Historic Memphis Restaurants

       ...and some High School Hang-outs


A restaurant exists solely to serve meals.  The term "restaurant" didn't come into common use until the 19th century.  Before that, they may have been called "eating house", "dining room", or "victualing house".  Restaurants were generally concentrated around areas with the largest populations and as America expanded, restaurants began to grow in numbers.  Memphis was, and is bursting with great places to eat.  Some were famous in their time and others have stood the test of time, where you could meet and make friends, have a meal, a burger, or socialize.  One study of new restaurants found that 1 in 4 changed ownership or went out of business after only one year, and 6 out of 10 did so after three years.  It's not a business for the meek.  The restaurants on this page are "historic" for a reason.


This page will not attempt to include every restaurant in Memphis - only a selection of the earlier historic restaurants and high-school "hang-outs" around town will be featured.  If you have information and a photo of any restaurant or "hang-out"  that should be included please contact Gene Gill <gene.gill@verizon.net>


Click on small photos to enlarge them.  Lots of photos.  Please wait 2 minutes for them to load.

Anderton's  1901 Madison.

Anderton's Restaurant and Oyster Bar originally opened downtown in 1945 at 151 Madison.  A second location was added in 1956 as Anderton's East at 1901 Madison.  Herbert Anderton, closed the Downtown location in 1975 and consolidated the business into Anderton's Restaurant.  His son later took over the restaurant.  The restaurant had chefs who remained for as long as 50 years.  Linda Anderton managed the front of the restaurant while her husband oversaw the food.


The restaurant's distinctive sea-foam green colors and nautical theme as well as the location's diverse patronage,  attracted Hollywood movie makers who shot scenes for the films "21 Grams", "Walk the Line", and "The Client" at the restaurant.    Anderton closed the restaurant in 2005.  As usual in Memphis, the building has now been demolished.

The front door c.2006   




Earlier Anderton's


Ad 1961



Card 1957

Anderton's Sign




Arcade  540 S. Main

The Arcade is the oldest restaurant in Memphis.  It has occupied the corner on South Main Street since 1918.  It's a diner-style restaurant that is open for breakfast and lunch.  It is the place to go for breakfast.  If you are a first time visitor to Memphis, the Arcade is a good introduction to the city.  The restaurant is on the trolley line and only a few blocks south of Beale Street.  The Civil Rights Museum is near by and The Amtrak station is directly across the street.  This famous restaurant has been featured in numerous Hollywood movies.




           Arcade Restaurant






       Historic Marker


"The Elvis booth"




Arcade Vintage Photo

Vintage Creamer

1950s Postcard


Berretta's Bar-B-Q  SW corner Park-Highland

Berretta's BBQ Drive In opened in 1933 and was in operation up to 1985.  It was a large restaurant, one side had a long curved bar and several booths with low lighting.  Walk through the cased opening and you were in a brightly lit family style restaurant.  The menu was extensive - Italian fare and almost anything you could think of.  They also had a big car-hop area where you drove under the awnings and read the menu posted there.  When ready to order, you flashed your headlights and a waiter came over to take your order.  Berretta's was very popular - especially with the high school crowds.







Berretta's Matchbook

Bob's Barksdale Restaurant . 237 S. Cooper

Bob's has been serving Southern Style plate lunches for over 30 years.  Very popular at breakfast with plates priced from $4.95.





Painting by Eliz Velasquez


Boehler's Saloon and Eating Place .  13 W. Court Ave

13 W. Court

Boehler's Saloon-Eating..

1886 Directory

1887 Directory

13 W. Court Today


Boehler's Saloon and Eating Place at 13 W. Court Avenue was owned and run by Louis A. Boehler in the late 1800's.  From as early as 1884 Louis had been a bar keeper, Saloon owner, and a driver for the Memphis Schlitz Brewery.  He was married twice - to Fanny Engel and then to Fannie Holub.  The marriage to Fannie resulted from an advertisement in a St. Louis newspaper asking for "... a good German cook to come to Memphis and be a housekeeper and cook...".  After marriage the couple lived above the Saloon and produced four children before Louis died in 1897, either by "... carrying a keg of beer up the stairs from the basement, slipping, and the beer keg falling on him - or from typhoid fever."   After his death Fannie placed the kids in St. Peter's Orphanage and worked for the Memphis Canale family as a house-keeper and cook until she remarried - to Mr. Young   - Thanks to Ruth Young Reed for all information and for the great photo of the Saloon-Eating Place.


Bon Ton Cafe  150 Monroe

The Bon Ton Cafe opened in 1890 and was at the 150 Monroe location from 1904-2008.  It reopened in 2011.  There's 30 years worth of Memphis memorabilia on the walls and the restaurant feels like a 50's style diner.  In this modern age, one advantage Bon Ton has over other diners is they offer free Wi-Fi


Bon Ton Cafe Bon Ton Cafe Bon Ton Matchbook Bon Ton ad 1961

Britling's     155 Madison   .    75 Union

Britling's was a chain of cafeteria-style restaurants, which originated in Memphis during the 1920's.  The company was owned by John H. Holcomb of Birmingham and a Memphis partner.  About 1930 the partners split but they agreed the Britling name be continued.  Britling cafeterias were local institutions.  Their motto was:  Good food is good Health".  Sunday afternoon lunch at Britling's was a tradition.  One of the downtown Memphis locations is noteworthy for one of it's former employees:  Gladys Presley, mother of Elvis.  Britling's fell into decline in the 1970's as fast food restaurants became more popular, and they were never as successful in moving to the suburbs.  The Britling's on Madison opened in 1921.  the Britling's on Union opened in 1938 and featured murals by prominent Memphis artist, Burton Callicott.  This building was demolished along with the next door Loew's Palace Theater for a parking garage. 



Union  1984

Britling's interior



Tray Tokens


1970s Menu


"...Brought back great memories.  Had hundreds of meals at Britling's on Madison.  My mom worked 32 years at Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division, which then was at Third and Madison.  When I was in the first grade at Idyllwild Elementary I'd get on the streetcar and go downtown and meet her for supper at Britling's.  My parents were divorced when I was three.  When I was six or seven, I thought I was a grown man."  - Fred Regenold


Buntyn Restaurant   1927 Southern Avenue . across from Buntyn Station.

Buntyn Restaurant-Cafe was originally opened in 1927 by the Tull family.  Then Betty and Milton Wiggins purchased it and ran it for many years.  From the beginning it was noted for dishing up heaping plates of southern comfort food along with those amazing fluffy rolls and crumbly sweet cornbread.  In 1999, the Buntyn Restaurant was forced to move from it location on Southern after the Memphis Country Club purchased the property.  The owner sold the restaurant and it never regained its steady clientele after it relocated to Park Avenue.  During the same period, there were three more Buntyn locations - Collierville, Cordova, Millington - all opened and closed.


Train arrives Buntyn Station Restaurant Sign Buntyn Cafe Fast and friendly service

In September 2015, the Commercial Appeal reported that Mike Wiggins, son of Milton and Betty Wiggins, plans to open the Buntyn Corner Cafe in White Station, hopefully in November.  It will be open only for breakfast and lunch and the menu will be pared down a bit.

Logo Menu Matchbook Counter  
"..In the early 70's I was attending Memphis State University and lived about 2 blocks from the Buntyn Cafe which got its name from the area known as "buntyn".  I remember the huge green chalkboard with all the dishes being served along with their prices, the great southern comfort food and banana pudding.  I passed through Memphis recently and made a trip to eat there and was saddened to find out it's no more, but my memories are with me still.  I found a video of the cafe on YouTube from 1992: < http://youtu.be/v3tmuE2CtlU > ". Cecil Jones 1-8-2016

"...My uncle, Bill Tull, and my grandmother, Tressie Irene "Mama" Tull started the famed Buntyn Cafe when it was next door to the Southern Avenue Baptist Church and adjacent to the Memphis Country Club.  While attending Messick, I picked up my stack of newspapers at the paper station at the rear of the cafe building for my early morning paper route.  In the summers, I also caddied at the country club.  But, of course, my fondest memories were enjoying wonderful meals at the cafe and being with all the members of my extended family.  As a family member, I was allowed to go back in the kitchen and watch my grandmother run the show.  She was not only a fantastic cook, but also a superb manager, coach and mentor.  I was always fascinated with her ability to oversee so many things at once.  Her life's work and her devotion to her family have always inspired me..." - Clyde H. Tull, Colonel, US Army (Ret), Los Angeles.  2/11/2015


"Buntyn Cafe was owned by one of my Sunday School teachers at Southern Ave Baptist Church, which was just east of the restaurant.  That was Mr. Tull.  He was a greatly admired man.  One thing lacking from your description was their fried chicken which was the most popular item they served.  It was incredible.  There was a basement accessible from the west side of the building where the Commercial Appeal delivered their newspapers for us paperboys to pick up.  As I recall there were some long tables where we folded the papers into rectangles or squares, depending on their thickness.  Then we'd pack our cloth bags and hop on our bicycles and head out to our routes."  - John Earhart, 1-18-2015


"There was a restaurant on Southern Avenue near Highland and I think the name was “Buntyons” or something similar if I remember correctly. Good home cooking and fantastic rolls. It faced the railroad tracks".  - Daniel T. Maxey, 8-21-2013


Burkle's Bakery-Restaurant    2125 Madison-Cooper

Burkle's Bakery was established when Herman Burkle moved his little bakery from downtown to Madison and Cooper.  At the time, this was a busy intersection in East Memphis.  The bakery was located in a narrow building that formerly housed the Idle Hour Billiard Parlor, which was squeezed into a row of businesses that included Purdy-Jester Drugs, Piggly Wiggly, and La Vogue Beauty Salon.  Burkle's Baker would remain here for the next four decades.

Burkles Bakery - 1973


Herman and his sister Ruth Lee took over the business in the 1950's.  They added "Restaurant" to the name, and this address soon became a Memphis institution - for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a gathering place for just about everyone.  The restaurant never expanded or "spiced its menu".  It was satisfied to offer well-prepared bakery and food items without costly frills and that satisfied its customers as well.


Clara and Herman


Chez Philippe  Hotel Peabody

Chez Philippe for French Cuisine with an Asian flair.  This is the signature restaurant of Memphis.  It remains the epitome of exquisite Memphis dining with impeccable service, distinguished wines, and elegant atmosphere - with prices to match.  Executive chef Reinaldo Alfonsohas has made Chez Phiippe Memphis's only four-star restaurant - only 3 in Tennessee, and 152 in North America.  Elegance, style, and delicious cuisine have kept it in a league of its own.  This restaurant is a "new comer", opening in January 1982, just a few months after The Peabody officially reopened its doors following a six year, $25 million restoration project.

Coletta's Italian Restaurant    .  1063 S. Parkway East   .  4940 Summer  .  2850 Appling Road

Coletta's Restaurant is a Memphis institution that first opened its doors in 1923.  It claims to be the originator of the barbecue pizza.  There are two Coletta's in Memphis - the one on South Parkway is the one Elvis frequented.    The Coletta's on Summer burned in 1996.  Coletta's also claims it's the oldest Memphis restaurant.  Not true.


Coletta's interior

Coletta's Sign

Coletta's Menu Coletta's Menu

Coletta's Menu

Coletta's Ad     



Corky's Bar B Q  5259 Poplar

Corky's is "a must" for Memphis Tourists.  This world famous barbecue restaurant was voted #1 in Memphis for 18 years straight and it has been featured on numerous national TV programs.  The specialty is mouthwatering barbecue slow-cooked over hickory pits in the old-fashioned Southern tradition.  Corky's is the world's largest barbecue shipper.

