What Exactly is Memphis Known For?

While Nashville is without a doubt known as a destination for country music fans to visit, Memphis itself is recognized as home of the Blues and the start of the Rock and Roll era. A must to check out while visiting is Beale Street, known for all of its iconic entertainment. Aside from the music world, Memphis is defined home for Tennessee barbeque; best known for both “dry” and “wet” pork ribs and pork shoulder with a tomato based barbeque sauce. There are a vast amount of BBQ joints throughout the city ranging from random hole in the walls to fancier sit-downs.

Carolina, a Project Manager with Frontdesk, got the inside scoop and personally tried a few that were recommended by locals themselves.

Central BBQ

Various locations throughout the city, most popular one is located in Midtown off of Central Ave (2249 Central Ave, Memphis, TN 38104). The place itself has a very low-key local feel with blues playing throughout the restaurant. Known for their Pork Nacho (which were delicious by the way) loaded with marinated slow-smoked pulled pork on a bed of tortilla chips topped with barbeque sauce, cheese sauce, shredded cheese, jalapenos and finished with a slight dusting of their famous BBQ Shake. Also recommended were Central BBQ‘s wings, specifically “jerked” styled and they even offer a Portabella sandwich as a vegetarian option!

The Rendevous

Locals call it “Vous”. This hot spot is typically packed with a combination of locals and tourists. With only one location, located in a hidden alley of downtown Memphis (52 S 2nd St. Memphis, TN 38103). Once you find the alley, you go through the main door and head down the steps and if you are lucky the hostess may even sit you right away. Since Memphis known for its dry rub pork ribs, we decided to give those a go! They were delicious. The plate itself comes with your choice of meat and a side of their famous mustard vinegar slaw and beans. You have the option to try out their two sauces which they conveniently have bottles at each table for your convenience.

Tops Bar-B-Q

This spot is quite popular. While it is local, Tops is considered a chain throughout Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi. All locations are small and have more of a casual grab and go vibe. Dining in is an option with basic booth and table seating. Some may even have a picnic bench or two outdoors and even a drive-thru. One of the employees stated its not a drive-thru joint, its good barbeque, made fast. Known for the perfect pork sandwich or lip smacking ribs.

Visiting MEMPHIS?

You’ll need Frontdesk’s Memphis Guidebook. It’s curated by local experts and filled with only the best bars, restaurants, and places to visit.


Other spots suggested by locals

Payne’s (1762 Lamar Ave, Memphis, TN 38114)
The Bar-B-Q Shop (1782 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38104)
RP Tracks (3546 Walker Ave, Memphis, TN 38111)
Cozy Corner (735 North Pkwy, Memphis, TN 38105)
Elwood’s Shack (4523 Summer Ave, Memphis, TN 38122)
Marlowe’s Ribs & Restaurant (4381 Elvis Presley Blvd, Memphis, TN 38116)

If you are truly a BBQ fan, make sure you visit Memphis in May and check out The World Championship Barbeque Cooking Contest, it is a four day competition held in Tom Lee Park in downtown Memphis. With teams traveling from around the world and across the United States to compete for the title of World Champion curating the best BBQ plates around.

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