Thursday update

What a weird night last night was.

I was out at my usual watering hole. About 6, people checking social media said there was an active shooter driving around Memphis, randomly shooting at people out of his car window. He had posted a video of himself driving and shooting on Facebook. He had shot up an AutoZone store near Jackson and 240.

About 8 the shootings got closer to home. There was a report of a crime scene at Poplar and Auburndale in Midtown. There were also fears the suspect might be heading Downtown, where thousands of fans attending a Memphis Redbirds game would be easy targets.

“We’re locking the doors,” announced the security guard at the bar where I was. “You’re welcome to stay. But if you choose to leave, you can’t come back in.”

Most everyone chose to stay and we put Action News 5 on. The suspect shot a woman in Whitehaven, drove to Southaven where he switched cars via a carjacking, and drove back north into Memphis. By this time Memphis Police had issued a statement advising people to shelter in place until the shooting spree was over.

Police eventually caught up with the suspect at Hodge Road and Ivan Road (nearest major intersection would be Third and Raines and took him into custody. A little after 9, the doors were unlocked and Wednesday karaoke night began at the bar.

On to the news… Memphis Chess Club is hiring. They’re looking for cooks (16 and up), baristas (18 and up), and a team leader. You don’t have to know how to play chess to qualify for these positions. Email if interested.

John Nemeth will perform at an intimate listening party at River City Records Saturday, September 17 at 3 PM. There will be a meet & greet and he’ll sign albums and posters.

If you haven’t made dinner plans for tonight yet, here’s an idea:

A 300-room expansion in a second tower has been proposed for the Sheraton Hotel. Other additions would include a new lobby bar and a second-floor event deck.

Hopefully, today won’t be as eventful as yesterday was. Back tomorrow with more news.

Wednesday update

Long time no write! Labor Day was a weird day for a variety of reasons and I decided to take a do-over yesterday. The day after Labor Day is such a great day to go out because almost no one else does.

Feast & Graze is hosting a Grazing 101 class on Friday, September 16 from 6:30 to 8:30 that will focus on pairing cheese with honey. Beekeeper Gus Mitchell will speak as patrons sample 5 kinds of cheese and 3 wines. Tickets are available on the website.

Also, Feast & Graze is having an End of Summer sale through September 21. Get an automatic 15% off website orders with no coupon code needed.

Primas Bakery and Boutique on South Main is hosting a Hocus Pocus Halloween Party on Sunday, October 2 from 12:30 to 2 PM. There will be Halloween treat platters, cupcake decorating, coloring pages for children, cookies, tea, and punch.

For my St. Jude readers, the New Wing Order food truck will be back on your campus this week. They’ll have traditional and boneless wings with Buffalo sauce and Grind City Gold sauce. They’ll also have fried chicken BBQ nachos.

The Memphis Business Journal has a half-off Labor Day sale going on this week.

Let’s have a look at college football games this Saturday of interest to those in Memphis:

  • 1 Alabama at Texas, 11:00 AM, FOX
  • Arkansas State at 3 Ohio State, 11:00 AM, Big Ten Network
  • South Carolina at 16 Arkansas, 11:00 AM, ESPN
  • 24 Tennessee at 17 Pittsburgh, 2:30 PM, ABC
  • Memphis at Navy, 2:30 PM, CBS Sports Network
  • 25 Houston at Texas Tech, 3:00 PM, FS1
  • Southern Heritage Classic, Jackson State vs. Tennessee State. Liberty Bowl, 6:00 PM
  • 20 Kentucky at 12 Florida, 6:00 PM, ESPN
  • Central Arkansas at 22 Ole Miss, 6:00 PM, SEC Network
  • San Jose State at Auburn, 6:30 PM, ESPNU
  • Southern at LSU, 6:30 PM, SEC Network
  • 9 Baylor at 21 BYU, 9:15 PM, ESPN

From WREG: Memphis ranks number 2 in a survey of rudest cities. Number one was Philadelphia. The City of Brotherly Love? Really? But, yes, Memphis placed first in five categories of rudeness, including being noisy in public and being rude to service staff.

Today is National Beer Lover’s Day. May I recommend the PBR?

The O’Jays play the Orpheum tonight in a Southern Heritage Classic event.

The Redbirds play a doubleheader vs. the Norfolk Tides today. The first game begins at 5:05.

That’s it for today. Back tomorrow with more news.

Saturday update

I had lunch at Local on Main yesterday. On weekdays, they have a $10 plate at lunchtime. There’s a different special each day and you get to pair it with two sides. The specials are:

  • Monday – Chicken legs
  • Tuesday – Meatloaf
  • Wednesday – Chicken breast
  • Thursday – Brisket
  • Friday – Catfish

I got the catfish, blackened (you can get it fried if you prefer). For my two sides, I selected corn and greens.

The catfish was delicious and perfectly seasoned, but I gotta tell you, the star of the show was those greens! They added just the right amount of fatback to bring out the flavor. 10 out of 10!

