Hot!2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas

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ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/17 17:04:49
Another shot of Ms. Lena's inventory system...new pies come out every 5 minutes or so...
 

 
You can see the 9 shelves representing the 9 flavors of that day...
post edited by ChiTownDiner - 2013/11/17 17:16:07
ChiBears15
Hamburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/17 17:39:41
Cliff,
 
I actually laughed out loud when I read your jackhammer comment on the peanut butter pie at Ed and Kay's!  I thought the waitress was kidding about it being baked incorrectly because the cream portion of the pie tasted great, and then we hit rock bottom... literally lol. 
Big_g
Cheeseburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/17 21:20:33
It may have been wrong...but it sure tasted right...I got some of the over cooked crust and it was hard BUT SUPER flavorful.
I agree with BB...Ed and Kays was the low point of the day and it was a dang nice eatery!
schlotz
Junior Burger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/17 22:02:58
The peanut butter meringue pie was my favorite at Ed & Kays.  Note the bits of peanut throughout the filling...must have been crunchy peanut butter!   - Boyd
 

post edited by schlotz - 2013/11/17 22:32:09
ChiBears15
Hamburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/17 22:04:44
Big_g,
 
Will you be joining us in Cincinnati for the chili and coney crawl in April?  It wouldn't be too far of a drive from Sweetwater to Cincy.  It would be fun to have you a part of the group!
 
-Danny
love2bake
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/17 22:34:58
I get such a kick out of those extreme meringues at Ed & Kay's.  I'm also curious about the French raisin pie.  Looks very tasty, and apparently was!  Mmmmm... 
Big_g
Cheeseburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/17 23:11:39
I'm making plans for it!!  Sounds like a good time.
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/18 15:16:48
Danny - I can picture him with the tool belt, hard hat and jackhammer all in the interest of Roadfood research!  I laughed with you on this one! 
post edited by ChiTownDiner - 2013/11/18 15:19:29
ChiBears15
Hamburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/19 07:51:07
Boyd,
 
If they ever made Roadfood postcards, that picture of the pie you took would be on one!
post edited by ChiBears15 - 2013/11/19 07:53:26
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/19 17:36:52
Boyd - That is a great shot!  Got any more?  CTD
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/20 04:09:29
Thanks to ChiTownDiner and schlotz for the additional photos!  How did I miss out on getting a shot of that peanut butter pie?
billyboy
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/20 04:22:41
This is a write-up of epic proportions!  Well done everyone.  Wish I could have been there.  While taking a nap earlier today I had an awesome dream about one of those ceiling scraping meringue pies!  
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/20 04:39:55
The second of our back to back Hot Springs bbq joints would be the famous McClard's.  This would be a much different experience here, but the food would be no less excellent!
 
The parking lot at McClard's

isn't particularly big and this place is so popular, you will see lines out the door through out the day.  This was a problem, since there was no place for Chester to park, so he dropped us all of on the side street next to the restaurant and then had to keep moving.  There is nowhere to put us in a separate room, so we stood in line just like any other customers.  Quickly a bigger sized booth opened up, so ChiTownDiner, Cousin Johnny, Wayne, Chris, Amy and I grabbed it.  Most of the other tour participants also got seated with no problem and we even saw one tour couple sharing a booth with two of McClard's regular customers, which I thought was very cool!
 
The portion sizes at McClard's

are infamously big, but having six diners allowed us to splurge.  We settled on one rib and fry plate

and one whole tamale spread. 

Looks can be deceiving here, because that is a pound ribs covered by seemingly an equal amount of french fries.
 
These ribs are on the short list of my very favorites in the country.  I love the rugged texture, smoky flavor and this is one of the few places where the bbq sauce enhances the meat. If it was just me, I would of covered the top of the fries with the bbq sauce and let it work it's way down through the plate.  The tamale plate, with different layers of tamale, beans, onions, Fritos, pork and bbq sauce, all generously covered by a top layer of cheese, was an even bigger hit with the table.  The last time we were here, Cousin Johnny called this the ultimate food for watching the game and that is the prefect description.  Chris Ayers was especially enamored with this dish.  We also got a side dish of the beans,

but these were an after thought and don't compare to the ones at Stubby's.
 
These nice murals


are on the opposite wall in the parking lot.  Since Chester had to stay with the bus, we took the rest of our remaining ribs to him as did several other tour members.
 
