Memphis in New Orleans: Visiting the Cecil's Hi-Hat Sign


An old Memphis landmark belongs to New Orleans now.
  • An old Memphis landmark belongs to New Orleans now.

Leaving New Orleans is hard, but Fly on the Wall has a tip for Memphians returning from the Crescent City.

Enjoy your last meal at the High Hat Cafe. It's a terrific little place where space folds creating a full convergence of Memphis and New Orleans.  Catfish is the star on a menu showcasing Delta tamales, all kinds of house-made pickles, barbecue shrimp, and some of the best pimento cheese (and pimento cheese grits!) your pimento cheese-loving Fly on the Wall has ever landed on. The Uptown diner's crowning glory: The old Cecil's Hi-Hat sign hangs above the bar.

Cecil's was a Memphis joint on the stretch of Somerville connecting Linden to Peabody. The building, which burned a few years back, was located next to the old Linden Circle movie theater and one-time home of the Mid-South Opry. The faded sign hung outside the abandoned site for many years. It was eventually acquired by Grove Grill co-founder Chip Apperson who partnered with NOLA restauranteur  Adolfo Garcia to open the High Hat Cafe in June, 2011. 
Grits for your grind.
  • Grits for your grind.

A last (NOLA) meal at the High Hat functions like a culinary and cultural air lock. You can have a last cup of legit gumbo with a basket of similarly legit cornbread. Heresy? Absolutely. But sometimes heresy is every bit as delicious as a proper baguette.

We went for the flat-top catfish, a watermelon and crab salad, a fat-stacked Reuben sandwich, and delta tamales, with an appetizer plate  full of deviled ham, deviled eggs, pimento cheese, and spicy pickled okra. It was a perfect way to say goodbye to a city famous for its food and return to a city that's no slouch in that regard, either.
Cold comfort food.
  • Cold comfort food.

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