Memphis has an indulgent dining scene that revels in all the things this city does best. Steak, barbeque ribs and shrimp and grits all feature heavily, and there are plenty of places to satisfy your craving for hearty breakfasts or comforting Southern food. From experimental, cutting-edge restaurants or cosy bakeries, the city's eateries pride themselves on using quality fresh ingredients and sourcing everything locally.

    Lots of the city's best eateries are hidden in strip malls or food trucks, so don't judge a place by its cover. Eat your way across Grind City with our guide to places locals love to eat in Memphis.

    1

    Flight

    A diverse menu of innovative dishes

    • Food
    • Luxury

    Flight is a place to gather and be seen in Memphis, where locals flock for small plates served in groups of 3. Choose from combinations like wild boar tenderloin, surf and turf and crispy duck breast, or chicken and waffles, Wagyu beef ribs, and ranch quail. If you fall in love with a particular dish, don't worry – they're also available in full size.

    The dessert groups combine anything from lava cake to blueberry strudel or crème brûlée. Wines are also served in trios, so you can sample three rosés, sauvignon blancs, or pinot noirs without having to buy a whole bottle. Its stylish main dining area has an energetic bustle, while booths upstairs offer more peace and privacy.

    Location: 39 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA

    Open: Daily from 4.30 pm to 8.30 pm

    Phone: +1 901-521-8005

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    2

    Cozy Corner

    A dependable Memphis favourite

    • Food

    Cozy Corner might not look like much from the outside, but it is one of the best barbeque joints in Memphis. Classic Memphis dishes like ribs and pulled pork sandwiches are a staple here, but the venue also has some more unique offerings. Try the barbeque bologna sandwiches, Cornish game hen, or barbeque spaghetti.

    Its barbeque meat is slow-cooked on a Chicago-style grill and gradually moved along the racks until it's tender and perfectly smoked. It’s no wonder the locals are keeping it a secret.  Finish your meal with some banana pudding or a tasty slice of sweet potato pie.

    Location: 735 North Pkwy, Memphis, TN 38105, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 11 am to 8 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 901-527-9158

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    3

    Bedrock Eats & Sweets

    Delicious dishes that won't ruin your diet

    • Food

    Bedrock Eats & Sweets caters to all kinds of special diets, with lots of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and paleo options on their extensive menu. Build your own omelette from their selection of bacon, sausage, chorizo and veggies, or tuck into a super-healthy macro bowl that has less than 500 calories. There's also a good choice of protein smoothies and 'bulletproof' coffee (made with butter and coconut oil).

    But there's more to this cafe than just healthy food. They're famous with locals for their ever-changing list of waffles and waffle sandwiches, from chocolate peanut butter to Cuban sandwich. Grabbing lunch on the run? Pre-order through their website and you'll be in and out in minutes.

    Location: 327 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA

    Open: Monday–Friday from 7 am to 7 pm, Saturday from 8.30 am to 3 pm, Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm

    Phone: +1 901-512-5374

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    4

    Sunrise Memphis

    For a long and leisurely breakfast

    • Food

    A beloved breakfast spot, Sunrise Memphis serves early-morning favourites like French toast and short stack pancakes piled with strawberries. Locals come for the signature buttermilk biscuits, which are made in-house and served with sausage, bacon, cheddar, and fried green tomatoes. Healthier options include the vegan breakfast bowl and oatmeal with sliced banana and maple syrup.

    As you'd expect from a breakfast diner, the coffee is superb, and they also serve mimosas and Bloody Marys. The cosy wood-panelled interior has a pleasantly homey feel and huge arched windows between the kitchen and dining room allow you to watch as the chefs expertly prepare your breakfast.

    Location: 670 Jefferson Ave, Memphis, TN 38105, USA

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 1 pm

    Phone: +1 901-552-3168

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    5

    Folk's Folly

    Top-notch steak and seafood

    • Food
    • Luxury

    Folk's Folly is a swanky steakhouse where Memphis locals go when they're in the mood to celebrate. There's an urbane feel to the old-fashioned dining rooms and the cocktail lounge with its live piano music. Everything is the best quality, including the prime beef, sourced from a specialist butcher in Chicago.

    They don't mess about with trends at Folk's Folly. Everything from the porterhouse to the salmon fillet to the rack of lamb is a classic, perfected by the restaurant's dedicated chefs. And with a selection of more than 250 fine wines, you're bound to find the perfect vintage to complement your meal.