McClard's Bar-B-Q
505 Albert Pike
Hot Springs, AR
501-623-9665  
 
Despite how crowded McClard's was, they are such pros, they got the entire group in and out quickly.  At least we have a little bit of a drive to our next destination and we are going to need it!
post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/11/20 05:57:36
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/20 04:43:41
billyboy

This is a write-up of epic proportions!  Well done everyone.  Wish I could have been there.  While taking a nap earlier today I had an awesome dream about one of those ceiling scraping meringue pies!  
Bill, I sure hope you can join us one of these years.  These tours would be right up your alley!  Happy pie dreams!
mayor al
Fire Safety Admin
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/20 06:09:36
I have enjoyed that rib plate twice in my RF career, and vote it into the top five Pork-Ribs on my nation-wide list. We were TTM'd at Stubby's the day we passed thru, so I have not basis to compare...but your photos sure look great.
AL
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/20 06:13:08
We think alike Al, because McClard's is one of my top three rib joints, along with Brick Pit and Archibald's in Alabama.  Too bad you missed out on Stubby's
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/20 08:00:03
At McClards, I felt a need for a little dairy....
 

 
...and this strawberry shake filled the need nicely.  It was a perfect accompaniment to the GREATEST Tamale Pie on earth...
 

 
...or in the universe!  The size of this plate easily fed 6!  Layer upon layer of every flavor you love combined for an awesome dish!
 
Sure coulda gone for a slice of the French raisin pie right about now!
 
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/20 08:57:33
buffetbuster

Since Chester had to stay with the bus, we took the rest of our remaining ribs to him as did several other tour members.
I'll bet he's hoping he gets to drive for another RF tour someday!
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/20 09:14:39
SC-
Since you brought it up, Chester mentioned to me a couple of times this was the most fun he has ever had driving a tour bus.  He did come in and eat with us at every stop except McClard's, due to the parking situation.  He sat with different people at different restaurants and it felt like he was just one of the tour participants.
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/20 09:50:52
...and he was a super nice guy!  Drove like a pro and the ride was so smooth, I fell asleep after the final stop on Saturday! 
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/20 10:23:05
BTW - If you're a steak lover, the next stop is one of the all time greats!  Stay tuned...
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/20 19:58:59
As many great places we have already visited on this tour, as much good food as we have already shared, believe it or not, the best was still to come.  I had several people tell me that the restaurant they were most anticipating was Doe's Eat Place.  The original Doe's in Greenville, MS is a Roadfood legend.  Although Doe's has franchised out and there are many locations around the Mid South and beyond, the Little Rock Doe's is also still family owned.  Having been to both of the ones in Greenville and Little Rock twice, I believe the food in Little Rock was better.
 
On my first visit to the Little Rock location in 2001, the surrounding neighborhood made me a little nervous.  I made sure that I got in and out during daylight.  Since then, the area seems to be much better, although they still have a security guard

out front.  He told me that they really don't have any problems, he is just there to make people feel safer.
 
It seemed we showed up a little early, but they quickly led us into a large side separate dining room.  There were menus

on the table, but Doe's was giving us a fix price family style dinner of practically everything they have. 
 
The first thing out was delta tamales,

which you unwrap and cover with chili.  These are good, but my favorite appetizers are the two kinds of shrimp.  You can see the fried shrimp

is lightly breaded and the shrimp themselves have a nice snap when you bite into them.  Even better is the broiled shrimp, which come in an intoxicating sauce of lemon, butter, garlic and spices.  Sorry, no photos!  Without a doubt, this is my favorite item at Doe's and I finished off three entire bowls by myself!
 
It would be easy to ignore the salad

here, but that would be a mistake.  I was once told that the marinated salad is called a Louisiana soak salad and it is simple and delicious!  One more appetizer was the new potatoes,

which I believe were just boiled potatoes in butter.  No reason for me to eat these as there is too much other good stuff to eat.
 
The first big surprise of our meal was that they brought us out salmon. 

I would have to eat at Doe's a few hundred times before I would even consider ordering fish, but this salmon was excellent.  It had a nice rub of garlic and other spices and in another restaurant, this would have been a highlight.  Just not on this day at Doe's.
 
