Back in the ’70s, the Highland Strip was the place to hang out for both college kids and revelers from the neighborhood. Fast-forward a few decades later, and this once popular street had fallen victim to neglect, losing most of its tenants. Buildings were in serious disrepair and parking was a hassle.
But recently, in an inspiring twist in this neighborhood’s history, some visionary leaders brought the latent hot spot back to life. Buildings have been renovated, new construction abounds, and parking is improved and expanded. Millions of dollars of development investments have revolutionized the area, resulting not only in new businesses but also in an undeniable air of excitement.
The Highland Strip has always been a landmark for students and Memphians — and now it is better than ever. Here are our favorite spots to dine, play and shop!
What To Do on the Highland Strip
3519 Walker Ave., Memphis, TN 38111 • (901) 324-0144
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 6:30 a.m to 1 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and Closed on Mondays
Since 1999, Brother Juniper’s has been a fixture in the University of Memphis neighborhood, serving up breakfast to hungry college kids and Memphians alike. What makes Brother Juniper’s unique? This family-run spot has that vintage mom-and-pop-shop feel. Owner Pauline Koplin greets guests at the hostess stand, while her husband Jonathan is often found behind the cash register. Their kids Sarah and Patrick are part of the business as well. But the thing that keeps customers coming back is, of course, the food — Brother Juniper’s bakes its own bread, biscuits and pastries. On most weekend mornings, expect to find a hungry crowd sipping a hot cup of coffee on the front porch while waiting for their tables. All the breakfast fare, but especially the omelets, are worth the wait. The San Diegan open-face omelet is one of the dishes we keep going back for — and we aren’t the only ones. “It’s our most popular dish,” says Sarah Koplin, daughter of owner Pauline. The fluffy omelet is topped with sautéed portobellos, tomatoes, green onions, bacon, feta and cheddar cheese. Be warned! You may need a nap after this breakfast.
510 S. Highland St., Memphis, TN 38111 • (901) 410-0765
Hours: Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The menu at Café Eclectic is just what you’d expect — eclectic! At this little coffee shop, there’s something for breakfast and lunch, as well as lots of snacks. You will likely recognize some of the menu items from Café Eclectic’s original location by Rhodes College. At this newer location, owner Cathy Boulden decided to let her popular soda fountain treats, coffees and study-time eats take center stage. And believe us when we say this is the best place to get your coffee buzz in the neighborhood. “We are proud to be the only coffee house in Memphis serving Illy coffees,” says Cathy. “This Italian coffee company offers not only a rich, intense cup of coffee, but also has been voted one of the world’s most ethical companies by Forbes magazine.” Whereas a simple espresso is mighty fine, we can’t resist the spicy Mayan — it’s a cappuccino with a kick.
569 S. Highland St., Memphis, TN 38111 • (901) 308-1203
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
When placing your order at this new little burger joint, the cashier explains the concept by saying, “You can order a burger as unique as you are!” Choose from three buns, six sauces, 11 patties and nine toppings to create your own signature burger. And not only is the restaurant itself little, so are the burgers. Burgerim’s burgers are actually mini 2.8-ounce sliders. “Our slogan is ‘Always more than one,’” says general manager Sam Fleming. Customers can choose from packs of two or three … or even a party pack of 16. This place is perfect for late-night munchies! And don’t overlook the wings. The sweet chili buffalo wings are amazing!
3530 Walker Avenue, Memphis, TN 38111 • (901) 327-6111
Hours: Open daily, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., serving a lunch buffet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Since 1975, Garibaldi’s has been a locally owned Memphis tradition. “We want to be the place where friends and families can gather for a good, affordable meal,” says Mike Garibaldi, Sr. On a weekend night, this place is packed with families, sports teams and college kids all hungry for pizzas and Italian fare. While the hand-tossed pizzas are great, the best kept secret is the meatball sub — Garibaldi’s is simply the best anywhere. On made-from-scratch bread brushed with garlic butter, this hot sub sandwich is loaded with homemade meatballs, meat sauce and Parmesan cheese. What’s not to love? Our only piece of advice is to arm yourself with napkins!
