Knoxville: American



The sign says Italian.  I don't think most people see it that way.

The place looks like a chain.  But, it isn't.

I was more than hesitant to go into one of these free standing, near the motels, near the interstate places, but a friend had gone there first and guaranteed I'd like it.

The locals know the place and stand around up to an hour for a table.  Because it is worth the wait.  I never got past the appetizer menu.  Everything here is excellent.

They plan on turning it into a chain.  We'll see what happens.





  Here is a site devoted to the oral history of Tennessee BBQ!

Knoxville: BBQ


Chandler's Deli

This isn't a deli.  This is a valid BBQ joint. 

Go for the pork ribs and as many sides as you think you can consume.  The one thing that brought this place up the the one notch to get it past honorable mention were the sides.

I had the hot sauce and found it to be almost perfect.

Nearby is a place called Dixson's.  We didn't try Dixson's, but will next time.




Place's we've heard about, but didn't have time to try:

Pizza Palace Drive-In  ...  Dixson's BBQ  ...   

Spooky's BBQ on the North Shore ... Sarge's on Western ... Cha Cha ... Tomato Head ... La Paz ... Falafel Hut ... (Thanks to Jodie and LeAnne)

Check out the article on food that happened to be out when we visited.


Memphis:  BBQ


When it comes to 'Q in Memphis, there is no easy way to categorize restaurants.  We'll try here in general order starting with my favorites ...


I've never managed to get to Bozo's -- they are just outside Memphis (about 30 miles) and seem to be closed whenever I get there.  But I know, based on the words of people I trust, this is about as good as it gets.

(See Gus's Fried Chicken, below ... that's where I have eaten.)



This is in my top ten of BBQ!

A kind of a herbal sauce makes Interstate great.  Try the BBQ Spaghetti.

PLUS:  The Interstate BBQ at the Memphis airport is just about every bit as good as at the mother ship.


2265 S. Third Street, Memphis, Tennessee 38109  (901) 775-2304
World Wide Delivery:  (888) 227-2793





Anyplace else, this would be the best in town. 

If you don't have a car and you are staying at the Peabody, consider it ... otherwise, I'd keep reading.


The Blues City Cafe

This is on Beale Street, so you'd expect it to be a little bit touristy.  The ribs are great, the side dishes are great, the steaks are great.  You'd be well advised to keep your visit to Blues City Cafe a secret from your cardiologist.









I include Corky's, which would be awesome in any other town, just to show we didn't miss the place.  (I'm even thinking of putting them on my Approved Chains list.)

Corky's is very good.  But, considering the fact that you can only eat BBQ so many times in a day, I'd leave it to the tourists while exploring the places above.

There is a "Corky's" at the airport, but they just serve the pork with institutional rolls and bland cole slaw.  Corky's real slaw is awesome. 

At the airport seek out Interstate BBQ which doesn't make such compromises.




More on Memphis 'Q:

   Memphis Digital City     Southernfoodways


Memphis: Gumbo, Catfish


Rum Boogie Cafe

Another place that has all the trappings of a tourist joint ... except that the Catfish, beans and rice and gumbo are great.





Memphis: Breakfast




As I think about it, Memphis is a trip you should not tell your cardiologist about.

Barksdale's is a basic Southern breakfast place.  Grits, country ham, eggs, sausage, sausage gravy, red eye gravy, etc.  (Here it isn't grease until it hits the floor, otherwise it is an ingredient.) 

Not to be missed. 

If you were in Memphis and you knew about Barksdale's and you ate at Denny's, click here.




Outside of Memphis: Fried Chicken



This is right across the street from Bozo's (see above).

You'll wonder what the big deal is when the almost-burned looking chicken arrives at your table ... that is until you realize you are searching the bones for another morsel of chicken and thinking about ordering more.




Outside of Memphis: Country Cookin'


Old Timers

This is the center of the chicken and dumplin' universe.

And much more.


Nashville: Burgers




This place in in the touristy section and is a little fancier than I prefer ... but, the burgers are consistent and worth having.

We tried a few other menu items and my guess is you are better off here than falling into any of the tourist traps nearby.




Here is Jimmy Buffett's favorite burger in Nashville.  Judging by the line at lunchtime, he is not alone.

Their signature burger is grilled and served on French bread.




Outside of Nashville: American, Southern


The Loveless Motel and Cafe                                 * * * * *

Remember, we don't award stars.  This is one of the very rare cases where we're making and exception.

There are some buildings behind the cafe that used to be a motel.  I don't think they've bothered with renting rooms for years.  I'm sure the cafe has kept them plenty busy ... the cafe is awesome.

This is southern food, American food.  Fried chicken (the way it is supposed to be cooked), turkey, biscuits, fixin's, sides, etc.

This belongs in the overall top 10.

Note:  Call ahead, we hear they may be closing for renovations soon.

8400 Highway 100, Nashville, TN  37221   (615) 646-9700




Plus, I've heard about Colt's Bolts for chocolate in Nashville