Director and a Development Manager.

Well here’s something new and different: There will be a Water Lantern Festival at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Riverside Park, just south of Downtown, on Saturday, May 11.

If you live or work Downtown and have thought about purchasing season tickets for the Memphis Express, the city’s new pro football team, next week would be a good time to do it. Call 901-881-3344 between 9 AM and 5 PM January 14-18 from a Downtown location to order season tickets, and a special gift will be delivered to you within 30 minutes or the tickets are free. Certain restrictions apply.

Bluff City Life has a segment introducing viewers to the owners of the new Downtown Nutrition shop on the Main Street Mall.

That’s it for now. I read a life-changing book this week, a book that made a lot of things make sense that previously made no sense. I may talk about it on here at some future point, but for now I want to get out and tell my friends about it. Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

For all my readers who frequent Bardog Tavern, please keep general manager Rico in your thoughts this week. Tuesday afternoon he was in a motorcycle accident. He’s recovering in the hospital, and is said to have injured his knee and messed up his right arm and thumb. Get better soon, Rico! Next time I go in I will play some Bee Gees and some Earth, Wind & Fire on the jukebox in your honor.

Cardinals Caravan returns to AutoZone Park Friday, January 18. The event is free to attend, with gates opening at 5:30 and program at 6:30. Among the guests will be former Redbirds manager/current Cardinals first-base coach Stubby Clapp, as will fellow Redbirds and Cards alum Jason Motte. Current Cardinals players Jordan Hicks, Tyler O’Neill, Austin Gomber, and Adolis Garcia will attend, as will Cardinals broadcaster Ricky Horton. There will be autographs for kids 15 and under – there will be a ticketing system, so get there early to get your ticket. There will be a Q&A session and a raffle. This event has a history of getting canceled due to snow and ice, so let’s hope for warm weather for the area between St. Louis and Memphis that day.

The Memphis Tigers men’s basketball team hosts ECU at FedExForum tonight at 8. Can’t be there but want to keep up? There’s now an Official Memphis Tigers app with live stats, streaming video and audio, alerts, scores, and stories. The app is free to download and install.

While we’re on the subject of apps and smartphones, WMC Action News 5 warns of a new scam affecting Apple device users. Scammers spoof a phone call from Apple saying there is a problem with your device. They are after your personal information. Apple never places unsolicited calls to its users.

The new Downtown men’s grooming parlor Baron’s Man Cave is almost ready to open and is now accepting appointments online. The man cave is located at 50 Peabody Place, Suite 101 between Front and Main.

The Downtown Memphis Commission is hosting a Downtown Parking Study Open House at their building at N. Main and Adams, Thursday, January 17. The time is listed as 5:30-6:30 AM but I’m pretty sure they mean PM.

New nonstop flights to and from Memphis International. Via Airlines will be here on June 25 with nonstop flights to Austin and Pittsburgh.

Cupcakes and Craft Beers, a beer dinner featuring three savory and one sweet cupcake by Two Girls and a Whip, returns to the Ghost River taproom Thursday, January 24. Each cupcake will be expertly paired with a Ghost River beer. Tickets are $35 and must be purchased in advance.

Beginning today and for about three weeks, Mississippi Blvd. will be closed to through traffic between Danny Thomas and Lauderdale for sewer work.

The City Council has spent some time on what it would mean if sports betting were legalized in Tennessee and specifically on Beale Street. Although most of the revenue would go to the state, Council members supporting the resolution want to make sure Memphis keeps a fair share.

Chris Vernon announced that all the episodes of The Chris Vernon Show are now on YouTube and you can access them by subscribing to the grindcitymedia channel. His team has been doing an insane amount of work, he says, archiving everything.

The Flyer has a report on the investor who bought the Royal Furniture building and what his plans for the space might be.

That’s it for now. Off to Court Square for Food Truck Thursday. Back tomorrow with more news.

Want to learn to play bridge or improve your game? Opportunities coming to Downtown Memphis

(This is my second post of the day. Scroll down if you’re here for my Wednesday Update news post)

Have you ever thought about learning a game your grandparents may have played, duplicate contract bridge? Or, do you already know how to play and are interested in improving your game? Well, you’ll have a lot of opportunities to do that in Downtown Memphis toward the end of March.

Many of you know that I used to work for the company that sanctions the card game bridge. That company sanctions three national tournaments per year, one each in the spring, summer, and fall, and the spring national tournament is coming to Memphis, at the Cook Convention Center Downtown, March 21-31. Although the main focus of these events, called NABCs, is on top-level players competing to win prestigious titles, they also offer plenty for new, novice, and intermediate players. I want to spotlight some opportunities you will have there to learn and improve.

  • There will be free two-hour lessons Saturday, March 23 and Sunday, March 24 at 10 AM. This will be followed by BridgePlus+, where you play a limited number of hands to practice what you learned. There is no card fee for BridgePlus+.
  • Learn Bridge in a Day, the afternoon of Saturday, March 23, is a seminar that does what it says – it will have you comfortable playing the game and understanding the basics by the end of the day. There is a fee for this course. Register here. The teacher, Patty Tucker, is considered one of the very best teachers in North America.
  • Notrump in a Day, the successor to Learn Bridge in a Day, is the afternoon of Sunday, March 24, also taught by Patty Tucker. Bridge contracts played without a trump suit have to be played a little differently than contracts where there is one. This course will teach you how. There is a fee for this class as well. Register here. These courses have been around for several years and feedback from students who attended has been excellent.
  • Celebrity speakers almost every day. Unless the times have changed I believe these are at 9:15 AM and 6:45 PM. The speakers are some of the best bridge teachers out there, and they will discuss various strategies for those at the newcomer and intermediate levels to improve their game. If you gave specific questions about your game, by all means find out if Jerry Helms is doing his “Ask Jerry” seminar.
  • Pop-up bridge bookstore at the Convention Center. Plenty of books and other materials to take your game to a higher level no matter where you are on the learning curve.
  • Newcomers play free Friday, March 22. A newcomer is someone with no more than 5 masterpoints, the measure of success in the bridge world.
  • 0-5 newcomer games every day, although there’s a card fee on days other than the 22nd.
  • Half-off special: Those with 100 masterpoints are less can buy an entry to a game March 22-24 and receive a half-priced entry to a game March 29-31.
  • Partnership desk: You need a partner to play bridge, but if you don’t have one, no problem. Just come about an hour early and they’ll find a partner for you.
  • Hand records are available for most games. These allow you to go back over the hands you played and think about how you might have played them differently/better.
  • If you’re 25 or  younger, inquire about a junior membership to the league for only 5 bucks. That’ll get you the right to have your masterpoints recorded for an entire year, and you also will get online access to the league’s highly acclaimed monthly magazine, The Bridge Bulletin – not only the current month issue, but back issues to at least 2005 and they may have added more.

In case you’re wondering how I know so much about these events, I sat cat-a-corner to the Education Manager in cubicle land. Although I’m not with the bridge league anymore, I still encourage anyone who’s interested in learning a highly addictive mind game to give bridge a try.

Back tomorrow with more news.