Doling out everything from health foods to alcoholic slushies, the latest crop of new (and in some cases, improved) restaurants and bars has a little something for everyone. They feature sleek interiors, record-breaking free-standing elevators, rooftop patios, food trucks, and even Ping-Pong -- and if these nine spots don’t move your needle, you may need to be recalibrated.
The new Bass Pro in the Pyramid is touristy, sure, but locals can’t resist taking a ride on the highest free-standing elevator in the country. It delivers you to The Lookout, where you can enjoy local beers, cocktails, and appetizers (duck wings, poppers, flatbreads) while taking in the view. A selfie from the observation deck is definitely the latest thing. At $10 a pop (kids are $5 before 4pm), this adventure is sure to be a one and done, unless friends come to town and you are persuaded to make a return visit.
Broad Avenue Arts District
Our one and only barcade just got its liquor license, so now you can enjoy red & white wine and signature cocktails like the Mario-rita in addition to its selection of craft beers while you play Xbox, foosball, pinball, or Ms. Pac Man. This is a kid-friendly space before 9pm and most games are free, so drink up! That’s how it pays for the air-conditioning.
Aldo’s Midtown has everything you love about the original, and an amazing rooftop patio to boot. The spicy Willie, Cheech & Bob pizza (with chicken, red onion, jalapeño, and mango chutney) is perfect when paired with a cold beer. (The Midtown location even makes its own mango chutney.) Space issues have been worked out in the kitchen, so slices are now available at lunch. On weekends, you can grab a beer next door at the Memphis Made taproom while waiting for a table on the roof to open up.
East Memphis gets to brag a little with this latest offering. Tucked into an average strip mall along Poplar, Julles Posh Food is anything but average. Nutritious and delicious entrees and juices are prepackaged and ready to go, or available fresh in its beautiful dining room. The menu changes often, but the salmon shrimp cakes with green salad, roasted potato wedges, and citrus dressing have earned an almost permanent spot due to their popularity.
Broad Avenue Arts District
Here, you can snag iced coffee crafted from Intelligentsia roasts or cold-brew coffee made using the Oji from Japan that takes three to four hours to brew using iced water. With the latest addition of grab-and-go food items from the James Beard-nominated chefs at Porcellino’s, you can also enjoy pastries like Strawberry Lemonade Pop-Tarts at breakfast or a veggie sandwich made with marinated chickpea salad, roasted red peppers, olives, and mozzarella on ciabatta bread at lunch.
The Downtown lunch crowd and late-night revelers now have a fairly cheap and hearty option on Beale St. Burrito Blues keeps it basic, but fresh. It offers build-your-own burritos, tacos, bowls, salads, and nachos. It throws in some Memphis flavor with the inclusion of brisket (Peppadew pepper piquante-seasoned, hickory-smoked, and chopped) and smoked pork (dry-rubbed, hickory-smoked, and chopped). If that’s not enough, it’s the only build-your-own-burrito place in town where you can get a margarita (16-100oz!) and even drink it on the street if you want.
Previously known as The Growler, Midtown’s one-stop shop for sitting and sipping local and regional craft beer has been rebranded as Hammer & Ale. Best of all, it now offers food. Its grilled pimento cheese sammy, cheese plates, and beer floats are the top sellers on the restaurant side. Beer-wise, stop by to sample the High Cotton ESB, Wiseacre Ananda IPA, and Southern Prohibition Suzy B Blonde Ale.
The Raw Girls are now selling their pre-packaged foods and juices in Overton Square every Wednesday morning from 8am until they sell out. (They park next to the Hattiloo Theatre across from The Second Line.) Must-haves include raw cantaloupe and coconut soup served with mint pesto, their famous taco salad, and their cold-pressed superfood coffee, “The Buzz.” Stop by and load up for the week.
