Walking in Memphis

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buffetbuster
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2008/09/19 22:27:46 (permalink)

Walking in Memphis

Friday September 19

I am spending the weekend in one of my two favorite US cities, Memphis. It has been four years since I have been here, so I have some serious catching up to do!

After landing at the Memphis airport and getting my car rental, I headed straight to Leonard's for a quick bbq fix.

One of the draws of Leonard's for me is the great neon sign out front.

That is one dapper pig! It gets my vote as the single best Roadfood sign!

Mr. Brown makes appearances all over the restaurant, including in the doors.

Strangely enough, they have a big scale in the foyer and I saw several kids climbing on it.


They had a huge dinner buffet going on, which seemed to be very popular. But I wanted a pork sandwich, so I ordered off the menu.
Here is what they call Mr. Leonard.

They have a larger version called the Big Leonard, but I passed since I have a lot of eating ahead of me this weekend. The meat is chopped and very tender and flavorful. But the yellow mustardy cole slaw really makes the sandwich for me.

I also got a side of the baked beans (here it is called BBQ Bean Pot), which has plenty of pork and Leonard's mild bbq sauce in it.

That is more of the delicious cole slaw on the side.

They have a side of spaghetti listed on the menu. But, I was disappointed to find out that it was regular spaghetti and not bbq spaghetti. No matter, I will just have to wait to have that at Cozy Corner tomorrow.

When I asked the young waitress (who called me sweetheart the whole time) about dessert, I expected her to give me a list. Instead, she told me Lemon Ice Box Pie. I asked if that was it, she said they had chocolate cake and pecan pie also, but I should order the Lemon Ice Box Pie. I know better than to argue with that.

Creamy, with a subtle lemon flavor, it is the first of what I hope is several memorable desserts this weekend. Sweet tea completed my meal and the bill came to $10.00.

There is also a old truck right in the middle of the dining room.

The story of Leonard's can be found here, if you have really, really good eyes.


http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=230&RefID=230

After this fine meal, I checked into my hotel for the night.

Much more to come.....
#1

76 Replies Related Threads

    buffetbuster
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/19 22:40:18 (permalink)
    I have been asking local Memphians I have encountered their opinions of which Memphis bbq parlor is the best.

    The guy at the car rental counter said A & R BBQ was the best, with Germantown Comissary and Tom's right behind. I am going to A & R BBQ on Sunday and GC tomorrow, but I have never heard of Tom's. Anyone familiar with it?

    The girl at the front desk at my hotel said Neely's BBQ.
    #2
    Bushie
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/19 22:42:10 (permalink)
    But do you really feel the way you feel?
    #3
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/19 22:45:38 (permalink)
    At least I didn't touch down in the middle of the pouring rain.
    #4
    leethebard
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/19 22:45:40 (permalink)
    Oh that sandwich with that mustard coleslaw looks superb!!!!
    #5
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/19 22:55:51 (permalink)
    Here is a link to the Mark Cohen 'Walking in Memphis" video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrT0gAbRqyw

    #6
    zataar
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/19 22:59:37 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by buffetbuster

    Here is a link to the Mark Cohen 'Walking in Memphis" video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrT0gAbRqyw




    Marc Cohn?
    #7
    cecif
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/19 23:33:59 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by buffetbuster

    The girl at the front desk at my hotel said Neely's BBQ.

    I concur with the hotel clerk!!!!!!!!!!
    My local host took me to Neely's and I loved it!
    http://www.neelysbbq.com/home.htm fyi.

    Walkin' with my feet ten feet offa Beale...
    (I didn't get that til I visited Memphis... doh!)

    #8
    wheregreggeats.com
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/20 03:11:44 (permalink)
    I really enjoy going to Memphis.



    #9
    mr chips
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/20 06:06:02 (permalink)
    Memphis is a wonderful food and music city. Can't wait for your next report. Trudy loves wathching the show about the Neeley's. And my favorite song about Memphis is the Chuck Berry classic
    #10
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/20 06:24:58 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by zataar

    quote:
    Originally posted by buffetbuster

    Here is a link to the Mark Cohen 'Walking in Memphis" video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrT0gAbRqyw




    Marc Cohn?
    I stand corrected. I knew that and still somehow managed to misspell both his first and last names.
    #11
    RedJim64
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/20 07:50:19 (permalink)
    The thread title immediately reminded me of the Marc Cohn song. I don't think I've ever heard a bad rendition of the song, either. First time I heard it sung was at the Bunganut Pig in Brentwood, TN. A haunting version by a beautiful lady.

    Great pictures.

    Thanks for starting the thread, buffetbuster.
    #12
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/20 09:59:45 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by buffetbuster

    Here is a link to the Mark Cohen 'Walking in Memphis" video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrT0gAbRqyw




    Thanks for posting the link. I had forgotten about that fine tune.

