Sunday update

Today is National Wine and Cheese Day, and Loflin Yard will hold a special celebration 4 to 7 this afternoon. Wine & Dine specials will include

  • $5 glasses of wine
  • Half off bottles of wine
  • Large charcuterie board for the price of a small

Pam & Terry announced a time change for their Saturday & Sunday shows at the new Ghost River location on Beale. Both days they will play 3:30-6:30.

Memphis 901 FC beat Tulsa last night, picking up 3 points in league play.

Memphis Fire Department responded to a fire near Blues City Cafe on Beale Street yesterday morning. Their electrical box exploded.

Yesterday was the first day since February Shelby County reported more than 300 COVID cases in a single day.

There’s a class at the Broom Closet this afternoon entitled Healing Waters: An Introduction to Herbal Infusions. It’s taught by Erin Larrivee, who has been working with herbal infusions for 10 years. Participants will be able to sample the recipes made this afternoon, and they will get a couple of handcrafted herbal blends to make at home. Fee for the class is $10.

Jeff Hulett plays tonight’s edition of Sunset Sessions at Grind City Brewing 6-8 PM.

That’s it for today. Back tomorrow with more news, or maybe Tuesday since Mondays are often slow days.

Saturday update – PBR prices, dangerous man in South Main, more

I want to start off today’s post by stirring the pot a bit.

Yesterday I was sitting at the Silly Goose with a manager from B.B. King’s club on Beale. “Just curious,” I asked him. “What does a PBR cost over there?”

“$3.50,” he replied.

“For one of these?” I held up the 16-ounce can I was working on, and he said yes.

So here’s my question. B.B. King’s is on Beale, and has to deal with all the operating overhead that comes with being in an entertainment district. So how is it that neighborhood bars, that are many blocks removed from the entertainment district, can justify a price higher than $3.50 for a 16 ounce PBR?

I’m just gonna say there’s an opportunity here. Some neighborhood bars would be able to cut into my Goose and Bear time a good bit if their PBR prices were as reasonable as those places.

There’s news on Nextdoor of a man on a bike who has assaulted several people Downtown recently. He’s said to hang around Loflin Yard, Wayne’s Candy on Carolina Avenue, and South Main. Black male, military hat, military backpack.

More info on the Nextdoor comments: Believed to sleep in the area around Nettleton and Tennessee at night. Has pulled a knife on at least one area resident. Possibly the same man who screamed at groups of people on South Main near Butler and Huling. Capable of acting perfectly normal when approached by police. Seen on Carolina near B.B. King Blvd. and also on Georgia. Not always on a bike. Height estimated by one commenter to be 5’9″ to 5’10”.

Damn. I almost walked to Max’s Sports Bar (which, by the way, has 16 oz. PBR draft for $2.75) yesterday afternoon but decided against it because of rain in the area. Glad I didn’t now. It’s terrible that South Main is booming like never before in the 19 years I have lived Downtown, yet never before have I felt so unsafe walking to that neighborhood.

If you commute down South Front Street, you’ll want to make alternate arrangements for the afternoon of Monday, August 2. AutoZone will have Front blocked off between Union and Gayoso from 4 to 7 that afternoon. They will have a street party to celebrate the return of workers to their headquarters Store Support Center and the opening of new office space.

The Memphis Redbirds’ 12-game winning streak was broken by the Louisville Bats last night, 1-0.

The MBJ reports that Italian restaurant Spindini has closed. The space at 383-385 S. Main has been purchased by a group of investors who plan to open another restaurant there.

In world news: The UK’s The Guardian visited Methodist Hospital in Memphis to get a report on the Delta variant and vaccine resistance.

The DM reports that the I-40 bridge won’t open until early August.

Today is National Tequila Day.

It’s Local Heroes Day as Memphis 901 FC hosts Tulsa tonight. Starting at 4:30 there will be a pre-party at the new Ghost River location on Beale. $10 deal during the party gets you a Ghost River Gold and a chili cheese dog. My friends Pam & Terry will supply the live music. March to the stadium at 6:50, kickoff at 7:30. If you can’t make it live, the match will be broadcast locally on CW30.