Finally, it was time to bring out the big boys!  We were all able to order the steaks depending on how well we wanted them cooked and then they just laid them out in front of us. 





Sorry my food photos are subpar, but I tried to maneuver a plate to get a better photo and instantly burned my hand.  The plates were scorching hot.  And I wasn't about to ask everyone to wait until they cooled off.  The steaks are so good you can't actually believe that these aren't prime.  I didn't talk to anyone who wasn't thrilled with their steak. 
 
One couple collected as many bones as they could

to take home to their dog.  That had to be one happy dog when they got home.
 
Some additional photos from Doe's:
 



 
There could not have been one ounce of appetite left by anyone on the tour.  The waitstaff at Doe's was their usual friendly, outstanding self.  This was, to me, clearly the best meal of the tour and maybe the best meal in all nine years of the Roadfood tours.
 
Doe's Eat Place
1023 W. Markham Street
Little Rock, AR
501-376-1195
 
Once we were back on the bus, there was a brief discussion whether we should look for an ice cream stop in Little Rock, but that was quickly dismissed.  At this point, there wasn't anyway the day could have been improved upon and it was time to head home.  Chester drove flawlessly through the rain back to Memphis and two hours later, we were back at our hotel and the end of the tour.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/20 20:03:22
My choices for best of the tour:
Best BBQ - McClard's, just ahead of Cozy Corner
Best Pie - Family Pie Shop
Best Overall - Doe's Eat Shop
 
Cousin Johnny's picks:
Best BBQ - McClard's
Best Pie - Family Pie Shop
Best Overall - McClard's (he loves that tamale spread!)
 
What were your favorites?
will_work_4_bbq
Cheeseburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/20 20:51:47
What an experience at Doe's!!!
lleechef
Sirloin
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/20 21:05:35
Those steaks look fabulous!
ChiBears15
Hamburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/20 21:14:55
Cliff,
You did an amazing job on this trip report! And lol, you actually finished it!  Haha now hurry up and finish that Iowa report from last year
 
 
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/20 21:18:34
Not quite done yet! CTD and I still had almost a full day in Memphis the day after the tour.
ChiBears15
Hamburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/20 21:28:47
My choices for best of the tour:
Best BBQ: Cozy Corner
Best Pie: Miss Lena's
Best Overall: Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken
 
Odds and ends:
Biggest Letdown: The Germantown Commissary; The food wasn't terrible (just average), but I was expecting so much more.  This one was on my must eat bucket list since I heard so many good things about the place.  Maybe we just caught them on a bad day?
 
Funniest Moment:  Although technically it was the night before the tour began, I still cannot forget the goofy costumes we saw people wearing at Rendezvous! 
 
Cutest Moment:  Gracen's hospitality in De Valls Bluff. 
 
Biggest OMG! Moment:  When Cliff told me Cousin Johnny ordered a huge steak Friday night AFTER (!) the tour concluded.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, he still had an appetite
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/20 21:43:01
This has been one absolutely wonderful report.
Glenn1234
Double Cheeseburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/20 22:20:40
 
Wow!  Just Wow!   Great report!  Getting lots of new ideas for next month when Janet and I will be driving through Little Rock and Memphis on our drive from southern CA to VA.
 
We absolutely loved Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous last time there, but that was about 20 years ago.  From the comments, it seems they have gone down hill.   Glad to see so many other good places.   
 
 
Glenn
 
  
ChiBears15
Hamburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/20 23:11:58
Glenn,
 
During you road trip, make sure you stop in De Valls Bluff, AR at one or both of the pie places mentioned in this trip report.  Your taste buds will not be disappointed!  Everyone on the bus tour loved the pies we ate in that town.  Southern CA to VA huh?  This sounds like an epic drive.  Have a safe trip.
 
-Danny
ChiBears15
Hamburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/20 23:18:42


1 by dnowak15, on Flickr
 
CTD at the National Cheese Dip Championships :-)
post edited by ChiBears15 - 2013/11/20 23:25:26
schlotz
Junior Burger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/21 00:13:04
My Trip Favorites
 
Cozy Corner: Ribs
Ms. Lena's: Apricot Fried Pie
Ed/Kay's: Peanut Butter Cream Pie
McClard's: Tamale Spread - magic!
 