In the early 70's, Don Pelts visualized a Memphis-style BBQ restaurant with premium BBQ in a fun,  50's environment.   After spending over a decade  operating an existing  Memphis BBQ

restaurant, he finally set out to realize his dream.  In 1984 he brought Corky's to reality - a small cozy place with old barn wood walls, lots of neon, polished brass, aged brick, ceiling fans, and great music hits of the 50's and 60's.  That's Corky's.





Cotton Boll  444 E. Parkway N.

The popular Cotton Boll was a "Fountain-Grill" including a drive-in with "car-hops".  The location on Parkway was  across from Overton Park near Summer.   The Cotton Boll was opened and owned by the Fortune's chain.  The Cotton Boll property was "taken" and demolished by the State of Tennessee for I-40 the Inter-state that never went through Overton Park.

Cotton Boll, circa 1940's                  



Cotton Boll Service



"...The Cotton Boll Restaurant was owned by the Scheuner family (who also owned the Gridiron Restaurants and other restaurants).  I married Joe Scheuner in August of 1964, and at that time his widowed mother, Fannie Scheuner, owned the Cotton Boll, as well as the chain of Gridiron Restaurants, several other restaurants, and a food manufacturing plant at 711 South Dudley Street.  My husband transitioned into managing the family restaurant business while completing law school at Memphis State.  The State of Tennessee exercised eminent domain and took the Cotton Boll in anticipation of I-40 going through Overton Park.  My husband and his mother sued the State over the price offered and realized an increase – though nothing close to what the property and restaurant were worth.  Of course, I-40 never went through Overton Park, and the Cotton Boll property has been vacant ever since.  My husband sold The Scheuner Corporation, which owned the Gridiron Restaurants and the food manufacturing plant on Dudley Street, in September 1996. 
Clearly, the Cotton Boll must have started as part of Fortune’s, and it is likely that my late husband’s father, Harris Scheuner, purchased it from Fortune’s.  When Harris Scheuner died in July 1959, Joe’s mother inherited the Cotton Boll, which was a separate legal entity from the Gridiron Restaurants, the food manufacturing plant, and several other restaurants that were sold at various times over the next several years." - Mary Scheuner , June 2017

The Cotton Boll -  Favorite Tech High Hang-out.  It was located on Parkway, close to Summer, across from Overton Park.  You'll find some interesting stories from many of the old Tech guys about the Cotton Bowl.  It was a Drive-In and had waiters come to your car.  Lots of make-out-goings-on in back.  GREAT DAYS."   - Rex King

I agree with Rex King about The Cotton Boll being the number one Tech High  hangout in the late 1940's and early 50's. - Roy Johnson




Dino's Grill  645 N. McLean

Dino's was originally known as the State Cafe and was located at 84 W. Beale from 1941-1972.  Urban renewal killed this part of downtown and the restaurant moved to N. McLean in 1973 and changed their name to Dino's Southwestern Grill - after the nearby Southwestern College.  They dropped the "Southwestern" when the college changed its name to Rhodes.  Dino's has since become "a fixture" in this neighborhood.    




State Cafe Sign



Dobbs House Luau  3135 Poplar Avenue

The Luau was Memphis' answer to the Polynesian-themed restaurant craze of the 1960s.  In 1959, Dobbs house transformed an older restaurant at this location into the Luau, where diners walked past a 12 foot Tiki God at the entrance and then entered a lush tropical paradise with tables framed by palm fronds.  It was extremely popular.  The postcard on the left states "A unique experience in dining.  The exotic setting of a Polynesian paradise with the exquisite flavor of authentic Polynesian dishes imported from the islands".   Eventually the novelty of Polynesian-themed restaurants wore off and the Luau closed in 1982 - "... the end of an era".


Luau interior


Tiki God

Ad 1961


Luau Menu





"The former 'older restaurant' referred to above was originally built in 1939 as the Friedel’s. In 1949 John George Morris who was part owner of the Riviera Grill on Jackson, named the restaurant “The Old Master Says” and after opening, commissioned a 14’ tall bust of his head (built by Tech High’s art teacher, Mike Abt) and placed atop the two story building. You refer to this in your copy of the Riviera Grill but do not link it to the building that became the Laua. ".  - William B. Strong, 8-23-2013  UPDATE:  Please see Riviera Grill below.


Dyer's Burgers  205 Beale Street

Dyer's Burgers, since 1912.  Back in 1912, "Doc" Dyer opened his own cafe and began to develop a secret cooking process for the world famous burgers still served here today.  Legend has it that the "secret" is the ageless cooking grease.  This famous grease, strained daily, has continued to produce the juicy Dyer's Burgers for almost a century now.  One of "Doc's" original employees, Mr. Kahn Aaron bought the establishment in 1935 and continued the Dyer's name and tradition of famous burgers.  Over the years, this famous cooking grease has been transported to various other Memphis locations under the watchful protection of armed police escorts.  The "secret" is really deep frying the burger patties.



Earnestine & Hazel's Bar-Grill  .     531 S. Main

For many years this business was a pharmacy.  In the 1950's two African American women named Earnestine and Hazel purchased the property and turned it into a "Sundry Store."  However that was only a "front" because it was well known around the area that you could go here and purchase alcohol.  And if you wanted something "extra", you could ask to visit the rooms upstairs and spend a little time with a prostitute.  This upstairs brothel run by the ladies, attracted the attention  of  many musicians who happened to be passing  through the area, as it was across the street from the Railroad Station.

           Earnestine & Hazel's




Today, the famous-infamous Earnestine and Hazel's is still open as a small time bar that also sells hamburgers.  The brothel, as well as Earnestine and Hazel, are now long gone.  It's said that the Rolling Stones visited this establishment while in Memphis and their song, "Brown Sugar" is based on their experiences with the ladies upstairs.



The Embers  3881 Park Ave (Park Plaza Shopping Center)    .    White Station Revolving Tower (5050 Poplar)

The Embers was noted for "Flame Kist" Steaks.  Both restaurants were owned and operated by Harry Glaser and Barney Katzerman.  The Park Avenue Embers opened in 1955 and the Revolving Restaurant in 1966.  It was called the largest revolving restaurant in the world.  A complete rotation took a leisurely two hours and five minutes.  The Park Av location is now a pharmacy.  After Embers closed in the tower, other restaurants moved in, including The Pyrenees.  It's now executive offices - which don't revolve.



The Embers at 3881 Park Avenue


Gold Room - Park Av.

Embers Menu

Embers Park Av Location


Presley shower - 1967


Menu 1970

Ad 1961


Menu Cover

1971 Menu




Floyd's Restaurant    279 Main.  243 Main . 325 Main-(55 S. Main)

Established around 1883, Floyd's Restaurant was located at 279 Main, across from Court Square.  In 1891 Floyd moved a couple of blocks down Main to 325 Main.   The Restaurant was a fancy, if not the fanciest Memphis place to eat in at the time. The 325 Main building also housed a separate "ladies restaurant" and a candy-confectioners shop owned by the same firm.  And it appeared prominently in Memphis post cards of the period.  In 1905 Memphis changed all the downtown addresses to a North-South numbering system with Madison as the dividing line.  That changed Floyd's address at 325 Main to 55 S. Main.  (And the address of the first Floyd's Restaurant at 279 Main  would become 11 N. Main) .


An 1883 book describes Floyd's:  "...the finest ladies' and gentlemen's restaurant in the city, where all the delicacies of the season are provided for those who visit this model establishment, which is largely patronized by the ladies, merchants and business men of the city, as well as by strangers visiting Memphis.  Experienced clerks and waiters are kept constantly employed, who are always polite, attentive and courteous to the visitors of the establishment and ready to attend to their every wish".


1906 Postcard


An 1891 Banquet Menu in honor of J. S. Menken, the founder of Menken Brothers Dry Goods on Main.   = >

Pains de Caviar-a la Russe, Consomme en Tasse, Drink: Amontillado. Pompano Grilles a la Maitre d-Hotel, Pommes de Terre Parisianne, Drink: Haut Sauternes.  Ris de Veau Glaces aux Petit Pois, Pommes de Terre Croquettes, Drink: Pontet Canet.  Filet de Boeuf Pique aux Champignons, Asperges en Branch Chouflour a la Creme, Drink: Pommery Sec.  Punch, au Kirsch, Poulets Grilles au Cresson, Salad de Laitue, Drink: ; Mumm's Extra Dry.  Fruits, Nuts, Raisins, Gateaux Assortis - TuttiFruitti Glace, Fromage Roquefort, Cafe Noir.



Oyster Plate



William Floyd

Floyd's Restaurant

Floyd Touring Car c 1915

Candy Ad 1910

Mrs. William Floyd


Envelope-Floyd & Co

Envelope - Glass -Earthenware

Stereoscopic: Interior - electric lights.



Floyd's Main-Madison 1912

Floyd's 1900s

Directory  -1883

Floyd home on Carr - today


William and Son

  279 Main c.1865-66

325 Main-1891



Fortune's Jungle Gardens and Fortune's Belevedere    

                 1129 Union at Belevedere (1922)    also  Union-Somerville (1920)

Fortune's Jungle Gardens was established in 1921 and claimed to be the world's first drive-in restaurant.  Originally folks would drive-in in horse-drawn carriages.  Later, of course, with all the overgrown trees, vines, and gardens in the drive-in areas, this restaurant was a favorite hang-out of the high school crowds in the 40's and 50's.  The Cotton Boll Restaurant  was also Fortune's 3rd Restaurant..  Some may remember the other Fortune's, also at the corner of Union and Belevedere, which and was named "Fortune's Belevedere".  It was noted for its "Palm Room"



Rare Postcard: 'World's First Drive-in'

Fortune's Jungle Garden


The Drive In

First Drive-in

Match Book

Ice Cream

Ice Cream top


Vintage Jungle Garden Menu Cover, Inside, Back  ... Collection Brenda and Chuck Russell

 Fortune's Belevedere "Palm Room"

"The Belvedere at Union and Belvedere was a favorite after school, Friday and Saturday night hangout for Hutchison's School for Girls, Lausanne Scool for Girls, Central High, Pentecost Garrison School for Boys, and later MUS, as well as Christian Borthers.  "Good ole days".  -Dale Parker
"There was also a fortunes Jungle Garden, NO RESTAURANT, at the corner of 51 and Winchester.  They had a miniature Golf Course and called it Jungle Golf, Monkeys, Birds, Horses, etc.  It wasn't there long - maybe 2-3 Years.  It was in the late 50's or early 60s.  I think there was a shoneys after that.  Whitehaven was in the county then, not even a light at the intersection."    - Porter Cooper

"I believe that the picture of Fortune's Jungle Gardens & listed at 1129 Union - Belevedere is of the Fortune's Drive Inn at about the 1600 block of Union at Belevedere. Fortune's Jungle Gardens was at about the 1100 block of Union at South Waldran. In the mid 1950's I lived at 52 N. Waldran & frequented the Jungle Gardens as did a number of other Memphis State College students. It was mostly for drive inn service with the main building, which fronted on Union, being used by the carhops. There was another smaller building in the rear of the property which was used as a kind of beer garden. There was lots lf room for parking among the trees. You could hang around your car & socialize or take a seat in the beer garden.."  - Roy Johnson

"The picture in color is definitely at Union & Belevedere, but not the 1100 block.  I am really surprised that no one has mentioned the monkey in the cage at the back of the parking lot.  In 1939 or '40, we would visit the monkey during the day and take it some treats and sit around and enjoy his antics".  - Glenn Lockhart

The Four Flames  ... The Coach House 1085 Poplar

In 1958, Lessie Gates took a 19th c. mansion on Poplar and transformed it into one of the most elegant restaurants in Memphis.   She named it The Coach House and it was quite a place - even had an antique coach displayed in a glass case outside the main entrance.   When it opened, Gates said, "For a long time I have felt there was a definite need in Memphis for a restaurant of this kind.  One that would combine an exclusive dining service, deluxe-course dinners, and an appropriate setting."    The new restaurant offered private dining rooms, floors of brick, huge mirrors, and "treasures from this country and abroad." The courtyard out back was turned into a French-style open-air café.


n March of 1965, Lessie Gates was murdered in a back room of her restaurant.  Police determined she had been killed by one of her employees . She had become so popular and well-known that the crime shocked the city.  A few years later, the Coach House building became home to another equally famous restaurant, The Four Flames, which was consistently rated as one of the best restaurants. The four white columns out front, topped with gas flames, became a Memphis landmark.  The restaurant menu featured pheasant under glass, and poached salmon.   The restaurant closed in the late 80's.  Today The Four Flames building is the Child Advocacy Center.


