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 2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas

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ScreamingChicken

  • Total Posts: 4737
  • Joined: 11/5/2004
  • Location: Stoughton, WI
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Fri, 11/8/13 1:35 PM (permalink)
There's an outside chance I might visit Memphis next year and if it happens I'm definitely going to try to work a visit to Gus' into the plans!
 
    buffetbuster

    Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Fri, 11/8/13 2:50 PM (permalink)
    Next up on the tour was my long-time favorite Memphis bbq parlor Cozy Corner

    On the short drive from Gus's, Michael Stern explained that they use the aquarium style bbq cooker, which are so popular on Chicago's Southside.  Unfortunately, despite this reminder, I failed to get a decent photo of it, even though it sits right out in the open.  Maybe I was mesmerized by the incredible smell of slow cooked meats that wafts through the air and hit us as soon as we got off the bus.  BBQ parlors can come in all shapes and sizes, but you always want to see smoke pouring out of the chimney,

    like they have at Cozy Corner
     
    When ChiTownDiner, Cousin Johnny and I travel together, we take turns paying, figuring over the course of a trip, it will all even out.  But we always send CTD up to the counter to do the ordering.  And he never lets us down.  Here is one of the menu boards

    that he had to choose from.
     
    Johnny and I grabbed the table closest to the counter and we heard someone ask if they could join us.  We were thrilled to see it was Jane Stern, who was driving her own car and meeting us at all of the restaurants.  She arrived ahead of us and already had her food.  She had a single rib,

    a side of bbq spaghetti, plus plenty of sauce and white bread.  She generously offered some of the plate and I ripped the bread in half and dipped it into the sauce.  Immediately, I knew I was in trouble.  Cozy Corner has both a mild and a hot sauce and this was obviously the hot, which to my mild palate was absolutely scorching!  It took a good ten minutes before I could even think about eating anything else.
     
    By this time, CTD arrived at the table with our food.  First up was the bologna sandwich,

    which was thick cut, covered in plenty of cole slaw and sauce on a soft toasted bun.  Excellent! 
     
    The pork bbq sandwich

    surprised us by coming in a hoagie roll, but that just meant there was more to eat.  It is a beautiful tangle of dark and light/inside and outside meat

    that is both crunchy and soft at the same time.  Cover this with the slaw and this is a great pork bbq sandwich.  It hurts me to say this but Payne's was still a little bit better.
     
    The reason we send the CTD up to do the ordering is that we will often comeback with an unexpectedly great item and he did it again with the sausage sandwich. 

    These were big, incredibly juicy links that exploded flavor in your mouth.  Add more of that slaw and sauce and you have the sleeper hit of the day!
     
    As for the sides, there was baked beans,

    which I heard were quite good, but who cares when there is bbq spaghetti

    to eat!  Obviously, the better the sauce, the better the bbq spaghetti.   And the thick, slightly sweet, with the right amount of spicy zing sauce here makes for an excellent barbecue spaghetti.  Not only did I eat our bbq spaghetti, I ate Jane Stern's, too!  It wasn't going to waste with me around. 
     
    Despite all of this food, we barely sampled the ribs and had none of maybe their most famous dish, barbecued Cornish hen.  Other tour participants were walking around and sharing their dishes, which is typical of these tours and most everybody got to sample anything they wanted.
     
    While we were sitting around eating, owner Desiree Robinson (here posing with Michael Stern)

    was walking around, chatting up customers and just beaming with pride.  She is the widow of Ray Robinson, one of the city's great pit masters and his photo hangs prominently

    on the wall.  She has done a magnificent job of running Cozy Corner, so much that there are four generations now working here.  We were told that one daughter just comes in to make the banana pudding (and maybe one other item, my memory fails me here) and that kids get started at the age of two.  What could they possibly do at the age of two?  They greet customers at the door and say: "Welcome to Cozy Corner"!  It's that kind of place.  By the way, the banana pudding here is also really good, but someone's (not naming names) wandering fork attacked it before I could get a photo!
     
    Going back to that photo of Desiree Robinson, anyone notice that she is carrying?  Here

    is better look.  No, she is not the typical great-grandmother!
     