    Paul E. Smith
    knoxville, TN
    #13
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/20 10:03:46 (permalink)
    Paul-
    I was just thinking about you. A gentleman who looked remarkably like you was sitting at the table next to me at breakfast. He was wearing a bright orange Vols polo. You didn't eat at The Barksdale in Memphis this morning did you?
    #14
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/20 10:21:01 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by buffetbuster

    Paul-
    I was just thinking about you. A gentleman who looked remarkably like you was sitting at the table next to me at breakfast. He was wearing a bright orange Vols polo. You didn't eat at The Barksdale in Memphis this morning did you?


    Actually I am in Knoxville and I am leaving for the Florida vs Tennessee game in about 30 minutes. I am going with my daughter and son in law. I wannago will be attending the game with me. Tennessee with get beat pretty bad but still the ambience will be special. I have been watching the boats go up to the game all morning and yesterday. The VOL navy will be there.

    I hope you are enjoying Memphis which is one of the most special cities in the USA.

    I got a heavy schedule next week as I will be in DFW, Santa Fe and Detroit wsithin a period of two days. I doubt that I will have a chance to experience roadfood.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #15
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/20 10:26:34 (permalink)
    Paul-
    Considering I took the Vols +7 in my football poll this week, I don't like hearing that. Have a great time at the game!
    #16
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/20 10:31:58 (permalink)
    The VOLs got beat in Florida last year by 39 points. It could be worse today. Good luck.

    I will be having lunch this day at the Old City in Knoxville at Sullivans.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN

    #17
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/20 10:51:51 (permalink)
    Saturday September 20

    I am going to try and do this trip report as I go. Try being the operative word.

    I arrived at Bun's on the Run at 6:50AM this morning. I had called earlier in the week and they told me they open at 7:00AM on Saturdays. But there were no lights on inside as if they were preparing to open. At two minutes 'til, a woman pulled in the driveway and went inside. I waited until five after and it was obvious they were nowhere near opening yet.

    Luckily, my ol' reliable for breakfast in Memphis, Barksdale Restaurant

    was only a half mile away.

    Above the big opening leading to the kitchen is this sign.

    Needless to say, the service here is very friendly, even to a Yankee taking photos of his food like me.

    The restaurant is one room, with well worn boothes and some tables in between. After always hearing about other classic Roadfood places closing (like Ma Glockner's earlier in the week), it is nice to see a place like this not only surviving, but thriving. By the time I left, just about every seat was taken.

    Five minutes after I placed my order, my waitress came over and apologized, saying they were waiting for the biscuits. When she brought my plate over, she said, "Y'all ready to eat?" I know it is early, but I can safely say that is the silliest question I will be asked all day!

    These biscuits were well worth any wait.

    Soft, light and piping hot, this is why I love eating in the South so much.

    The real star of breakfast, though, is the country ham.

    Salty, with a powerful flavor, there is nothing like it back north. Some hash browns and eggs completed my meal. Oh, and of course, the ham comes with the red eye gravy.

    As I was taking photos of the outside before I left, I noticed four of the kitchen workers all standing outside, obviously discussing me. One of them made his way over and asked if I liked my breakfast. When I said I very much did, he said he was relieved, because he didn't know why I was taking photos. I told him about the Sterns and Roadfood and showed him the review of Barksdale, which he seemed to enjoy. He then walked back to the group and seemed to be telling them about our conversation. So, I walked over and gave them the review, which they seemed happy to read. One young guy, who introduced himself as Ron, asked if I liked the biscuits. When I said I loved the biscuits, he proudly told me he made them. They obviously take great pride in what they do here.

    http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=219&RefID=219

    So, what is better than a breakfast in Memphis? Two breakfasts, of course! Since I wasn't nearly full, I made my way back to Buns on the Run.

    They were now open and had lots of customers already. The sign said seat yourself, so I did. I waited about ten minutes and still no waitress to be found. Thinking I just wasn't meant to eat here, I was just about to get up to leave when a woman came over and apologized, saying she didn't hear me come in.

    I ordered the potato pancakes

    and thank goodness I stayed. These were fantastic! I loved the combination of the soft, creamy inside with the crispy, gnarled outside edges. The bright red cinnamon apple sauce was the perfect topping. These were the best potato pancakes I have ever had.

    The Sterns review talks about the great bakery items they make here, but the waitress told me they didn't have today. Still, on the way out, I grabbed a lemon bar. I will take a photo of it later and add it.

    http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=1258&RefID=1258

    Much more to come.....

    #18
    RibDog
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/20 11:01:08 (permalink)
    I love the comment about the worker who took real pride in the quality of the biscuits he had made. That says it all!!