Coach House

Four Flames


1969 Ad




Four Flames Card

The Elvis Connection:  In 1971 Elvis hosted a cocktail reception at Graceland for honorees of the Jaycees.  Afterwards, dinner had been arranged by Elvis at the Four Flames. Bouquets of fresh flowers and candelabras, with place cards signed by him were present on each table.  Dinner was served by white-gloved waiters.  During dinner an intoxicated Al Capp, the famous cartoonist, came in and there were words all around about him not being invited.  Obviously this put a damper on the rest of the evening?


Vintage Platter


Ray Gammon's Restaurant  -  2374 Summer Av.   .    The Pit  -  2484 Poplar

Opening in the early 50's, Ray Gammon's was a popular Memphis restaurant for over 25 years.  It was a favored hangout for Southwestern College students and their families.  The menu consisted of catfish, barbecue, and all sorts of home-cooked meals.  Ray was well-known around Memphis since he had been the golf pro at Galloway, Cherokee, and the Alicia golf courses.  He operated this restaurant until poor health forced him to retire in the 1970s.  Ray died in 1975 and the restaurant closed.  The site is now a Family Dollar Store.  Ray Gammon was also associated with the popular "The Pit" on Poplar Avenue.


Ray Gammon's Restaurant


The Pit - 2484 Poplar

1953 Review-Ad




Gaston's Restaurant  -  107 S. Court Av

John Gaston opened his restaurant on Court Avenue around 1870 and called it "Gaston's".  It became an instant success and was termed by connoisseur's as "the Delmonico's of the South".  Shortly afterwards, Gaston opened a hotel next to the restaurant and became a very wealthy man.  The restaurant and hotel closed about 1912.  These buildings next to Court Square, did not become part of "Lost Memphis" and have now been renovated into condos.

This is the same John Gaston of the John Gaston Hospital in Memphis.


John Gaston

Gaston Buildings in Post Cards Gaston building today An 1870 ad for restaurant and hotel.

* The Gaston Restaurant has its own comprehensive coverage on another page of this website >  Click here

The Green Beetle  -  325 S. Main

The Green Beetle opened in 1939 and is recognized as the oldest tavern in Memphis.  The owners were immigrants from Sicily named Frank Liberto and his wife Mary.  They also owned the liquor store next door - "Frank's Liquor".  Eventually they owned much of the block on South Main.  Frank died in the 70's and Mary sold off building by building until it was all gone.  Since then the tavern and the corner store changed ownership several times, but by contract, the names stayed the same.  When the tavern closed a few years ago, Josh Huckaby, Frank Liberto's grandson purchased it and brought the Green Beetle back into the family.  It's  a great place to go for its late hours and down-home menu - anything from cheese sticks or chicken wings to catfish or spaghetti.


Main and Vance 1950s   Josh Huckaby G.B. Matchbooks

The Arcade Cafe was established in 1919.  It's a café, and the Green Beetle is a tavern, hence the validity of the "oldest Memphis tavern" claim.


Grisanti's  -   522 S. Main and numerous other locations ...

This website won't attempt to name Grisanti's Restaurant locations.  At various times they seem to have opened, closed, and changed locations on a regular basis, but Memphis has loved their Northern Italian Cuisine since 1909.  To name the individual Grisanti' family members is just about as futile as naming their locations.  But it all started with Rinaldo Grisanti who immigrated to Memphis from Italy in 1909 and his wife Mary who opened Willie's Place (Willie's Grill) at 552 S. Main across from Central Station around 1936.    We definitely do not claim to correctly identify the Grisanti history, photos and locations...



Mary Mary and Rinaldo Willie's Place mathbook



Logo Matches Menu Menu -





Grisanti on Main . Menu - -



Grisanti Airway Menu


...   Grisanti Central Menu   ...


Huey's     Downtown  .  Poplar  .  Midtown  .  Collierville  .  Southaven .  Cordova  .  Southwind

Ask Memphians for the best hamburger and you'll probably be directed to Huey's.  And you'll also find an extensive beer selection.  The original Huey's at 1927 Madison opened in 1970 and is still in business.  The burgers were voted "best burger" by Memphis Magazine every year since 1984.  Also voted "Best Pub Grub" and "Best Beer Selection" by readers of the magazine.    Huey's presents a casual, laid back atmosphere ... a variety of salads, sandwiches, and appetizers ... large portions and reasonable prices.  Write on the walls and shoot frill picks into the ceiling!  Live music on Sunday nights.


Huey's Interior

Huey's interior

Huey's Prescriptions

Huey's Burger

Huey's Menu


Jim's Place  Moved to several locations in downtown area.

A Memphis tradition since 1921.  Nick Taras and James D.  Catsoodas opened the first Jim's Place in the basement of the William Len Hotel in downtown Memphis.  In 1927 they opened a second location on Union Avenue across from Hotel Peabody.  In 1967 they moved to 2nd Street.  In 1978 the restaurant was christened Jim's Place East and moved to Shelby Oaks Drive  In 2006 they opened Jim's Place Grille in Collierville and their newest location Jim's Place Restaurant and Bar is at Perkins-Poplar.  Still in business, after 35 years.


Match Books

154 Union in 1950

Jim's Place No 1

Jim's Ad

Perkins - Poplar in 2011


Jim's Place East .  Closing Day October 21, 2010  .  Special Thanks to Roger and Margie Bishop for the photos.


"...my maternal grandfather was James D. "Jim" Catsoodas, the namesake of Jim's Place Restaurant and founder, joined by Nick Taras as his partner.  Somehow, a website error crept into the website of Jim's Place, misspelling my Grandpa Jim's name the way your Historic-Memphis site picked it up in the recent past.  ... Please correct his name on your website to James D. Catsoodas.  Thanks for your help" ... James D. Williams, Memphis 4/19/2017    (Thank you James for bringing this to our attentions.  We have corrected the spelling.  Gene Gill, Historic-Memphis.com)


"...When I was first engaged to my husband, Hal W. Morris, he took me to dinner at Bill and Jim's to introduce me to his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. John W. Morris, Sr. of Orgill Bros. We came in through the back door near the kitchen because the parking was in the back. I think my husband told me his grandparents ate there every night. They also use to frequent the Rainbow Room at the Peabody. He entertained clients a lot and would take them there. One sunrise he brought the orchestra home to their house on Central Ave. for breakfast!....".  - Claudia D. Morris, Augusta, GA, 1/7/2014


"We have enjoyed Jim's Place since the 60's and it continues to be our favorite today. We really did enjoy Jim's Place East on Shelby Oaks and were there for the closing. The pictures (above) are from that night".   Roger and Margie Bishop, 5/2012

"...I am quite sure that Jim's Place East was serving food when I moved to Memphis in 1980.  My boss took me there for lunch on my first day on the job.  The food was fantastic.  When my family arrived, four months later, the first place I took them to eat was Jim's Place East".  - Jim Huls, 11-2011


Joy Young Chinese - 1517 Union  


For many Memphians, the Joy Young Restaurant was their introduction to Chinese Food.  The restaurant opened in 1952 across from the Peabody, and was for many years the only Chinese Restaurant in Memphis.  Later,
another location opened at 861 S. White Station Road.



Joy Young - 1958

Joy Young Sign

 Match Book

Match Books

1975 Joy Young Ad


Justine's  919 Coward Place

Most Memphians know it as the Old Justine's Restaurant - the New Orleans-style French restaurant owned by Justine Smith for 37 years, starting in 1958.  The stark-looking light pink stucco house with white marble front steps survived a Civil War skirmish on the property, the worst of the Yellow Fever epidemics in the late 1800's, and the volatility of the 20th century restaurant business.  But the building now has a real enemy:  VACANCY.  In the 60's and 70's, Justine's was perhaps the main upscale restaurant in Memphis.




Signature Dish

Ad 1961

Front  decay

Unbelievable ...


Justine Portrait

Justine Menu -2

Justine Menu Pages with illustrations by artist Billy Price Hosmer


 Newly Restored 1958     Opening Night Foyer West Dining Rm Opening Night 1958 Gates

    Vintage article Claiborne Review 1966 Justine's grave Chef's Obit 2010 Janet Smith Book

Janet Smith watercolor



Justine's Menu


"I thought you might like to know that I have a full menu from Justine's as it was my mother, the late Billy Price Carroll, who designed the menu and did the art work on/in it.  Also, Justine and Mama were good friends, so there were always several of Mama's paintings displayed throughout the restaurant.  The portrait that Mama painted of Justine graced the main dining room.  I remember going there for my 16th birthday.  I had oysters Rockefeller, the likes of which have never been duplicated!  It breaks my heart that the building is in such ruin.  It was quite the place to go in its day"  -Pixie Woodall


"I  found the Justine’s menu ...I am including a photo of the portrait that my mother, Memphis (world-renowned) artist, Billy Price Carroll, painted of Justine Smith sometime in the early 70’s. Mama was Billy Price Hosmer when she did the menu. She married David Carroll in 1965 and added Carroll to her signature after that. She eventually dropped the Hosmer and used only Carroll to make her signature more unique.  Check out the prices on the menu. Justine’s was considered very fine dining and expensive in its day. It was quite a beautiful place. I remember it well. The floors creaked and the wine cellar smelled musty, but the overall ambiance always made me feel like I was really special.  As I mentioned, because of Mama’s friendship with Justine and Dayton, we were always made to feel like royalty when we dined there. I will always have special memories of Justine’s."  -Pixie Woodall


Knickerbocker     4699 Poplar Avenue

The Knickerbocker was a fancy restaurant on Poplar Avenue in East Memphis, started by Vernon Bell  (Dad of Chris Bell of Big Star's).  He had also started the Danver's Burger chain.  Vernon's daughter Sara Stewart owned Mortimer's Restaurant on North Perkins which still uses the recipe's from the Knickerbocker.  A popular collector's item was the Knickerbocker's "scroll menu".



 Knickerbocker Ad 1961

Match book

Scroll Menu



Krystal Burgers    Main  .   Madison   .   2nd   .    Poplar  .  Summer  .  Getwell

This burger chain originated in 1932 in Chattanooga - and they're still based there.  The original name came from the idea that the restaurants were supposed to be as clean as a crystal ball, or "Krystal Klean".  And the restaurants were spotlessly clean.  Everyone knew their slogan:  "Buy 'em by the sack full", and we did just that, because in the 40's and early 50's, the burgers cost only 5 cents.  There were three Krystal Burgers in downtown Memphis.  There was a Krystal's on Poplar, across from East High School, which became a major hang-out for this school. and another on Summer at National, and another at 951 Getwell..


