At the beginning of the month, we released an article originally featured on The Odyssey. The blog was written by Hannah Osment, a young lady from Orlando, Florida, who had visited Memphis and was prompted to write a piece about all the great food she had while she was here. Osment titled her post 5 Foods You Have to Eat while You’re Visiting Memphis. On the list of five were Huey’s, Gibson’s, Lenny’s Sub Shop, Casablanca, and Rizzo’s. Memphians were upset at her five and called us out for even promoting her article as if it was gospel. And the more people have talked to me about the piece, the clearer it became that I needed to write a response.
Huey’s (as is)
This was a good choice by Osment. It’s more than just burgers and fries. It’s a crowd-pleasing dining experience where college kids grab a drink and watch football and grandparents take their grandkids for dinner. And all ages enjoy shooting toothpicks into the ceiling.
Gibson’s Donuts (as is)
This was the best choice Osment made. Gibson’s is known for one thing and one thing only— its elaborate assortment of donuts. In fact, they’ve done so well with donuts that when I am home in Nashville or visiting people in Arkansas, people will ask me the name of “that really good donut place in Memphis.” It’s an icon. And a treasure.
Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken (in place of Lenny’s Sub Shop)
This restaurant has shown the nation that Memphis can do more than just barbecue. Gus’s has been featured on the Food Network several times and in publications covering the cuisine of the South. In fact, Gus’s won best fried chicken in the nation back in 2015. With locations peppered throughout Memphis and its suburbs, there is no excuse not to try it, but if possible, go to the downtown location.
Disclaimer: This point in the original article was by far the most controversial choice, but to be fair, Lenny’s was founded in Memphis so even though it is a chain around the Southeast, it originated from the Bluff City so you can’t blame Osment for visiting. If you want a sandwich while in Memphis that’s exclusive to the city, try Young Avenue Deli, Cheffie’s Café, or Fino’s on the Hill.
Casablanca (as is)
Now, I have never been here, but after talking over this point with native Memphians, they agree with Osment. It’s a change of scenery, a change of pace, and a change of taste. It’s Moroccan and I have never heard a bad thing about it. I haven’t had Casablanca, but I have had India Palace several times though and there are some menu similarities between the two. India Palace is incredibly tasty, so if I were you, I would try both.
Any local BBQ place (in place of Rizzo’s by Michael Patrick)
Let’s not split hairs here. Whether you like Central BBQ, Corky’s, Tops BBQ or
somewhere else best is fine. Regardless of your top choice, we can all agree that you fell short if you visited Memphis and didn’t have a single bite of BBQ. So, if you do visit, ask around and then shop around. Every joint offers something different, and if I’m being honest, I have never had a bad meal in Memphis so I definitely pays off taking a shot in the dark.
Author: Isaac Weston (@IsaacWeston)