One of the first things I noticed about Memphis during my first visit was that there are so many different places to eat!
Every time I try a new place out, I always think to myself “This would be a great place to take so-and-so,” but that’s at almost every place I eat. I definitely don’t know that many people I would take out to eat. Being a person who loves food and loves to eat, I don’t think there are enough days or special occasions for me to try out all the wonderful places that Memphis has to offer. There’s so much in downtown alone, so I thought, “Why not sample some of the most popular or historical places?” Thank heaven for City Tasting Tours!
I always, ALWAYS, struggle with choosing where and what to eat. City Tasting Tours did the work for me. They chose five spots in Downtown Memphis that are either brand new, historical, or wildly popular. This was a great weekend to try out City Tasting Tours because a friend from California was visiting and I just don’t know Memphis well enough to suggest places to eat. We got to taste the most popular items on the menu at The Green Beetle, Ray’z BBQ, Rizzo’s Diner, Earnestine and Hazel’s (the haunted former brothel!), and dessert at Scoops Parlor.
To keep my post somewhat short, I won’t tell you about every single detail at every place. We tried the fried catfish and fried green tomatoes from the Green Beetle and it was ok. I’m not a big fish eater nor am I big on catfish, so that sample was just ok for me. I enjoyed all the fun and vintage menu signs on the walls. You can tell that they value history and antiques there.
Ray’z BBQ is a much newer place right across the street. The beans and the brisket made my life! I’m not big on beans either, but holy cow! I also loved that all their ingredients are fresh and it just tasted healthier. I know that Memphis is known for its BBQ and everyone has their opinion on which one is best. I must admit that this is probably going to be my go-to BBQ place and the spot to take my visiting friends and family.
The most fascinating place we tried was Earnestine and Hazel’s. When I say fascinating, I mean a bit eerie. Looking at the outside, it’s obvious that the building has so much history. Honestly, I thought it was closed, like the building was shut down. Nothing has been updated or changed, which is probably why it’s so popular. It’s also probably very popular because it serves amazing burgers. There’s apparently nothing else on the menu but the Soul Burger, which was really, really good! But then again, the bar’s reigning popularity is probably also due to the haunted former brothel upstairs. I really don’t know what else to say about that part other than it was spooky as hell!
We ended the tour with a Nutella crepe and a scoop of Tennessee Whiskey Gelato at Scoops Parlor. I could’ve eaten that all day! Overall, the tour is great to try out whether you’re visiting or you live here. The stops on the tour change each month, so check out the calendar.
I came from a place where food is as culturally diverse as its population, and I miss that so much, which is also one of the main reasons why it was so difficult to move out of the Bay Area. But the food that Memphis has to offer is definitely fulfilling my foodie needs.