Krystal on Summer   

Krystal on Madison Cup Krystal on Main


Krystal on Getwell



Leonard's  1140 S. Bellevue .  Now at Fox Plaza

1922.  This is the year widely accepted as the beginning of Memphis' love affair for pit-smoked barbecue.  This was the year Leonard Heuberger opened his little stand of 5 stools, selling his creation - a barbecue sandwich, for just 5 cents.  He couldn't keep up with the demand and that modest beginning soon became the largest drive-in restaurant of its time.  People came from near and far to "pig-out" on pit-cooked ribs and pork shoulders popularized by Leonard's.   Elvis was a regular and would bring his friends for after-hours parties that lasted until sunrise.   This  drive-in was perhaps, the

 most popular high-school hang-out that Memphis ever had - especially in the 40's and 50's.  It closed in 1991, is now demolished and Leonard Heuberger has passed away - but the recipes that made Leonard's unique, remain intact in the new Leonard's, under owner Dan Brown.  Dan started working at Leonard's when he was 15 and Heuberger guided him through every phase of the Leonard's tradition.


Match Books

Leonard's Postcard

Ad - 1953


Leonards old pit

Interior 1981


Leonard Heuberger

Leonards 1945

Leonards 1961

Fox Plaza


Leonards Delivery

Note: After webmaster Gene Gill moved to California (1957) and his parents visited, his request to them was "Bring Leonard's BarBQ in dry ice."

Loeb's Bar-B-Q  Many Locations around town

Loeb's made some tasty barbecue and by the 1960s it seems there was a Loeb's Bar-B-Q on just about every corner - opposite that church and that gas station on the other corners.  Most Loeb's had a pole-mounted sign, in the shape of a standing pig, outside on the street.  Many folks have forgotten that the barbecue restaurants originally specialized in Chicken (See Newspaper Ad below).    The Loeb family was known for their Laundry Business.  During the 60s and 70s, Bill Loeb built the laundry to a peak of 50 branches and 45 coin-operated launderettes.  He also founded a chain of 100 barbeque restaurants spanning 7 states.  But the Loeb's barbecue business was really hurting in the 1980s due to increased competition and an inability to standardize the product throughout the many locations.  Now they're all gone.  Many of the buildings have been demolished and some have become other restaurants and businesses.


Loeb's - Summer-Whitestation


"...My family lived in East Memphis and our kids ...Those were the days.  We always loved barbecue and often stopped for a sandwich, which had a large-size bun, piled high with chopped meat and topped with a huge helping of slaw and hot sauce, at one of the many Loeb's Barbeque restaurants in town.  We thought it was the best in those days.  Later we discovered Corky's and agree it now the premier barbeque restaurant in Memphis, and maybe the world.  Has anyone else written to remind you about Loeb's"?  - Sarah Schade, 11-2011 


Mister Luck's Hamburgers - 1697 Lamar Av

We hope someone out there will help us locate a photo of Mister Luck's Hamburgers?

This very small 8 (or 10) stool "restaurant" dates from as early as 1937.  It was owned and run by Hugh Luck.  For such a tiny space, it's amazing how many folks have fond memories of it.  Although the building has now been demolished, "Mr. Lucks", "Luck's Hambugers", "Luck's Lunch Room", "Dixie Castle Cafe" (there was no sign on the building) lives on in memories.  Hugh Luck was born in 1892 and married Estelle Woodfine in 1919.  They had one son, William Hugh Luck. 


Hugh opened his first restaurant at 316 Walnut about 1928.  By 1930, he had moved the restaurant to 269 1/2 Madison, while he and Estelle lived on Cowden.  Sometime between 1933-1937, Hugh Luck and the family moved to 1667 Nelson and opened the restaurant at 1697 Lamar Av.  The last directory listing at the Lamar address is 1960.  From 1937 to 1960, all of the above names appear as the restaurant name, but generally it's listed as "Hugh Luck, 1697 Lamar Av".  Hugh died in April of 1971...79 years old.  Read Bill Morgan's letter below for an excellent description of the restaurant and the area


Hugh Luck

Map Location


Lamar Av

Nearby businesses


1928 Directory

1930 Directory

1950 Directory

Hugh Luck

1919 Marriage License


 "...I asked Bill (William) and Anne.  Neither have any pictures of the inside of the restaurant.  They may be able to add a story or some comments.  We have another picture of Hugh at the restaurant (attached)...  I don't have any personal stories to add as I was born after Hugh died.  I know that when Coca-Cola would give away prizes if you could match certain bottle caps, Bill (William) always won.  Hugh would give him hundreds or maybe thousands of bottle caps, so eventualy he could get the right caps to win the prize.".   - Thomas Luck - Grandson, 12-22-2017


"How I wish I had a picture to offer. My family and I were "raised" on these wonderful little burgers (with a big Nehi orange for me). We lived in the second house south of Lamar on Rozelle, so if we went over our back fence we were just a few steps from Mr. Luck's. I worked at Morgan (no kin) and Owen's grocery store on the southwest corner of Lamar and Rozelle, where Mr. Luck would come in daily for a few pounds of ground beef (very few) and maybe an onion or a pickle or two. I believe it has been noted that these went a long way. Then he would walk with a severe limp to his little place. I think the Wonder bread man delivered the buns. Early on he has homemade pies available (15 cent s slice if I recall correctly). These went away at some point.  Different drink trucks would deliver a couple of cases to the back door (that is until there was a dispute with the Pepsi guy as to how many empties were picked up. It was not resolved so there were no Pepsi products sold there after that).

I am not sure how many stools were at the little counter (maybe 10) bur at lunch time the place was full with a dozen people waiting for a stool. Mr. Luck used to love to tell the story of how a man came in and offered to paint a sign on the front of the little white building. "It will double your business" he said.  Mr. Luck said "I told him to look around. I said that I can't handle any more business. It's killing me." He never had a sign.  If you went in and ordered 2 burgers and he had just put 2 on for someone else, he would not mash your little ball of meat on that grill until he had served the first two. He never got in a hurry and he lived a long time.

I think I was in the third grade (104/?) when we moved to Rozelle Street. Right behind us was the huge Apex Laundry, which burned to the ground one night (biggest fire I ever saw and had my father not soaked the back of our house with a garden hose, the intense heat would have ignited it. I mention this because Mr. Luck's little place was next door and was destroyed--along with the 5 and 10 cent store on the other side. We were all heartbroken (not about the laundry). Our sorrow turned to joy when his place was rebuilt a couple of years later.  Mr. Luck's tiny little hamburger place, along with Reaves Drug store (where I gained my soda jerking skills) are some of my favorite Memphis memories. I dream about them sometime." - William L. (Bill) Morgan, 2/19/2015


"It was great to read about all of the restaurants on your webpage, but the one I frequented the most was Mr. Luck's. We lived only about 5 blocks away from that Kyle and Lamar area.  Our family did takeout from there every Friday for many years. He would wrap up your order in his empty Wonder Bread bun packages. He also sold Dodger drinks that were great and had many unique flavors.  In the 6th Grade at Rozelle Elementary, a group of us forged off campus lunch permits and rode our bikes there one day a week to spend our quarter lunch money for 2 burgers and a Dodger Root Beer or Cream Soda. He knew all of our names and food preferences.  Among our merry band was Thomas Boggs who sold lots of burgers at Huey's , but none better than Mr. Luck's. I was told years later that Mr. Luck sent at least one son through College and Law School with the money he earned from that small burger place. Thank you for the memories".   -David Van Hoozer, 6-25-12


"...Mr. Lucks  restaurant (tiny footprint is still there - a wonder how small it was). He made burgers from a ball of meat about the size of a golf ball and kept mashing it until it was the size of a standard bun. The bun was on the grill soaking up the grease. Lots of salt and pepper to make your mouth water. Pickle sliced lengthwise so thin it was a wonder he still had his thumb. Onion the same way. He sliced his hot dogs lengthwise twice, once on each side (but not all the way through), and folded them out so they would would still be one piece and take up the whole bun. I still grill mine the same way. Just a few stools. The grill was under the front window and blacks could order there. Ten cents and a full size burger or grilled dog. I ate there every Saturday night on the way to the Lamar theater with my little sister and brothers. Burger drink and chips-25 cents.. I still look at the spot every time I pass. It was there I met Lonnie the blind broom salesman who was a walking calendar. Lamar Billiards was between Lucks-Reeves. Charlie's is where the MPD convinced the Hell's Angels that Memphis wasn't the place for them". - Michael Beck 3-2012

"...What I remember most about Mr. Luck's was that you could get a hamburger for 10 cents or double meat for 15 cents.  The meat was pretty thin too.  He stayed open until he'd sold all the meat/buns he had for the day and then closed - no set closing time". -Cookie Dale, 12-2011

"  I well remember Mr. Luck's hamburgers near the Lamar Theatre.  They were really good, but what amazed those of us who ate there, was just how thin he could slice the onion and pickle.  Many customers commented that you could read the newspaper though them, but it didn't bother him at all. The best thing about these "Golden Years" are the MEMORIES" Glenn Lockhart.


Anyone "...who went to the Lamar Theater will remember Mr. Luck's across the street. His Krystal-type hamburgers were homemade, tasty and inexpensive. Almost next door to him was Reeves Drugs where you could get the best 15¢ milkshake in town."  - Fred Regenold


Luehrmann's Restaurant  - 314 Main  - 296 Main at Madison.   -  10 S. Main

Henry Luehrmann was a prominent brewer as well as hotel-restaurant owner.   The fortune it took to build and equip this magnificent establishment came largely from beer, in particular Schlitz Beer.  Luehrmann's was a splendid place to dine at leisure in Memphis.  There were 135 kinds of wine and the seafood was great because it was so fresh.  In fact, Henry Luehrmann bought only live lobsters, crabs, and oysters to be fattened in his basement, where he personally fed them.  In the restaurant, the waiters wore tails.  The napkins and tablecloths were made of thick linen, embossed with the Luehrmann crest and logo.  Luerhmann's Restaurant, along with Gaston's Restaurant, around the corner, were the two most popular restaurants for fine dining in Old Memphis.  And Luehrmann's had the highest prices in town.   The restaurant-hotel was on  Main from 1888

  to 1909 - and burned in 1910.   

* The Luehrmann Hotel-Restaurant has comprehensive coverage on another page of the website > Click here



Majestic Grille  145 S. Main

In a previous life the Majestic Grille was really the old Majestic Theater from silent movie-vaudeville days.  Today, The Majestic Grille serves juicy steaks, fresh seafood and gourmet burgers in a 1940's style bar and grill.  Enjoy the ambiance of yesteryear at this beautifully converted building. 


Monte's Drive-In         3053 Summer .  Corner Summer-Isabel

The original Monte's was a tiny, 28 seat drive-in, which opened in 1937 at 3053 Summer.  In the early 1970s, a second, much larger Monte's opened a bit farther east at the corner of Summer and Isabel.  They were owned by Monte Robinson, who was so successful that he was named Restaurateur of the Year.    Monte died in 1992 and the original was demolished and the second one became the Montclair Restaurant in the 1970s and later a funeral home.


Montes Montes Card    

Montes-Montclair today


Pappy & Jimmy's Lobster Shack          2100 Madison

The restaurant was born when Pappy (Lehman C. Sammons) bought a pair of houses just west of Cooper, joined them together, and in 1947 opened Pappy and Jimmy's Lobster Shack.  It was an astonishing place.  Everybody still talks about the amazing assortment of "stuff" which filled every room of the cluttered restaurant: clocks, guns, musical instruments, paintings, moose antlers, antique mirrors — even a pair of aviator Amelia Earhart's flying boots.  Over the years, the unusual place attracted celebrities, and Pappy was friends with  such stars as Tyrone Power,  Tommy  & Jimmy Dorsey, Dizzy Dean, and Yogi Berra, and countless others. 



