Alcenia's Southern Style Cuisine
317 North Main
Memphis TN 38103
Phone: (901) 523-0200
Everyone who eats here gets a squeeze from this good-natured woman, either on the way in or out, or both. "I feel so guilty if I haven't hugged you, I'll chase you down the street when you leave," she laughs. B.J. Chester-Tamayo learned to cook from her mother, who lives in Meridian, Mississippi, but comes to visit and makes tea cakes and egg custard pie and coaches B.J. on the phone when she is making cha cha or pear preserves. Her canned cha cha, pear preserves and apple butter (plus many more) can be ordered. Among the city's very best are B.J.'s cabbage, which was assumed on sight to contain collards or turnip greens. But she explained that the darker leaves among the white were the cabbage's outer leaves. "The best part!" she exclaims. "Most people throw them away because they are tough. They need an hour extra steaming; that makes them soft and brown." Flavored with a hail of spice that includes her own special seasoning and lots of pepper, this is cabbage with tongue-searing punch. On the side comes a basket of hot water corn bread: cushiony-moist, griddle-cooked cakes that are the perfect foil for ecstatically seasoned vegetables. Try the lunch special of a fried pork chop, crisp-crusted and dripping with juice, as well as the gorgeous fried chicken. And dessert? It will be hard choosing among egg custard pie, buttermilk pie, and bread pudding … so go for a sample of each. Alcenia's offers catering for special events and signature parties. Menus available with large print or braille.