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Best of Memphis 2020 Food & Drink

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Best Burger

Huey's
  • Huey's

1. Huey's

2. Tops Bar-B-Q

3. LBOE

Best Bar Food

1. Huey's

2. Young Avenue Deli

3. Slider Inn

Best Late-Night Dining

1. Huey's

2. Alex's Tavern

3. Young Avenue Deli

Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant

1. Huey's

2. Memphis Pizza Cafe

3. Railgarten

Best Service

1. Huey's

2. Folk's Folly Prime Steak House

3. Houston's

Nailing first place in five categories, Huey's is a bona fide Memphis institution. From burgers and bar food, for lunch or late-night, the "prescriptions" on the menu hit all the right notes. Kids love it, too, and the service always comes with a smile.

Best Barbecue

BOM 1. Central BBQ

2. The Bar-B-Q Shop

3. Germantown Commissary

Best Ribs

1. Central BBQ

2. Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous

3. The Bar-B-Q Shop

Best Hot Wings

1. Central BBQ

2. Ching's Hot Wings

3. The Wing Guru

Whether it's pulled pork, ribs, or wings our readers are after, Central BBQ is the answer. Smoked just right, jerked or sauced, they've got the 'cue for you.

Best Breakfast

1. Brother Juniper's

2. Sunrise Memphis

3. Bryant's Breakfast

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and Brother Juniper's does it right. From expertly crafted omelets with all the fixins to delicious breakfast burritos (or just a simple two-egg breakfast with bacon), Brother Juniper's has the goods to get your day going.

Best Lunch

1. Elwood's Shack

2. Huey's

3. Pho Binh

Best Sandwiches

1. Elwood's Shack

2. Young Avenue Deli

3. Kwik Check

It may not look like much from the outside, but this little shack on Summer packs a big punch in flavor. With a variety of stellar sandwiches on offer — Club, Cuban, or Debris Po'Boy, for example — Elwood's is a go-to lunch (or anytime) spot for Flyer readers.

Best Brunch

TIE 1. The Beauty Shop

Owen Brennan's

2. Bayou Bar & Grill

3. The Majestic Grille

For sweet or savory, classic brunch dishes or those with a modern twist, Memphis just won't choose between Cooper-Young's Beauty Shop and Owen Brennan's out East because they've both got it all. Add a mimosa or two, and we'll cheers to this tie win!

Best Bloody Mary

1. Bayou Bar & Grill

2. The Beauty Shop

3. Sunrise Memphis

Best Cajun/Creole

1. Bayou Bar & Grill

2. The Second Line

3. Owen Brennan's

If you've ever been to brunch at Bayou, you've seen the line that forms as soon as they open. We, for one, are there for those Bloody Marys — a little spice and the right amount of booze to get an acceptable mornin' buzz on. Add beignets, Zydeco wings, or any number of N'awlins-inspired dishes to the mix, and you'll see why Bayou tops in these two categories.

Best Chinese

1. Mulan Asian Bistro

2. Wang's Mandarin House

3. A-Tan

With chicken egg rolls, vegetable spring rolls, and some of the best dumplings in town on a menu that covers a lot of authentically Asian bases, it's no wonder our readers have named Mulan No. 1 for Chinese cuisine.

Best Ethiopian

1. Abyssinia Restaurant

2. Stickem

3. Derae Restaurant

For a wide range of authentic Ethiopian dishes — Kitfo, Yesiga Wot, Bozeno Shiro, and more — served as a colorful spread (with spongy injera) and bursting with exotic spices, Memphis chooses Abyssinia.

Best Indian

1. India Palace

2. Golden India

3. Bombay House

Do you ever daydream about the lamb meatballs from India Palace? I don't know what kind of magic is added to the sauce they're swimming in, but I could eat a vat of it. The curry, tikka, and tandoori options are all top-notch as well. Grab an extra piece of naan to help clean your plate, and you'll understand why it's Memphis' best for Indian food.

Best Italian

1. Pete & Sam's

2. Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen

3. Bari Ristorante e Enoteca

If you're looking for a mean spaghetti, look no further than Pete & Sam's. The Romero family's traditional Italian recipes have been honed in Memphis since 1948, transforming the eatery into a darling of the Bluff City's dining scene. The oodles of red sauce, pizza, and other favorites will have you saying "Buonissimo!"

Best Margarita

1. Molly's La Casita

2. Las Delicias

3. Babalu

I can't confirm for sure, but there's a pretty decent chance that Jimmy Buffett penned "Margaritaville" immediately after gulping down a frozen concoction from Molly's La Casita. Stick with the classics (or try one of their specialty half-frozen, half rocks), upgrade to strawberry, or treat yourself with some top-shelf excellence.

Best Taco

1. Las Delicias

2. Maciel's

3. Babalu

Best Mexican

1. Las Delicias

2. Molly's La Casita

3. Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana

Founder Antonio Martinez keeps the focus firmly on the quality of food at Las Delicias, and since the turn of the 21st century has been delighting diners with his authentic Mexican cuisine. Tacos, tortas, burritos, enchiladas ... todas estan deliciosas.

