Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

Steven: First Impressions

My decision to move to Memphis was not an easy one!

Leaving my hometown of 22 years, my friends and family, including my 89 year old grandmother, and the places I’ve grown to love including so many restaurants and bars, artistic and cultural venues, and even beautiful parks and scenery, had me questioning if I had made the right decision right up until the day I began making the 12 hour drive to Memphis. I had never been to Memphis, let alone heard it come up in conversation as a destination of choice. But as word spread through my network of where I was going, it was hard to find someone who didn’t at least have some connection to my new adopted hometown. They either had a relative in Memphis or in close proximity, knew someone who went to college here, or raved about the food, especially the famous Memphis BBQ. 

First, the food! I’ve already experienced some great spots like Beauty Shop (steak frites and the strawberry cake were to die for!) and Young Avenue Deli (which has a great trivia night on Thursday evenings), and I’m looking forward to others like Café Ole next week. I haven’t had authentic Memphis BBQ quite yet, but I know I’ll have to try out the most recommended place of Tops BBQ. They say Memphis is a foodie town, and while I don’t have the most discerning of palettes like a true foodie, I can tell you that my stomach is already doing backflips in anticipation of all the good food I’ll get to experience here.

Second, to make sure I don’t pack on 50 pounds, Memphis has a large array of recreational opportunities sure to keep you fit and trim. I live steps away from the Shelby Farms Greenline, a nearly 11 mile urban trail, the largest in the country. You can take a leisurely stroll, jog, or run along the river at Beale Street Landing. One of the first weekends I was here, there was the Stars and Stripes 5K, which concludes with a huge block party. Later in the year there’s the St. Jude Memphis Marathon which raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Which leads me to my last point: the generosity and hospitality. This, among a range of other things, is what I’ve come to appreciate most about this new city for me and has left the greatest of first impressions. Everyone is so hospitable! I, self-admittedly, have a very distinct East Coast personality—one that meets people with skepticism most times. But as soon as folks figured out that I was new to the city, they offered all kinds of help, from moving into my apartment to places to eat to dry cleaning services. Anytime I opened my mouth to ask a question, folks went out of their way to make suggestions and help me out.

Each day that I’m here in Memphis reveals something that lets me know that I’ve come to the right place, and while I get homesick, I know and believe that as I get acclimated to this 324 square mile city—the 23rd largest city in the United States—I will come to fall in love with it almost as much as my hometown…almost. 

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