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Before you go inside Java Cabana, stop and look at the window for a few minutes. Drop a few coins in the Elvis Impersonator's shrine to see what happens. After you have soaked in the memorabilia and hodge-podge collections, go inside for an experience right out of the beatnik era of the '50s and ‘60s. If you are lucky, you will be there for one of the frequent poetry readings by local writers, or some retro music played on acoustic guitar. Oh, yes—the coffee's pretty good,too. No alcoholic beverages served.
At Maximo's On Board you will be spellbound by the delicious tapas served and prepared with love. The ambiance is the perfect setting to have dinner with friends. They offer a dinner menu on weekdays while a brunch menu on Sunday. Guests can order dishes like Peruvian Ceviche, Seafood Paella or Pescado Maximo which are listed on the dinner menu. You could also stop in for a sumptuous Sunday brunch where items like Farmer's Frittata, Pulled Pork Empanadas and Belgian Waffles are artistically served. You can ask your server for a selection of beverage to complement your meal.
The huge BBQ sandwich here is the favorite choice of many and makes an inexpensive lunch by itself. Beef or pork ribs come with beans, slaw or potato salad. (You can get beef ribs in Memphis, but you are likely to get odd reactions when you order them—to locals, "barbecue" means "pork.") The BBQ spaghetti (pasta with barbecue meat and sauce on top) is served with slaw and bread. With most business being take-out, the dining room is small and functional. If you do choose to eat at the restaurant, you will find that the dress is decidedly casual, as are the table manners—the only way to eat ribs is with your fingers.
An Eastern Orthodox Priest runs this unassuming restaurant. It is often difficult to find a table, but worth the wait. Try the huge, fluffy homemade rolls, both wheat and white. The omelets can be ordered with a variety of toppings including spinach, mushrooms and feta cheese. On the side, try the sauteed potatoes, which can be topped with black beans, Swiss cheese, green onions or salsa. The decor is simple with red and white checkered tablecloths and few pictures. There are two dining rooms or you may eat at the bar. Classical music makes this a pleasant place to start the day.
If you love frozen treats, then La Michoacana is worth a try. Set on the east side of the city in a strip mall, this ice cream shop is known for its delectable paletas (Mexican ice pops). Their creative fare come in a wide variety of flavors that range from the basic to exotic. Since none of their frozen desserts are labeled, you can ask their affable staff to know which is what. They will even suggest you the right one as per your palate. Huge delicious scoops and cheap prices will not only satiate your popsicle craving, but also will make your wallet hum with joy.
A favorite on the Memphis dining scene, this local joint is the place to go for traditional Italian fare, such as spaghetti and meatballs, pizza and lasagna. The place is so authentic that you half expect a ninety-year-old Italian grandma to come out of the kitchen and give you a big kiss on the cheek. You can also order for steaks and seafood. A private dining room is available for bookings and carryout is also available. Reservations are recommended on the weekends.