    Location: 551 S Mendenhall Rd, Memphis, TN 38117, USA

    Open: Tuesday–Saturday from 10 am to 8.30 pm, Sunday from 1 pm to 8.30 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 901-762-8200

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    6

    Muddy's Bake Shop + Coffee

    Treat yourself to a luxurious cupcake

    • Food
    • Families

    you have to visit Muddy's in Memphis if you love cupcakes. The cafe is gourmet cupcake heaven, with recipes like Prozac (devil's food chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream), Frankly, Scarlett (red velvet with cream cheese) and Strawberry Fields Forever (tiny chunks of fresh strawberries and strawberry buttercream).

    Double chocolate brownies, deluxe chocolate chip cookies and classic pecan pie are also on the menu, and there are several vegan options. Drip coffee and cold brew are served along with lattes and cappuccinos – beans come from local roasters. Muddy's retro-cute aesthetic extends to the location, a quaint clapboard house with a covered back patio overlooking the lawn.

    Location: 585 Cooper St, Memphis, TN 38104, USA

    Phone: +1 901-683-8844

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    7

    Elwood's Shack

    Unpretentious comfort food

    • Food
    • Families

    Head to Elwood's Shack if you're craving barbecue ribs or brisket during your stay in Memphis. Grab a classic Texas beef brisket with pickle and onions, or go crazy and have your brisket served on a taco or a pizza. Other must-try dishes include New York-style hot dogs, bacon and pimento biscuit sandwiches, and the half-pound Angus burgers.

    The atmosphere is genuine down-to-earth Memphis, with locals crammed together at picnic tables to enjoy their hearty fare. This award-winning restaurant is all about simple food done well.

    Location: 4523 Summer Ave, Memphis, TN 38122, USA

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 7 am to 9 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +1 901-761-9898

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    8

    Sweet Grass

    An ever-changing menu that celebrates Southern cuisine

    • Food

    Sweet Grass combines the taste of South Carolina's low country with an environmental-friendly attitude that uses as many locally sourced ingredients as possible. The menu changes seasonally and focuses on tapas, small plates, and dishes that can be easily shared. Popular dishes include shrimp and grits, jambalaya, grilled duck breast and mini versions of meatloaf and lasagne.

    The cocktail menu has an array of Southern margaritas and mojitos as well as inventive drinks like Summer Rose Punch, a citrusy cocktail made with vodka, lime juice and cappelletti. An intimate dining room with limited space means it's a good idea to book in advance, but if you have to wait there's always room at the bar.

    Location: 937 Cooper St, Memphis, TN 38104, USA

    Open: Monday from 5 pm to 9 pm, Tuesday–Friday from 5 pm to 10 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 11 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 901-278-0278

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    9

    Paulette's

    Tasty European food in chic surroundings

    • Food
    • Luxury

    Paulette's is an elegant European restaurant set a stone's throw from the Mississippi River, which boasts an original menu of Continental food. The stylish dining room filled with chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling windows complements an equally stylish menu, with dishes like Filet Paulette, Chicken Sicilian, and pan-roasted salmon.

    Why not come for brunch at the weekend and try brioche French toast or Southern Eggs Benedict from their speciality brunch menu? Start your meal with a cocktail or glass of champagne in the Lobby, which has a gorgeous 19th-century wood-burning fireplace and a baby grand piano. Happy hour is daily from 5 pm to 6.30 pm, with special offers on highballs, house wine and champagne.

    Location: 50 Harbor Town Square, Memphis, TN 38103, USA

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 7 am to 10 am, 11 am to 1 pm, and 5 pm to 8 pm, Sunday from 7 am to 1 pm

    Phone: +1 901-260-3300

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    10

    Margie's 901

    A cool treat on a hot day

    • Food
    • Families

    Margie's 901 serves rich, buttery ice cream in a wide range of flavours, from refined Amaretto to funky Purple Bubblegum. The ice cream parlour is so popular thanks to a grab bag of fruit, nuts and candy mix-ins, which are hand-folded into your ice cream before serving.

    Feast on ice cream cupcakes and ice cream doughnuts, both invented right here at Margie's. If you don't feel like having a cone then try a cinnamon swirl or caramel milkshake made with the store's ice cream, or a mango, triple-berry or mocha smoothie. The outside seating on bustling Main Street is excellent for people-watching.

    Location: 125 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103, USA

    Open: Daily from 12 pm to 8 pm

    Phone: +1 901-522-1912

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    Victoria Hughes | Contributing Writer

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