431 S. Highland St., Memphis, TN 38111 • (901) 249-3533
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Char is the place that UofM students hope their parents take them when they come to town. A longtime popular restaurant in Jackson, MS, this concept opened in the Highland Row development in the fall of 2016 to much acclaim. “We want people to feel like they are in a Southern-style steakhouse, a restaurant that provides great cuts along with wonderful seafood selections — all reasonably priced — as well as a wonderful lunch menu,” says owner Ben Brock. Start with a cup of gumbo or the fried crab claws. “Our most popular lunch items are the pork shanks (Wednesday’s special) and Lake’s catfish (Friday’s special) along with our Char burger and the ginger-peanut salad,” he adds. For dinner, consider a steak or the red fish. Char also has a great weekend brunch. On Sundays, we recommend sitting in the bar to enjoy the live music as you sip your Bloody Mary or mimosa.
545 S. Highland St., Memphis, TN 38111
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.
Late night munchies? Insomnia Cookies has you covered. This new addition to the Highland Strip serves up warm cookies until 3 a.m. 7 night a week. Yes! We said warm cookies. And if you live in the neighborhood, they deliver! Our favorite is the double chocolate mint. Warm and gooey, its flavor is reminiscent of a Girl Scout Thin Mint cookie. And the folks at Insomnia Cookies have thought of everything: You can get a cold glass of milk to wash down your cookies or a scoop of ice cream if you prefer your cookie á la mode.
395 S. Highland St., Memphis, TN 38111 • (901) 779-2967
Hours: Monday through Friday, 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
If you love beer, this is the spot for you! “We are a craft beer marketplace, similar to a coffee shop,” explains owner Lisa Caufield of this hybrid concept for beer lovers. Think beer market meets brewpub. The Casual Pint sells over 400 packaged craft beers to go, as well as has 29 craft beers on tap for you to enjoy at the bar or to take home in a growler. Like at a coffee shop, most nights there is entertainment, ranging from live music to karaoke. And when the weather is nice, plan to enjoy your cold brew on their patio. Dogs are welcome!
539 S. Highland St., Memphis, TN 38111 • (901) 730-0520
Hours: Open daily, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.
Newby’s is the college bar you will never graduate from! More than 40 years old, this bar is still rockin’. After a brief respite, this longtime Highland Strip fixture has not only just reopened, but has also been renovated from top to bottom. If you haven’t been in recently, you will be in awe of the place. On Mondays, Tigers coach Tubby Smith airs his sports radio show live from Newby’s. Stop by on Tuesdays for jazz night or on Wednesdays for karaoke. Live music is the entertainment on tap for the weekend. And don’t forget to order something to eat. Newby’s serves up classic bar food for lunch and dinner. “We still do the MCS — our famous marinated chicken sandwich — after 41 years,” says general manager Debra Holder.
535 S. Highland St., Memphis, TN 38111 • (901) 454-7771
Hours: Open daily, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.
The Bluff is the new go-to spot in the neighborhood for live music. This music and sports bar opened back in January in what had formerly been Newby’s adjacent music venue. This totally renovated space now has two bars, a balcony, a cool outdoor patio and lots of TVs for watching the big game. Open for lunch and dinner, the menu has a New Orleans slant. “Our burgers and po’ boys are the most popular items on our menu,” says general manager Jamie Irby.
3548 Walker Ave., Memphis, TN 38111 • (901) 327-4833
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Need a new bike? The Peddler Bike Shop has been helping die-hard cyclists, college kids and families find the perfect bike for the past 45 years. “What makes us unique is our people. We have the best in the industry,” explains owner Hal Mabray. Hal and his team are also all about community. “We lend support to four race teams, four cycling clubs and two bicycle cooperatives, and we have supplied the University of Memphis with over 50 rental bikes.” So if you need a new bike, a repair or want to rent a hybrid, mountain or road bike, The Peddler will keep you rollin’ down the road.
531 S. Highland St., Memphis, TN 38111 • (901) 347-0616
Hours: Monday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; closed Sundays
Frugal Home Finds is a find itself! This family-owned furniture shop is full of treasures and steals at great prices. “Think brick-and-mortar flash sales,” explains owner Neala Hester. “We specialize in high-end close-outs, over stocks and minor imperfection furniture and home décor.” Neala and her husband Chris decided to open their store after years of helping friends and family find great deals. Plan to stop by regularly, as they get a new shipment every week!
3533 Walker Ave., Memphis, TN 38111 • (901) 324-2808
Hours: Monday, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed Sundays
Want to stock up on your Tiger gear? Tiger Bookstore is the go-to. Just off the University of Memphis campus, this shop has everything you need to support our hometown college: t-shirts, sweats, plush toys, key chains — you name it, and they probably have it! They also are the go-to source for textbooks and school supplies for your college student.
So head to the Highland Strip for a day of dining, shopping and fun!
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