In March 1962 a blaze destroyed most of the Lobster Shack.  Most people would have called it quits (Pappy was 80 years old!), but after a few months, he reopened.    Pappy and Jimmy also opened a second restaurant in 1952 at Poplar and Hollywood. For some reason, they went their separate ways a few years later, with Pappy taking over the original and Jimmy, the Poplar-Hollywood restaurant. Pappy died shortly after his 100th birthday and his daughter closed the restaurant in 1980. Eventually the Poplar-Hollywood restaurant was sold and the new owners moved to Summer Av. That restaurant closed in the mid 90s.  The restaurant's famous neon sign was one of the greatest neon signs in Memphis history — a surreal creation that depicted a pair of giant lobsters with the human heads of Pappy and Jimmy.  

Pappy had started out as a dishwasher and eventually had his own small restaurant across from the old Union Station.  There he met quite a few show business people and his little restaurant became very popular with entertainers passing through town.  Sophie Tucker told him about a delicacy being served at restaurants in New England - lobster.  Pappy imported some to Memphis but it took a few years until it became the most popular item on the menu.


Bib Pappy Staff-Friends Re-built Location on Summer



Pappy and Regina


Wind Damage 2003



Ad 1961




Poplar Interior 1980




1952 Menu

<      Pappy and Jimmie Vintage Menu      >


"... the Poplar Av Pappy & Jimmy's locale never closed.  When the daughter took over it somehow was owned or the sale was handled by the man who owned the St Clair Restaurant in the Summer-White Station area. I can't recall his name but remember him because he hung around showing the new owner, my uncle, the ropes,  Bill Rickard bought it from him when I was 15 in 1980/81. I worked there nights 80/81 after closing, doing deep cleanings/carpet an painting etc, for a couple of years. Later he closed and moved because they wouldn't renew the lease at the right price.  So that's how it moved to Summer.  By then I was old enough to work that locale as bartender for couple years. Bill bought into a couple other places like Charlie's, a little bar on summer and the Charlie's on Sycamore View.  Not sure if he's still involved in those. He's now living in Covington TN, where he's reopened Pappy & Jimmy's - more in a home-cooking style today. He still owns the infamous sign and it's in storage".   - Richard D. Rose , 11/2012   .  UPDATE FROM RICHARD ROSE, 2/8/2018:  "...I gave some info ... that is not correct and jus wanta add that the sign of Pappy's and Jimmie's was damaged and then junked from winds from hurricane Elvis, 2003.  "...it is still open in Covington TN...and a new billboard sign up in Tipton County on Hwy 51 N. bound.

"Pappy and Jimmie's is not closed.  It's not great but they still have the best fried oysters away from the coast.  They currently are in Covington TN about 40 north of Memphis"  - John Gasquet, 7-1-2013

Pat's Pizza  2890 N. Summer

This was the legendary late night Memphis hangout for almost 50 years.  It was a favorite among actors, artists, insomniacs and musicians - including Elvis Presley.  It was run by Pat and his wife Lois.  You pressed a buzzer to enter the restaurant and the first thing you saw after being allowed inside was a recliner in front of a TV set.  The pizza's were served on tall pedestals.  Read the letters below.  You had to have been there to fully understand.  Prior to the 1960s, the restaurant was called "Pat's Dinette"   

"Pat's Pizza was surreal. The mice there were fearless. I once ran (literally) into a friend who was walking out of the restaurant with the largest handgun I've ever seen, wrapped in a bath towel. I never figured out why. The place was like a David Lynch movie, only weirder. Pizza was thin crusted and good, as I recall. Was popular among Rhodes/Southwestern students, back in the day. I never went there before midnight. Buzzer to get in".  - Ernest T. Ball, 3-2009

      Ring the Buzzer



The back booth

Pat's Pizza


"Pat's Pizza...  My husband and I were introduced to it in the early 60s by a friend who was a police lieutenant. It was near the intersection of Summer and Parkway on the north side of the street. It served wonderful pizza, but was so grungy-looking and often had rather unkempt characters around, so I was grateful for the police escort".  - Willena, 3-2009

"Pat's Pizza brings back many fond memories...sadly by the time that my friends and I happened upon it, it was far from its glory days. We would BYOB in high school and order a few pizzas on a fairly regular basis. I still have a great pic of Pat. Made me sad when they tore the place down".  - Catherine, 3-2009

"Miss Pat" serves Pizza

Pizza on Pedestal

The Juke Box

Pat grates cheese

Pat's Ad

"I seem to recall a back room where, it was rumored, large groups of people of a European nationality tended to have parties and gatherings and conduct family business.  My Rocky Horror Cast used to come here after the show, along with the Whiteball crowd from Rhodes College (there was some overlap). Some crazy stuff happened here!  I remember when they expanded the back; we missed the booth on the back wall... that was Our Table. But still, more room in which shenenigans could take place.  I try to explain this place to people, and no one gets it. You truly had to be there".  - Hagbar Celine

"We always hung out there after Rocky and anytime, really. One night I stepped outside to get my jacket from the car, and a man came at me. Before he could grab me, my keys, or even speak, little "Miss Pat" ran out with a rifle. She cocked it, put it right in his nose and said something about him not getting away with 'molesting our young girls'. Thanks Miss Pat! And thanks Gary. I have so many amazing memories from Pat's... Really miss it".  - TehPicksy

"Pat's Pizza was on the deep end of the dive-side of Summer Ave here on the Bluff. It was only open during the hours of dark or even later. Mr. Pat and his older than dirt wife, Missus Pat, ran the place. I don't think they ever saw the sun. The place looked like your Grandma's trailer. The kitchen must have been swiped from the set of Motel Hell. Just a few booths; though, there may have been a bar under all those newspapers. They made a mean, and I mean mean BBQ pizza. Served beer colder than my Jr. high girlfriends. Four jukeboxes, only one worked. Eventually, before they died or disappeared, they added some pool tables in the back. Where all that crap went to make room, I never figured out. Every time it rained, those tables got drenched. 
Anyway, the Man and his Rib made a living after Midnight and were magnets to the Funk. Shout out to the True MFers past.  - No Name

Paulette's  2110 Madison - now at River Inn

Paulette's was at this location for 37 years.  It was considered the most "romantic restaurant" in Memphis, partially because it was modeled after a European country inn.  But it also had an extraordinary menu of French and Hungarian dishes.  In 2011, Paulette's moved its popular, award winning restaurant to the River Inn.


  Menu Menu Menu Retaurant Matchbook  

Pete and Sam's     3886 Park Avenue

In 1948 Sam and his cousin Pete shared an idea of opening a Memphis Italian restaurant.  After only 6 months Pete got out of the business but Sam never got around to changing the name on the sign.  The recipes of traditional Italian favorites at the restaurant have been passed down from generation to generation and the popular restaurant has now been serving Memphians for almost 7 decades.



Pig 'N Whistle  1579 Union  .  21 S. 2nd  .  2546 Poplar

Pig N' Whistle was a major Central High School "hang-out" going back to the 1930's when the Atlanta Company started the chain.   In 1929 there were "Pigs" at 21 S. 2nd, 1579 Union, and in 1937, 2546 Poplar was added.  The Union Avenue "Pig" was the best known, with a neon sign that featured a dancing pig playing a flute.  In 1950 the restaurant doubled the size of its English Tavern facade and added a large dining room.  The Union location closed in 1966.  After it closed, the building housed AAA auto club offices, the Dixie Auto Club, and then a stained-glass studio.  It was demolished in 1994. 


Pig 'N Whistle

Vintage Menu


1930s Menu 1930s Menu 1930s Menu



"I was glad to see the pictures of the Pig'n Whistle Restaurant at 1579 Union Avenue that my Mother, Louise Cramer owned and managed for twenty years from 1946 to 1966!  I believe during that period of time it was the only "Pig" in Memphis.  It was highly popular during those years and we had our regulars who came in about every week.  We were saddened when Mother had to close the restaurant after my Dad passed away and I will always remember the great food and the great friends who enjoyed eating there.  Elvis Presley used to come and sit in his car and had to use curb service because, of course, he would have caused a riot had he come inside.  Mother was there almost every day to greet her customers and worked hard to keep the "Pig" successful by serving a varied menu including steaks and seafood in addition to the barbecue which everyone enjoyed.  ... The "Pig" was a jewel in Mother's cap and I'm so proud of what she sacrificed to make it such a popular place for so many".   Louise Cramer Holcombe, 9-29-2013


1950s Car Hop Badge

"Last Pig N Whistle .  Corner Kerrville & Rosemark .  Millington:  " ... 4-29-2013 ... I can vouch that it’s still there – BBQ is every bit as good as the old locations! Very nice sports bar with screens area & big screen tv’s in back"  - Robin T. Ferrell


The Whistles...


Rendezvous  52 S. 2nd St - in an alley across from Peabody Hotel

The Rendezvous has been a famous Memphis landmark since 1948, and it has a well-deserved reputation for serving the best ribs in town. You can see the food being prepared in an old open kitchen as you walk in, but more importantly, your sense of smell will immediately perk up as the fragrance of hickory-smoked pork wafts past. You'll also likely be intrigued by all the strange objects displayed in this huge but cozy cellar. When the waiter comes to take your order, there's no messin' around, because when you come in, you're expected to know what you want - and it's usually ribs.   The waiters are also part of the Rendezvous tradition.  Legend has it that the jobs are handed down through family connections and that most make six figures.  It's true that most of the staff have been here forever.







Great Britain's Prince William and Prince Harry were in Memphis May 1, 2014, in celebration of their friend Guy Pelly's weekend wedding to Elizabeth Wilson, the grand-daughter of Kemmon's Wilson.  They attended a private wedding party at the Rendezvous on the second floor of the restaurant.  Also present were their cousins, Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, daughters of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson. 


Riviera Grill  Jackson Avenue at North Watkins.

The very successful Riviera Grill on Jackson was owned by John George Morris.  It was particularly noted for its grand neon sign as well as Morris' copyrighted slogan "The old master says".  Later, Morris will open an infamous restaurant on Poplar called "The Old Master Says" - and top it with a 14-foot replica of his own head.



"I was born in 1943 and lived at 56 S. Century off Poplar about 3 blocks east of the Laua. This restaurant with the big head was directly across from the playground of East High which I attended for 12 years. I remember it well. The details of The Old Master Says restaurant are from Vance Lauderdale collection “Ask Vance Book Two.” - William B. Strong, 8-23-2013   .  UPDATE:  Please see Dobbs House Luau . above.

",,,The Riviera Grill at Jackson and Watkins (actually Mansfield) later became the Calais Inn..." - Al Barth, Memphis 11-28-2014

Robilio's    76 Union Av      .  16 Union Av  .   1835 Madison at McLean   .  5015 Summer Av.

Family owned Robilio's was one of the earlier Italian Restaurants in Memphis.  Very popular.  Joe (Giuseppe) Robilio immigrated to the U.S. in 1899 when he was 15 years old ... married Annie Gaia in 1904, and raised his family in Memphis.  Prior to the restaurant, he had a saloon on Main and a grocery on Manassas.  Most folks don't remember his earlier restaurant on Union.  (The photo below was taken in 1939).  The restaurant they do remember is the one on Madison at McLean.. 


