"Memphis as an underrated food city? Hmm. We’re featured on national television shows and in national publications dozens of times a year, and no serious discussion of barbecue is held without talk of Memphis.
But maybe we’re misunderstood. Because of the city’s reputation for great pork barbecue, we’re so closely identified with it that outsiders often fail to see past the pig. Yet we’re home to about 1,500 restaurants, the majority locally owned labors of love. In a four-mile stretch of Madison Avenue, you could eat in a mom-and-pop Korean, Mexican, Jamaican, Cuban, or Venezuelan restaurant and finish up in a Irish pub. And that’s not unusual (or even a start on Madison, which houses more than 40 places to eat). All through the city and in the suburbs, the culinary diversity continues: Ethiopian, Filipino, Brazilian, Vietnamese, Indian, Middle-Eastern -- more than two dozen different cuisines and hundreds of places.
And Memphis might have more down-home, country cooking, soul food -- whatever you want to call it -- restaurants than cities twice the size. Let us serve you a plate of fried chicken with mashed potatoes and turnip greens, or crisp catfish and hushpuppies. Don’t think we forgot fine dining: Restaurant Iris owner Chef Kelly English, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen owners Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman, and River Oaks Restaurant owner José Gutierrez have been named Food & Wine Best New Chefs.
And for what it’s worth, Elvis was misunderstood, too. Until he wasn’t." - Jennifer Biggs, food writer and dining reviewer for The Commercial Appeal, Memphis’ daily newspaper