Visit the Ernest Withers Collection, Stay for a Savory Cupcake at Dorothy Mae’s
The Ernest Withers Museum on the east end of Beale Street could be easy to miss if you're not looking for it. But inside is one of the most important photography collections in Memphis, if not the world.
Ernest Withers was a photojournalist from Memphis who was one of the first (and often, only) people to cover the civil rights movement, publishing photographs of key events like the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Memphis sanitation workers strike.
Inside the gallery, you can peruse photos of the civil rights movement, of African-American sports figures, and of important musicians like Elvis, Aretha Franklin, and more. You can also order prints of the images in all sizes right there at the museum.
After that, head back to the restaurant and lounge area, where you can order soups, salads, and fine desserts from head chef Fran Mosley, who runs Dorothy Mae's cafe along with President of the Withers Collection, Rosalind Withers. The space feels like a comfy living room or den where you can hang out, watch TV, and hear live music while you eat.
The cafe's menu is inspiried by Dorothy, Withers' wife (Rosalind's mother) who often entertained her husband's guest with her legendary desserts.
Chef Mosley's addition to the concept is her twist on the traditional "cupcake" is her savory cupcakes, like the Beale Street barbecue cupcake, the mac 'n' cheese cupcake, and the meatloaf and mashed potatoes cupcake. (Note: the idea of the "cupcake" is about presentation, not sweet icing and cake mixed with savory food.)
The Withers Collection Museum and Gallery is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 4 p.m. – 11 p.m., and Sundays from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for students and seniors, and free for children under 12.
Dorothy Mae's Cafe is open starting at noon on days that the musuem is open.
The Withers Collection Museum and Gallery
Dorothy Mae's Cafe
333 Beale Street
Memphis, Tennessee 38103