    Cozy Corner
    745 North Parkway
    Memphis, TN
    901-527-9158
     
    For the second time in only two stops, everyone boarding the bus was murmuring about the incredible food.
     
    Okay, Payne's might have a slightly better pork barbecue sandwich, but overall, Cozy Corner is still number one!             
    <message edited by buffetbuster on Fri, 11/8/13 2:56 PM>
     
      Michael Hoffman

      • Total Posts: 17848
      • Joined: 7/1/2000
      • Location: Gahanna, OH
      Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Fri, 11/8/13 3:06 PM (permalink)
      This is a great report, and I'm looking forward to more. By the way, just looking at the shot of the Cozy Corner I know it has to be fantastic.
       
        buffetbuster

        Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Fri, 11/8/13 3:10 PM (permalink)
        Thanks Michael!  And I agree with you 100%, that is what a bbq parlor is supposed to look like!
         
          JRPfeff

          • Total Posts: 2376
          • Joined: 12/1/2006
          • Location: Pewaukee, WI & Fuquay-Varina, NC
          Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Fri, 11/8/13 3:53 PM (permalink)
          I never realized that Michael Hoffman and buffetbuster were into such hoity-toity upscale restaurants.
           
            ChiTownDiner

            Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Fri, 11/8/13 3:58 PM (permalink)
            The locals must have wondered what planet this alien invasion of picture snapping, plate sharing, buzzing with excitement folks descended from!  We tried it all and the sausage was so unexpectedly great, it became the consensus favorite.  There was a near riot as we neared the last bite!  I was able to separate buffetbuster from the pack....
             
            If there was any doubt as to the craziness (in a good way) of the group, when regulars left to see a huge deluxe motorcoach in the parking lot....the comments were priceless! 
             
            The close proximity of the tables allowed for maximum sharing and Desiree worked the room like a pro!  
             
            We all complimented her on the efforts of 4 generations and she said the secret was partially never teaching the word "tired" to any of the children and grand children!  A lesson many could benefit from!  
             
            It's not often we have two stops less than 10 minutes apart...how about three each less than 10 minutes apart!  Challenge accepted!  
             
             
             
              Michael Hoffman

              • Total Posts: 17848
              • Joined: 7/1/2000
              • Location: Gahanna, OH
              Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Fri, 11/8/13 3:59 PM (permalink)
              Oh, yeah. You ought to see the how upscale Wholey's in Pittsburgh is. And then there's the G&R Tavern in Waldo. But it's possible that Crabill's in Urbana is the most upscale of all. Why, most of the eight stools actually match.
               
                Louis

                • Total Posts: 714
                • Joined: 4/28/2003
                • Location: Henderson, KY
                Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Sat, 11/9/13 1:35 PM (permalink)
                Some years ago I passed through Mason, Tennessee, where Gus's had an outlet there.  It was 3:30 in the afternoon, and they served me some fried chicken that was about three hours old.  But I could tell even in its slightly decayed condition that the taste was very comparable to that of the Bon Ton Mini Mart's fried chicken.  I will definitely have to come to Memphis to try it some time.
                 
                Interestingly, the only Memphis restaurant that I have only tried was early one Sunday morning a few years ago at Interstate Bar-B-Q, which was good (and very close to the interstate).  I'd like to go there sometime with another roadfooder doing the driving.  I'm not really a fan of driving in city traffic.
                 
                 
                  buffetbuster

                  Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Sun, 11/10/13 8:48 AM (permalink)
                  When it was announced that Cupboard Restaurant would be one of the stops on the bus tour, I thought this one had the chances of being a clunker.  My first experience here was very good, but on my last visit just a few years ago, it wasn't very good.  The lemon ice box pie that day was especially poor.  At one point, I even said to ChiTownDiner and Cousin Johnny that I would probably skip eating here and save it for better places still to come.  Yeah, we all know that isn't going to happen. 
                   