Artist Ephraim Urevbu holds a preview exhibition for The Naked Truth: An American Story in Red, White, and Blue at his gallery Urevbu Contemporary, S. Main at Huling, today at 4:30. The exhibition will be on display in Nashville this fall.

Five O’Clock Shadow plays Slider Inn Downtown today at noon.

There’s a Back to School Skate Party this evening 7-9 on Riverside Drive between Court and Jefferson. Free skating, school supplies giveaways, food trucks.

Time to watch the USWNT, get a couple of hours of professional writing done, and then go drink some of that overpriced PBR. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

Great news: The DMC announced in its weekly email newsletter that Food Truck Thursdays will return in August. About a dozen food trucks park in Court Square on Thursdays, offering additional dining options to those who are Downtown during the lunch hour. I am very excited to see the trucks make a comeback. It’s been too long since I had a pulled pork baked potato with Smurfey sauce.

The Shelby County COVID-19 Task Force resumed its weekly press conferences yesterday. They discontinued them last month but said they would bring them back if circumstances changed significantly. A report of over 200 new cases for the first day in months (259 to be exact) was enough to bring the conferences back. Read the full report on NewsBreak

I do want to emphasize one point from the press conference: County Health Officer Dr. Bruce Randolph was asked if bringing restrictions back would be considered if the numbers got high enough. Dr. Randolph said it’s not an issue of another Safer at Home order or imposing restrictions on businesses. It’s an issue of too many people being unvaccinated. So it sounds like our bar stools and 3 AM closing times are not in danger.

It’s Full Moon Kayak night at Wolf River Harbor. There will be free 30 minute kayak rentals and a DJ on the harbor.

Over on Mud Island tonight, it will be the next installment of Soulin’ on the River, this one featuring Devin Crutcher. This is a free show and lawn chairs, coolers, blankets, and picnic baskets are welcome.

Josh McLane, formerly in the kitchen at the Hi-Tone, will operate a small sandwich shop inside the new South Point Grocery, the Memphis Flyer reports. The grocery is set to open this fall.

Seamus will open the Brass Door at 6:30 Saturday morning for a USWNT watch party. Come support the USA ladies in Olympic soccer.

The Memphis Flyer has video of the demolition of a small building in Tom Lee Park yesterday as construction got underway.

Interesting: Texas and Oklahoma are looking to get out of the Big 12, according to this report, and the SEC is a conference they have their eyes on. They would need the votes of 11 of the 14 current conference members to join the SEC. Former Big 12 members Texas A&M and Missouri are said to be “hard nos” and Arkansas is not fond of the idea of being in a conference with Texas once again. But who would be the fourth no?

The Memphis Flyer has a story on the New Wing Order-Old Dominick Distillery partnership that produced a Maple Bourbon wing sauce. Don’t forget, Downtowners, City Market is your place to pick up some of the sauce.

Jennifer Biggs of the DM has a look at Grind City Brewing Co. this morning. Go there, even if it is a bit out of the way. It is awesome. Biggs: “The view alone is enough to keep the seats full.”

The Redbirds, currently on the road in Louisville, have won 12 straight.

Moxy Memphis at 40 N. Front will have Drag Queen Bingo tonight from 7 to 9. Aubrey Ombre will call the numbers and will give away some fabulous prizes, including a chance to win a suite at the Moxy. This seems to be the Summer of Drag… the Moxy is the third Memphis business in a month to bring on either a drag show or drag bingo.

That’s it for this post. I’m going to write until about 1, 1:30 then get out for a while. Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

A new record store is coming to the neighborhood. I don’t have an address for River City Records yet but a Nextdoor post says it will be in the heart of Downtown. They will carry music from the Stax, Royal, and Sun labels, R&B, hip-hop – Memphis music from the 1950s until today. They’ll have plenty of vinyl and in-store listening stations. They’ll have live, in-store events too. Grand opening plans will be announced soon. In the meantime, check out their Memphis to the Core Spotify playlist.

A third sport is coming to AutoZone Park. The Premier Rugby Sevens league championship game will be played at the park October 9. If you’ve never seen Rugby Sevens on TV, it is a lot of fun, considerably more fast-paced than traditional rugby. Matches are only 14 minutes long, so it’s a sport for people with short attention spans.

