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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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  1. 1

    for deliciously smoked meats you gotta try Malia’s Bbq (a little shack at the corner of park and greer ran by an old couple) and Elwood’s Shack (another little shack next to Lowe’s at Perkins and Summer). When Malia’s started, they didn’t have electricity or anything – just a smoker and a small trailer to stand and serve the meat in. I noticed them out there cooking in the rain early on a Saturday morning, that’s how serious they are. Sampler plate is loaded with a variety of meat – pork ribs, beef ribs, rib tips, chicken, bologna, hot dogs, smoked sausage, and more. They’re only there Friday and Saturday, cause it’s too good to let people have it 7 days a week.
    Elwood’s has a variety of sandwiches, wraps, pizzas and more. Steelhead trout taco’s that make any salmon blush, so thick and pink and wonderful. The _best_ smoked brisket in town. House-made pastrami. An amazing spicy Italian sub, the ‘debris’ po-boy..

    Alton, you are a hero of mine. I’ve been a fanatic of your show and I love the way you blend history, geography, culture, science and technique to educate us on the ins-and-outs of all the good eats. Please come back to Memphis, even off the record, for a few days, so we can show you what’s really up – there’s so much good food here it’s unreal.

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