Ellen’s Soul Food
5697 Mount Moriah Rd
Memphis TN 38115
Best breakfast in Memphis: Brother Juniper’s. The “Hungry Tiger” is a bed of home fries under a heap of meat and three different cheeses with tomatoes and green onions. Worth the wait and the weight.
3519 Walker Ave.
Memphis TN 38111
Santorini lamb salad: Romaine lettuce, mixed baby greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, artichoke hearts, garbanzo beans, red onions, roasted red peppers, feta cheese and lamb
When the weather allows it, I like to eat at the food trucks that line up in the Ridgeway Center office park. There are some big companies in that loop, with lots of employees. Some folks still don’t get it: every time I go some lady is asking for something that’s not on the day’s menu. “But y’all had it last time!” But I love that the trucks are reaching beyond the typical foodie/hipster scene. It’s the only way they’ll endure.
Shown here, fish tacos from Tamale Trolley and a steak kabob and fries from Stickem. You can follow both on Twitter: @TamaleTrolley and @StickemFood. I also maintain a list of Memphis Food trucks that I try to keep as current as possible.
"Penn Station" sandwich from Fino’s! AMAZING.
Fino’s from the Hill
1853 Madison Ave
Memphis TN 38104
There’s a little grassroots campaign under way to bring Whataburger to Memphis. When I heard about it, I thought, “Just one more place to drive past on my way to Tops.” Cheeseburger combo, mustard no mayo, root beer. Every single time.
So I was meeting with my friend Kerry about a project we’re working on, when the topic of adventurous lunches came up. I’d mentioned that I’ve been on a mission to “make lunch count” on my rare days off, and she suggested I check out Chow Time. (You can read about her Chow TIme experience here.)
It’s a combination Chinese/soul food buffet close to the Tennessee/Mississippi state line. And it’s really, really cheap. So cheap that you don’t expect the food to be even edible.
But to my surprise, a lot of it was. Some, I’d even say, was “pretty good.”
I went alone. I was escorted to my table by some kind of security officer, and a server quickly arrived to take my drink order.
"I’ll have a Diet Coke," I said, not because I was trying to be ironic but because it’s what I prefer.
Chow Time carries Pepsi products. I told her Diet Pepsi was fine and my drink was on the table when I returned from the ”Southern Home Cookin’” station.
The soul food station had more choices than the Chinese — like neckbones, pigs feet, and other stuff I steer clear of. The Chinese bar was pretty standard, with options similar to the New Hunan buffet by my house.
I ate a lot more of my first plate than my second. But I couldn’t figure out whether it was because I liked the soul food better, or because I was full.
So I went to check out the desserts. Honestly, this was my favorite part. I was NOT expecting mini napoleons! The carrot cake was tasty too. But to my disappointment I found no “I ate at Chow Time and lived to blog about it” T-shirts for sale.
4207 Hacks Cross Rd
Memphis, TN 38125
Catfish with seasoned fries and fried green tomatoes from Bosses in Memphis. The tomatoes are pickled so they’ve got a sweetness to them that makes them really unique.
5030 Poplar Ave.
Memphis, TN 38117
Emerald Thai’s $6.99 lunch menu. Thirteen entrees, and all but one comes with a choice of soup or spring roll and a side of steamed rice. Shrimp costs $2.50 extra but totally worth it. The tom yum was awesome. And they serve beer!
The Politically Incorrect from Young Ave. Deli: ham, roast beef & turkey with cheddar, pepperjack, spicy mustard, lettuce & tomato on marbled rye.
Gulf shrimp tortuga and cantaloupe agua fresca from Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana in Germantown, TN.
Everything is amazing at this place.
First time trying Sweden Kream — I’d heard great things about their burgers, but I’m just never in that part of town. We got the cheeseburger, wings and two Hawaiian shave ices for about $11. The menu is big, but everything is made to order.
Wings had a smoky flavor and all the burger hype was totally warranted. Between here, Dixie Queen and Tops there’s no reason to get a burger from a fast-food chain. Next time I think I’ll try a shake.
Chocolate-bacon chip pancakes from The Pancake Shop, submitted by Carter. These have been on the menu at the 24-hour breakfast joint long before bacon became “trendy.”
The Pancake Shop
4838 Summer Ave.
Memphis, TN 38122
Memphis Pizza Café wins “Best Pizza” in just about every “Best of Memphis” poll every year.
But my favorite thing on the menu? This here ham sandwich. Thin sliced ham on a toasted hoagie with lettuce, tomato, and melted provolone with mustard. Can’t beat it.
I’d heard some raves about Tycoon: namely that their tom yum soup is the best in town. Craving noodles on a Saturday afternoon, I decided to check the place out.
Tycoon’s in a shopping center pretty close to the intersection of Kirby and Mt. Moriah in Hickory Hill. I think there’s a nail place next door and a convenience store a couple bays over. As I approached the front door I was overwhelmed by the smell of marijuana, so I think someone was smoking in a parked car. (Not one of the ones in the photo.)
There were a few people waiting for to-go orders when I walked in, but not an employee in sight. Unsure of what to do, I grabbed a to-go menu and sat down at one of the several empty tables. The “world famous” menu claims the “best Asian food in town.” “According to whom?” I wondered.
Several minutes passed before a young women walked up to the front counter and started changing the radio station. Finally she saw me and asked if I wanted to eat there or order to-go.
"Here," I said. A man then brought me a leatherbound menu and asked me what I wanted to drink.
My husband and I decided to go pescetarian for June after a month of horrible eating habits (it’s called Memphis in May) so the famous tom yum was out of the question. I opted for an order of cold spring rolls and seafood soup.
The menu only said the seafood soup had shrimp, scallops and crabmeat so I was pretty surprised when my bowl arrived full of squid, octopus, mussels and… “crabmeat.”
I spit out the first bite of “crabmeat” I had and picked out the rest. It was spongy like tofu and the purplish color looked painted-on. I know restaurants use imitation crab but I’m not sure what that stuff was other than “yuck.”
Other than that, though, the soup was good. So were the spring rolls.
My bill came to $15 which I’d say is pretty reasonable for a drink, spring rolls and a huge bowl of noodle soup. Tycoon is open from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. most days and they deliver to “most of East Memphis and Germantown.”
Tycoon Noodle Shop
3307 Kirby Pkwy
Memphis, TN 38115