Looking for more than just lunch? Tour a garden, contemplate art, shop for antiques or enjoy beautiful views, all capped off with a nice meal. Memphis offers some delightful dining options at some of our favorite attractions, so we can improve our minds and fill our bellies. Any of these spots makes for a lovely day out for visitors and locals alike.
Inside Palladio Antiques
2169 Central Ave., Memphis, TN 38104 • (901) 276 – 3808
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
At the center of the Palladio Antiques on Central is a lovely open space that is perfect for a quiet lunch surrounded by pretty things. Choose one of the delightfully eclectic table-and-chair combos and order a creative sandwich. I am a fan of the pimento cheese at Palladio (and I am kind of a cheese expert) but it is a hard choice for me sometimes because of options like the ham and pear with mozzarella and honey mustard, or the Cheese-n-Fruit, with turkey, apple, brie and honey on ciabatta. There are great vegetarian options, too, like the Garden Dagwood, stacked with cream cheese, red peppers, avocado, sprouts, cucumbers and more; or the Dixie Delight with avocado, tomato, onion and sprouts with a cucumber sauce. Salads are wide ranging, from a classic Cobb with turkey, ham, avocado, egg and Gorgonzola, to a zingy berry salad with strawberries, blueberries, goat cheese and walnuts. I have had some very good soups here, too, from the changing daily soup offerings. Wander through the antique booths then relax over a delicious lunch while you decide where all those beautiful things can fit in your own home!
Inside Memphis Botanic Garden
750 Cherry Road, Memphis, TN 38117 • (901) 766- 9900
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Tucked away in the grand entry hall of the Memphis Botanic Gardens building, you’ll find Fratelli’s Café. Owned by Sabine Bachman of Ecco on Overton Park, this little gem offers one of the most expansive sandwich menus in town. Try the Tacchino — turkey, brie and pesto mayonnaise on a soft ciabatta-style roll, or the Ile de France version, with turkey, brie, pear and red pepper mayonnaise. The chicken cordon bleu features chicken breast, ham and Swiss with dill mayonnaise. Sandwiches are served with a choice of pasta or potato salad, mixed greens or fruit. There’s an impressive salad menu with classics like spinach with goat cheese, bacon and pecans, or more unique choices like a pork tenderloin salad with oranges, red peppers and avocado. There is no entry charge to eat at the café and it is a tranquil place for a great lunch, with seating in the café or outside.
Inside the Dixon Gallery and Gardens
4339 Park Ave., Memphis, TN 38117 • (901) 761-5250
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Wally Joe and Andrew Adams of Acre opened Park and Cherry at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens last spring, and it was well past time the Dixon offered a dining option. The café is located off the lobby of the Dixon through the shop and there is seating inside and out. My first visit was shortly after they opened, when the tulips were in full bloom throughout the property — a lovelier setting you will not find! The menu is small but well thought out and perfect for a quick bite or a leisurely lunch and stroll through the gardens. Salads are fresh with unique touches, like a quinoa salad with pickled pear. I particularly enjoyed a ham, gruyere and fig panini — a classic combination beautifully presented. But the offerings also include those unique Wally Joe touches, like a smoked brisket Reuben with red wine mustard, and a turkey sandwich with cranberry-carrot relish. There are also pastries and sweets available and a full range of coffee drinks. If you are just eating at Park and Cherry, there is no admission charge for the Dixon but it is well worth it to wander the collection and then stop for a lovely meal or snack.
Inside Beale Street Landing
251 Riverside Drive, Memphis, TN 38103 • (901) 524-0817
Hours: Every day, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The new building at Beale Street Landing is impressive, from its curved glass structure to the grassed-over roof. You come here for the views and a stroll down the riverfront, but the Riverside Grill offers a nice place to stop for a meal and marvel at the Mississippi River. The menu offers pretty standard fare, including soups and salads and a few appetizers. The Grill’s burgers are generous and well-cooked, and the accompanying fries are thick and crispy. When the weather permits, there is a pretty terrace for al fresco dining or as a front-row spot for a beer or cocktail to watch the sun set over the river. The full bar makes it even more enticing. I’m glad there is now a place to enjoy a view of the beautiful river that is at the heart of our city!
2000 Prentiss Place, Memphis, TN 38112• (901) 333-6500
Hours: Every day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
There’s more to the Memphis Zoo than lions and tigers and bears, or the bounty of carts and kiosks offering cold drinks and ice cream to beat the heat. The Memphis landmark has expanded its food offerings recently to include more fresh and healthy options inside the Cat House Café, including three distinct stations to tempt the taste buds. The Memphis Grill offers locally made King Cotton hot dogs, fresh burgers (including black bean burgers) and catfish sandwiches. Sabino’s features fresh deli sandwiches and salads. And World Taco offers tacos and burritos with a choice of fillings and tortillas. Ray’s Grill and the Bamboo Grill — seasonal eateries located near Penguin Rock and the China exhibit, respectively — offer classic Memphis barbecue sandwiches, cheeseburgers and chicken fingers.
Get out and enjoy a delicious meal in one of these unique settings that you’ll only find in Memphis!
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