The Best (OK, Only) Restaurant on President’s Island

Posted by Holly Whitfield | September 11th 2014 1118 0

Since this is the I Love Memphis Food & Drink Week 2014, I promised that I'd tell you about the weirdest food day I'd ever had in Memphis. The day was only strange because I ate at the two places that are so totally different, it's hard to believe they're only a few miles apart.

On that day, for lunch I ate at The Port restaurant, which is President's Island's dive-y neighborhood joint. It's in a small shopping center next to a post office, a hearty sandwich and meat-and-three place. 

For dinner, I ate at Chez Philippe in the Peabody Hotel, arguably the fanciest place to have a meal in the Mid-South, complete with white tablecloths and lobster. This post is about The Port.

 the-port-front

The Port started as "The Islander" in the 1960s, and very little seems to have changed in the building since then. The wood paneled interior and nautical wall decorations seem like they've been there forever, there's a buffet, and the menu offers sandwiches priced below $7. The clientele appeared to be exclusively people who work on the Island.

thepart-bar-2
The bar/smoking side. There's a pool table.

A glass wall divides the restaurant in half in one of the more unique solutions to Memphis' restaurant smoking laws. The two sides are accessible through different exterior doors, and the smoking side (which also contains the bar) is 21 and up. The glass wall is tinted, which gives it a bit of a fishbowl / two-way mirror sort of vibe. The menu proclaims "Ye Old Happy Hour with "mixed drink specials" from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

theport-burger  

The menu is pretty simple – inexpensive sandwiches, salads, and entrees. They've got daily specials. The day I went, the special was a "Cajun Cheeseburger", which was a burger with blue cheese, buffalo sauce, and jalapeños. Now, I'm dubious about how "Cajun" that recipe is (someone tell me if I'm wrong) but I was craving a burger and some strong flavors so I went for it. 

theport-interior-1

It took a few minutes longer than I thought it would to get the food, but it didn't disappoint. The burger was juicy and it was full of flavor; it absolutely hit the spot. The fries were your basic frozen seasoned variety, but I loved them in the way that anyone with a soul loves that style of cafeteria fries. 

The Port is open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. They have a full bar and yes, they serve breakfast.

theport-menu

Go there:

The Port Restaurant
1039 Harbor Avenue
Memphis, TN 38106

(901) 942-0121

Port on Urbanspoon

(Ed. Note: This is an updated version of a post from 2012.)


Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

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  1. natenpaul says:

    Now, I'm dubious about how "Cajun" that recipe is (someone tell me if I'm wrong)

    You're not wrong. Blue cheese, buffalo sauce, and jalapenos aren't Cajun. Not that there's anything wrong with that and, besides, it sounds deliciously spicy! You should tell Best Memphis Burger Seth about the burger so he can check it out (if he hasn't already).

  2. Seth says:

    Looks Legit, Holly! I wanna do a ride along on your next burger outing. 

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