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Steeped in historic charm and brimming with Southern hospitality, Germantown beckons locals and visitors alike with its idyllic neighborhoods, lush landscapes, and small-town feel. Along with its natural beauty and friendly ambiance, this bucolic suburb on the eastern outskirts of Memphis is known for its abundant parks, cultural gems, and plethora of quaint, locally owned restaurants and boutiques. Join us as we explore Germantown!

Your Updated Guide to Germantown

Where to Eat & Drink

Whether you’re on the hunt for a great brunch spot, a casual eatery, or a date-night-worthy restaurant, Germantown offers a smorgasbord of options for any occasion. Kick your morning off right with a trip to Stak’s Pancake Kitchen in Germantown Village Square. The kitchen-style diner serves up light, fluffy pancakes made the old-fashioned way — with sourdough yeast — as well as hearty omelets, flavored bacon, and other breakfast classics. Order a specialty stack like the Elvis (chocolate and banana pancakes with peanut butter glaze), or customize your own with more than a dozen toppings from cookie butter to praline sauce. Also on the menu are yummy shareables, soups, sandwiches, brunch cocktails, and signature coffees brewed with locally roasted beans.

Another breakfast staple is the West Street Diner — a Germantown dining tradition for 30-plus years. Enjoy homestyle eggs, omelets, and hotcakes, along with sides of cheese grits, hash browns, or country ham any time of the day. The 1950s-retro diner also has a strong lunch game with hot and cold sammies, daily meat and vegetable plate specials, and homemade biscuits, cornbread, and pies.

Chicken tenders from West Street Diner, a Germantown restaurant

Chicken tenders from West Street Diner | Image: Instagram

Get your coffee and donut fix at Happy Glaze Donuts in Exeter Village. The donut shop makes fresh-from-the-oven mini-donuts in a variety of flavors, from cream cheese glaze to s’mores. Pick up a box of a dozen for just $5 and grab a cup of joe brewed with freshly roasted beans from 901 Roasted.

For barbecue lovers, a visit to the Germantown Commissary is a rite of passage. Named after the small country store that operated at its South Germantown Road location for nearly a century, the Commissary is famous for its hickory-smoked, slow-cooked Memphis-style BBQ ribs and pulled pork plates and sandwiches served with scrumptious sides like beans, slaw, and deviled eggs. Along with food “so good you’ll slap your mama,” as its slogan says, you can buy savory rubs and sauces to take home. And don’t leave without trying dessert! For us, it’s a toss-up between the banana pudding and the lemon icebox pie.

In a burger mood? Head to Huey’s Germantown location in Exeter Village. A Memphis mainstay for “blues, brews and burgers” for the past 50 years, Huey’s offers a fun, laid-back vibe with graffiti walls, local photos and memorabilia, a spacious patio, and toothpick darts you can shoot into the ceiling. Service is quick, and Huey’s burgers have been voted best in Memphis since 1984. You can also find local brews like Wiseacre and Ghost River on tap, along with basket specials like steak and chicken kabobs and an impressive sandwich and salad lineup.

RELATED: The Heartwarming History of Huey’s

BBQ sandwich and sides from Germantown Commissary

Germantown Commissary serves up some amazing BBQ. Image: Facebook

Burger and fries from Huey's, a Germantown restaurant

Eating a Huey’s burger is like a religious experience. Image: Instagram

Hungry for Mexican food? Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana is the place to go for the most authentic south-of-the-border experience. Founded by Mexico City native and Memphis transplant Jose “Pepe” Magallanes out of a desire to share his passion for his native cuisine with his neighbors, the deli’s inviting atmosphere punctuated by Pepe-isms is anything but pretentious; yet it takes its food very seriously. Every morning, Pepe’s son and co-owner Jonathan shops at multiple markets to ensure the deli has the freshest ingredients on hand. Menu delicacies include tortas (traditional Mexican sandwiches) as well as fish, chicken and pork tacos, elote (steamed corn with a heavenly blend of mayo, red pepper, cheese and lime juice), fresh juices, Mexican Coke, and arguably the best guacamole in town.

If Mediterranean food is more your speed, check out the Germantown location of Casablanca off Popular Pike. The cafe specializes in flavorful dishes representing the best of Moroccan, Egyptian, and Middle Eastern cuisine, including beef and lamb shawarma, shish kebabs, couscous platters, and tabbouleh. Top off your meal with a cup of Turkish coffee and baklava!

Looking for a great Asian restaurant? Royal Panda, located in the Shops of Forest Hill, has been bringing the flavors of Shanghai, Beijing, and other Chinese regions to Germantown for nearly 30 years. Helmed by Chef San Lien Wu, the restaurant is a local favorite for its orange chicken, crispy duck, and other house specialties. For a fusion of Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine, stop by Urban Fusion & Asian Bistro in Exeter Village, which has an extensive sushi menu, plus an array of hibachi, curry, and noodle dishes.