Robilio's-Union 1939 Robilio's - Madison at McLean Joe Robilio 1904 1918 Robilio Family

  Ad -  5015 Summer <        1940 Robilio's Menu        >

Thompson's Restaurant   11 South Main  . 142 South Main

John R. Thompson opened his first restaurant in Chicago in 1891 and immediately prospered and expanded throughout the U. S.  By 1920 the Thompson Company had become one of the largest self-service  lunchroom chains of the 20th Century.  In 1915, Thompson opened his first restaurant in Memphis at 11 South Main.  It was still listed at this address in the 1943 Memphis Directory.  In 1925, Thompson opened a 2nd restaurant at 142 South Main.  According to the Memphis Directory, it was still there in 1938.  Thompson operated his restaurants by stressing cleanliness, nutrition, quality, and low prices.  His motto was "Eat Thompson's Way for a Better Day".



Thompson Cup Thompson Soup Thompson Plate Restaurant

Thompson Button   


Three Little Pigs   5145 Quince Road


Family owned and operated since 1989, The Three Little Pigs  is a neighborhood restaurant that believes in taking care of the customer
.  The restaurant serves Memphis-style port shoulder smoked for over 20 hours and served with their special barbeque sauce. 

"...I remember the 3 Little Pigs Bar-B-Que Restaurant at Highland and Spottswood (or maybe Carnes) on the northwest corner.  I attended Highland Street Christian Church on Highland across Spottswood from the 3 Little Pigs.  You could smell the hickory smoke during Sunday School and church services.  One of the pictures (above) has a chimney from the old location on Highland.  The Restaurant was there for many more years and I guess they moved to the current location on Quince.  From the address, I would guess this is just east of Quince and White Station, where a Loeb's Bar-B-Que was back in the late 50s-60s".  - 'Mark Osburn


"...My name is Marty Finley Gerstein and I attended Highland Street Christain Church during the 50s and 60s.  I remember grabbing a quick barbecue between Sunday School and church.  My brother-in-law from Colorado had his first taste of Memphis barbecue at the 3 Little Pigs and has been a fan ever since."  - Marty Finley Gerstein, 7-1-2013


Little Pigs Barbecue Restaurant  .  671 Highland and Spotswood    
The two emails above must refer to a totally different restaurant, the "LITTLE PIGS Barbecue" which opened in 1942.  That building is still there and is now a Quizno's Restaurant.  Notice the chimney in the photos.


Toddle House       Numerous Locations

Toddle House was a national restaurant chain based in Memphis.  It was founded in 1932 by James Frederick Smith (father of the founder of FedEx).  He had previously founded the Smith Motor Co, the forerunner of Greyhound Lines.  All Toddle Houses were exactly the same - a small brick cottage, painted white with a blue roof.  Inside there were no tables, just a row of 10 stools at a stainless steel counter.  One thing it didn't have was a cash register.  It worked on the honor system.  Customers paid their bill by dropping their money in a steel and glass box by the door when they left.  And there was "No tipping Allowed".  In 1961 Dobbs House bought Toddle House and simply let them die out.  


Toddle House

Toddle House Interior Your menu Toddle House 1937 Toddle House Menu

Toddle House Cup



Toddle House



Because Memphis was a segregated city during the Toddle House years, an African-American version of Toddle House restaurants was built on Beale Street, named Harlem House.  The small Harlem House Building is still there.   >


"I worked at National Toddle House Corp in1959-1960. It was located above the restaurant downtown Memphis . I was secretary to the construction supervisor. My first task upon being hired was to to type from a Dictaphone a manual of how to build a Toddle House from the ground up as they were all exactly alike. I was so intimated as I had never heard so many of the terms and building parts. And, he dictated with a pipe in his mouth. If a draftsman had not been in the office to listen and explain I would have not made it. The boss dictated, then went on the road to supervise yet another Toddle House." ... Sandra Marusich - 9-1-2016


Town and Country  2262 Young  .   2842  Poplar

Rubye and Maurice Keathley started out with the Keathley Pie Company which became enormously successful.  By the 1940s they were selling vending machine pies in 26 states.  Then they opened their popular Town and Country restaurant.  It too was successful growing into two locations at 2262 Young and 2842 Poplar.   They sold it in the early 1970s to a national company called Fairmont Foods.


Drawing of Town-Country


Poplar Menu


The Building...today


The Town and Country Drive-In on north side of Poplar just before the Union Ave overpass?  Approximate address was 2839 Poplar.  The original building is still there.  Some of the awnings that you would park under are still there.  What I remember specifically from the early 1950s when we went there was that they served french fries with honey.  Sweet!   -Tom (Lee) McKnight III


Waldorf Cafe  352 Main,  112-116 S. Main, 94 S. Main,

This restaurant appears in numerous early postcards of Memphis Main Street.   From 1897-1904 it was located at 352 Main.  The city re-numbered Main Street with North and South numbers in 1905 and the Waldorf became 112-116 S Main from 1905-1908 - across from the Gayoso Hotel.  From 1909-1913 it moved a few doors north and was renamed The New Waldorf Hotel and Cafe.  We are looking for additional information on this one.  We know that when it moved to 112-116 S. Main, the proprietor was L. J. Mivelaz.  The Leo Mivelaz family was prominent in the restaurant-hotel business - especially the the Arkansas-Missouri area.  There is a Mivelaz Hotel sign visible above the Waldorf Cafe sign in many of the early  post cards.   In 1900, a regular dinner at the Waldorf cost 25 cents. 



Waldorf  Cafe 1909

Waldorf Cafe 1909


Waldorf Ad 1912


White House Cafe    164 S. Main Street

For over 50 years this was one of Main Streets most popular restaurants.  It was located at the SAME ADDRESS in the heart of the shopping-theatre district - a few doors south of Loew's State Theatre.  The White House Cafe was first listed in the Memphis Directories in 1911 - and the last listing we have found - so far, is 1960 - at the same location.  No other information has become available.


Cigars anyone?


White House Interior

White House 1950s

White House Cafe




Davis White Spot    5341 Poplar Av

"After WWII my Dad and Mom, both USN, moved to Memphis from New Orleans where they were stationed.  His favorite restaurant was The Davis White Spot.  They were famous for their salad dressing.  It was out east on Poplar near where the Cadillac Dealership is now".  - Porter Cooper, "47 War Baby, 11/8/2012


After receiving Porter's email, we learned that this restaurant was located at 5341 Poplar Av, and is one of Memphis' biggest mysteries.  Many have heard about it but almost no one knows exactly where it was located - or anything else about it.   We have located a 1945 menu, which confirms the exact name of the restaurant and the two owners, Robert and Pearl Winfield.  Their full names are Robert Ervin Winfield and Pearl Jewel Winfield.   Why was the restaurant named Davis' "White Spot"?  Robert's widowed sister, Ruby Margaret Davis purchased the house on Route #5, in the County, in 1935 (See Deed below), and ran a Tavern there.  Robert managed the business.  After Ruby died in 1944, Robert and his wife inherited the house and continued the business as a Restaurant.  The restaurant is listed in the 1955 Memphis Directory as "Davis White Spot - 5341 Poplar Av" and is listed continuously until 1960.  Robert died in 1961 at the age of 61.   After Pearl's death a few years later, their daughter Ruby A. Vickers inherited the property and it was sold upon her death in 2008 (See Deed below).  The house has now been demolished.  All that's left is to find that elusive photo of the house-restaurant . 

Update - February 2013:  We now have that elusive photo of Davis White Spot Restaurant.  Robert Wire, of Indianapolis, and relative of Pearl Winfield,  contacted Vance Lauderdale of "Ask Vance"  and sent him photos of the Wire family in the Living Room of Robert and Pearl Winfield, which was attached to the restaurant.  Shortly afterwards, Robert's daughter Elisabeth found "the photo" and Robert sent it to Vance.  Thanks to all who helped solve this mystery and to those who continue to write to us about it.


1945 Menu

1945 Menu

Vintage Menu

Vintage Menu

Dressing Recipe


5341 Poplar Av


Deed Map

Business Confirmation

Winfield-Wire Family

"...I went to Davis White Spot as a child and I know exactly where it was. It was located right in front of the railroad tracks near the se corner of the Cresent Center. It was also known for it great fried chicken." - Michael Adler, Attorney at Law . 4-4-2015

"...My husband, Walker Uhlhorn, frequenty stayed with his grandparents Frances and Gaillard Uhlorn, who owned about 25 acres at what is now Park Avenue and Estate on the Southwest corner.  Estate was then called Hayne.  The Davis White Spot was at Hayne and Poplar, north of the railroad tracks.  It was on the southeast corner of Poplar and Estate (Hayne)." - Ann Uhlhorn, 1-21-2015


"...My name is Bob Winfield (nee Robert C. Winfield).  The Winfield's who owned the Davis White Spot were my father's cousins.  I had seen most of what you posted previously, but REALLY appreciated seeing it all together.  My mom passed away 2 years ago and Ruby Alice before that, Roberta of breast cancer many years earlier.  I had asked my mom several times to contact Ruby for pictures, recipes, what have you - it just never happened.   I have vague memories of the White Spot.  I was only 5 or 6 when Uncle Robert and Aunt Ruby died.  I have one vivid recollection:  I was hanging onto the door over Poplar after my dad drove onto Poplar out of the parking lot - my mom frantically reaching from the front seat to haul me back in.  One short story my mom told me about the recipe posted for the House Dressing when it was originally published:  Ruby Alice wrote the Commercial Appeal and said simply, "That is not correct".  So, who knows?  ... I would love to be able to contact writer Jo Hall (below) and a couple of other commentators.  Billy Ross called me last night to tell me he had seen the Historic-Memphis listing.  The Rosses were frequent guests at The White Spot and I've known them for years (decades).  Of course his dad was Ken Ross, a great photographer.  Billy did my wedding in 1982.  ... Thank you".  Bob Winfield, 10-24-2013


"...Your article brought back a lot of memories. Ruby Vickers was known as Ruby Alice. We went to White Station Elementary School. Some of my relatives worked at the White Spot. My grandparents (the Bonicellis) had a farm on White Station about a mile from Poplar. The White Spot bought all their fresh vegetables from them. I remember when packing tomatoes for sale at the old market on Washington and then on Scott, the “perfect” tomatoes were set aside for the White Spot. I believe they were sold to them for about $6 a bushel. The White Spot biscuits were the best I have ever put in my mouth. We used to sneak into the kitchen and grab a few. They would actually melt in your mouth. All of their food was very, very good. After closing hours the owners would pile into one of their cars and drive around and into town just to relax. Back then the city limits was at Goodlet I believe. Anyway, occasionally someone would take us to the bus; we were allowed to go to a movie downtown, catch the bus for home and someone would pick us up at the bus stop. We were maybe 13 or 14. Can’t allow our children to do anything like that now. Ruby’s sister, Roberta was much younger than Ruby Alice and Ms Ruby’s will was never updated and therefore Roberta wasn’t included. I’m 81 now and did eat at most of those restaurants (on this page). The Berrettas are relatives. Mrs. Joy Berretta is still living, and I believe she has 3 daughters who also live in Memphis. My favorite there was the Bar-B-Q.  Thanks for the memories".  -  Jo Hall, Cordova TN, 7-14-2013


"...There was a nice little gold fish pond near Poplar. When Ruby Alice was 16, the family gave her a brand spanking new car. Cutest thing! But, always had to hold my breath when riding with her. Took her a while to get the hang of it. The White Spot had private dining cubby holes for 2. Often we would sneak a peek at the guests to see if it was the wife or ? The halls were normal size and I can remember hearing the waiters and waitresses yell – "HOT BEHIND YOU!" Ruby would come over to the farm and we couldn’t go out to play until I helped her with her lessons. Oh, the things I do remember. My grandparents bought the farm when White Station Rd was a dirt road. They sold vegetables to local grocery stores and had to take their orders every evening, so therefore had to have a telephone. To get the phone they had to put up their own poles and run the wire to the farm. In order to get electricity, they had to purchase an electric stove. Grandma, better known as Nona, had her wood cooking stove in one corner and the electric one in the opposite corner. Wood in winter and gas in summer!! They had their own well with an electric pump and a large water tower and sold plants grown in hot beds – no hot houses back then. Now, I’ve told you a lot more than you asked for, but I think it is kind of interesting. And, my mother went to White Station School when it was a two room log house".  - Jo Hall, 7-15-2013