Downtown property owners: The CCDC now has grants available for sidewalk repair. They’ll match money you spend on repairs, up to $5000. This is great news. There are plenty of sidewalks Downtown that are cracked to the point of being safety hazards.

There’s controversy over Mayor Harris’ appointee to lead the Shelby County Health Department – but Dr. Michelle Taylor’s qualifications were not what I found to be disturbing in the article. The county expects to pay the director of the health department, a DOCTOR, $96,480. How do they expect to get anybody good when most doctors earn well into six figures?

In today’s Morning Brew newsletter, it was noted that beginning today in France, you have to show proof of vaccination to get into movie theaters, sports arenas, and large event venues. Starting in August, you’ll need to be vaccinated to eat in restaurants. Could such measures come to the U.S., and to Shelby County? I’d definitely favor France’s measures over reinstating masking and social distancing regulations. Punish the people who haven’t done the right thing. Don’t punish everyone!

The 2021 Summer Olympics opening ceremony will begin at 8 PM Tokyo time tomorrow. The U.S. Central time zone is 14 hours behind Tokyo, so set the alarm clock for 6 AM if you want to watch. Here’s a comprehensive schedule of Olympic events. There are plenty of events happening today.

From Local 24: Orpheum uses arts to help kids deal with pain of losing parents

Son Little performs live at Handy Park, Beale Street at B.B. King Blvd., in this week’s edition of the Get Loud! concert series. The Sensational Barnes Brothers open. The show begins at 6, and it’s free and family-friendly.

Andy Lyle Hall plays a free show at Carolina Watershed tonight at 6.

I took yesterday as an effective weekend day, but today it’s time to get back to business. Lately Thursday has been my “stay home and write, all day and all night” day, and I see no reason to alter those plans, especially since I have 9 articles in my “Ideas” queue. Back tomorrow with more news.

Wednesday update

There’s a storefront at 8 S. Main with a sign that says El-Basha Grill. There are tables and chairs inside like it’s a restaurant, and occasionally I will see vehicles parked outside and people moving equipment around. However, as far as I am aware, the business has never opened its doors to the public.

Yesterday I noticed this sign in its window.

Fat Tuesday is a chain of New Orleans-style daiquiri bars. Longtime Downtowners will remember a Fat Tuesday location on the second floor of Peabody Place, across the walk from that indoor miniature golf course and that weird gift shop that had doves in a cage.

Are we about to have a bar that serves frozen drinks just steps away from Walgreens, Cafe Keough, Felicia Suzanne Restaurant – and my apartment building?

Wow. I have really mixed feelings about that. The part of me that likes to go to bars loves the idea of frozen drinks steps away. Also, it could become a convenient place to hang out with the neighbors when it’s too cold to be on the rooftop.

On the other hand, the part of me that is a resident of the relatively quiet, serene Madison-Monroe block on Main questions whether a daiquiri bar is a good fit for the neighborhood. People screaming “Wooooooooo!” at all hours of the night would no longer be an occurrence on New Year’s Eve and Music Fest – it’d be an everyday kind of thing.

Of course, we don’t know for sure that 8 S. Main is where the Fat Tuesday location will be. It could be that the owner of that building is friends with folks at the chain restaurant and let them put up a sign there. If that is the location, though, it’s going to be somewhat of a controversial topic.

I visited Stix, the Asian restaurant in Peabody Place, and tried the Diablo shrimp hibachi grill for the first time.

That spicy cream sauce on the shrimp and veggies was excellent. One of the best menu items I’ve tried yet at Stix.

Yesterday Memphis Police Chief Cereyln “C.J.” Davis, Assistant Chief Don Crowe, Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner, and Tennessee Highway Patrol officials held a joint news conference. Interstate shootings, drag racing, and reckless driving/stunt driving have been out of control this year. The agencies have formulated a plan to combat the illegal activity. I wrote a summary of the press conference on News Break.

The July issue of Desoto Magazine has a great article about The Peanut Shoppe on Main Street.

Flight restaurant at Main and Monroe has a host job open.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed off their final approval for renovations to Tom Lee Park this week.

Today is National Hot Dog Day.