Chinese food from Royal Panda

Royal Panda is a beloved local restaurant for its authentic Asian fare. Image: Facebook

Craving a relaxed night out? Memphis Pizza Cafe’s Germantown location offers just that, along with delicious pizza, calzones, and Italian subs. Create your own pie or pick a specialty pizza — from the barbecue chicken to the veggie supreme, you can’t go wrong! For a fine-dining splurge, treat yourself to dinner at Southern Social, aptly nestled next to the old Southern Railway’s historic Germantown Depot. The white-tablecloth restaurant has stellar service and a chef-inspired menu with prime steaks, stuffed quail, fresh seafood, classic Southern sides, specialty wines, and decadent desserts. Sit inside to savor its elegant ambiance, or dine alfresco on the patio.

Also new to Germantown is Moondance Grill, the brainchild of Tommy and Liz Peters, who own Itta Bena, B.B. King’s, and Lafayette’s in Overton Square. With a lively piano bar that serves craft cocktails and a cozy dining room with a curated playlist, the restaurant is the perfect spot for entertaining friends and family. Its eclectic menu features enticing soups and salads, steaks, and creative entrees like the maple bourbon-glazed salmon and the lamb lollipops, plus tempting after-dinner drinks and an exhaustive wine list.

Where to Shop

Looking for some retail therapy? You’ll get plenty at the Shops of Saddle Creek, which boasts a collection of upscale boutiques and high-end fashion, beauty, home, and technology brands. Pop into the Southern Avenue Company, a locally owned home interiors and gift store, for inspired and unique jewelry, bags, loungewear, lotions and soaps, kitchen and bar essentials, books, and stationery. With its ever-changing inventory, each trip inside is a new experience!

Nearby in Germantown Market Square is More Than Words, Germantown’s go-to gift shop for wedding and baby showers, housewarmings, birthdays, graduations, and other special events. Inside its diverse showroom, you’ll find designer jewelry, trendy apparel, distinct serving pieces, gifts for pet lovers, and creations by local artists, including framed calligraphy by owner and artist Lee Ann McGhee. The staff is super friendly and great at helping you choose the most meaningful gift for your loved one — or yourself. Plus, there is complimentary gift wrap! The square is also home to Two Doors Down, a gift boutique with a bridal registry and numerous designer brands for the home.

Hammocks outside of Soft Surroundings at the Shops of Saddle Creek in Germantown

The Shops of Saddle Creek is a Germantown retail mecca. Image: Instagram

Germantown’s newest shopping center, the Thornwood development, features a handful of local and national stores. Bella Vita is a local lifestyle and interiors brand focused on bringing more beauty into homes and lives. Owned by husband-and-wife team Brent and Stephanie Singley, its flagship store welcomes shoppers with fanciful displays of jewelry, apparel, linens, bedding, rugs, artwork, pottery, tabletop decor, and more. From luxe items to lower-cost treasures, there is something for every price point. Just steps away, Cashmere & Roses offers a wide variety of clothing for your inner fashionista, including the hottest styles of tops, bottoms, dresses, jumpsuits, outerwear, and accessories.

What to Do

Feeling outdoorsy? Explore the Wolf River Nature Area, a lush wetland teeming with wildlife, flora, and fauna. You can paddle down the Wolf River, play on a natural beach, or bike or take a nature walk down the 4-mile paved Germantown Greenway, which runs alongside the river and links up with the Wolf River Greenway.

With 700-plus acres of green space, Germantown has loads of parks for picnicking and playing with the kiddos. Fishing is also plentiful, with more than 30 lakes and ponds stocked with bream, bass, and catfish. In the summer, shop for fresh produce and enjoy live music and cooking demonstrations every Thursday night at the Germantown Farmers’ Market at C.O. Franklin Park. Also swing by Bobby Lanier Farm Park, a 10-acre working farm with a community garden, garden tours, and more, and Oaklawn Gardens, a 6-acre botanical garden and museum on old Poplar Pike showcasing artifacts from Germantown’s early history as well as azaleas, irises, daffodils, and other native plants. Don’t miss the Germantown Charity Horse Show each June, a popular event since 1948 for its skillful riders and graceful horses.

RELATED: Your 2021 Guide to Memphis Farmers’ Markets

Wolf River Nature Area

The Wolf River Nature Area is a lush wetland area packed with flora and fauna. Image: Instagram

Fresh produce from Germantown Farmers' Market

Thursday nights in the summertime, swing by the Germantown Farmers’ Market for some fresh food, cooking demonstrations and more. Image: Facebook

If you prefer more artsy activities, you’re in luck! The Germantown Performing Arts Center hosts art exhibits and a year-round calendar of musical and theatrical performances, featuring nationally and internationally acclaimed acts as well as local performers. Its newly built 1,200-person outdoor amphitheater, The Grove, is a hot spot for outdoor concerts and movie nights. You can also catch a community theater production at Germantown Community Theatre. The nonprofit, which will soon celebrate its 50th year, puts on plays every season and also sponsors a concert series.

Here’s to many adventures in this lovely and charming Memphis community!

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