Shelby Forest’s General Store Has Everything (Including Feathered Friends)

Posted by Holly Whitfield | July 5th 2011 6496 0

This afternoon, I had to head to extreme 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.

Shelby Forest General Store, Memphis, Tenn.

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

The rustic general store sits between the two main entrances to Shelby Forest park, which makes it the prime spot for picking up any last minute camping 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.

Shelby Forest General Store, Memphis, Tenn.

A large portion of the general store is devoted to a diner-style restaurant that serves just about everything. The menu jumps from fried delicacies (mushrooms, poppers, etc.) to burgers and turkey melts, to catfish fillet plates and steaks. Even on steak night, none of the food costs more than $10.

I ordered a world famous cheeseburger, which comes recommended (at least at the 2009 Grammys) by Millington native Justin Timberlake. I ate mine sitting at the counter, under the watchful eye of a veritable 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. While it wasn’t the most amazing burger I’ve ever had, it was far from the worst. It was fresh, filling, and best of all, cheap – my sandwich and a drink came to $5.75.

Cheeseburger from Shelby Forest General Store

When I was leaving, I had almost made it off of the store’s porch and back to my car when I heard a weird noise. It was part porch squeak and part animal. I turned around and realized that I had somehow managed to walk past a ginormous wild bird. It sort of looked like a rooster, but given that it was way bigger than any chicken I’ve ever seen, I’m going to guess that it may have been a turkey.

Wild Turkey, Shelby Forest General Store

I’ve seen turkeys shrink wrapped for Thanksgiving and bottles of Wild Turkey, but neither prepared me for how large actual, free-range turkeys are. It was the height of a beagle with the girth of a large bulldog. It’s talons were like medium-sized human hands. As I was getting into my car, a small child was attempting to befriend it.

Though the 75 year-old store is only about 30 minutes away from downtown Memphis, the distance seems much further. It’s open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Go there:

Shelby Forest General Store

7729 Benjestown Road
Millington, TN 38053-5013

(901) 876-5770

Shelby Forest General Store on Urbanspoon

Show Comments


  1. Brian says:

    That is a rooster

  2. Paulina J! says:

    Looks like fun! By the way, I’m pretty sure that is a rooster. He’s just VERY well fed 🙂

  3. Gregg says:


  4. Susie B. says:

    I think that photo is of a rooster, no?

  5. Memphis88 says:

    That’s most definitely a rooster.

  6. Mel Spillman says:

    I love that store and that rooster! he is always there 🙂 great post!

  7. Judy says:

    Yep, a chicken. This place makes a great grilled cheese sandwich.

  8. Hippie says:

    You fail for not knowing the difference in a rooster and a turkey.

  9. DowntownGal says:

    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. 🙂

  10. Baba Ghanoush says:

    They also make a good fried baloney sammich, and an excellent grilled chicken wrap. Just the thing after running the forest trails.

  11. Ken says:

    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.

  12. Linda says:

    The rooster likes raisins. He looks like he has had plenty of leftovers and snacks from the General Store’s customers.

  13. Olive the Hippie Teen says:

    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. 😀 I could never forget him. <3

  14. Redfish says:

    Great Ole Store,Good Dest for Everybody!

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