 
Atmosphere - Rendezvous - Could imagine Mitch McDeere (Grisham's 'The Firm') stopping by for lunch or a drink.
 

 
Nice to see some familiar faces and make some new friends.  It was a blast!
 
" 'Til we meet you again, may God bless you. Adios." - Elvis
 

buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/21 01:41:00
ChiBears15-
Nicely done with the photo!  What exactly is CTD doing there?  Whatever it is Johnny doesn't seem all that concerned.
 
Schlotz-
Beautiful shot of the ribs and tamale spread at McClard's!
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/21 06:13:28
A big thank you to Jane and Michael Stern and Stephen Rushmore

(seen here with bus driver Chester) for the work they put in organizing this tour.  This was the ninth tour for Cousin Johnny and I and there can be no doubt that this was the best one, yet! 
 
Some random thoughts:
 
* I always hope the tours sell out, because it really is the more the merrier.  The fact that this tour did not, helped logistically as we were able to get in and out of restaurants quickly.  And even though the bus was big and comfortable, it allowed people to stretch out and have more room.  On the drive from Doe's back to Memphis, I went to one of the empty seats in the back and caught a quick nap!
 
* I always feel like I am missing out on some of the social part of the tour, because of time spent trying to get the perfect photos.  One of these years, I am going to leave my camera at home and see if it makes for an even better experience.
 
* As much as we enjoyed all the people who were on this tour, couples Bruce & Sue, Ralph & Lori and Lee & Barbara from Oklahoma City were all greatly missed. 
 
* Much credit goes to the people who come on these tours by themselves.  It has to be a little intimidating to join a group that mostly seems to already know each other, but everybody fit right in immediately.  It really is a very welcoming group of people.
 
* The only competition for best tour in my mind was 2009 in Buffalo/Rochester.  Tour veterans may remember that it included the outstanding surprise side trip to a Cornell chicken dinner and ended with a marriage proposal.  No proposals on this tour, but I have a feeling that if ChiTownDiner took a slice of Ed & Kay's French raisin pie to go, he may have been ready to pop the question!
 
* There was a lot of talk about where to go next year and they all sounded good, but here is one vote for someplace on the West Coast.    
post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/11/21 07:37:32
mayor al
Fire Safety Admin
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/21 08:17:54
Cliff, and your supporting writing and photographing companions,  Thank You for a great report. We have visited many of the places you folks covered, and brought back several fine memories with your UPDATE !!
mlm
Cheeseburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/21 12:43:18
What did CTD do?! Lose a contact lens or something?
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/21 13:06:41
As you can see...
 

 
...it's a relatively small menu....but this one packs a wallop in every item!  Literally, each item is a keeper!
 
We started with the tamales....
 

 
...which look like this...
 

 
...once you unwrap, cut and sauce them!  Really good!
 
I fell in love, if that's possible with the fried shrimp!
 

 
Light, crunchy and absolutely no grease...several platters of these passed my way, each load appropriately lightened!  I must have had 25 of these bad boys!
 
My dining companion buffetbuster went the other way...
 

 
He really pounded the grilled shrimp which had a scampi-style garlic and butter glaze which pooled nicely in the bowl!  This proved a winning combination when coupled with the garlicky Texas toast!
 
A perfectly acceptable salmon came out...
 

 
...with each piece capable of feeding 12 grown iron workers!
 
But the star of the show was the steaks, and we had several cuts served across the room and prepared at every temperature all the way down to rare!!!
 

 

 

 

 
My medium rare selections were perfect! 
 
This was and is a highlight stop on any trip or visit to Little Rock!  Next up, my picks for best in show!
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/21 13:11:25
My chocies for best in show...on the tour...
 
Best BBQ - Cozy Corner
Best Pie - Ms. Lena's Pie Shop
Overall Best - Doe's Eat Place
 
After we finish the last day, I'll share my best of the trip list which has a few wrinkles!
 
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/21 13:16:53
mlm

What did CTD do?! Lose a contact lens or something?

