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A favorite in Memphis, this restaurant is where locals take visitors for fun atmosphere and food. Technically, the ribs served at the Rendezvous are not barbecue - they are char-grilled with a dry rub of spices. But the slabs of ribs are huge, tender and reasonably priced. Barbecue sandwiches - filled with rich and juicy shreds of pork - as well as portions of both pork and beef ribs is a specialty here. Antique implements, signs and artifacts of the old South fill the warehouse-like space. The tables are close together, but the noise and crowds are part of the fun.
B.B. King's Blues Club as the name would suggest is owned by legendary blues musician B.B. King and features some of the best blues music in Memphis. From the regular appearances of Ruby Wilson - who can belt out a tune and entertain a crowd as well as anyone - to the special concerts by groups such as Booker T, this club consistently delights visitors and locals alike. There is a menu of ribs, barbecue and other entrees, as well as snack items, but most people come here for the music, not the food. The dance floor rocks every night of the week. Reservations are required for special concerts.
Do not let the unlikely location put you off - the specialties here are worth it. This place is a Memphis tradition, and you may have to fight the regulars for a table or a seat at the counter. The barbecued Cornish game hens are the specialty here, perfectly cooked and succulent. Other choices include ribs and pork sandwiches. Cozy Corner is indeed cozy, but also casual. Everything is served on paper plates—the plastic cutlery can make eating a bit of a struggle, but fingers are allowed.
Come here for a taste of real pit barbecue, made from the same recipe for more than 50 years. This is a classic, down-home restaurant with a cozy dining room. In addition to the pork or beef plates, which come with ample helpings, you might want to try an appetizer cheese plate with peppers and barbecued bologna to whet your appetite. If you like the original Dancing Pigs barbecue sauce served here, take home a bottle in either the mild or hot variety. You can also pick up the famous sauce at Kroger or Piggly Wiggly grocery stores.
The barbecue at Central BBQ is probably the best Memphis style pork you will have in your life. Everything they serve, be it their brisket, potato chips, sandwiches or starters will be beyond your expectations, great quality with spicy flavors and delightfully low prices. Naturally, the place is crowded at all hours of the day and one almost always has to wait for a while for a table. Luckily, they also take online orders.
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.
This exceptionally popular restaurant with a pleasant, cabin-like dining room has been featured in publications such as Bon Appetit, USA Today and The New York Times. The best choice on the menu is the pork shoulder sandwich. A barbecue sandwich in Memphis means dark, chewy shreds of meat that have been smoked for hours, layed out on a bun and topped with cole slaw and a spicy sauce. You can buy the barbecue in packs with all the fixings. Cold beer, on tap or by the bottle, is the drink of choice.
Fat Larry's offers all the traditional barbecue favorites, such as wet or dry ribs, pulled pork, nachos and brisket, but the menu contains a few surprises as well. Locals rave about the delicious grilled steaks and Cajun pasta that compete with the finest restaurants in flavor. Southern-style cooking is featured in the fried side dishes, such as dill pickles, green tomatoes and okra as well as country-fried potatoes. Memphis is famous for its barbecue restaurants, and Fat Larry's is definitely a contender in the best brisket and pulled pork divisions. -Ann Baker
Pork, chicken and beef barbecue selections are available at Jim ‘N Nick's Bar-B-Q along with old-fashioned side dishes, such as collard greens, cinnamon apples and potato salad. Their specialty is barbecue, such as ribs, brisket and pulled pork. If your tastes lean toward macaroni and cheese, chicken tenders, burgers, a variety of large salads or deli sandwiches, Jim ‘N Nick's offers this type of meal as well. This southern-style restaurant is family friendly, yet it is also perfect for a date night with dishes such as spinach and artichoke dip, grilled rib eye or the soup of the day. The restaurant is conveniently located off Interstate 40 and is just down the street from the Wolfchase Galleria Mall. -Ann Baker