Best Middle Eastern

BOM 1. Casablanca

2. Global Café

3. Petra Cafe

Come for the shawarma, falafel, and hummus, stay for the oh-so-addictive tea for which superlatives cannot do justice. Whether it's a Super Sandwich or the falafel "Big Mac," there's no wrong choice when it comes to Casablanca's Mediterranean and Middle Eastern menu.

Best Thai

BOM 1. Bhan Thai

2. Bangkok Alley

3. Pho Binh

Variety is the spice of life, but Bhan Thai's red curry also likes to kick the heat up a notch (don't count out the Panang and Masaman styles, either). The House of Thai has it all: Bangkok chicken, pad thai, crispy duck, satay, pot stickers, and a sweet Thai iced tea to wash it all down.

Best Vegetarian/Vegan

City Silo - PHOTOGRAPHS BY JUSTIN FOX BURKS
  • Photographs by Justin Fox Burks
  • City Silo

1. City Silo Table + Pantry

2. Pho Binh

3. Casablanca

At City Silo, chef Will Byrd turns ordinary produce into an artful array of vegetarian feasts. No beef burgers here; rather, try marinated portobello, or a beet-and-walnut patty. Barbecue fans get their own unique sandwich with the Foxy BBQ, featuring a generous helping of grilled spaghetti squash. A bevy of wondrous veggies awaits.

Best Vietnamese

1. Pho Binh

2. Pho Saigon

3. Lotus

Feast on soft yet crunchy bits of tofu sprinkled with just the right amount of lemongrass seasoning. Or try some of the best fried chicken wings in town. For the cold winter months, a hearty bowl of pho will do the trick. While their buffet may be on hiatus, Pho Binh is still the best game in Memphis when it comes to Vietnamese.

Best Japanese

1. Sekisui Pacific Rim

2. Red Koi Japanese Cuisine

3. Sakura Japanese Restaurant

Sekisui's sushi menu adheres to the old Japanese adage of "use the ingredients you have," with offerings that trend toward either the traditional (California roll) or the local (community-designed rolls, like the Tiger or Jackson 5). Not a fan of raw fish? The bento boxes have a bit of everything, while sake goes well with any Japanese dish.

Best Home Cooking/Soul Food

1. Soul Fish Cafe

2. Cupboard

3. Chef Tam's Underground Cafe

Best Seafood

1. Soul Fish Cafe

2. Coastal Fish Company

3. Half Shell

Forget chicken soup; the best combo of soul food and seafood is down South. Soul Fish conjures images of fried catfish, fresh vegetables, and okra, but it's got some other tricks up its sleeve, as well. Tried the Cuban sandwich? Go ahead, you won't be disappointed.

Best Fried Chicken

BOM 1. Gus's World Famous

Fried Chicken

2. Joes' Fried Chicken

3. Uncle Lou's Fried Chicken

Just imagine the crisp, crunchy exterior. The scent of freshly baked chicken and spices wafting up, just before the first bite unleashes a torrent of finely compressed juices, hitting you with the wham-bam taste bud assault of Memphis' best chicken. Whenever someone comes into town, you take them to Gus's.

Best Pizza

1. Memphis Pizza Cafe

2. Aldo's Pizza Pies

3. Little Italy

You read the words up there and now you can smell the Memphis Pizza Cafe. The aroma is warm and inviting like pizza ought to be. It welcomes you in and brings you back. The pizzas are classics you know and love. Memphis has known them and loved them (and the calzones and sandwiches) for 25 years.

Best Smoothies/Juices

Raw Girls
  • Raw Girls

1. Raw Girls

2. City Silo Table + Pantry

3. Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Though they have multiple locations — with one in Midtown, another in East Memphis, and one soon to be opened Downtown — the Raw Girls' iconic, silver, winged food truck is a staple in the Eclectic Eye parking lot and also of Midtown culture. It's where to go for cold-pressed juice with romaine, kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, lemon, ginger, and sea salt. And, dude. Have you ever had one? There's a reason our readers think they're the best.

Best Donut Shop

BOM 1. Gibson's Donuts

Tie 2. Howard's Donuts

Midtown Donuts

3. The Donut Box

Gibson's Donuts is the rock arena and the maple bacon is the rock star. Both are a bit more homespun than that, but the comparison isn't far off. People — food bloggers, Food Network stars, and foodies in general — hit Gibson's when they come to town, and they come to get that maple bacon. Alton Brown said Gibson's is his favorite. Don't trust him? Trust Flyer readers.

Best Bakery

BOM 1. Muddy's Bake Shop

2. Frost Bake Shop

3. La Baguette French Bread and

Pastry Shop

Best Dessert Shop

1. Muddy's Bake Shop

2. Cheesecake Corner

3. La Michoacana

If you need to impress at a party or a family gathering, nervous newbies and new girlfriends know you go to Muddy's Bake Shop. When the white box top is popped, eyes glaze and minds forget everything else. It comes down to one question: Which one will I pick? Me? Prozac. Every. Dang. Time.

