Today we are sharing secrets! So many of Memphis’ greats are tucked away, even hard to find unless you know where you are going! If these food finds aren’t on your radar for picnics, pick-ups, and distinctively Memphis dining, they should be. Do you know about these food finds in unexpected places?
Sushi at the gas station
The Marathon gas station at the corner of Poplar and Ridgeway, across from the Regalia Shopping Center, has been one of the best places in town to purchase fresh sushi for over ten years. Sushi is made fresh daily in the store. Lee’s Sushi, tucked away in the corner alongside the checkout counter at 6121 Poplar Avenue—fabulous and distinctively “Memphis”!
Pick up dinner at the salon!
Enjoy a relaxing appointment at the salon and pick up dinner, too—can’t beat that! Capelli has a freezer full of selections from Lisa’s Lunchbox, right by the front door! Some of the favorites we have tried: Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, Pinky’s VooDoo Pasta, Buffalo Chicken Ziti and Kickin’ Chicken Spaghetti. All are frozen, so you can thaw right away or plan ahead and stock your freezer at home. Smaller containers serve 2 to 4 people; large portions serve 6 to 8. Items range from $10 to $20 per dish. styleblueprint.com/memphis/guide/capelli-salon
Looking for a lovely lunch in Midtown? We all love the wonderful collection of antique booths at Palladio, but don’t forget that they also offer a full dining experience in the center of the gallery. Slip away for a quick dessert or stay awhile for lunch. They have so many wonderful choices, but are especially known for their peach tea and coconut cake. You can also pick up a bag of Cafe Las Flores Nicaraguan coffee, a coffee company owned by Memphian Lucia Heros and her brothers. Take in one half of the store, break at the café, and then move on to the second half … sounds like a good plan to me! thepalladiogroup.com
Parker’s Water Ice
You may have visited a Parker’s Water Ice food truck, but this family-owned mobile business also has a permanent location on Riverdale Road. It was only a five-minute drive (during low traffic hours) from the busy intersection of Poplar and Ridgeway! You can get there by heading east on Quince Avenue or by jumping on I-240 towards the Riverdale exit. Look behind the I-Hop, and there it is!
Parker’s Water Ice is a delicious frozen dessert that is kosher, fat free, cholesterol free and dairy free! Water ice is not a hard ice treat like shaved ice or snow cones. It is water, fruit juice and fruit flavors blended together and frozen. Their one-of-a-kind “Gelati” is ice cream layered with water ice, an ultra smooth and guilt-free treat! Create your own combinations from their many flavor choices! Open 11:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. every day but Sunday. On Sundays, open noon to 6:00 p.m. parkerswaterice.com
The Crazy Noodle and Kwik Chek convenience store
This spot is your Midtown go-to for excellent Korean-inspired dishes. Their emphasis is on noodles but there are options without, especially on the appetizer list. At The Crazy Noodle, we enjoyed Chicken Noodle Soup (excellent), Jam-Bong (really spicy, but you can ask for a milder version) and Curry Noodles (resonating with classic flavor). Both The Crazy Noodle and Kwik Check are great for easy pick-up items, but if you want to dine in, try The Crazy Noodle for both indoor and outdoor seating, just west of Overton Square. Fun fact: The owners of the Kwik Chek and The Crazy Noodle are not only neighbors who are serving some of Memphis’ favorite Korean dishes, they are also sisters! facebook.com/thecrazynoodle
Dixon Food Truck Fridays
Gather for a picnic without having to pack a basket by visiting the Dixon Gallery and Gardens on Food Truck Fridays from April through September. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Also, admission to the gardens is free during food truck hours, and outdoor seating in the shade is available on the Dixon grounds. dixon.org/foodtruckfridays
Food Truck Rodeo
Picnic by Patriot Lake in Shelby Farms Park. On Sundays at 11:00 a.m., Memphis Food Truckers set up their businesses until about 2:00 p.m. for visitors to enjoy local fare in an outdoor setting. (Subject to weather conditions.) shelbyfarmspark.org
Fratelli’s at Memphis Botanic Garden
The Memphis Botanic Garden’s corner cafe is one of our favorite spots to meet friends for lunch. Centrally located in Memphis, Fratelli’s offers a dependable menu of choices for a hot or cold lunch, as well as lovely views through every window of the Water Garden and the Sculpture Garden. There is indoor and outdoor seating available. Open Monday – Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. fratellisfinecatering.com
Did you already know about these food finds in unlikely places? Yet another sampling of Memphis’ well-kept secrets!