Earnestine & Hazel's is always a bridesmaid in local Best Burger contests, sitting just below Huey's and their locally legendary burgers. Assignment #86 in the 365 Things to Do in Memphis is to give number two a little attention.
Huey's menu has 12 different burger options on it, all of them topped differently and lovingly described in their own section of the menu. At Earnestine and Hazel's, there is no menu. There also aren't any choices. If you're going to eat at Earnestine's, you're going to eat a Soul Burger.
The Soul Burger is a smoky, inseparable mess of beef, cheese, grilled onions, pickles and mustard. If you don't want one of the ingredients, let the cook know before he gets started. Once the bun gets involved, it's too late – the cheese, onions and sauce act as a gooey, greasy glue that fuses meat to bread.
Though Earnestine and Hazel's serves Soul Burgers all day, they're not really a lunch food. They're not really a dinner food, either. They're the kind of food that sould only exist between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m., little gut bombs designed to mop up your stomach after a long night of partying.
Soul Burgers come with a yellow bag of plain potato chips. I recommend pairing them with a cheap beer and a vintage Memphis soul track (like Otis Redding's "You Left the Water Running") from the jukebox.
Earnestine and Hazel's