 
It does look pretty funny...but the cheese dip had obviously (to us) been microwaved and was smoking hot on the plate.  I was in injury prevention mode as I knew the road ahead!  
mlm
Cheeseburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/21 14:43:03
Now that you've explained what you were doing, I can see that your lips were pursed slightly in order to blow on it. Before, it just looked like you were taking a very close look at it!
Glenn1234
Double Cheeseburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/21 14:47:39
ChiBears15

Glenn,

During you road trip, make sure you stop in De Valls Bluff, AR at one or both of the pie places mentioned in this trip report.  Your taste buds will not be disappointed!  Everyone on the bus tour loved the pies we ate in that town.  Southern CA to VA huh?  This sounds like an epic drive.  Have a safe trip.

-Danny

 
It looks like De Valls Bluff is quite close to I-40, so it should be easy to hit up.  
 
The SoCal to VA trip will be quite a drive. The main purpose of the trip is not for RoadFood, but we'll be sure to stop in at a good number of them along the way.  Thanks for the heads up on De Valls Bluff. 
 
 
Glenn 

post edited by Glenn1234 - 2013/11/21 14:56:08
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/21 14:59:35
Remember  Ms. Len's is only open on Friday and Saturday and Family Pie Shop has slightly irregular hours also. 
CajunKing
Sirloin
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/21 18:53:07
ChiTownDiner

mlm

What did CTD do?! Lose a contact lens or something?


It does look pretty funny...but the cheese dip had obviously (to us) been microwaved and was smoking hot on the plate.  I was in injury prevention mode as I knew the road ahead!  

 
For a moment there I thought he was a rock star and was going to try and SNORT the cheese dip, I mean if Ozzy can SNORT a line of live ants, CTD should be able to SNORT a bowl of cheese dip.

ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/21 18:56:34
Tried that....the pimento kept making me sneeze.
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/21 19:08:16
ChiTownDiner

Tried that....the pimento kept making me sneeze.

And with that there's red wine sprayed all over the keyboard. Thanks Pal.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/21 19:33:35
Cousin Johnny had an early morning flight the day after the tour and hitched a ride to the airport with Chris and Amy.  While waiting in the lobby of the hotel, we saw quite a few other Roadfooders leaving and it was nice to be able to say goodbye.  As for CTD and I, we still had most of the day in Memphis to do as we please.  And it pleases us to have two breakfasts!
 
First up was Barksdale Restaurant, my personal favorite in Memphis.  Barksdale

is a humble place with booths lining the walls and tables in the middle. 

Much of the decoration involves the University of Tennessee and other SEC schools.  The menu is exactly what you would expect in a Southern restaurant and the service is friendly and mothering. 
 
Knowing we had another stop to make immediately after, I didn't get my usual order of country ham, with red eye gravy.  Instead it was simply an order of biscuits and gravy. 

The gravy was a little thinner and less seasoned with pepper than I remember, but the light, airy biscuits

were still excellent.  CTD is a big fan of omelets

and this is what he ordered, though he will have to fill you in on what kind.
 
My favorite decoration is a painting of the owner

which makes him look like a werewolf and says "Eat or we both go hungry"
 
Barksdale Restaurant
237 S. Cooper Street
Memphis, TN
901-722-2193
 
Breakfast number two coming up! 
mlm
Cheeseburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/21 19:41:14
You guys...lol. OMG, what a mental picture! I just had a horrible idea. Imagine snorting chile con queso!" />
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/21 20:05:03
How, on God's green Earth, could you not order the country ham and redeye gravy when you had the opportunity? It's not as if you can find it in Western Pennsylvania. And don't give me that "I had to think about my next meal" excuse.
 
On the other hand, those biscuits do look good.
ChiBears15
Hamburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/21 20:18:03
Sorry this is late, but better late than never!  I flew out of O'Hare airport Thursday morning and landed in Memphis around 9:30 am.  This was going to be my first Roadfood bus tour and my first visit to Memphis. Naturally, I was a bit nervous about now knowing anyone in the group.
 

Mem 1 by dnowak15, on Flickr
 
I snapped the pic above from the airplane.  If you look closely, you can see downtown Memphis, the Mississippi River, and the Great American Pyramid.
 
I took a cab to my hotel in the downtown area, dropped off my stuff, and immediately began looking at my breakfast options.  I ended up picking the famous Arcade Restaurant in order to finally try the Elvis Sandwich (fried peanut butter and banana).  The lady at the hotel said I could take the Main St. trolley south, but after finding out that it was only about a mile away, I began walking to my breakfast destination. 
 