                  We arrived at the restaurant several minutes earlier than they expected, but this place is big enough that they were able to seat us in a fairly quick manner.  CTD, Johnny and I were shown to a table of four and since Danny (ChiBears15) walked in right behind us, I asked him to come eat with us.  Cupboard is best known for the high quality of their Southern vegetables and the menu shows quite a list,

                  plus the waitress told us about a couple of extras.  We decided the best way to go would be that all four of us chose two each, with no repeats, except one. 
                   
                  Our first plate

                  held (clockwise from the left) fresh buttered squash, eggplant casserole, fresh turnip greens and mac and cheese.  There wasn't a loser on the plate, with the bread crumb heavy eggplant casserole and the bitter greens being my favorites, while others extolled the squash as the best on the table. 
                   
                  Unfortunately, there was a little miscommunication at the table and the other plate of vegetables was attacked before a photo could be taken.  That plate had the fried okra, green beans, corn pudding and more mac and cheese.  The sweet corn pudding was a delight in both texture and taste.   The green beans were not as porky as what you see in many Southern restaurants, allowing the freshness of the vegetable come through.  It appears fried okra isn't for me, because I can't remember the last time I enjoyed them.  The okra is so small, the deep fried coating to vegetable ratio is skewed too far in the wrong direction.  Obviously, this is my issue, since many people love fried okra.
                   
                  Sitting at the table next to us was another group of Roadfooders,

                  including Corky, Boyd, Beth and tour veteran Carolann.  We were swapping dishes back and forth, which allowed us to try several more of the vegetables.  Thanks to them, we were able to try the Italian spinach, but for the life of me I can't remember what is was exactly we liked so much.  Can anyone else chime in about the Italian spinach?
                   
                  Dessert time!  These included the custardy banana pudding

                  and the breading heavy, super sweet apple cobbler. 

                  I had warned tablemates earlier about the bad lemon ice box, but undaunted, a slice got ordered anyway. 

                  This version wasn't nearly as gloppy as my previous experience, but is still too sweet and not enough tart.  The best of the desserts was sent over from our neighbors: the ultra-rich chocolate silk pie.

                   
                  Since this was in the middle of lunch hour, the restaurant was very busy and the staff did a great job of getting us in and out in a reasonable amount of time.  The Cupboard was certainly not the highlight of the tour, but was nowhere near the disappointment I thought it could be.  Besides, all these vegetables were the perfect change of pace for all the barbecue we would be eating on this day.
                   
                  Cupboard Restaurant
                  1400 Union Avenue
                  Memphis, TN
                  901-276-8015
                   
                  A couple photos on the way out:  ChiTownDiner

                  posing with the mural that takes up most of the outside wall and Marvin (screen name Cubs Fan), Chris and Amy chatting.

                   
                  Since we were ahead of schedule, this allowed the first audible of the tour!   
                  <message edited by buffetbuster on Sun, 11/10/13 8:56 AM>
                   
                    will_work_4_bbq

                    • Total Posts: 400
                    • Joined: 1/11/2006
                    • Location: Birmingham, AL
                    Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Sun, 11/10/13 9:21 AM (permalink)
                    Great vegetables!  I need a recipe for eggplant casserole.  You just don't see it very much, and I love eggplant!  That one looks delicious!
                     
                      ChiTownDiner

                      Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Sun, 11/10/13 9:59 AM (permalink)
                      While buffetbuster showed a picture on one side of our table....on the other side, pie was going on!
                       

                       
                       
                      These guys got 3 slices and a banana pudding before the main courses arrived!  Experienced Roadfooders!
                       
                      As for the missing veggie foursome....
                       

                       
                       
                      Here's 3 of the 4 with the green beans having been removed so "someone" could check for porkiness!  This one was fried okra, corn casserole, mac n cheese (the only double allowed by vote) and somewhere out of camera range, green beans!
                       
                      Our dessert threesome....
                       

                       
                      Apple cobbler, banana pudding and lemon ice box pie!
                       

                       
                      Our fearless leader, a man on a mission, the guy saying "Who Me?" when inquiries about the green beans began to surface....
                       
                        buffetbuster

                        Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Sun, 11/10/13 10:16 AM (permalink)
                        ChiTownDiner
                          
                        Here's 3 of the 4 with the green beans having been removed so "someone" could check for porkiness! 
                        If the green beans disappeared due to a porkiness quality check, then it must of been me!