Best Food Truck

TIE 1. New Wing Order

Cousins Maine Lobster

2. El Mero Taco

3. Say Cheese

Cousins Maine Lobster is a franchise with locations in 13 states. New Wing Order (NWO) is Memphis-clusive ... for now, anyway. But what they have in common makes them our winners; their food is so good you'll want to punch someone in the face. Get the Maine lobster roll at Cousins. Get the Hot Wing Nachos at NWO.

Best Patio

1. Slider Inn

2. Coastal Fish Company

3. Bhan Thai

Slider Inn is a patio powerhouse. Misters in the heat. Covered in the cold. There's almost no bad time for the Slider patio. I've even seen folks out there in a light rain. The magic's in the quick service that sometimes comes with a sly one-liner. The magic's in the patio's unpretentious air. The magic's in the mix of Memphians who mingle there.

Best Dog-Friendly Restaurant/Bar

1. Loflin Yard

2. Railgarten

3. Slider Inn

When it opened, Loflin Yard was an innovation in the old-fangled. The food is simple. Fire pits and conversation are the main attractions. Dogs are honored guests. Unlike some places, dogs at the Yard have room to move and places to flop. Dogs just seem at home at Loflin. Our readers think so, too.

Best Place for People-Watching

1. Peabody Hotel Lobby

2. Crosstown Concourse

3. Beale Street Entertainment District

Great Memphis stories start with, "I was at the Peabody bar when ..." I've heard my share of them, and they do not disappoint. The place is a magnet for characters. And why not? It has high ceilings, rich wood, a sophisticated beverage menu, oh, and a mega-fountain filled with live ducks. From wrestlers to regional sales managers, you'll find them all at the Peabody bar.

Best Local

Brewery

1. Wiseacre Brewing Co.

Tie 2. Ghost River Brewing Co.

Memphis Made Brewing Co.

3. Crosstown Brewing Company

Wiseacre Brewing is a perfect blend of whimsy and dogged determination. Consider that its flagship beer is called Tiny Bomb and is one of the most carefully crafted in Memphis. Consider its tech-forward brewery Downtown features a bust of Beavis and Butthead creator Mike Judge. Wiseacre takes having fun seriously.

Best Coffee Roaster

BOM 1. Ugly Mug

2. French Truck Coffee

3. Vice & Virtue

Best Local

Coffeehouse

1. Ugly Mug

2. Otherlands Coffee Bar

3. City & State

Ugly Mug has been roasting coffee in Memphis for three generations. What we get are some unique coffee blends, a name that's crazy fun to say, and a bangin'-ass cup of go-juice. Roll into Ugly Mug's comfortable East Memphis location for coffee, of course, but stay for some breakfast or lunch. You'll be glad you did.

Best Restaurant for Dessert

1. Cheesecake Corner

2. The Beauty Shop

3. Paulette's Restaurant

You don't need to eat dinner when you order a hefty slice of cheesecake at Cheesecake Corner. They're tantalizingly good, and our readers voted them the best.

Best Server

1. Calvin Bell, Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous

2. Taylor Pfohl, Bayou Bar & Grill

3. Dakota Mays, The Gray Canary

In-the-know diners hope to snag a table in the back left rear of the north dining room at Rendezvous. They know the friendly, helpful (and all other good adjectives) Calvin Bell will take care of them. He's a consistent BOM winner.

Best Chef

1. Kelly English, Restaurant Iris, The Second Line

2. Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, The Gray Canary, Catherine & Mary's

3. Michael Patrick, Rizzo's

Who doesn't know chef Kelly English by now? In addition to his innovative Restaurant Iris and other eateries, English, a consistent BOM winner, is a cheerleader for other local restaurants.

Best New

Restaurant

1. Tamboli's Pasta & Pizza

2. Coastal Fish Company

3. Moondance Grill

Owner Miles Tamboli created something great when he opened Tamboli's Pasta & Pizza. The food is delicious. And he even makes his own pasta. Look for him in front of the pizza oven.

Best Date-Night Restaurant

1. Catherine & Mary's

2. Folk's Folly Prime Steak House

3. Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar

Couples grab a seat at the bar at Catherine & Mary's. The ambience is just as cool there as sitting at a table. In addition to eating the innovative dishes barside, customers can check out the who's who coming into the restaurant.

Best Fine Dining/New American

1. Restaurant Iris

2. Folk's Folly Prime Steak House

3. Southern Social

If you mention you're going to Restaurant Iris, whomever you're talking to is going say they're jealous. That's a given. Chef Kelly English's elegant Midtown restaurant is well-known for its creative cuisine.

Best Wine List

1. Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar

2. Knifebird Wine Bar

3. Bari Ristorante e Enoteca

Flight is the place to savor a glass of vino while enjoying several types of entrées in the same sitting.

Best Steak

BOM 1. Folk's Folly Prime Steak House

2. Ruth's Chris Steak House

3. The Butcher Shop Steakhouse

Best Restaurant

1. Folk's Folly Prime Steak House

2. Huey's

3. Tsunami

"Folk's Folly" is synonymous with "steak." Just walking into the restaurant, diners can smell steak cooking. And there's a cozy bar, where they can grab a cocktail and, if they choose, eat dinner, while listening to live piano music.

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