Restaurants in Memphis
Open since 2002, and full of students from nearby colleges, Central has a breezy, spring-break feel and outdoor deck seating to match. Order a pork plate with extra “bark” (the dark, heavily smoked crust).
Mention to locals that you’re heading to Cozy Corner for barbecued Cornish hen—rich and moist all the way through—and you’ll get plenty of head-nodding approval. Although the grilled rib-tips get their share of attention, it’s the burnished little bird that rules this roost.
The Burger: Grease is the word at Dyer’s Burger, a Memphis institution since 1912. The pounded-thin, all-beef patties at this café are dunked in a cast-iron skillet of boiling hot vegetable oil. The meat turns crunchy as the fry cook flips it onto a squishy Wonder Bread bun.
A local chain that’s been around since 1952, Tops makes for a nice introduction to Memphis eats. No matter where you are in the city, you’re near one. The hickory-flavored chopped sandwich combo with mustardy slaw and beans will fortify you while you plan the rest of your ’cue odyssey.
The dark wood paneling and oversize booths make it seem like a roadhouse tavern, until the aroma sets you straight: Neely’s means business. Don’t miss the succulent pulled-pork platter, served with amazingly rich beans—dark, sweet, and thick with threads of caramelized meat.
Prepare yourself for the best traditional Memphis-style ribs ever—flat-out sensational. The velvety, succulent meat at A&R simply glides away from the bone.