Summer Avenue and the neighborhoods around it don’t receive the attention or popularity many other streets such as Union and Poplar get. This does not reflect its claim to fame or contribution to Memphis, however. Being home to the 1st Holiday Inn ever, construction on Summer Avenue began in the 1950s, and spread from there. With most original buildings still standing, you can travel back into one of the greatest eras of Memphis’ history simply by driving onto the street. We challenge you to spend the day on Summer Avenue and familiarize yourself with the neighborhoods and community surrounding it, especially if you are new to Memphis. Here’s how we would spend the day:
1. Start your day off at the Pancake Shop. Serving Memphis since 1989, The Pancake Shop often receives credit as the best breakfast Memphis has to offer, in addition to being the most affordable.
2. After you have energized yourself, spend your morning shopping around the area. Boasting several antique, thrift, and retail shops, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to shop on a budget. Summer Avenue shops don’t just sell your ordinary trinkets. Shoppers have been known to find samurai swords, Tennessee Williams’ original poems, disco outfits, Elvis memorabilia, and anything and everything vintage. If that’s not enough Summer Avenue also has an Asian, Hispanic, and Latino market to ensure you can find whatever groceries you might crave.
3. When you’ve worked off your pancakes shopping, it’ll be time to refuel for the rest of the afternoon. We suggest you venture off of Summer into Grahamwood for Jerry’s. Now, most are probably concerned we’re suggesting you have a sno cone for lunch, but actually we’re suggesting you eat their cheeseburger. A hand patted burger, mildly seasoned, topped the old fashion way with shredded lettuce, mustard, and mayonnaise, Jerry’s cheeseburger will be the ultimate feast for lunch.
4. Next, it’s time to put those calories to work at putt putt golf at Golf & Games Family Park. If the greens aren’t your best field, don’t worry this Summer Avenue gem offers much more than just putt putt. They have a ropes course, laser tag, bumper boats, arcade, batting cages, and a roller coaster. Offering a different special every day, you’ll always get the most for your dollar.
5. To cool down from your putt putt, you’ll have to stop at La Michoacana. Creating a myriad of homemade fruit and cream popsicles, this is one snack you won’t want to miss. They also serve homemade ice cream. Residents of the neighborhood surrounding it, Berclair, say favorites include rice pudding, strawberries and cream, and peach.
6. Home to the only drive in movie theatre in Memphis, Summer Avenue’s Drive In will be a must for you. Take your popsicles with you and enjoy a show on the big screen while getting some fresh air.They offer a double feature special where you get two shows for the price of one, as well as children 10 and under get in free!
7. Your Summer Avenue journey will end at Ryu Sushi Bar. A sushi restaurant on the east end of the street, Ryu is often overlooked. Serving fresh fish and some of the best sushi in Memphis, Ryu is connected to an Asian market so you will be able to find anything Asian all in one stop.
What’s your favorite place around Summer Ave?