Thursday, January 9, 2014

t3 - bbq at its best

As Memphis residents, we often get asked, “Where do you get the best Bar-B-Q?” Daniel’s brother even challenged us to try all the BBQ restaurants in town and let him know which was the best. So, I included it in my future dentist wife bucket list.

Confession time: I’m not a huge fan of BBQ. I know, that’s heresy in these parts. But the truth is, I’ve eaten more BBQ in the past year than the rest of my life combined. And, I have to say, it’s growing on me.

Still, I’m far from a BBQ connoisseur {I exclusively order BBQ nachos at every restaurant}, so I’ve asked the only expert I know to help out with this post: my husband. We’re a far cry from visiting every joint in town, but we’ve hit all the ones that come highly recommended. So, if you’re ever visiting {which you should}, here’s the verdict:

Best Atmosphere - Charles Vergos' Rendezvous

Everyone will tell you that you’ve got to go to Rendezvous. We were able to go our first month here thanks to a gift card we received as a wedding gift. Rendezvous is located literally in the heart of Downtown and a little hard to find. When a homeless man directed us down a seemingly abandoned alley, we started having second thoughts. But we followed the telltale smell of ribs and found it just where he said. 

The restaurant itself is newly renovated and saturated in Memphis history. The menu is simple - you only go there for one thing: ribs. So, that’s what we got. And though the ribs were finger-lickin’ good, the traditional sides left me wanting more. Daniel was all about the baked beans, but the coleslaw sat untouched. We’ll probably only go back with out-of-town guests since the food is a little pricey and the atmosphere’s more family-get-together than date night.

Best Food - Germantown Commissary

After Daniel sweetly took me to Hobby Lobby one Saturday and followed me around the store for an hour, I let him pick our lunch spot. Since we were already in the neighborhood, he headed straight over to this famous BBQ joint. Luckily, it was an odd hour so it wasn’t too busy. We ordered BBQ nachos as a starter with BBQ sandwich plates to follow. Daniel was tempted to get the ribs but thought it was too much for lunch. The food was absolutely delicious, and my favorite part? They serve fries as a side, so I didn’t have to get slaw or baked beans! We plan on going back again for dinner.

The downsides? We don’t go to Germantown too often, so it’s a little out of the way. It was small, and so was the parking lot - we drove around for awhile looking for a spot. And finally, the building itself was cramped. Our table was right beside a couple and their young son. It kind of felt like we were eating with them - we could hear every word they said. But maybe that’s not a problem when the restaurant is more crowded {which is kind of an uncomfortable thought as well}.

Best Value - Central BBQ

We fell in love with Central BBQ on our first trip to Memphis - back in Spring Break of 2012. It’s got quick service, an expansive menu and plenty of space to stretch out. Though it’s a local business, it’s got multiple locations and a food truck, so it’s pretty accessible. It didn’t win best atmosphere because you order at a counter and find your own seat, so it has a bit of a fast food vibe. And it didn’t win best food only because Daniel said the BBQ was better at the Germantown Commissary {so take your disagreements up with him}.

We’ve been to Central BBQ too many times to count, and they’ve catered many events we’ve attended. My favorite part is that we can share a BBQ nacho and eat out for less than $10. Of course, that’s only if Daniel isn’t extremely hungry. All their meals are reasonably priced, so when we want BBQ, they’re our go-to. If you come visit, this is where we’ll probably take you {unless you request otherwise}.

Is your hometown known for a certain food?


  1. It's so fun to do a few experiments and get to know the best places to eat around your area. I don't think we have a single BBQ-focused restaurant in my town--at least none I can think of right now!

  2. How fun that you got to try all of these. I don't think Portland is known for anything in specific or I would do something like this too. :-)

  3. Detroit is well known for their "Coney" restaurants. Think cheap diner food. :)

  4. i love bbq but i feel like it's something i never think about when eating out for some reason!

  5. BBQ is the best and when Im in the south or in texas I go looking for BBQ or southern food.

    My home town has a lot of seafood since I am up in PNW northwest.

  6. Whenever I think of the Northwest, I just think rainy days and coffee. Do you have good coffee in Portland? I think you can do this for any genre of food that's available in your town, though!

  7. Haven't been to many non-franchise diners... There weren't many {any} of those in small town Arkansas growing up. Do you have a favorite?

  8. Yes, in Arkansas {where I grew up}, BBQ was something you made at big cookouts with friends and family. Here in Memphis it's pretty much a way of life.

  9. Mmmmm... I *LOVE* seafood. My family is from the East coast so we'd visit every summer and stock up on fresh seafood. Here in the landlocked states, there's nothing really like it. :(

  10. That's true! We definitely have good coffee!!! Nate and I love going to all the coffee shops in town. :-)

  11. I like National Coney Island. A couple of the coney islands in Detroit have actually been on The Food Network... I think Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives maybe??