Memphis is no stranger to the entertainment biz. Yet, beyond the music the city is known for, Memphis has made a name for itself as a location for big-name films, ad campaigns and TV shows. Make note of these Memphis landmarks featured in favorite movies and TV shows before you visit.
Memphis Culture Showcased in “Bluff City Law”
Memphis’ place in civil rights history was key to the premise of “Bluff City Law,” centering on a firm that has built its reputation on pivotal civil rights cases.
The single-season TV show also included scenes from the city’s legendary Sun Studio, where Elvis got his start, the “I Love Soulsville Mural” (at the corner of E. McLemore Ave. and Mississippi Blvd., just down from the Stax Museum of American Soul Music) and shots of two iconic bridges, Big River Crossing and the Hernando de Soto Bridge, over the Mississippi River. One of these, Big River Crossing, is the longest pedestrian bridge over the river, and you can walk or bike it using the city’s Explore Bike Share program. Return at night to see both bridges illuminated in a display called Mighty Lights.
Memphis’ downtown skyline gets plenty of screen time in the series, too. Whether you’re searching out views of the skyline, the river or Mighty Lights, find good vantage points at green spaces like Beale Street Landing, River Garden and Mud Island River Park; on a riverboat cruise; and from hotel rooftops (try The Lookout at Bass Pro, the Comfort Inn, Residence Inn, The Peabody Memphis, Hyatt Centric Beale Street or Hu. Hotel).
More Memphis Music History
YOUR FAVORITE MEMPHIS MOVIES
1993’s The Firm: Recall the chase scenes? Tom Cruise was at Mud Island River Park, trying to hide himself in the Mississippi River Museum.
2003’s 21 Grams: Drive through the leafy Chickasaw Gardens neighborhood, then head to Earnestine & Hazel’s on South Main for a cold one, to channel scenes with Benicio Del Toro and Naomi Watts.
2005’s Walk the Line: Follow Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon to Sun Studio, The Orpheum Theatre and South Main.
MEMPHIS’ HOMEGROWN STARS
Mouthwatering Food Shows
If you craft your culinary itinerary based on delectable dishes you’ve seen on television, check out some of these Memphis classics that have been featured on the top travel food shows.
Brother Juniper’s: The San Diegan – $40 a Day
Address: 3519 Walker Ave., Memphis, TN 38111
Rachael Ray got a satisfying start to her one-day excursion at this eatery near the University of Memphis. The San Diegan is an open-faced omelet topped with home fries, sautéed portabella mushrooms, tomatoes, bacon, green onions, feta and cheddar cheese. It’s served with cheese grits and diner’s choice of toast or a biscuit (get the biscuit). Lines can get long, so be prepared for a wait, especially on the weekend.
Restaurant Iris: Surf and Turf – The Best Thing I Ever Ate
Address: 2146 Monroe Ave., Memphis, TN 38104
Memphis chef and television personality, Claire Robinson declared Kelly English’s signature dish as one of the best things she’s ever put in her mouth. If you’re a meat lover, you don’t want to miss this hearty entrée. Chef English stuffs a NY strip with fried oysters, smothers it in a creamy bleu cheese sauce and serves it over a potato and bacon hash. It's like New York and New Orleans got married in Memphis.
Kooky Canuck: Kookamonga Burger – Man v. Food
Address: 87 S. 2nd St. #3009, Memphis, TN 38103
Extreme eater Adam Richman accepted the king of all food challenges when he took on the Kookamonga burger. Anybody who can consume this four-pound burger plus the bun and all the toppings (seven pounds total) in 60 minutes will be inducted into the Kooky Canuck hall of fame. Though the challenge has been successfully completed over 20 times, Richman fell short of the mark. Feel free to bring a couple of friends to help, but only solo eaters win the grand prize.
Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken: Fried Chicken – Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
Address: 3633 Millbranch Rd., Memphis, TN 38116
Triple D host Guy Fieri became a deep-fried believer after learning the secrets of Uncle Lou’s delicious chicken. Lou seasons up fresh chicken and fries it until it’s golden and crispy. Now you can stop there, and you’ll have his home-style version. Or, Lou can dip your chicken in a tangy and savory concoction he calls “sweet spicy love” sauce. Either way, make sure to order a couple of honey butter biscuits; they make the perfect accompaniment for the chicken.
Memphis Barbecue - Various
Memphis-style barbecue has become a regular on TV. Fieri reviewed rib tips at Tom’s Barbecue & Deli on Best Thing I Ever Ate: Grilled. The Travel Channel dubbed Central BBQ’s smoked hot wings as the biggest, baddest BBQ wings on Food Paradise. Bizarre Foods showed you why the Bar-B-Q Shop’s barbecue spaghetti is a must. On Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives: Memphis Barbecue Tour, Fieri got an inside look on a nearly 100-year Memphis barbecue tradition at Leonard’s Pit Barbecue. Check out Savuer Magazine: BBQ Nation to learn a little bit more about Cozy Corner and owner Desiree Robinson, and see why chef Tyler Florence recommends the pulled pork sandwich from Rendezvous on Best Thing I Ever Ate: Bar-B-Que.