                         
                          mayor al

                          • Total Posts: 15069
                          • Joined: 8/20/2002
                          • Location: Louisville area, Southern Indiana
                          • Roadfood Insider
                          Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Sun, 11/10/13 11:41 AM (permalink)
                          Two interesting points RE- the Veggies.
                          1. Is it Corn Pudding or Corn Casserole (see conflicting labels in the text.) Claudia Sanders (Mrs Harlan...) called her entry in the veggies,  served at her Shelbyville, KY Dinner House,  Corn Pudding.
                           
                          2. Same type of 'Naming Differences' come with the Eggplant casserole. CSDH titled hers "MOCK OYSTERS".  The dinners at CSDH provide unlimited access to family style servings of eight different and delicious Veggies, with the two mentioned and a wonderful Stewed Tomato dish as my favorite.
                            The entree's tend to lose a lot of their glamor when supported by a veggie assortment like these.
                          AL
                           
                            buffetbuster

                            Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Sun, 11/10/13 4:58 PM (permalink)
                            MayorAl-
                            Looking at the photo from the menu, they do call it corn pudding at The Cupboard
                             
                            Oh, I remember those vegetables from Claudia Sanders, with the corn pudding and the green beans being my favorites.   
                             
                              Big_g

                              Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Sun, 11/10/13 6:41 PM (permalink)
                              BB,
                              Here is a photo of the Aquarium smoker at Cozy Corner
                              <message edited by Big_g on Mon, 11/11/13 1:17 PM>
                              Attached Image(s)
                               
                                Big_g

                                Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Sun, 11/10/13 6:42 PM (permalink)
                                And a shot of the GREAT Sausage sandwich
                                <message edited by Big_g on Sun, 11/10/13 6:52 PM>
                                Attached Image(s)
                                 
                                  buffetbuster

                                  Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Sun, 11/10/13 7:38 PM (permalink)
                                  Very nice big_g!  Thanks for the photos!
                                   
                                    love2bake

                                    • Total Posts: 1281
                                    • Joined: 8/10/2008
                                    • Location: SFBay Area, CA
                                    Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Mon, 11/11/13 8:24 AM (permalink)
                                    I see the note on the menu states that they don't use any meat products in their vegetables.  That would definitely affect what I'd order here.  I like the fact that they use many fresh vegetables rather than canned ones, and they proudly state it and even have a mural showing it!
                                     
                                    Great report.  Having a lot of vicarious fun!
                                     
                                      ChiBears15

                                      • Total Posts: 75
                                      • Joined: 10/11/2013
                                      • Location: Chicago, IL
                                      Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Mon, 11/11/13 9:01 AM (permalink)
                                      Great report so far!  I will start posting my pictures from the tour tomorrow.
                                      <message edited by ChiBears15 on Mon, 11/11/13 9:05 AM>
                                       
                                        buffetbuster

                                        Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Mon, 11/11/13 11:07 AM (permalink)
                                        love2bake-
                                        I completely missed that fine print about Cupboard Restaurant not using meat in their vegetables.  That would certainly explain why the green beans were not porky, which is what you expect in Southern green/pole beans.
                                         
                                        ChiBears15-
                                        Outstanding!  So much looking forward to your additions.
                                         
                                          buffetbuster

                                          Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Mon, 11/11/13 12:20 PM (permalink)
                                          While we were dining at Cupboard Restaurant, Michael Stern came over to our table and asked if we had ever heard of Muddy's Bake Shop.  Had he asked this question a week earlier, the answer would have been no.  Coincidentally, Roadfooder NancyPalooza had just visited Memphis the week before the tour and raved about Muddy's on Facebook.  Apparently, some women who had just finished eating at Cupboard had asked Michael about this large group and when he told them it was an eating tour, they told him we had to visit Muddy's.  Since it was close to our next scheduled destination, we were off to make a quick dessert oriented side trip!
                                           
                                          Since Muddy's


                                          is located in a fairly large and busy shopping center, this proved problematic, but our bus driver Chester handled it like a pro.  One glance at the pie case

                                          and it was obvious that we came to the right place.
                                           
                                          Although all the cookies, cupcakes, bars, etc. looked wonderful, we stuck with the pies.  We decided on a few slices from that first case, content that we didn't, for the first time ever, over order.  So there we were, minding our own business and the next thing we know, we got ambushed by a strawberry lemonade cake.