    John
    #19
    Brookerme
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/20 11:13:44 (permalink)
    If yo tired of bbq, give Gus's Chicken a try.
    #20
    rumaki
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/20 11:33:04 (permalink)
    Those biscuits look absolutely fantastic! I am drooling . . .
    #21
    Earl of Sandwich
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/20 14:46:09 (permalink)
    Excellent report, and pics, buffetb as usual. Memphis is one of my favorite cities toi visit as well.
    #22
    improviser
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/20 15:16:45 (permalink)
    Great trip report as always. Looking forward to more.
    #23
    CajunKing
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/20 19:14:53 (permalink)
    Memphis is a truly amazing city, and one I don't get to often enough.

    It is definately a good sign when the kitchen workers take pride in the quality of the food they produce.

    Cliff, looks like you started out well, can't wait to see the rest of the trip.

    #24
    cecif
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/20 20:07:49 (permalink)
    Will he get to Neely's....?!??!

    BB great stuff, love the two breakfasts, and the mention of perhaps not being meant to eat there (Buns) - I'd have been thinking the same thing. Love that the workers at Barksdale took a big interest in you and pride in their food etc.

    Great stuff, looking forward to more!

    p.s. BTW what is your other favorite U.S. city?????
    #25
    buffetbuster
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/20 20:35:08 (permalink)
    While I type this, my fingers smell strongly of bbq sauce. That is NOT a complaint!

    Saturday September 20 cont.

    After showering and doing some things at the hotel, I went to the University of Memphis bookstore, where I bought a t-shirt and a sweatshirt.

    Ready to eat again, I arrived at Alcenia's

    just as they were opening at 11:00AM. The place is very colorfully decorated and is very comfortable.



    When my waitress found out I was from out of town, she had me sign their guest book. While I was looking through it, I found this, which said they found Alcenia's on Roadfood.com.

    Very cool!

    On Saturdays, Alcenia's has a set fixed brunch. I chose chicken & waffles as my entree.

    Note to Travelin Man: It really is chicken & waffles and not chicken & pancakes! The waffle was fine, but the fried chicken was terrific. It had a crunchy, brittle skin, with tender juicy meat. Oh, I was asked if I wanted dark meat or white and I obviously chose the dark.

    A biscuit came with my meal.

    Unfortunately, it was so rubbery I had trouble even cutting it with a knife. I had asked if I could have some jelly for the biscuit and they said they didn't have any, which I thought was odd.

    The good sweet tea came in an attractive tall glass.

    In the background, you can see my young waitress, who couldn't have been any older than 13.

    Here are the dessert choices I had

    and I went for the sweet potato pie.

    Strangely, it took at least 15 minutes to get my dessert. They came out twice to tell me it was coming, so I thought maybe it had just come out of the oven or something. But, when I forked into it, the outside was very hot, while the inside was cold, as if it just came out of the microwave.

    After reading the great review for this place, I was expecting more. Maybe they were just having a bad day. Oh, and I didn't get my hug either.

    http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=3167&RefID=3230

    Next stop was Wiles-Smith Drugs.

    Known as Memphis' oldest independent drug store, they have an old fashioned soda fountain on one side.

    Lots of others were ordering burgers and grilled cheeses, but I was interested in ice cream. I settled on a classic cherry sundae.

    To drink, I couldn't pass up a limeade.

    Very good, but it probably isn't the ideal thing to eat with something as sweet as ice cream.

    For some reason, they have a stuffed porcupine on a ledge.

    Great..... Now I want a stuffed porcupine!

    http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=1264&RefID=1264

    Much more to come.....



    #26
    leethebard
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/20 21:05:01 (permalink)
    That sundae looks great....and refreshing!!!
    #27
    Bobs
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/20 21:37:13 (permalink)
    I am from the Memphis area and agree that you have made some good choices. The Cupboard on Union Ave. is another good place for southern home cooking. Try to visit the Cozy Corner. They have had a death in the family and may not be open.If you want a great Italian deli sandwich you need to visit Fino's on Madison. It is close to downtown and has some of the best Italian sandwiches and salads that you will find anywhere. The Commissary in Germantown is good and a good break from the city. Have fun and be careful.
    #28
    Christopher71
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/20 22:53:33 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by buffetbuster
    For some reason, they have a stuffed porcupine on a ledge.

    Great..... Now I want a stuffed porcupine!


    I've seen that porcupine before! Alton Brown made a huge deal about it in episode 3 of his show Feasting on Asphalt 2. He thought it was a Nutria...

    Good stuff buffetbuster, your trip reports are always amazing!
    #29
    jeepguy
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    RE: Walking in Memphis 2008/09/21 00:16:25 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by leethebard

    Oh that sandwich with that mustard coleslaw looks superb!!!!


    That's the way a real bbq sandwich should be done!
    #30
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