It seems everyone has a go-to favorite meal in Memphis, but with all the amazing options available, it’s hard to narrow down the choices. To help you when you are looking for a sure-fire dinner winner (or any meal, really), we’ve rounded up 12 must-try dishes from a few of Memphis’ finest locally owned restaurants.
12 Must-Try Dishes on Memphis Menus
Ribs at The Bar-B-Q Shop
1782 Madison Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104 • (901) 272-1277
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Home of the famous Dancing Pigs BBQ sauce and seasoning, The Bar-B-Q Shop has your craving for ribs covered. “We specialize in real-pit barbeque delivered to you with a smoky flavor,” says owner Eric Vernon. “The Bar-B-Q Shop’s award-winning sauces are made from scratch, and our ribs are specially cut for our restaurant.” Voted #1 in America by the Food Network’s Top Five Restaurants, the ribs are served with barbeque beans, slaw, and Texas toast. If you’ve got room, add a helping of their famous barbeque spaghetti!
Grilled Romaine Salad at The Beauty Shop
966 Cooper Street, Memphis, TN 38104 • (901) 272-7111
Hours: Lunch — Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Dinner — Monday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Brunch — Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Beauty Shop’s Grilled Romaine Salad is a classic with a twist. The lightly grilled Romaine lettuce is topped off with rosemary-spiced pecans, cherry tomatoes, crumbled gorgonzola, green onions, crispy bacon, and a house-made Tabasco blue cheese dressing. It’s a favorite among Memphians who love the hip and happening Midtown eatery. You may want to kick off your meal with the ever-popular Watermelon & Wings appetizer, another huge hometown favorite.
Sunshine Burrito at City Silo Table and Pantry
5101 Sanderlin Avenue, Suite 104, Memphis, TN 38137 • (901) 729-7687
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
7605 West Farmington Boulevard, Suite 2, Germantown, TN 38138 • (901) 236-7223
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
If you are looking for clean, healthy eating that is also super delicious, City Silo has a tasty selection of creative, primarily plant-based items to satisfy your taste buds. A must-try on their menu is the Sunshine Burrito, and like every item on their breakfast menu, it’s served all day. The burrito is a yummy combo of crumbled Silo burger patty, two scrambled fresh farm eggs, seasoned sweet potato, red quinoa, brown rice, sharp cheddar, cashew ranch, and sriracha aioli, all wrapped in a chili tomato tortilla and served with a side of pico de gallo. Dairy-free cheese options are available, too.
Shrimp and Grits at Edge Alley
600 Monroe Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103 • (901) 425-2605
Hours: Breakfast — Wednesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; Brunch — Saturday and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Lunch — Wednesday through Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Dinner — Wednesday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Shrimp and grits are a Southern staple — but according to Edge Alley chef and proprietor Tim Barker, it’s a dish that’s rarely about the shrimp or the grits. All too often, the dish is overwhelmed by a salty, spicy, meaty sauce. What makes Edge Alley shrimp and grits unique? “No meat!” Tim says. “Our sauce gets depth of flavor from deeply roasted vegetables, and richness from whole butter. The shrimp are marinated overnight, and the pimento cheese grits take nearly 72 hours to prepare.”
Filet Mignon at Folk’s Folly
551 S. Mendenhall Road, Memphis, TN 38117 • (901) 762-8200
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 5 p.m. to 9 a.m.
For a celebratory cut, turn to Folk’s Folly’s filet mignon, hands down. Steak lovers, get a load of this: Their finely marbled and aged filet is a hand-carved, complete trim from the center of the delicate tenderloin. It speaks for itself — but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pair it with a side of spinach casserole and your favorite among nine gorgeous potato preparations.
Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo at Lafayette’s Music Room
2119 Madison Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104 • (901) 207-5097
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Brunch, Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
If you like great local music paired with yummy food, Lafayette’s Music Room is the perfect spot for you. The extensive menu has plenty of appetizing choices, from small plates to wood-fired pizzas to burgers and sandwiches. A must-try is the Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo; pair this New Orleans-inspired creation with a BLT Chopped Salad or a Classic Burger when soup alone just isn’t enough.
