Memphis, Tennessee, is full of delicious contrasts.
Locals are as likely to recommend an award-winning restaurant as a no-frills diner. A culinary adventure might call for dining in the city or wine-tasting in the countryside. Farmers and chefs collaborate to create foods that are both traditional and unexpected — including tempting twists on barbecue and soul food. For a sampling, follow this weekend itinerary, tantalizing with Mississippi River views, live music and unforgettable food.
Seasonal rooftop bars at The Peabody Hotel, Madison Hotel and Terrace at The River Inn mix cocktails with sensational views. Nearby, Mollie Fontaine Lounge serves flavorful small plates with artisan cocktails in a Victorian-era mansion. Hit any of these to start your evening, then move onto dinner at The Majestic Grille. In this former movie house, silent films play as diners nibble on meat-and-cheese plates accented with barbecue-spiced walnuts.
After a night of dancing and listening to live music around Beale and South Main streets, duck into Earnestine & Hazel’s for a soul burger. The bar, once a haven for Stax songwriters, serves a thin patty with onions, cheese and a secret sauce to create one of the city’s favorite late-night snacks.
Twilight at Sky Terrace at the Madison Hotel
Plan your day over brunch at Trolley Stop Market, where omelets feature colorful, seasonal vegetables. April through October, stroll the Memphis Farmers’ Market to taste what else is in season — maybe sweet summer peaches or crisp fall apples from Jones Orchard in Millington. Afterward, explore Broad Avenue. Tour Wiseacre Brewing Co. and taste the craft brewery’s award-winning Tiny Bomb pilsner, made with local wildflower honey.
For dinner, stay in the Broad Avenue Arts District, where Bounty on Broad heaps platters with fresh ingredients from roasted beets to rock shrimp. Or, head to East Memphis to taste how award-winning chefs fuse their heritage with the tastes of the South. For an Asian spin, nab a table at Acre (imagine pork brisket with miso-mustard sauce). For a casual meal with authentic Italian flavors, drop into Hog + Hominy.
Grab a locally crafted brew at one of Memphis' many tap rooms.
Walk Memphis’ Cooper-Young neighborhood to take your pick of hip brunch spots. Alchemy loads local grits with Tennessee bacon, parmesan cheese and shiitake mushrooms. The Beauty Shop stacks up lemon ricotta pancakes. Sweet Grass smothers buttermilk biscuits with sausage gravy (order yours with a Bloody Mary garnished with a pickled green bean).
In the afternoon, take a leisurely drive just north of the city to Old Millington Winery. The small-batch winery, located on one of the area’s oldest farms, offers varietals sweetened with plums and muscadines.
Enjoy a stack of ricotta pancakes and other breakfast treats at Memphis' stylish Beauty Shop.