Broad Avenue Arts District
Just as out of place as the previous tenant, this sports & cigar bar makes no apologies for its wild ways. The menu has all of the basic bar food staples, but what you really want to do is to sit in a swing at the bar, sip an alcoholic slushie, and then saddle up on the mechanical bull. You choose your flavors of slushie and what kind of liquor you want in it. Obviously, you can also watch sports and smoke cigars too. It has a huge, two-story patio case you need some fresh air.
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1. The Lookout1 Bass Pro Dr, Memphis
2. Julles Posh Food Company6300 Poplar Ave #110, Memphis
3. City & State2625 Broad Ave, Memphis
4. Burrito Blues Mexican Grill156 Beale St, Memphis
5. Hammer & Ale921 S Cooper St, Memphis
6. Raw Girls Mobile Grocery StoreOverton Square, Memphis
7. Red Zone Sports and Cigar Bar6279 Winchester Rd, Memphis
8. Rec Room3000 Broad Ave, Memphis
9. Aldo's Pizza Pies752 S Cooper St, Memphis
Fun Fact: To get to this bar and restaurant, you get to ride the world's tallest freestanding elevator up 25 stories. PSA: It costs money to ride this elevator ($10), but once at the top you'll have views of Memphis and the Mississippi. They also serve local beers, cocktails, and appetizers. It's probably the type of place to take visiting friends.
Chef Julliet Bhupesh prepares food in line with her approach to proper eating: moderation, balance, and variety. Definitely not your average strip mall eats, Julles Posh Food Company offers a flavorful and globally inspired menu full of a variety of colors and textures that you can enjoy inside the welcoming dining area, or take home for later.
The only thing better than a quaint coffee shop is a quaint coffee shop that sells artisan goods from around the country. City & State on Broad Avenue is a hybrid concept that combines Intelligentsia pourovers with over 40 brands of timeless handcrafted goods, ranging from blankets from an American Woolen Mill that’s been weaving heirloom pieces for over 100 years to cutting boards from third generation woodworkers in Tennessee. City & State practices this attention to local and sustainable business with food and drink items as well; the Smokey Salted Caramel Latte’s sea salt is made in state, while baked goods like the brown sugar cinnamon roll are sourced from Porcellino’s on Brookhaven Circle.
This make-your-own burrito spot is open until midnight on weekends and serves margaritas and sangria alongside their house made Mexican. Menu items include nachos, tacos, salads, and of course burritos -- all topped with brisket, chicken, steak, smoked pork, or grilled veggies.
With 24 taps rotating every week, this Cooper Young hang out is the top in local and regional beer from ten different breweries. The restaurant side offers a short but sweet menu of bar snacks and sandwiches, and beer floats. And if you just want the beer, they offer growler refills and pints to take with you.
Raw Girls specializes in natural, organic and minimally processed goodies and pressed juices. They operate out of a food truck set up in Overton Square Wednesdays beginning at 8 am, but if you can't make it there, they also deliver their fresh healthy food to the entire country. Raw soups, salads, and superfood coffee are just some of the highlights of visiting their truck.
This bar offers something a little (or a lot) different than a lot of others in Memphis. A mechanical bull, indoor golf, a cigar bar, and alcoholic slushies at bar stools that are actually swings are the norm, along with standard bar food.
Rec Room is Broad Avenue’s resident barcade. It’s a gamer’s mecca, featuring boundless vintage arcade games like pinball and Skee ball, table games in the vein of shuffleboard, air hockey, foosball, and more -- not to mention the infinite collection of classic console games. It’s a sprawling industrial dive, furnished with plush sofas in red leather and overhead chandeliers for a touch of class, and the sheer size of the place makes it a great option for large groups and private events. Don’t stress if all that competition makes you work up an appetite -- in addition to the full bar, there’s a limited yet killer menu of pizza pies for your perusal.
Aldo’s is a gourmet pizza joint with two locations (one Downtown and one in Midtown). It's famous for its Trippy Truffle and vodka sauce, plus there are delicious sandwiches that can hold their own. Unlike its sister, this Copper Young location has a rooftop patio, the premiere spot to enjoy a slice and pint in Memphis.