                                          So this got added to our cache.  If that wasn't bad enough, right behind that was a peanut butter banana cake.  Finding strength we didn't know we had, we managed to not add that to our order, thankfully!
                                           
                                          Once paid up, we took our haul outside and ate at one of their tables out front.  That strawberry lemonade cake

                                          was moist, with bright, sweet lemon icing, but if I had it to do over again, the peanut butter banana would have been a better choice.  The chocolate chess pie

                                          was dense, rich and gooey and would have been better eaten with a glass of milk.  As much as I enjoyed it as first, I quickly tired of the taste.  This was one slice that was best made for sharing.  My favorite at Muddy's was the tangy buttermilk pie

                                          with a buttery, substantial crust.
                                           
                                          We saw plenty of other baked goods being passed around between other Roadfooders, but unfortunately, no other photos.  So, I would love to know what everyone else ordered at Muddy's and how they liked it.
                                           
                                          Kudos to Michael and Stephen for finding a way to make this unexpected stop happen!
                                           
                                          Muddy's Bake Shop
                                          5101 Sanderlin Avenue
                                          Memphis, TN
                                          901-683-8844
                                          <message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 11/11/13 2:11 PM>
                                           
                                            ChiTownDiner

                                            Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Mon, 11/11/13 12:30 PM (permalink)
                                            I love audibles on a food tour!  And we even had 30 minutes between stops to get a little digesting in!  What a great recommendation by NancyPalooza!  I have virtually the same photos fro this stop so not much to add...
                                             
                                            We did have a bag on our table that had various bars in also...
                                             
                                            We did exercise some care at this visit as we had a large scale stop less than 5 minutes away....
                                             
                                            BTW - this was a bus drivers nightmare and he handled it with a big smile and precision driving! 
                                             
                                              mayor al

                                              • Total Posts: 15069
                                              • Joined: 8/20/2002
                                              • Location: Louisville area, Southern Indiana
                                              • Roadfood Insider
                                              Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Mon, 11/11/13 1:44 PM (permalink)
                                              Keep'em coming, folks. This report could fill a book !!!
                                               
                                                buffetbuster

                                                Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Mon, 11/11/13 2:49 PM (permalink)
                                                Just a few short minutes away was our next stop, Germantown Commissary

                                                This bbq restaurant (notice I didn't say parlor) has the reputation as being one of the very best in Memphis, but in some ways it doesn't quite fit in with the other big names in Memphis barbecue.  First of all, instead of being in a questionable urban part of town, it is located in the wealthy suburbs.  And......  they have valet parking! 

                                                Can you imagine?  It will be hard not to hold this service against the restaurant, but we will try our best.
                                                 
                                                The building itself is big enough that our entire group fit into three long tables in the back room to the left, although it was a little tight in there.  A couple shots of the Roadfood crowd: 


                                                The menu is fairly big,

                                                with plenty of non-barbecue options and once again, we will try not to hold that against the restaurant.
                                                 
                                                Our party of three decided to split two dishes.  Considering the amount of pork we were consuming, the barbecued shrimp

                                                was a nice way to mix things up.  How can you not like shrimp covered in bbq sauce, but this was still nothing special.  A combination plate with ribs and pulled pork 

                                                gave us a nice overview of the main meats served.  The pulled pork was tender, though overly sauced and made a better impression than the ribs.  The baked beans were heavy on the liquid, but the deviled eggs with plenty of paprika were a highlight.  We liked them so much, we placed an extra order of deviled eggs.
                                                 
                                                There was a basket of pulled pork nachos floating around the table (sorry, photo came out too blurry to use), which we got to sample, but this was a combination of flavors and textures that just didn't work for me.  It wasn't all bad news, as the custardy banana pudding

                                                was excellent and maybe the best of the entire trip.
                                                 
                                                At one point during our meal, I saw Judy Rushmore taking a photo of Wayne's sandwich

                                                and once again, got a bad case of photo envy.  So I asked him to turn around and let me get the shot. 