I quickly realized that Memphis, despite being a city full of great food and rich history, is struggling big time.  South Main St. is full of abandoned store fronts and homeless folks.  I probably would not recommend walking around this area after dark.  Here are some images of South Main St. 
 

Mem 2 by dnowak15, on Flickr
 

Mem 3 by dnowak15, on Flickr
 

Mem 4 by dnowak15, on Flickr
 
 
I also visited the National Civil Rights Museum, where Dr. MLK was killed. 
 

Mem 5 by dnowak15, on Flickr
 
Here is the balcony where he was standing when he was shot by James Earl Ray.
 

Mem 10 by dnowak15, on Flickr
 
And then there is this woman who I spoke with for about five minutes. 
 

Mem 6 by dnowak15, on Flickr
 
She believes that the murder of Dr. King was a conspiracy and that James Earl Ray did not do it.  She is also angry at the gentrification occurring around the National Civil Rights Museum.  LOL she even mentioned Central BBQ (which is right across the street) as part of the gentrification problem!  I disagree.  A vibrant bbq joint like Central creates jobs and makes an area look better. 
 
Finally, I made it to the Arcade Restaurant for breakfast.  It is located right across the street from the Memphis Amtrak station. 
 

Mem 7 by dnowak15, on Flickr
 

Mem 8 by dnowak15, on Flickr
 

Mem 9 by dnowak15, on Flickr
 
The sandwich was absolutely delicious.  An awesome beginning to my Memphis trip.  Much more to come...
 
 
 
 
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/21 21:04:20
Great start. I'm looking forward to more.
ChiBears15
Hamburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/21 21:24:25
I already knew where I was going to go for lunch because of another thread on this website.  At this point, the ChiTownDiner already wrote about his visit to Alcenia's and I was impressed with what he had to say about the place.  I began walking north from the Arcade Restaurant toward Mud Island River Park.  I had to burn off some of my breakfast to get my appetite back.
 
This is me on the Mississippi Riverwalk.
 

Mem 11 by dnowak15, on Flickr
 

Mem 12 by dnowak15, on Flickr
 

Mem 13 by dnowak15, on Flickr
 
You can either walk to Mud Island River Park over a bridge or for a small price you can take the monorail over.  I took the monorail. 
 
 
Mem 14 by dnowak15, on Flickr
 
The island is home to the Mississippi River Museum and a very cool replica of the river that is engraved into the ground. 
 

Mem 17 by dnowak15, on Flickr
 

Mem 15 by dnowak15, on Flickr
 

Mem 16 by dnowak15, on Flickr
 
The park is actually quite large.  The weather on this day in Memphis was perfect for autumn.  Sunny with a cool breeze.  You get excellent views of the river and downtown Memphis from here.  I told myself that I would return to this place on Sunday after the tour since I would have the entire day to myself. 
 
After walking around for roughly two hours, my appetite was back with a vengeance and I was ready to do damage at Alcenia's soul food cafe.  It took me 25 minutes to walk to the restaurant from the park. 
 
 
Mem 18 by dnowak15, on Flickr
 

Mem 19 by dnowak15, on Flickr
 

Mem 20 by dnowak15, on Flickr
 

Mem 21 by dnowak15, on Flickr
 
I was told by BuffetBuster to expect a hug from the owner of Alcenia's while walking in, but I received a kiss on the head instead!  What a sweet lady.  My waiter, CJ, was a very polite young man who always called me "sir."  I ordered the fried catfish, collard greens, mac n cheese, and candied yams. 
 
  
Mem 22 by dnowak15, on Flickr
 
 
Mem 23 by dnowak15, on Flickr
 
The wait time for the food here was about 50 minutes.  I might have been upset by this if I was not on vacation.  Therefore, do not go here for a quick lunch.  Regardless of the long wait time, the meal was a knockout!  Wow! Just, wow!  Everything was fresh and tasted great.  CTD said to save room for dessert here, but I was too full to order any.  Plus, the candied yams were basically a substitute for any pie. 
 
After eating lunch here, I walked back to my hotel and relaxed.  The next meal up was dinner with the Roadfood crew at Rendezvous.  Much more to come...
 
-Danny 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
will_work_4_bbq
Cheeseburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/21 21:32:57
Wow Danny!  Look at you go!  Did you like the collards?
ChiBears15
Hamburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/21 21:43:46
will_work_4_bbq,
 
The collards had the perfect porky flavor!  I loved'em.  There was even a big fat piece of meat under all those collards in the photo lol. 
 