"...My name is Marty Finley Gerstein ... and I went to Davis White Spot with my parents.  I remember the huge juke box.  Thanks for the Memories".  -  Marty Finley Gerstein, 7-1-2013


"...I knew Roberta Winfield Sweet (her parents owned Davis White Spot).  It was in the county way out Poplar Pike.  When it was torn down Mike Mabe's fathr put up an Exxon Station there.  ... Never met Roberta's parents, but was good friends with her for many years until her death several years ago.  My husband worked for her husband Raymond's parents...who owned a trailer hitch and welding shop on Summer.  He worked there for over 35 years until it closed and everything was auction off.  Raymond and Roberta divorced many years ago.  She had 3 sons, Ray Jr, Robbie, and Rustie..."  - Mrs. Nina Matracea Stone, Memphis, 8-23-2013  


John Wills Bar-B-Que Pit  2450 Central    .   John Wills Memphis Bar - Grill  5101 Sanderlin Drive


John Wills Bar-B-Que Pit wasn't around very long (1983-1990), but so many people still remember it that it truly belongs on this page.  In 1980 and 1981, John Wills won back-to-back Grand Championships of the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.  Shortly afterwards, he leased a former Burger Chef location at 2450 Central, near the entrance to the Fairgrounds, and opened his first restaurant - John Wills Bar-B-Que Pit.  There were rave reviews and immediate success.  In 1988 he opened his 2nd restaurant at 5101 Sanderlin Drive - John Wills Memphis Bar and Grill.  The new restaurant was also well received.  Wills' Central Av restaurant was plagued with crime problems and plumbing problems and he closed it in 1990.  In 1997 he closed the Sanderlin Drive restaurant.


John Wills

Vintage Menu

Vintage Ad


Menu Cover


...and some more High School Hang-outs
Burger Chef  2562 Central Av (Now demolished)

Burger Chef was founded in Indianapolis in 1954 and the chain spread quickly throughout the country.  It eventually was purchased by Hardee's.  The last restaurant closed around 1996.  Burger Chef was the Immaculate Conception High School hang-out


Fairview Drive In    975 E. Parkway S

The Fairview drive-in, with its polar bears out front lasted until after the 1990's.  It was originally named "Polar Bear Frozen Custard Shop".  The building is now a pawn shop, but the two polar bears are still standing out front.  Located across the street from the Fairgrounds.


Sandy's  3592 Summer  .  775 S. Highland

Sandy's on Highland was the main Messick High School hang-out.  The first Sandy's came to Memphis in the early 1960's and quickly became a huge success, and the second one opened shortly afterwards.  They took on McDonald's for hamburger supremacy - and lost, with an out of court settlement in 1965.


Shoney's  5829 Summer

This was the main Treadwell High School hang-out.  The Shoney's franchise  began in 1947 in West Virginia.  The company later acquired a Big Boy franchise in 1951 and opened a series of Shoney's Big Boy restaurants.




...and if you have additional recommendations, please send us a photo, the address, and general information about your restaurant.


"Great job! Sorry there's no Cotton Boll -  Favorite Tech Hang-out.  I wish I did have some old pictures.  It was located on Parkway, close to Summer, across from Overton Park.  You can find some interesting stories from many of the old Tech guys about the Cotton Bowl.  It was a Drive-In and had waiters come to your car.  Lots of make-out, goings on in back.  GREAT DAYS."   - Rex King


"Do you remember The Four Flames on Poplar?  No photo of restaurant but I did find a photo of a plate and that the restaurant closed in the 1980's and that Elvis ate there in 1971."  - Sarah Barrett Cave  (Sarah, we have found a photo of the Four Flames at 1085 Poplar, plus info on the restaurant that actually dates back to 1958.  Four Flames has now been added to the main page.  Gene Gill)


"Robilio's was very good.  It wasn't a hangout though.  I think it was on the corner of Linen and East St.  The market was on the corner with the cafeteria style restaurant behind it.  I knew the son, Marshal Robilio.  He went to CBC, then to Notre Dame, where he was a cheerleader.  He was good on the horizontal bar and gymnastics, like Konrad Dignowity, who went to Tech.  Konrad taught me the horizontal bar and hand-balancing.  Robilio's was there for many years.  Delicious raviolis."  - Fred Regenold 


"There was another excellent deli and cafe named Cooper"s.  It was on Madison downtown about a block east of Third and on the north side of Madison.  They had the best egg and olive sandwiches - and great milkshakes... A lot of attorneys and businessmen ate there.  The summer between my junior and senior years at Tech I worked as a shipping clerk at Pittsburgh Plate Glass and Paint...and I used to eat lunch just about every day there.  I went from 150 to 178 lbs in two and a half months.  Coach Vaughn didn't recognize me when school started.  It was all muscle too, because I was exercising."  - Fred Regenold


"Any Techite who went to the Lamar Theater, and I know there are hundreds, (The best/worst street fight I ever saw was out front of the Lamar Theater between Arthur Tait of Central and our Jimmy Crawford. Wow!) will remember Mr. Luck's across the street. His Krystal-type hamburgers were homemade, tasty and inexpensive. Almost next door to him was Reeves Drugs where you could get the best 15¢ milkshake in town. And down the street from the Lamar, just a few doors, was Charlie's. He reportedly had worked previously at Leonard's, and his barbeque sandwiches were just as good. Charlie's was the only place I know where a hot dog was split down the middle, then fried on the grill, and then put on a hamburger bun with some unique slaw. The best!" - Fred Regenold


"... Berretta's stands out for the most frequent visits for after movies and rehearsals. My mother and sister took me to Pappy & Jimmy's (Madison Ave) after my graduation from Memphis State. It was normally out of our price range. Other restaurants hold many memories. When I finally got to go to Justine's, I thought I had "died and gone to heaven."  ... These pages ... are real treasures for displaced Memphians! Thank you!"  - Joan Smith Ludwig


"...One of my High School hangouts is missing - Tony's Pizza on Central.  I have a couple of photos if you would like to post.  It was a hangout for Tech, Immaculate Conception and Catholic High."   - Dave French


"...Wasn't Pappy & Jimmy's on the corner of Poplar & Hollywood in the 70's?  (Yes, but it was the SECOND Pappy-Jimmy's).  I also remember Bill & Jim's on Madison, east of Anderton's, and on the south side of the street.  Embers was a great steak house.  Can't remember where it was originally located, but it moved to Park Avenue, I think.  In the 60's and 70's we went to Knickerbocker on Poplar, where Dixie Cafe is now.  Remember all the dark wood, tartan upholstery, and suits of armor.  For special dates in the 60's there was the Luau on the south side of Poplar across from Moody's Garden Center".   - Freddie McEwan


"...I agree with Rex about The Cotton Boll being the number one Tech hangout in the late 1940's & early 50's. Running a close second would be The Pit drive-in on the north side of Poplar Ave. close to Hollywood Street. There was a nice sized dining room & an open air patio area with seating. The parking lot was a large wooded area where service was handled by carhops. The Pit was owned by Ray Gammon who was a real nice & patient guy".   - Roy Johnson


"...One of my favorite barbecue restaurants was Robilio's on the south side of Summer Avenue between Mendenhall and White Station. It was a combination dine-in and drive-in eatery. I also remember going to two other barbecue joints in the Summer Avenue-Jackson Avenue area. There was Monte's on the south side of Summer, east of the old viaduct and Fracchia's, at the corner of Jackson and Hollywood Street.  All those long gone places had some good BBQ!   (Tom, we have found a photo of Monte's and a little info.  Click here to see the photo.  -  Gene Gill )

"...By the way, wasn't there a restaurant called the 'Cavalier' on the west side of Main Street back in the 50s and 60s?  I have faint memories of going to a nice restaurant with great hamburgers which I think was called the 'Cavalier' where I went with my Mother on our downtown shopping trips to goldsmith's, Lowenstein's, etc". - Tom Russell 


"...I am surprised that you did not include any information about Bob’s on Cooper. I believe there has been a meat n’ three there for many, many years. My aunt, Nadia Price Strid, had her photography studio at 187 South Cooper. She went to the diner (Bob’s) every day for lunch. They would see her walking and would have the “special” ready for her when she walked in. When I worked for her in my teens, we would walk down there together. Good memories".  - Pixie Woodall  (Pixie, we have found a photo of Bob's Barksdale Restaurant and it has now been added to the main page.  -  Gene Gill )

"...Sandy's on Highland between Spottswood and Carnes was the Messick hang out".   - Tom Jones

" My Grandfather and Father, Adolph and Leo Grisanti, had a restaurant at Trezvant and Summer in the Forty's.  It was located on the north side of Summer between McConnell and Trezvant.  We later sold out to Ray Gammon.  It was a Drive-in and Eat-in restaurant and was quite popular.  Later Adolph and Leo opened a restaurant on summer Ave across from Kittle Pontiac.  Johnny Cash use to be a regular before he became a recording star.  He worked at Home Equipment across from the restaurant.  Sorry, no photos at this time".   - Pat Grisanti

"...Pat's Pizza on Summer.  An After-hours musician hang-out.  It was a Memphis tradition among musicians.  Elvis, Jerry Lee, Ronnie Milsaps, and just about every other musician in Memphis went there after the show was over and most other places were closed".   - Don Abel

" Very nice compilation of restaurants and history.  My father sent this to me via email and I really enjoyed reading and remembering going to almost all of them.  Sad about Justine's.  Nice memories though.  As a native Memphian (and my parents), I would like to ask why on earth you left out Pete and Sam's" - Gina  

" ...I think the boat was missed on Pete & Sam's Italian Restaurant on Park Av.  Guess it was too far out east from Tech.  It's been there since 1950.  Before that, during WWII, it was on Alcy near WhiteHaven.  It still has the 87 year old owner Sam Bomarito.  Pete died.  I took my wife there in 1958 on our first date.  Goes to show, first impressions are lasting!  - Don Arant 11-2011  (Don, we really haven't "missed the boat".  Please see Gina's letter above.  We told her, last year, we'd be happy to add the restaurant if she'd send a photo and information.  Now we offer the same incentive to you?  -Gene Gill). 