                                                Actually, that is a pretty good looking sandwich.  We may be trying this the next time here.
                                                 
                                                On this day, I felt Germantown Commissary was the weak spot of the tour.  There was nothing bad here, but considering our last bbq meal was at Cozy Corner, well, you aren't going to be able to compete with that.  And I have no doubt that if they were located in my town, I would eat here twice a week.
                                                 
                                                Germantown Commissary
                                                2290 S. Germantown Road
                                                Germantown, TN
                                                901-754-5540
                                                 
                                                We got one more tour stop to make and it is even more barbecue!  And even better, it is a place I have never been to, before. 
                                                <message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 11/11/13 2:55 PM>
                                                 
                                                  love2bake

                                                  • Total Posts: 1281
                                                  • Joined: 8/10/2008
                                                  • Location: SFBay Area, CA
                                                  Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Mon, 11/11/13 9:05 PM (permalink)
                                                  Did anyone try the caramel cake or lemon icebox pie by any chance?  The menu says the desserts are homemade.   I realize you all had just been to a pie place, though, so maybe this was the last thing you were thinking about.
                                                   
                                                  On this trip, are any of these BBQ places making a distinction between wet and dry rub ribs?  When I went to Corky's last year they did, so I wondered if others do as well.
                                                   
                                                    buffetbuster

                                                    Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Tue, 11/12/13 4:56 AM (permalink)
                                                    love2bake-
                                                    In a group our size, no doubt that someone did try the caramel or lemon ice box pie.  Hopefully, someone will chime in with a comment or maybe even a photo.  And trust me, pie is never the last thing I am thinking about! 
                                                     
                                                      ChiTownDiner

                                                      Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Tue, 11/12/13 7:50 AM (permalink)
                                                      As you can see we went off the traditional bbq path with decent bbq shrimp (for a change of pace) and several deviled eggs which were really good!  But the star of the show...
                                                       

                                                       
                                                      ....was the banana pudding....and we doubled down on what would be my top banana pudding or at the very least, as good as it can get banana pudding!
                                                       
                                                      With the three long tables, sharing reached new heights and I saw other desserts go by, tried a few but alas, no photos!
                                                       
                                                      I am adding this disclaimer - everyone has a different standard for best of.  With this banana pudding, I like a ratio of almost equal parts, and that's what we got!  Many have to few cookies or no whip cream...this was just perfect!  
                                                      <message edited by ChiTownDiner on Tue, 11/12/13 11:03 AM>
                                                       
                                                        buffetbuster

                                                        Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Tue, 11/12/13 10:58 AM (permalink)
                                                        I have previously visited most of the big names in Memphis BBQ, but somehow have missed out Central BBQ.  My Memphis friends tell me good things about the place and we heard equally positive things about the ribs they served at the annual Roadfood NOLA Foodfest.  I was really looking forward to this one. 
                                                         
                                                        Central BBQ started out in Midtown on Central Avenue, but there are now three locations.  We would be eating at the new downtown location, which is right next to the National Civil Rights Museum.  

                                                        Great neon sign

                                                        out front!  I knew I liked this place right away from the cute photos of kids

                                                        you get to place on the wall when you make a donation.  This place is big enough that we could all fit into one room in the back.  This room had large windows that were opened up to let air in, which made for a pleasant dining atmosphere on such a beautiful day.  Unfortunately, the light pouring

                                                        in wreaked havoc with my photos.  
                                                         
                                                        On the back wall they have two really well done murals

                                                        of the city.  They have all the major sights of the city, but what surprised me is that they also had several other bbq parlors listed on the map.  Cozy Corner, Payne's, Interstate, Leonard's, they were all represented on the mural.
                                                         
                                                        This was one of the restaurants where Roadfood was picking up the tab and we were all getting a set plate of food.  First thing at our table was a basket of house made bbq chips,

                                                        followed by pulled chicken nachos. 