In Edge District news, Chef Tam’s Underground Cafe is once again requiring customers to be masked while waiting on their food. They have also reduced seating for social distancing purposes. These changes are in response to the spread of the Delta variant of COVID.

Today marks the beginning of Memphis Flyer Burger Week. Some of the city’s best restaurants will serve up burgers for only $5.99 through Tuesday, July 27. Participating Downtown restaurants are Huey’s, Bardog, Flying Saucer, and Slider Inn. A portion of the proceeds from Burger Week go to the Mid-South Food Bank.

Halfway through the week and I’ve already written 8 professional articles. I think a day off is in order. I’m going to spend the afternoon at bars named after animals. Back tomorrow with more news.

Tuesday update

The COVID-19 emergency overflow hospital at 495 Union, site of the former Commercial Appeal building, has been decommissioned without ever being used. The hospital was prepared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to handle the threat of local hospitals exceeding their surge capacity because of COVID. That never happened, although we came close in December 2020.

Opera Memphis is looking to move from its East Memphis home into a place where the organization can feel more in the heart of the community. The CA reports that The Edge District is a top contender to house Opera Memphis.

Speaking of The Edge, it’s one of the neighborhoods eligible for building loans in a new $30 million Memphis Medical District Investment Fund. Developers find it hard to get loans to build affordable rental properties in the neighborhoods around the Med Center District. This fund will help ensure that in the future, those who work in the district will be able to live not far away.

The DM reports that details of Memphis Tigers basketball assistant coach Larry Brown’s contract have emerged. Brown’s base salary is $300,000 a year. Given that he’s won NCAA and NBA titles, he’s clearly doing this for Penny and for the love of the game more than the money. There are performance incentives and bonuses. The University of Memphis wisely threw in clauses addressing what will happen if NCAA violations happen under Brown’s watch.

Also from the DM: An old MGM warehouse on Film Row at 502 S. Second may become a jazz club. The space would be called Luxe Jazz Suite and would feature emerging talent and masters of the craft. A rooftop bar is among the plans, and the permit application states the business would get more pedestrian traffic on that block of Second.

It’s International Chess Day, making this an excellent week (I had “day” rather than “week,” but they’re closed Monday-Tuesday) to check out the offerings at the Memphis Chess Club at Madison and B.B. King Blvd. if you haven’t done so already. Even if you don’t play a lick of chess, you can pick up some yummy food in their cafe.

The GOODLife DJs will bring some positive, high-energy dance music to the MOXY Memphis hotel, 40 N. Front, Thursday from 6-9 PM.

Hot summer salsa is on the menu for this month’s Fourth Bluff Latin Dance Series this Saturday 7-8 at Fourth Bluff Park. This beginner salsa lesson, taught by the staff of Cat’s Ballroom, is free to all.

DJ Superbrad is back at the Blind Bear this Saturday night with a dance party featuring music of the ’00s.

Even more news from The Edge District: Craft Axe Throwing at 344 Floyd Alley will hold a Viking Night on Thursday. Dress up as a Viking and get $5 off your reservation. Erik and Ivar would approve.

Snack recommendation: If you haven’t tried the Ding Dongs with caramel-flavored cake inside rather than chocolate, do it. DGX usually has them.

All righty then… my to-do list for the day has a double-digit list of bullet points, so I guess I will get started on those. Back tomorrow with more news.

Monday update

Today is National Daiquiri Day. It’s a great day to cool down with a frozen drink from Wet Willie’s on Beale Street. Their Call-a-Cab fruit punch drink, in its large size, contains nearly as much alcohol as a six-pack of beer. I recommend one, but only if you’re not driving.

If you prefer to support a great local business rather than a national chain, Max’s Sports Bar has five frozen drinks on tap, including the legendary Purple Drank. They open at 4:30 but if you go down there right as they throw open the doors, give them a few minutes to fire up the drink machines.

There will be live music on the north patio of Cordelia’s Market tonight 5-7 PM. Grab a beer bucket inside and come on out and enjoy.

From the New York Post: Athletes will sleep on cardboard “anti-sex” beds in the Olympic Village. The Village tends to be a huge sex party among¬†Olympic athletes, but that’s frowned upon this year because the contact could promote the spread of COVID. So a Japanese firm has constructed single beds, made out of cardboard, that are strong enough to support the weight of one athlete, but not two or more.