"  ...Enjoyed reading about the historic restaurants of Memphis.  I hope you can help with the name of the barbecue restaurant on Central on the same side of the street as CBCC.  It moved to the shopping center in the Sanderlin area, but closed some years ago.  Can you find out the name of that restaurant"?  - Harold Katz  11-2011
   (The name of the restaurant is John Wills.  -Gene Gill)

" ...I don't have the photos of them, but do you remember Willie King's BBQ on Poplar-Union Extended?  The car hops would jump in our cars and buy us liquor.  Oh yes, and Monte's on Summer, had a back lot for making out.  And the Toddle House way out Poplar where we'd congregate until the Tiller brothers chased us out.  Thanks for the memories".   -Randall Shepard 11-2011

"  ...Town and Country Drive-In on north side of Poplar just before the Union Ave overpass?  Approximate address was 2839 Poplar.  The original building is still there.  Some of the awnings that you would park under are still there.  What I remember specifically from the early 1950s when we went there was that they served french fries with honey.  Sweet!  The Krystal across from East High School was our main hang out.  I still have two titanium staples in my shoulder from an accident while showing off in the Krystal parking lot during the December 1963 snowstorm..."  - Tom (Lee) McKnight III, 11-2011

" ...How about Mario's Restaurant on Park?  Chef Mario made his food and his own wine from scratch and would preach on the evils of soft drinks.  I believe it burned down in the 70's".  -  Anna M. Whalley, 11-2011

" Enjoyed reminiscing the restaurants but one of my old favorites wasn't on the list - Vanucci's, Hwy 51 in South Memphis.  That was my first experience in Italian eating.  I loved the veal cutlets, too.  I always thought I was big stuff when my parents took me there". Jackie Mann, 2011

" ..My date and I were at Mario's and he said that he didn't want any parmesan cheese sprinkled on his spaghetti.  Mario looked at his palms and said that he could tell that.  Then he held my date's nose and made him eat a bite.  What I remember most about Mr. Luck's was that you could get a hamburger for 10 cents or double meat for 15 cents.  The meat was pretty thin too.  He stayed open until he'd sold all the meat/buns he had for the day and then closed.  He had no set closing time".  -Cookie Dale, 12-2011

"  ...love your page so much I posted it to some Memphis friends on Facebook.  Left Memphis in 1992, but remember many of these places fondly.  The one I don't see is The Conestoga with its frog legs!  I couldn't even remember the name, but my friends did.  Thanks for the great page.  - Geri Rybacki, Great Barrington MA  3-2012

"  ... This is a time that we'll never be again. It is so sad that our children and grand kids will never know of this time ... with your Web site maybe future generations can see and get an idea of the great times we went through.   We thought of two other drive-ins that were real popular in the fifties. Porkys Bar B Q, located at Chelsea and Thomas and Kay's on Crump Blvd. We use to drag main from one end  to the other all night, on 50 cents worth of gas and a 25 cent hamburger..." - Roger and Margie Bishop 5-2012

"Tony’s Pizza was the best. I used to go there after public ice skating at the Mid-South Coliseum in the late 60’s. Come to find out my wife, Trilby Tipler Duncan, hung out there the same time. We probably ran into each other and didn’t know it. Small World " -.Ray Duncan, 7-16-2012

"The website is a trip down memory lane.  I wonder if anyone remembers the old K's Restaurant (maybe it was Kay's) out on Highway 51?  The car hops were black men and they usually had something humorous to say to customers.  No photos".   - Harriett Bohnet, 9-13-2012

"The International House of Pancakes at Oak Hall, SW corner of Poplar and Perkins, was THE place if you went to White Station High School in the 1960s. It became a polished aluminum 'diner' for a while, but is now a barbecue place with the original name 'Barbecue'. I don't know if it is still a White Station hangout.  - Jan & Dad, 11-5-2012

" Wish we could get some recipes from some of these old places. I miss the Sombrero (last out on Lamar) and the Moonraker in Germantown. Sorry, no pictures or either one, but maybe someone has some???"   - Blou Carter, 11-12-2012

...brought back such memories of my years in Memphis. Too bad there was not an inclusion for the St. Claire Restaurant (on Summer, out east) - only wish I had pictures. As young newly-weds, we ate there about twice a year, thought we were big time. And I cannot forget the restaurant (if that is the proper name) in the basement of the Gerber's Dept. Store in Downtown Memphis. There was a little sun porch on the back that was also served. They had great lunches! And Gridley's on Summer Ave....one of the early barbeque restaurants. ... Thanks for the memories! - DeLane Cox, 8-22-2013


" A lot of the places brought back memories.  I'm glad someone mentioned Willie Kings (Pitchfork), K's on Crump blvd (family ate there on Sunday after Church).  Had lots of dates at Monte's, T-House on Poplar, (laughed about the Tiller's.  I was there one Halloween night when they cleared the place out and put 3 cops in the hospital).  We had a routine on date night:  Pig'n Whistle (Grunt and Blow), Willie Kings, and then the T-House.  That's if you dated someone from East or White Station.  If you dated someone from Central it was Jungle Gardens, then T-House.  For CBHS, we went any where, usually the T-House.  If you had a wonderful date and went to one of the theaters downtown, we'd go downtown to a fancy place on Front Street for dinner after a performance at the Front Street Theatre.  Most Messick students went to Gray's, Frost Top and Berretta's.  I went to IC and graduated from Messick in '61.  Actually was in the same grade as Gail Berretta and Sandy Shinault.  Their restaurant was on Hiway 51, now Elvis Presley Blvd.  Elvis hung out there too"  - Mrs. Nina Matracea Stone, Memphis 8-23-2013


" ... am writing because I identified strongly with your story about getting your parents to bring you Leonard’s barbecue in Pasadena. You must be about my age; I graduated from Whitehaven High School in 1959, right after Elvis bought Graceland.  When I moved to Ohio after college, I had my parents bring me Leonard’s barbecue. I did not think of the dry ice, but that is a good idea. Once they brought me Shorty’s, and that never happened again.  I definitely remember Pappy and Jimmy’s Lobster Shack, Anderton’s Seafood (Madison Seafood?), Loeb Barbecue, Pig N Whistle Barbecue (my mother liked the lime cokes or freezes), Britling Cafeteria, Robilio’s (especially the ravioli), Rendevous, Pete and Sam’s and the high end memory, Justine’s. I do not think I ever ate there, but I heard of it.  Of course, my favorite of the restaurants you referenced is Leonard’s. I was there 3 weeks ago and enjoyed ribs, a white pig and a brown pig. My wife loves the fried catfish and fries and shares a white pig with me. The icebox pie is also very good. The white and brown pig are not on the menu, but you can get them by ordering. I think the food is superb and am so glad Dan Brown has continued the same quality that I remember from the late 1950’s and afterward.  I also enjoyed the reference on your website to alumni of Tech High School. My father went there and graduated in 1933. It was great to find his high school picture on the Tech alumni website. Someone put in a lot of work to make that information available. I appreciate it. I also found my aunt, who graduated in 1934".  -  Jim Price, Aiken, SC, 8-28-2013


" I attended Oakhaven High and after school I always went for the BBQ at Coleman's on Winchester, in front of Dan's Big Star.  Another favorite was Kennedy's on Park.  We had moved to Park Avenue just a couple of blocks from Highland and Mom and Dad would take me to this restaurant after church on Sunday.  I always had the stuffed crab.  Loved it!  I used to go to the shops on Highland after high school, back in '68.  Left there when Uncle Sam got me." -  No Name, 2-10-2014


"...suggestions with might help job memories and bring in some contributions:  Gilley’s Drive In on Third St. just south of downtown. (south of Crump Blvd,). K’s Restaurant & Drive In off the lobby of the Travelodge Hotel/motel on Crump Blvd just west of Third St.   Earl’s Hot biscuits was directly across the street on the south side of Crump Blvd. just west of Third St.  The Service Café on the north side of Jackson at Watkins to the east, a steam table cafeteria. There was another “Jim’s” restaurant on the north side of Jackson just west of Watkins.  Porky’s Chelsea and Thomas Drive In another hang out where teens could get beer from the “Carhops.”  There was a restaurant in the Shelbourne High Rise apartment lobby of course called the “Shelbourne” 141 N. Manassas.  Memory serves that the Original Dyer’s Café was on Cleveland at Poplar west side, next to Cole’s Gulf Service Station (50s and 60s.)  There was a restaurant, the Shelby/Motel near Hiway 64 and 70 back then called “Five Points.” The specialty was “all you can eat cat fish.”   There was Leno’s Restaurant on Summer Ave. across for the Alamo Motel (not been a motel for `25 years), area was called four points.  Then Clearpool at Lamar and Winchester had a swimming pool and restaurant, later became a night club in the sixties, Rainbow pool had a restaurant on Lamar.  Let’s not forget the Goldsmith’s Dept. Store Tea Room, David’s at 141 Jefferson, Kress and Walgreens Lunch Counter/Fountains, the Green Beetle on Main, the Waldron Tea Room at Waldron and Overton Park Ave, The revolving restaurants Top of 5050 Poplar, 1331Union and 100 North Main (semi Private); Halperin’s Snack Shop on Cleveland across the street from Southern Bowling Lanes that had a snack bar/restaurant. Across from Sears Crosstown there was restaurant that served the Sears employees along with the Krystal a few doors north all with addresses on Watkins.  Hi-Boy hamburger restaurants, seems like two of them and the owners brother-in-law owned the Fillerburger at Frayser Blvd. and Overton Crossing. Jack Pirtle’s Chicken both eat in and carry out scattered around the city.  “Big John” Grisanti’s moved in the little restaurant vacated by Pete’s and Sam’s at Airways and Lamar when Sam moved to Park and Getwell near the Audubon Café (Kennedy View) and the Kennedy Veterans Hospital Complex. Then there was the Tiki at Park and Mt. Moriah.  ..."  - No Name, 3-10-2014


"...Giovanni's was run by the Cerrito Family for many years.  John passed away in the 90's and Rudy passed away in 2002.  He moved the restaurant to Park and Mt. Moriah where Buntyn's was.  It is now "Patrick's".  No photos...just a family friend.  The Cleveland location had a special table with a tree where many marriage proposals took place.  Many Memphians would remember that."  - John O'Bryan - 7-25-2014


"...I remember the Dixie Burger Broil on So. Cooper (and I think a couple of other locations also0.  Easy Way Produce is now there.  They had six burgers for $1.00 and sometimes ran a special of seven for $1.00.  They were about the size of the small burger from McDonald's...Red Barn was another of the upcoming fast food hang-outs (with also a few pool tables) and several locations.  The building at Jackson and National still stands.  Not sure about the West Memphis Building on Broadway. ..." - Al Barth, Memphis 11-28-2014


"...I didn't see the Western Steak House mentioned that was on Madison at Claybrook.  Tommy and Lil were the owners.  Had a gorgeous daughter!  Great steaks and I beliee Elvis ate there quite often.  And what about Jack's Pit Stop at Madison and Belvedere.  Hot Bingo machines!  - Edsel Davidson - 1-22-2015  . 


" I very much enjoyed looking at the e-mail containing so many of the famous Memphis eating establishments thru the years. There were many that I frequented during my life in Memphis from 1953 until 1988. I graduated from Southside High school, located at the corner of Richmond and Orleans streets in South Memphis in 1957. There are three cafe's that are not on your list, and I apologize, but I do not have pictures of either of them to send. The cafe's I am thinking of are The Four-Way Grill, located near the corner of Mississippi Blvd. and Walker Street's.  Also Payne's Bar-B-Que, just south of Tucker St. on Lamar Ave. & The Bar-B-Que Shop on Madison Ave. just east of  Belevedere (just up the street from 'Huey's.   It 's my understanding that this café was originally on south parkway east, and was know as "Brady & Lil's."   Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to share this information, I will treasure it as I recall the good food, and the good times back in the Good Ol' Days". - Jack Hill, 1-30-2015


"... how about the old Shakies Pizza Parlor and Ye Public House on Summer Ave. and the one at Poplar at Evergreen with the neat piano players and sing along?   Pizza was pretty good too! Or how about the old High Boy Restaurant on Mendenhall and I also seem to remember a Pitch Fork BBQ Restaurant somewhere and a Fracchia’s BBQ Restaurant at Jackson and Hollywood too. I’m 65 and spent many after ballgame hours at many of the places you mention. Even ate at the Davis White Spot with my parents. Thanks for the memories". - Whit Williams, 4-18-2017

"...Giovanni's in Midtown on Cleveland in the 60's had the best barbecue pizza in town.  It wasn't piled on top like Coletta's - it was cooked under the cheese.  Fantastic! " -Reva Stern, 1-28,2020





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