-Danny
CajunKing
Sirloin
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/21 21:57:59
Danny - In what world do you live that candied yams are ANY substitue for PIE???????? 
 
We will get you trained one of these days!
Glenn1234
Double Cheeseburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/21 21:58:31
ChiTownDiner

Remember  Ms. Len's is only open on Friday and Saturday and Family Pie Shop has slightly irregular hours also. 

 
Thanks for the heads up.  Tentatively .... very tentatively, as we are somewhat flexible .... we'll be near Little Rock and Memphis on a Tues and/or  Wed..  But, who knows ...maybe I'll drive extra slowly!  
 
Glenn
 
 
post edited by Glenn1234 - 2013/11/21 22:13:04
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/22 00:24:30
Way to go ChiBears15!  The photos are superb!  I sure hope that you continue to do trip reports after this and maybe even send in some reviews.
 
Any idea why your food came out in a styrofoam container instead of plates?  And that's great that you received a kiss instead of a hug!
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/22 00:55:42
ChiTownDiner did some research before the trip and the breakfast spot he really wanted to visit was called Brother Juniper'sI was previously familiar with this because I had been to a wonderful breakfast spot in San Francisco called Brother Juniper's that was run by real monks and the proceeds went to their living expenses and various charities.  Anyone else remember the Brother Juniper's in SF?  Also, the location here in Memphis

is right by the University of Memphis bookstore, so I have past and seen big crowds waiting outside.
 
So, we decided to get there when they first open at 8:00AM.  We were greeted by a line outside waiting for the doors to open.  The waiting area is spacious with a few tables and they have some monk themed decorations. 


There are two separate dining rooms and we were sat in the one furthest back next to a window, which is always good for taking photos.
 
Unlike the Barksdale, which seems to appeal to an older blue collar customer base, Brother Juniper's patrons are younger and wealthier.  The menu is definitely larger and more eclectic.  Our pretty blonde waitress ended up being originally from the Indiana suburbs of Chicago, so her and CTD had lots to talk about.  She gave some great advice on the menu and we zeroed in on the open face omelet portion

of the menu.  Hey, if it's good enough for Rachel Ray, it's good enough.....   oh never mind! 
 
My order was the San Diegan,

which starts with a layer of sour cream and home fries and tops with tomatoes, green onions, bacon, feta and cheddar cheese, plus sautéed portabella mushrooms.  All of this on an open three egg omelet.  This was a really nice mixture of different flavors and textures, with the grilled mushrooms being the star of the dish.  Good cheesy grits on the side, too.  Unfortunately, the biscuit seemed mass produced and wasn't in the ballpark with the ones we had just eaten at Barksdale Restaurant.
 
CTD will have to chime in with what he had for breakfast as I have no photo.
 
We liked Brother Juniper's just fine, but the Roadfooder in me prefers the more traditional Barksdale.  Still, I would not hesitate to go back to Brother Juniper's.
 
Brother Juniper's
3519 Walker Avenue
Memphis, TN
901-324-0144
 
From there, we tried to take a tour of Sun Studio,

but the time wouldn't have worked out, since we had lunch plans at 11:00.  So we just checked out the gift shop, where CTD bought a CD and I grabbed a t-shirt.  
post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/11/22 01:39:27
mayor al
Fire Safety Admin
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/22 06:46:35
Glenn...  We call the Family Pie Shop two days before we drove thru DuValls Bluff on a hunting trip a couple of years ago. We order three pies to be ready for pick up early in the morning two days later.... and they were.  Consider calling ahead to be sure pies are ready...
Here is my grandson and his other grandpa at 5:30 am picking up our pies at the Family Pie Store...

 

 
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/22 07:15:00
Glenn1234

ChiTownDiner

Remember  Ms. Len's is only open on Friday and Saturday and Family Pie Shop has slightly irregular hours also. 


Thanks for the heads up.  Tentatively .... very tentatively, as we are somewhat flexible .... we'll be near Little Rock and Memphis on a Tues and/or  Wed..  But, who knows ...maybe I'll drive extra slowly!  

Glenn
Glenn - for the flavors of the day, they post everything on their Facebook page by the same name.  Gregg


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