What about the wrestlers who compete in the superheavyweight division? They weigh as much as three gymnasts. Will the cardboard beds buckle under their weight?

MWN forecast for today: Only 83 for a high with a 50% chance of showers/storms; 70 tonight with a 30% chance. Wind from the northeast. It’d be a nice patio day if those showers would stay away.

Short post today, as is often the case on Monday. Back tomorrow with more news.

Sunday update

There’s a bar manager position open at a Downtown Memphis restaurant. The ZipRecruiter listing does not name the business, but it mentions craft beer and really good burgers, which strongly suggests it’s the Flying Saucer.

Memphis 901 FC picked up a draw at Indianapolis last night. That improves their record to 3-5-4, for a total of 14 points. The soccer club returns home to Memphis to host Tulsa FC on Saturday, its only home match for the month of July.

Here’s a link to the COVID Week-in-Review data analyst James Aycock published yesterday. His TL;DR: “Yikes!”

The Redbirds host the Norfolk Tides in the final game of this homestand this afternoon at 2:05. Kids 12 and under get an ice cream treat from Prairie Farms.

The Bugaloos bring their Magical History Tour to Slider Inn Downtown this afternoon at 1. The Facebook event listing described the band’s musical style as “mixes elements of 60’s and 70’s power pop, AM Gold, and soft rock.”

Grassfire Bluegrass Band plays Loflin Yard today at noon.

Just saw police motorcycles escorting a silver truck with a flashing light (not a blue police light) the wrong way up Second Street. I wonder what that’s about?

Relatively short post today. I’m going to stay home and write all day then watch WWE Money in the Bank tonight. Back tomorrow with more news.

Saturday update

Live music returns to the Memphis Farmers Market this morning. Becky Roland and the Double Stops will perform. The Market is open for business every Saturday from 8 AM to 1 PM under the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson, behind the Powerhouse movie theater.

Look what I had for dinner at the Blind Bear yesterday!

The Blind Bear rolled out its current menu about 11 months ago, and when it first came out I tried the seafood risotto and the lasagna. I never got around to trying the chicken, thinking, “Meh. It’s just chicken. Boring.”

Until yesterday. Let me tell you, that chicken is anything but boring, and not trying it sooner was a big mistake. This is a herb-roasted chicken breast on a bed of mashed potatoes and asparagus, topped with a mushroom Marsala cream sauce. One of the yummiest dinners I have eaten in a while.

In other food news, the Memphis Chess Club on Madison posted to Facebook about a tasty breakfast bowl:

Enjoy a healthy and fresh mix of vanilla granola, strawberries, blueberries, banana and coconut on an acai base topped with honey and roasted almond butter.

New Wing Order made an announcement yesterday about a new partnership and a new sauce:

We have partnered with another Memphis original, Old Dominick Distillery, to create the newest sauce you can take home: Maple Bourbon! Both rich and sweet – Maple Bourbon sauce is made with real maple syrup, hints of chipotle, and infused with the bold flavor of Old Dominick’s Huling Station Bourbon. Try it on wings, grilled chicken, barbecue, and more!

Downtowners, starting the week of July 19, you can pick up a bottle of the sauce at City Market.

From Fox 13: DNA says the Downtown speed bumps are working

Also, Fox 13 interviewed Rumba Room owner Edgar Mendez about the trouble finding service industry workers. Mendez is picking up more shifts behind his own bar and has temporarily discontinued lunch in order to focus on dinner.

From Local 24: What does a 20%, or 40%, or 60% chance of rain really mean?

Well, damn! Biz Markie died.

Husband-and-wide duo Jaimee Paul and Leif Shires play the Halloran Centre tonight. Tickets are $35.

There’s a Downtown flea market at 113 Jackson today 8 AM to 5 PM. 60 vendors.

Protohype plays Carolina Watershed tonight along with Scotty B, Dudecalledrob, Defcon Engaged, and DJ MO.

Suggestion for something to do today, if you haven’t already: Go get vaccinated!

All right. Time to put a load of laundry in and wait for it to be time to walk over to the home of the four dollar PBR. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

I did a rare second Thursday update with two extremely time-sensitive stories. Since most of my readers aren’t used to checking back in the afternoons, I’ll repeat them here.

