Shelby Forest's General Store Has Everything

Ed. Note: With indoor dining restrictions and colder weather, the Shelby Forest General Store has struggled during the winter months of the pandemic. Even as they’ve provided essentials like food, paper towels, sanitizers to their community, their business is in danger of closing.

In an effort keep this nearly century-old tradition alive for many more post-hike burgers, bluegrass pickers, and Friday Night Steak Nights, they’ve launched a GoFundMe to help with expenses and the construction of a more spacious outdoor seating area.  Check out the GoFundMe and make a donation if you can.

Shelby Forest General Store / @OuiWeGirl

Shelby Forest's General Store Has Everything

This afternoon, went to north Shelby County for a meeting near Shelby Forest. On the drive, I kept seeing signs for the Shelby Forest General store, which the signs positioned as a magical and old-timey place where steaks were served on Friday nights, ice was available by the bag, and live bluegrass music marked the coming of the weekend.

I was (as always) early and hungry, so I decided to stop and get some lunch.

Shelby Forest General Store, Memphis, Tenn.

SHELBY FOREST GENERAL STORE: A MEMPHIS INSTITUTION

The rustic general store sits between the two main entrances to Meeman Shelby Forest State Park, which makes it the prime spot for last-minute Shelby Forest camping or hiking needs.

The shelves are stocked with groceries, sodas, six packs, and snacks, and an entire wall at the back of the store is covered in multicolored Frisbees. Handwritten signs (one in sharpie implores visitors to “ask about the $10,000 reward“) and photos from trips to the forest are tacked up everywhere.

old-timey sign at Shelby Forest general store
Kerry Crawford

EAT AT THE SHELBY FOREST GENERAL STORE

This store is so much more than a convenient place to grab snacks before your Memphis hiking adventures—this place also has a legendary, beloved diner. They’ve served hungry Mid-Southerners for decades, and the food comes highly recommended by everyone from folks in who live around the corner to Millington native and Grammy award winning Millington native, Justin Timberlake. Justin even gave the Shelby Forest General Store burger a shout-out at the 2009 Grammy Awards show.

Cheeseburger with crinkle cut fries
Holly Whitfield

On the menu you’ll find deep-fried delicacies like crispy mushrooms, jalapeño poppers, and corn fritters, along with catfish plates, turkey melts, steaks, and of course, the burgers. Everything’s affordable, too.

I ordered a world famous cheeseburger. I ate mine sitting at the counter, under the watchful eye of a forest of taxidermied critters. My burger, which came wrapped in wax paper and held together with toothpicks, was huge and juicy. It was topped with cheddar cheese, a tomato slice, lettuce, ketchup, mustard and chopped red onions.

Though the nearly 100-year-old store is only about 30 minutes away from downtown Memphis, the distance (mentally) seems much further. If you need a change of scenery or a mental escape, I highly recommend it.

Hours vary due to the pandemic, so call ahead or check online before you go.

Go there:

Shelby Forest General Store

7729 Benjestown Road
Millington, TN 38053-5013

(901) 876-5770

Sam-in-a-Kayak-at-Shelby-Forest-photo-by-Alex-Shanksy-horizontal.jpg

Comments Make Us Happy

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Brian
That is a rooster
July 5, 2011 4:05pm

Paulina J!
Looks like fun! By the way, I'm pretty sure that is a rooster. He's just VERY well fed :)
July 5, 2011 4:10pm

Gregg
Rooster
July 5, 2011 5:30pm

Susie B.
I think that photo is of a rooster, no?
July 5, 2011 5:43pm

Memphis88
That's most definitely a rooster.
July 5, 2011 6:18pm

Mel Spillman
I love that store and that rooster! he is always there :) great post!
July 5, 2011 8:09pm

Judy
Yep, a chicken. This place makes a great grilled cheese sandwich.
July 5, 2011 8:09pm

Hippie
You fail for not knowing the difference in a rooster and a turkey.
July 5, 2011 11:31pm

DowntownGal
Hmmm... turkeys and roosters don't really look anything alike, and that is most definitely a rooster. Regardless, good post! I've heard about this place but now I think I'll actually make a point to check it out. :)
July 5, 2011 11:47pm

Baba Ghanoush
They also make a good fried baloney sammich, and an excellent grilled chicken wrap. Just the thing after running the forest trails.
July 6, 2011 9:49am

Ken
That is definitely a rooster. When I worked in the area, I was often greeted by it whenever I dined there. Speaking of that, your review of the cheeseburger is accurate for it is good, yet not quite worthy of the "world famous" tag. Congrats for another great blog post.
August 12, 2011 12:14am

Linda
The rooster likes raisins. He looks like he has had plenty of leftovers and snacks from the General Store's customers.
August 15, 2011 9:45am

Olive the Hipp…
Yes it's a rooster. He's on the T-Shirt's they sell! He is there every night. And when it's close to closing time, they put him up on the roof! (He really likes it there) We love the family there, They are always so kind! :) I love the man who plays the banjo. Although I've never attempted to ask his name. One night about 4 years ago, I had gone up to him and requested he played the the Beverly Hillbillies theme song, and everytime we go there, he plays it. Just for little old me. :D I could never forget him. <3
December 7, 2011 2:04pm

Redfish
Great Ole Store,Good Dest for Everybody!  
January 29, 2012 12:09pm