Call it grit. Call it soul. No matter how you slice it, there’s something about Memphis. Like the snaking Mississippi River—that great torrent that forms the city’s watery western border—it won’t be tamed. The essence of the city flavors everything from its signature bathed-in-smoke dry-rubbed ribs to the trendiest of small-plate restaurants. After the city celebrated its 200th birthday in 2020, there’s never been a better time to get a taste of its history and culture for yourself. For a state of local delight, there is an abundance of options of working man’s food. Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken offers its clientele a lowbrow ambiance for its perfectly spiced, crispy chicken. No-frills is the definition of Payne’s Barbecue, where they pair a perfect pork sandwich with mustard slaw. A taste of New Orleans creole and culture can be found in Midtown at Restaurant Iris and Second Line, with a roast beef po’boy in one hand and a craft beer in another. The most iconic and perfect way to end your night out in Memphis is at Earnestine & Hazel’s, a dive bar that counts a church, pharmacy, jazz club, and brothel among its past lives.

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A woman holds a plate of sushi in a kitchen.
Culinary Class

Sushi with Chef Marisa Baggett

Memphis sushi chef Marisa Baggett talks about reimagining how we think about sushi rolls while honoring tradition.

Bowl of crab surrounded by edible flowers served at June, one of the new restaurants in Tennessee
In the Field

New Tennessee Restaurants

These 12 new Tennessee restaurants are serving up inventive dishes that push the fold or reimagine classics to spark nostalgia.

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In the Field

New Restaurants in Tennessee

In the Local Palate’s New Restaurants Issue, editor-in-chief and Nashville resident Erin Byers Murray gives an overview of the new restaurants open in Tennessee.


local flavor


Central BBQ Nachos

These BBQ nachos combine a delicious glaze and beloved snack for a cheesy, crunchy appetizer. Serve at any event to get the festivities going!


Phillip’s Famous Chili

Famous chili from Phillip Ashley Rix combines cocoa powder with roasted jalapeño peppers, and one bottle of hot sauce and beer each.


Portabella BBQ Sandwiches

These BBQ sandwiches are perfect for the summertime if you're craving that barbecue flavor but don't want to venture into the blistering heat.


Pulled Pork Tacos

You don't need a slow cooker for this one! These pulled pork tacos are too delicious and easy not to make.


Roast Beef Po’ Boy

Chef Kelly English of The Second Line in Memphis has a passion for non-fussy, authentic po’ boys and one of his favorites is roast beef.


Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding

Since opening Phillip Ashley Chocolates in Memphis, Rix has become sought after for his confections like this dark chocolate bread pudding.


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