If you’re a Memphis resident, you’ve heard the buzz surrounding renovations to the B concourse at Memphis International Airport (to the tune of $245 million!). But, unless you’ve had a plane ticket that afforded you access beyond security, you may not have seen what all the fuss is about. We assure you – it’s worth the hype. MEM is totally transformed!
The renovated concourse was officially unveiled on February 15, 2022, as the first phase of a master renovation plan, which will eventually include modernized baggage and ticketing stations, plus the repurposing of the A and C concourses. According to Glen Thomas, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications at MEM, this renovation marks a turning point in Memphis travel as a whole.
“We have essentially reinvented the Memphis travel experience and are looking forward to welcoming our passengers as air traffic continues to rebound,” he says. “The goal was [to] maintain the spirit of the original architectural design while adding modern aesthetics such as increased natural light and higher ceilings, coupled with amenities and technological upgrades.”
If you haven’t had occasion to travel through the new and improved space just yet, we’ve got the next best thing! Here’s an inside look at the modernized amenities, carefully curated artwork, and exciting lineup of businesses (representing both local and national brands).
If you’re anything like us, when it comes time to hit the airport, you’ve got a lot on your mind — not the least of which is snacks. Renovations to Memphis International include an updated lineup of dining establishments, including both quick-service and sit-down options. Representing Memphis, the concourse welcomes the Grizz Grill and Memphis Made Brewing.
- Grizz Grill: Offering up a sports bar atmosphere in the midst of a bustling airport terminal, Grizz Grill pays homage to the beloved NBA team, the Memphis Grizzlies. The space offers ample seating with TVs at every turn, and you can expect a menu of game-day favorites, including craft beer and cocktails, wings, barbecue, sandwiches, and more.
- Lenny’s Grill & Subs: The hearty sandwiches on offer at Lenny’s are ideal for fueling up for a day of travel. They even have a breakfast menu available from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m., perfect for those early morning flights.
- Memphis Made Brewing Company: A favorite in Memphis’ hip Cooper-Young neighborhood for years, Memphis Made is a mainstay in the local beer scene, and you can now enjoy their offerings in the MEM airport! The large airport location offers 10 taps pouring craft beer, including rotating seasonal options, plus wine and cocktails. They also provide a full menu of brewery favorites such as salads, burgers, and hearty appetizers like pulled pork nachos.
- Stage Left Pizza, Bar & Grill: Specializing in personal pizzas, wings, and burgers, Stage Left is an excellent option for feeding the whole family. For morning travel, they even offer a breakfast menu that includes a breakfast flatbread pizza with your choice of toppings.
- Starbucks: Requiring no introduction, the Seattle-based coffee chain will be available for your pre- and post-flight caffeine fix!
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Patient Lounge
The St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Patient Lounge is among the most notable additions to the new concourse at MEM. Designed with patients and their families in mind, the private lounge includes a thoughtful selection of amenities such as televisions, charging stations, a kitchen with snacks and drinks, a game area with toys, ample seating, and a flight monitor.
Another dedicated lounge space in the updated concourse is the military lounge, available exclusively to retired and active-duty military members. This private area offers seating areas, workstations, and meeting spaces.
In addition to two new private lounges, the B Concourse boasts a business center with ample charging outlets and workspaces, a children’s play area, a “pet restroom” complete with synthetic grass, and doggy waste bags, increased seating options, and new (human) restrooms.
Memphis International worked closely with the UrbanArt Commission to curate a collection of 53 artworks representing 61 artists that are either based in Memphis or closely connected to Memphis in some way. The pieces that grace the updated concourse were carefully chosen to represent the cultural impact of the arts, finely woven into the fabric of the city’s rich history. An impressive $1.5 million was allocated for selected and commissioned works to appear throughout the concourse, making for a visually stunning experience.
Travelers will find a variety of retail options in the updated concourse, offering everything from standard airport fare like candy and magazines to a PGA Tour Fan Shop, complete with an immersive virtual gaming experience.
- Bluff City Market: This market is a one-stop shop for all your pre-flight needs — magazines and newspapers, electronics, health and beauty products, and more.
- Distillery District: You’ll find gourmet food items and locally produced spirits here, including Old Dominick! Shoppers can also peruse gift items, souvenirs, and apparel.
- Grind City Essentials: Like Bluff City Market, Grind City Essentials offers publications, electronics, and health and beauty products. Snacks and grab-and-go food options are also available at Grind City.
- Market 901: An open-air market concept, Market 901 offers a variety of snack and beverage options, along with regional gift items, apparel, and other travel essentials, including health and beauty items.
- Memphis Supply Co.: As you might guess, Memphis Supply focuses on locally-themed souvenirs, gift items, and foods, along with a selection of general travel products and accessories.
- PGA Tour Fan Shop: The PGA Tour Fan Shop offers apparel and accessories, but we suspect sports fans will flock to this location for the entertainment value. The first of its kind, this shop offers an interactive game simulator that allows shoppers to immerse themselves in their favorite sports.
- Tripadvisor: The first shop to greet travelers upon entrance to the concourse, Tripadvisor offers all of your traveling essentials, including publications, souvenirs, clothes, electronics, snacks, and more.
Safe travels, Memphis! Stay tuned for future updates to the MEM airport. All images by Steve Austell Photography.
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