                                                        The chips were crispy, the chicken was nice and tender, the shredded cheese worked well with the other ingredients and this was clearly better than the bbq nachos we just had at Germanton Commissary.  Not everyone at my table shared my enthusiasm for them, though.
                                                         
                                                        We each received a plate

                                                        with a couple of dry rub ribs, a pulled pork slider, a dry rub wing and a wet bbq wing, plus a side of cole slaw.   I particularly liked  
                                                         
                                                        the ribs, with the mixture of seasonings adding plenty of flavor.  The pulled pork on the slider

                                                        was certainly moist enough, but could have used less sauce.  In fact, if there was one weakness at Central BBQ is that no one seemed to like the sauce.  Which helps explain why the dry rub wing was much better than the wet wing.
                                                         
                                                        The staff at Central BBQ was excellent!  To a person, they were friendly, smiling and treated us very well.
                                                         
                                                        Overall, the food at Central BBQ was very good.  One trusted Roadfooder even told me that it was her favorite bbq parlor for the entire tour.  Still, I would like to return and go to the original location when more appetite is available.
                                                         
                                                        Central BBQ
                                                        147 E. Butler Avenue
                                                        Memphis, TN
                                                        901-672-7760
                                                         
                                                        The official tour ended here.  You had the option of remaining at Central BBQ to enjoy a few adult beverages, walk the mile or so back to the hotel or ride the bus back.  The majority of the participants chose to walk.
                                                         
                                                        Once back at the hotel, quick naps were in order.  After all, we still had dinner plans for the night.            
                                                        <message edited by buffetbuster on Tue, 11/12/13 11:09 AM>
                                                         
                                                          ChiTownDiner

                                                          Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Tue, 11/12/13 11:14 AM (permalink)
                                                          Here's another view of the inside area...
                                                           






                                                           
                                                          Followed by my plate, which as indicated is the same but in a slightly different light...
                                                           





                                                           
                                                          I think this shirt summed up how our stomachs were feeling...
                                                           





                                                           
                                                          ...that one was on-sale at the counter shop on the way out along with a wall of other catchy bbq slogans!  
                                                           
                                                          We definately needed a little break at this point!  
                                                           
                                                           
                                                           
                                                           
                                                           
                                                           
                                                            buffetbuster

                                                            Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas Tue, 11/12/13 1:53 PM (permalink)
                                                            Over the course of the day, we made plans to have dinner out with Chris and Amy.  And right before the tour ended for the day, Wayne asked what we were doing for dinner, so we invited him to join us.  At 8:00PM, we met in the lobby of the hotel and walked a few blocks to Automatic Slim's Tonga Club.  

                                                            In the Roadfood universe, there are several restaurants with great names.  If Automatic Slim's isn't number one, it is surely top five.
                                                             
                                                            Because ASTC has a more expensive menu than the typical Roadfood restaurant, I was concerned about not being properly dressed.  My wardrobe for this trip was entirely shorts and t-shirts.  Not only did we fit in fine the way we way were dressed, but didn't even have to wait for a table.  We were led upstairs to a round table in the corner.  Here

                                                            is part of the menu page with the entrees.
                                                             
                                                            CTD went for the shrimp and grits, which he seemed to enjoy.  Sorry, no photo!  Cousin Johnny surprisingly went for the Hawaiian marinated ribeye

                                                            with lemon parmesan French fries.  Despite how full he was from the tour, Johnny still put away his entire meal!  I am so proud to say he is my cousin.
                                                             
                                                            I needed something different than what we had eaten earlier in the day, so I went with the blackened redfish,

                                                            with crawfish risotto and asparagus.  The fish itself was firm and flaky, but the star of the plate the creamy risotto, with the crawfish sauce.  Wayne also ordered this dish.
                                                             
                                                            Sorry, I can't remember what Chris and Amy ate, but they wisely split a meal, saving appetite for the next day's tour.
                                                             
                                                            Automatic Slim's Tonga Club
                                                            83 S. 2nd Street
                                                            Memphis, TN
                                                            901-525-7948
                                                             
                                                            After this, I was exhausted.  It was straight to bed, since the tour was starting earlier the next day.  
                                                             
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