AB Road Eats: Memphis


This city has so much going for it. With all the food I was able to try, it’s hard to believe I was here for only a day. But that just means I have to make a trip back to Memphis soon.

COFFEE

Cafe Eclectic: Recommended by so many of my fans, I tried an Americano-Cubano hybrid, as well as an iced latte. Both were great, but I will say I really enjoyed that latte.

BREAKFAST

Gibson’s Donuts: This place got me good. Not only did one of the owners (Britton) offer to drive me to his establishment, he and his father gave me one of the warmest welcomes I’ve ever received. I had the pleasure of getting behind-the-scenes to see how the doughnuts are made, as well as the talented people who make them. I spoke to locals who had been coming to Gibson’s as a kid, and now they’re bringing theirs. I can officially say that their glazed doughnut just might be the best I’ve ever had. That’s right. I said it. When it comes to doughnuts, I tend to lean toward the more simple flavors, and they’re doing them all right. One of the most-memorable moments from the Alton Brown Live tour so far was his dad (Don) throwing me a doughnut the moment I walked in the door. I would like to make doughnuts with these guys one day.

LUNCH

Dyer’s Burgers: Talk about one of the best burgers this country has to offer. Britton from Gibson’s told me that this establishment has been frying the burgers in the same fat since 1912. So you would naturally think these burgers have a serious grease factor. Not so much. They’re not heavy at all (and if I hadn’t had so many doughnuts, I might have had more than a couple bites). If you’re in Memphis, you’d be missing out by not having yourself a Dyer’s Burger.

Gus’s Famous Fried Chicken: I’m from the South. So I know good fried chicken. And I make seriously good fried chicken. But Gus’s is making quite possibly my favorite fried chicken. The chicken is moist, the crust is crunchy (and has a kick). I can admit I saved a couple pieces and put in the refrigerator for a late-night snack a day later. I would come back to Memphis for this chicken and their seasoned fries in a heartbeat.

DINNER

Pearl’s Oyster House: I ran over to Pearl’s after the show just to try a dozen of their char-grilled oysters (topped with garlic chipotle butter and Parmesan cheese). I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the cheese, but that feeling quickly subsided. The oysters were cooked perfectly and had just the right amount of heat from the chipotle. If I had more time, I probably would have ordered another six.

Images © Alton Brown, 2014

14 Comments

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  1. 1
    shoebox22

    Next time go down to Beale and take a seat in Blues City Cafe. Best ribs in the city but if you’re tired of BBQ (how could you?) then try the fried catfish or the family style steak… now I’m hungry.

  2. 3
    James

    If you come back to Memphis, try Double J Smokehouse & Saloon. Pulled pork egg rolls. Breakfast at The Arcade. And for certain, a stop at The Cheesecake Corner(way better than that factory place).

  3. 4
    Dan

    Glad you enjoyed your trip…come back often because there’s lots more to sample. When you do return add these places to your list: Central BBQ’s smoked dry rub hit wings, Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken (even better than Gus’); and The Second Line where EVERYTHING is great. I’ll be happy to be your chauffeur.

  4. 5
    Jennifer

    Mr. Don, he’s a donut thrower. It means he likes you. You hit my family’s 2 favorite Memphis good eats: Gibson’s and Gus’s. Nothing better anywhere! Glad they treated you well!

  5. 6
    Anita

    I agree with all of the above. There are some restaurants that are new and awesome as well as a few hidden gems that you would love, lobster pups from Rizzo’s, calamari from Majestic’s, BBQ from Elwood’s shack, or Central BBQ, Anything from Hog & Hominy.. You must comeback and do a real food tour of memphis. We would love to show you more!

  6. 7
    Matt

    While I’m really glad you liked the places you tried, the Memphis food scene has way better choices to offer! What about Brother Junipers for breakfast, Elegant Farmer for lunch, and literally anywhere in Overton Square, Cooper Young, or on North Main for dinner!!! You’ll have to come back and give some of our best restaurants a chance. (I do however love going to Gibson’s for cheap donuts later in the night, it’s always delicious).

  7. 8
    Mark

    You’re right about Dyer’s, I was eating burgers fried in that same grease in the late 60’s early 70’s. Great burgers!!! And Gus’s is the best chicken outside of my mothers iron skillet fried chicken.

  8. 11
    Dan

    I’m a native Memphian, but have been away for quite some time now. You got really good advice on places to go. I would love some Gus’s fried chicken and a Dyer’s burger right now. Thanks for this post. Glad you enjoyed it.

  9. 12
    Mark

    I am a huge fan (ever since the early days of Good Eats) and I hate that I couldn’t make it to your recent show at The Orpheum, but several of my FB friends went and raved….definitely some of the best this city has to offer, but I would love the chance to take you on a tour of some hole-in-the-wall places that aren’t going to show up in a travel guide!

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