Ruby Red Trout at Magnolia & May
718 Mt. Moriah, Memphis, TN 38117 • (901) 676-8100
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
“The Ruby Red Trout at Magnolia & May is special because it combines some of our customers’ favorite individual components in one dish,” says Amanda Dunham, who co-owns the delightful brasserie with the chef, her husband Chip. With crispy sautéed fish, fried green tomatoes, crab meat, and hollandaise, we can see why it is a standout. Start the meal with one of the most popular appetizers in the city, the Buffalo Broccoli — one of the best ways we know to get your vegetables!
Grilled Pork Tenderloin at Majestic Grille
145 South Main, Memphis, TN 38103 • (901) 522-8555
Hours: Dinner — Wednesday through Saturday, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Lunch — Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Brunch — Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sometimes the classics are the best. The Majestic Grille’s Grilled Pork Tenderloin is a must-try creation of Chef Patrick Reilly, combining simply seasoned grilled pork tenderloin, Vichy carrots, and garlic mashed potatoes. “The maple sauce is a little sweet, and the textures all come together with crispy onions on top. The key is to get a little of every ingredient in every bite,” he tells us. If you are in the mood for an appetizer, their deliciously crispy pile of onion rings will hit the spot.
Filet Paulette at Paulette’s
51 Harbor Town Square, Memphis, TN 38103 • (901) 260-3300
Hours: Breakfast — Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.; Brunch — Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Lunch — Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Dinner — Monday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
For a more dressed-up filet, elegant Paulette’s serves up its signature Filet Paulette: sautéed black pepper-encrusted filet mignon, butter cream sauce, fresh julienne tomato, onion, bell pepper, and potato purée. This cooked-to-perfection entrée has been a must-have item on Paulette’s menu for years! Pair the dish with a choice from the carefully curated wine list, and save room for the K-pie.
Duck Hash at Bounty on Broad
2519 Broad Avenue, Memphis, TN 38112 • (901) 410-8131
Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 5 p.m. until close ; Brunch — Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For Sunday brunch devotees, Bounty on Broad is an absolute must. Offering up farm-to-table cuisine in an intimate atmosphere, they’re checking all kinds of boxes — starting with their duck hash, a decadent take on the brunchtime favorite that begins with confit duck, chorizo, and vegetables, and finishes with two poached eggs perched on top. In keeping with the intimate atmosphere, reservations are recommended!
Chilled Duck Noodle at Salt | Soy
2583 Broad Avenue, Memphis, TN 38112 • (901) 207-1531
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The newly opened Salt | Soy has already made its mark on the Memphis dining scene thanks to creative and flavorful dishes like the Chilled Duck Noodle. You’ll enjoy every mouthful of the smoked duck breast with chilled soba noodles, carrot, cucumber, Serrano, hoisin molasses vinaigrette, and spiced peanuts. Since the restaurant serves small plates, you’ll want to sample other tasty treats and find more favorites to recommend. A recent addition is a scrumptious dessert: Miso Chocolate Chess Pie with a sesame seed crust and sesame sorghum brittle, topped with Suntory Whiskey whipped cream.
Cacio e Pepe pizza at Tamboli’s Pasta and Pizza
1761 Madison Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104 • (901) 410-8866
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Tamboli’s Cacio e Pepe pizza may seem simple at first, but the ingredients are complex and bring the flavor. Traditionally a classic pasta dish that translates to “butter and pepper,” the Tamboli creation takes the minimalist, ingredient-focused approach to pizza to highlight the restaurant’s wood-fired pizza crust and house-made cheeses. “It starts with dough that’s undergone a 24-hour cold fermentation process. The sauce is a house-made whipped ricotta topped with two types of mozzarella. We bake our pizza in a wood-fired Neapolitan-style oven, then finish it with freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of really good white truffle oil,” explains owner Miles Tamboli.
We hope you’ve discovered a new dish to try!
To explore more of the Memphis culinary scene, visit our archives.