The 19 Best Restaurants in Memphis, Tennessee

Beale Street.

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To understand the food community in Memphis, it helps to start with a wider view of this entrepreneurial city. It launched music icons like Elvis, Al Green, and Three 6 Mafia, and it was the birthplace of corporations such as FedEx and Holiday Inn. While Memphis may be synonymous with traditions like blues and barbecue to the rest of the world, residents understand it’s an ideal place for anyone with a big idea to start something new. The pace of new enterprises rarely falters as people open mom-and-pop shops all the time. It’s a way of life here. Even during the pandemic, restaurateurs continued to introduce new concepts to the Memphis food scene.

A culinary tour from East Memphis to downtown reveals all kinds of big ideas, starting with all-day breakfast at the Liquor Store’s newly opened second location or ending with whiskey and hearty Irish fare at the new Bog & Barley, filling up on fried chicken at Gus’s or French Creole at Restaurant Iris, finding comfort in the soul food at Alcenia’s or the specialty-grade coffee at Vice & Virtue. Though they may be very different from each other, these businesses form a connective tissue linking communities, making some of the city’s must-visit restaurants deliciously essential parts of the fabric of Memphis.

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