Watch out for that corn, though. It was Local’s chef’s take on Mexican street corn, and the spice packs a mighty punch. Don’t get me wrong, it was yummy, and I love spicy foods. But to use the words of a member of a Bananas Foster team that used to compete in Shoulder at BBQ Fest, “That’s gonna be a bit rough on the back nine tomorrow.”

Overall, delicious lunch, and good value. I will be back next week to try the turkey or the brisket.

Now, let me say a few words about Local on Main. You may have noticed, over the years, that I have blogged about it considerably less than the other Downtown locals’ bars – ironic given the name.

For years, I tried to like Local but just couldn’t. Part of the reason stems from the 2008 college basketball game when #1 Memphis lost to #2 Tennessee, its only loss that year until the finals of the NCAA tournament. The former owner of Local, a UT fan, let someone plug in her phone to the jukebox and play “Rocky Top” on the speaker system. This isn’t Knoxville. It was an insult to the many Memphians who bleed Tiger blue.

It was more than just that, though. On New Year’s Day 2008, I stepped into Calhoun’s – now Max’s Sports Bar – for the first time. I immediately got a feeling that I had found a new home, a place where I would enjoy merry times. And indeed I did.

Later that year I stepped into Bardog Tavern for the first time. Once again, within the first minute, I knew I had found a home. I knew I had found a place where I’d spend a considerable amount of time.

For years, though, I didn’t get that feeling when I visited the Local location on Main Street. People tried to get me to like it. My friend Courtney who bartended there coaxed me in a few times. My buddy Uncle Ray, may he rest in peace, convinced me to come in for a couple of beers.

It felt like merely a place where I conducted a transaction, a place where I exchanged money for beer and food and which had no value to me beyond that. “That place has all the appeal of a bar & grill on Germantown Parkway, or Goodman Road,” I commented to friends.

The bar came under new ownership a year or two ago, and I thought, “Someday I’ll give that place another chance.” Someday didn’t come quickly, though. As things reopened post-pandemic, I clung to what was familiar more than ever.

Things changed this week when one of my favorite bartenders of all time got hired there. For her, I’d give it a try. I got there right when the place opened on Wednesday and…

It didn’t feel like Germantown Parkway.

It didn’t feel like Goodman Road.

I got the vibe I did at Max’s in January 2008. Or Bardog later that year.

I was home.

Of course, it helped that my friend of 13 years was behind the bar. It helped that I was one of about 20 regulars who followed her over from the old place, so I had lots of friends to talk to.

But still, the vibe was way different than previous times I’ve been in Local on Main. I’ve seen the new owners around but haven’t had a chance to officially meet them yet. However, knowing that bars tend to be extensions of their owners’ personalities, I have a feeling the new owners are good people.

On to the news… Steve Lockwood & Old Dogs play South Point Grocery’s front porch today at noon.

Today is International Bacon Day. My recommendation would be to celebrate it with a breakfast shot – Jameson and butterscotch schnapps, chased by orange juice, chased by a piece of bacon.

There’s a Main Street Festival, a small business expo, happening in Court Square today from 3 to 8.

The River City Jazz & Music Festival happens tonight at the Cannon Center.

DJ Superbrad plays the Blind Bear tonight beginning at 9.

Darian Roe plays the King’s Palace Cafe Tap Room tonight from 8 to midnight.

Go Tigers and Woo Pig Sooiee! Back tomorrow with more news.

9/01 Day update

Happy 9/01 Day! For those of you unfamiliar, today is an unofficial holiday celebrating all things Memphis. Why today? It’s September 1 (9/01) and 901 is the Memphis area code.

Belle Tavern is having a 9/01 Day special today: El Tigre Azul for $9.01, today only. It’s made with Lunazul Blanco, Blue Curacao, lime, pineapple, Triple Sec, and Demerara.

The Daily Memphian has an updated list of 9/01 Day gatherings. WREG has a list of 9/01 Day deals.

A 901 Mane Street trolley tour today at noon will honor Black male business owners.

Tonight we are all Ball State fans as the Cardinals take on the Tennessee Vols. SEC Network, 6:00. Loflin Yard will have a watch party.

There’s free comedy tonight at Local on Main.

Happy birthday to Memphis restaurateur Aldo (Bardog/Slider Inn/Aldo’s Pizza Pies/Momma’s), who hit the big FIVE-O earlier this week.

River Time Market & Deli is closed today for health reasons. Hope you get well soon Pam!

The building at 44 S. Front (southeast corner of Front and Monroe) is for sale. It is right across the street from the future Brooks Museum.

A Gallup poll shows that for the first time in U.S. history, more people smoke weed than cigarettes.

A man has been arrested for recent break-ins at the Parking Can Be Fun garage.

WOOOHOOO! Perjorie T. Roll just told me I could have today off for 901 Day. Heading to Bardog as soon as the phone charges a bit. After that I’ll go see Jessica at Local (I hear they have a brisket meat-and-three special – Local opens at noon today). Back tomorrow with more news.