Top 10 Dishes to Try in Memphis

Chef Felicia Suzanne Willet - Justin Fox Burks

Felicia Suzanne's restaurant is an intimate setting that blends a young, contemporary feel with classic Southern charm. Photo by Justin Fox Burks.

Muddy's Bakeshop in Memphis has the perfect cure for your sweet tooth. Photo by Justin Fox Burks.

Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen: Justin Fox Burks

Chefs from Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen put the final touches on a dish. Photo by Justin Fox Burks.

Portabella BBQ Sandwich and beer from Central BBQ. Photo Credit: Justin Fox Burks

Memphis is the barbecue capital of the world, but we've got more than pork. Try the portabella and barbecue sandwich from Central BBQ. Photo by Justin Fox Burks.

Memphis Ribs with sides - Justin Fox Burks

Memphis barbecue is a delicious culinary club that inclues secret recipes and regional pride. Photo by Justin Fox Burks.

Gus Fried Chicken - Bob Hazlett

Gus's fried chicken has been featured on numerous television shows and in magazines worldwide. Photo by Memphis CVB.

Try a local Memphis beer at Wiseacre tap room. Photo by Holly Whitfield.

Memphis is full of tasty treats and delicious eats, and it might be hard to decide which of the best restuarants in Memphis you've got time for. If you don't have much to spare, these are the top 10 items we think you have to try before you leave the Bluff City.

Breakfast

1. A hearty breakfast can be found in East Memphis, near the University of Memphis, at Brother Juniper’s. The San Diegan, a bed of home fries topped with portabellas, feta, cheddar, bacon and tomatoes, is a favorite of Food Network star, Rachael Ray, visitors and locals alike.

2. If you like your breakfast to fall a little more on the sweet side, go no further than Gibson’s Donuts. Their signature flavor, maple bacon, is delicious morning, noon, or night, and since Gibson’s is open 24/7, you’ll always be able to assuage your donut craving.   

3. If you just need a high-octane liquid boost for breakfast, head downtown to Tamp & Tap and peruse their extensive coffee menu. They are one of the only places in town that serve a pour-over brew, and the punch it gives is second to none.

Lunch

4. It’s easy to get your pork on in Memphis. We’ve got barbecue spots on every corner. If you had to pick just one item from one barbecue restaurant, we would suggest the barbecue nachos at Central BBQ. Diner’s choice of pulled pork, chicken, beef or turkey is piled high and served with cheese sauce, shredded cheddar, barbecue sauce and jalapeños. Pro tip: get your nachos served on top of Central’s house-made potato chips for an unforgettable dining experience.

5. The South is known for its fried chicken, and Memphis is no exception. Locals flock to Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken to get their chicken fix. It doesn’t matter if you prefer dark meat or white meat; each piece is hand-battered, juicy and fried to wonderful golden perfection.

Dinner

6. Breakfast for dinner? If every dinner started the A/M Breakfast at Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, you wouldn’t need to eat anything else. This duo’s playful take on Southern morning staples features creamy polenta topped with pork belly, a soft poached egg and house-made cracklins.

7. Chef Kelly English is known for the big, bold flavors of the Louisiana Gulf, mixed with a little Memphis grit and charm. His flagship midtown spot, Restaurant Iris, and his signature surf ‘n’ turf dish definitely exemplify his unique cooking style. Chef English stuffs a NY strip steak with fried oysters, tops it with a creamy bleu cheese sauce and serves it on top of a huge mound of potato bacon hash.

8. No one exhibits Southern style quite like Chef Felicia Willett. At her downtown eatery, Felicia Suzanne’s Chef Willett puts her own spin on down home cuisine with a deft and delicate touch. One of the restaurant’s most popular starters is her BLFGT salad, which consists of bacon, mixed greens, crispy fried green tomatoes and a Southern-style cheese spread.

Snacks

9. Traversing the Bluff City can be thirsty work, and if you find yourself parched near Midtown Memphis, check out Wiseacre Taproom. This credit card-only brewery offers a variety of crisp, refreshing beers made on site with quality ingredients. The Tiny Bomb American Pilsner is our personal favorite and is brewed with German and American malt and local wildflower honey.

10. If your sweet tooth is about to knock you down, check out East Memphis’ cute and quirky bakery, Muddy’s Bake Shop. While all of Muddy’s offerings are delicious, it’s always difficult to bypass the aptly-named Prozac cupcake: a moist chocolate cupcake topped with rich, creamy chocolate frosting.