County Mayor Harris and County Health Officer Dr. Randolph did an update yesterday afternoon on the Delta variant of COVID in Shelby County. We’re at a 7-day rolling average of 136 new cases a day, highest seen in several months. Our positivity rate of 8.9% is also the highest seen in several months. The reproduction rate is 1.52, the highest since the original Safer at Home order. I did a comprehensive recap of the press conference but I’ll highlight a couple of points Dr. Randolph made:

  • The spike in cases can be attributed in part to 2 things: The fact that Delta is so much more transmissible than the previous strains, and that we let our guard down with the masking and distancing over the July 4 weekend. The main reason Delta is spreading, though, said Dr. Randolph, is that so many people are unvaccinated. We would not see these numbers if people were getting vaccinated.
  • Dr. Randolph closed with a question to Shelby County: Is it going to take children dying before we understand this virus is not a hoax, and go get vaccinated? There are several children in intensive care in Mississippi, including 2 on ventilators.

The second piece of news I reported was more positive. The Blind Bear has decided to try something wild and crazy. Today during their happy hour, 3 to 6 PM, you can get any item on their food menu (excluding steaks and wings) for 50% off. That means you can get their rich seafood risotto, their yummy arancini balls, their pan-seared salmon, or their herb-roasted chicken for half the regular price.

The DM has an excellent article this morning on drummer Rodd Bland and the release of his debut EP, “Live on Beale Street: A Tribute to Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland.” The album is not just a tribute to Rodd’s father, but to the other musicians who have inspired him along the way. The album is released today and Bland and The Members Only Band have a release party and concert at B.B. King’s Blues Club Sunday night.

The Ida B. Wells statue will be unveiled this morning at Fourth and Beale following a parade. Wells was a journalist in the 1880s and 1890s who chronicled lynchings and racial injustices of the early Jim Crow era. She was forced to flee Memphis for fear of her life. Parade down Main Street to Beale Street at 9, statue unveiling at 11.

The DM’s Chris Herrington has a pic of the street taco wings that are New Wing Order’s flavor of the month in today’s Street Food column.

Carmen Hicks headlines Soulin’ on the River at Mud Island Amphitheater tonight at 7. Lawn chairs, picnic baskets, and coolers are welcome.

Promoter Curtis Givens’ Can I Live Weekend is back. Festivities include a black-tie affair atop the new Hyatt Centric Hotel tonight and his annual All White Affair at Mud Island River Park Saturday 3-8 PM. A reader texted me and asked why tents were being set up on Mud Island. I believe that would be the reason why.

Ducklings were rescued from a storm drain on Georgia Ave. yesterday.

Workouts on the rooftop of Old Dominick Distillery return next Thursday, July 22. The event consists of low-intensity, high-impact Hot Pilates at 6, yoga at 6:45, and cocktails at 7:30. YOGA!

Today is Guinea Pig Appreciation Day. Fun fact: Guinea pigs are considered a delicacy in Peru, especially their brains.

Fake drive-out tags are becoming a huge problem, WREG reports. People are buying them off the black market to avoid vehicle registration fees.

Former Memphis Tigers center Moussa Cisse is headed to Oklahoma State after dropping out of the NBA draft. The forecast #1 pick in this year’s draft played for OK State. You can’t blame these kids for going where they believe they can get groomed for an NBA career. Millions of dollars potentially hang in the balance.

An Amtrak train bound for Memphis crashed into a tow truck near Jackson, MS. No one on the train was hurt, but the two people in the tow truck were killed.

All-You-Can-Eat Fridays return to the Redbirds tonight, and this week’s theme is sliders. Get as many as you want, plus hot dogs, potato salad, chips, and up to 2 drinks (water/soft drinks) per person with a specialty ticket.

MemphisWeather.net has us down for a 40% chance of storms today (probably late afternoon if they happen) increasing to a 70% chance tonight. The good news: We aren’t likely to hit 90 until the middle of next week.

Today was going to be a day for me to stay home and write, but I can’t ignore that happy hour special at the Blind Bear. Gotta make up my mind between the salmon and the arancini. Back tomorrow with more news.