There are many sides to Jerry Lawler.
In addition to appearing on television sets across the Mid-South every Monday night and Saturday morning as wrestling phenom Jerry "The King" Lawler, winning several world heavyweight wrestling championships, and becoming an international wrestling commentator as well as a member of the WWE Hall of Fame, Lawler is an artist, a musician, an actor, and an author.
Lawler is also now a bar owner.
In April, Lawler opened King Jerry Lawler's Hall of Fame Bar and Grille in the old Flynn's location at 159 Beale, next door to A. Schwab.
"This is something I never envisioned. It's a lot of fun," Lawler, now 66, says.
Lawler opened his doors April 28th in anticipation of the downtown crowds for Memphis in May.
The menu offers Mid-South favorites with an edge, such as the deep-fried ribs ($14.95 for a half slab), the Slamburger — triple-stack burger with secret sauce on a gourmet bun ($14.95), hickory-smoked chicken wings with jerk seasoning ($8.95), and the King's personal favorite, Crawfish Corn Chowder ($6.95).
"Our deep-fried ribs are amazing. You can't find them anywhere else," Lawler says.
As soon as their liquor license goes through, they will be serving up wrestling-inspired drink specials, including the Piledriver and the Body Slam.
They offer music every day of the week and karaoke on weeknights starting at 8 p.m., as well as music by the house band — the Jabronies.
The VIP room is open for rentals, quite the spot, because, as the name suggests, it ain't just old guitars and other ephemera hanging on the walls.
That's where this journey began for Lawler.
"I had all my wrestling memorabilia in a museum at Resorts Casino in Tunica, and almost a year ago they came to us and told us they were expanding, so we moved everything out and into storage," he says. "We were looking for a place to use as a museum space to display everything, and I told a friend that the ideal space would be on Beale Street."
There are the championship belts; there are the crowns; there are the robes and outfits and even childhood toys such as a pedal tractor and a drum set.
There's an Andy Kaufman section, and there is the artwork.
"People come in from all over the world who have seen me on TV," Lawler says. "Memphis wrestling has a great history. So many people followed it every Monday night and Saturday morning. We would pack 10,000 people into the Coliseum. I get to meet so many great people. It's a lot of fun."
King Jerry Lawler's Hall of Fame Bar and Grille is open 11 to 3 a.m. every day.
The Dixon Gallery and Gardens has had food trucks. It's had caterers. It offers a weekly brown-bag Munch and Learn series. And there's always the picnic option. But up until recently, it has not had a restaurant.
The 40-year-old museum underwent some renovations of late and developed a master plan, and administration decided now was as good of a time as any to add this glaring omission.
In mid-April the Dixon unveiled Park and Cherry, its first on-site restaurant, situated just north of the gift shop.
The powers-that-be did not play around when they made their decision and brought in the dynamic duo of Wally Joe and Andrew Adams, of Acre.
"They were our first choice, and they were interested in doing it," Dixon communications associate Amanda Gutknecht says. "It's been a good fit."
The food is fast casual, including salads, soups, hot and cold sandwiches, coffees, and pastries.
In addition to the overwhelmingly popular pastries, the two best-sellers are the grilled cheese ($9), with cheddar, Swiss, and Parmesan, and the Shortrib and English Cheddar panini ($10).
Perhaps the main attraction, though, is the seating.
- The Dixon’s new Park and Cherry offers garden seating.
Patrons can sit outdoors at the entrance, inside the museum in the foyer, in the cafe, the outdoor covered blue-chair seating area, and throughout the many styles of garden.
"It's been going well. We have a consistently busy lunch, and Saturdays are really busy," Gutknecht says. "We've heard nothing but rave reviews for Wally and Andrew."
Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with lunch served 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and select sandwiches, coffees, and pastries available until 4:30, and Sunday 1 to 4:30 p.m. with select sandwiches, coffees, and pastries available.