This weekend will mark the end of an era in Midtown restaurant circles, when Ronnie Grisanti and Sons, a perennial winner in the "Best Italian" category in the Flyer's Best of Memphis readers' poll, shuts its doors for a final time at its Chickasaw Oaks Plaza location.
"Twenty-five years here on Poplar has been a great run for us," says Ronnie Grisanti, whose eponymous restaurant had earlier been located downtown on Beale Street, and where Sun Studio now sits on Marshall. "But I'm 70 years old now, and it's time for me to pass the baton to my son Alex." Most of the current restaurant staff -- along with Ronnie himself -- will relocate at the family's other restaurant, Elfo's, in Germantown, which will be renamed in the near future as simply "Grisanti's," continuing a family tradition that began one hundred years ago this year, when Grandfather Rinaldo opened the first Memphis Grisanti's downtown, across from Central Station on Main.
"The Grisantis have been at the heart of fine dining in this city for over a century," said Ronnie, "and I expect that my sons and grandchildren will continue that tradition for decades to come." With its colorful graffiti-covered walls, decorated with art from around the world as well as photographs of the city's most famous and notorious characters, Ronnie Grisanti and Sons has long been a Midtown institution, one that will be sorely missed by everyone who's ever feasted there upon the family's authentic Tuscan cuisine.
But Ronnie is convinced it's time to move on. "We have been blessed with some of the most loyal customers in the world, many of who are now regulars at our Germantown location. We hope others will join them." He added that all gift certificates from the Poplar location will continue to be honored at Elfo's, as will any bookings and banquets on the books at Ronnie Grisanti and Sons.
The restaurant's final evening will be this Saturday, the 29th.