Pink Lights, Pink Limos: Try Marlowe’s Ribs

Posted by Holly Whitfield | December 13th 2012 14733 0

It's hard to miss Marlowe's. You drive south on Elvis Presley Blvd., past Graceland, through a few lights, and boom, there it is on the right side of the street, a gleaming barbecue beacon, bathed in pink light.

Marlowe's exterior, Memphis, Tenn.

Right now, Marlowe's is all tricked out for Christmas, but I get the feeling that at least some of the pink lights stay up year-round. There's a pink pig trailer with a pink Christmas tree on top, strands of pink twinkle lights, a little arbor topped by both a twinkling angel and a pig statue. The poles supporting the awning are tightly wrapped in pink garland and there doors are festooned with two gigantic pink wreaths.

The restaurant's interior is just as visually stimulating as its exterior. There are several dining rooms, a bar (with the largest bar stools I've ever seen) and a gift shop. There are tons of Christmas lights, pigs everywhere and the walls (at least in the bar) are decorated with a random assortement of what-have-you.

Inside Marlowe's, Memphis, Tenn.

My friend John and I were seated in the bar, underneath some Steelers paraphernalia (Marlowe's loves the Steelers), a 1918 photo of an army company and a panorama drawing of Miami. It seemed like the restaurant was unintentionally divided into two areas – the two dining rooms that seemed most accomodating for Elvis fans (lots of Elvis memorabilia), and the bar, where most of the locals (us, a table of cops, a few couples) were sitting.

The selection on the menu is pretty big, and we speculated that about 70 percent of the items on it have at least one fried component. This is in no way a bad thing. We started with an order of fried rolls, which our super sweet waitress informed us were yeast rolls that had been left to rise, then fried.

fried rolls, Marlowe's, Memphis, Tenn.

They came with butter and a little container of honey, which makes me wonder why every restaurant doesn't do this. Rolls (and biscuits) are awesome with honey. Since these were fried yeast rolls, they tasted a like donuts, minus the sugar.

Since Marlowe's is a barbecue joint, for dinner, we split a full rack of wet ribs. There are a few different rib options – there's a half slab, a full slab, and then something called "ribs for two". I'm not sure how many ribs come in the "ribs for two" dinner, but the full slab – which came with slaw and beans – was plenty for the two of us.

Rack of ribs, Marlowe's, Memphis, Tenn.

The ribs are roll up your sleeves ribs, especially if you order them wet. They're pretty good. They're tender, there was a ton of meat on them, and by the end of dinner, there was barbecue sauce all over everything and we needed a little to-go box. (Sidenote – if you want both ribs and a sandwich, do what we did and use the fried rolls and make little sliders.) 

As we were waiting on the check, we heard some gentile crooning coming from the main dining room. Since we were sitting in the bar, it took a minute to realize that the crooning was live, coming from a slightly Guy Fieri-looking man who was roaming the dining room with a wireless mic, singing a song welcoming everyone to Marlowe's. After that, he gave some Elvis trivia, then launched into "Sweet Caroline".

We were on our way out, but I managed to snap this kind of blurry picture of him:

Live music, Marlowe's Memphis, Tenn.

Marlowe's is open every day, from 4 p.m. until 3 a.m. They've got a full bar (and some Elvis themed cocktail specials), and they do specials on Steelers' game days. It's non-smoking and kid friendly.

TLC, Marlowe's, Memphis, Tenn.

(I think they meant TCB, but who knows.)

Ahe best part of Marlowe's? If you can't get yourself to Marlowe's, the restaurant will come and get you, for free, and give you a ride to and from the restaurant in a vintage pink Cadillac window. All you have to do is call them, and they'll come get you. Note that  I think the pick-up area is limited – if you're downtown or at Graceland, they'll definitely come and get you. If you're in Cordova, they probably won't, but you can always ask.

Go there:

Marlowe's Barbecue

4381 Elvis Presley Boulevard
Memphis, TN 38116
(901) 332-4159

Marlowe's Restaurant & Ribs on Urbanspoon

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  1. Dave says:

    My wife, son and I tried Marlowe's for the first time about a month ago; we specifically sought it out after hearing good things about it for so long.  And yes, it was VERY good.  I tried the "two entrees and two sides" combo for myself, and asked for ribs and beef brisket.  The ribs were every bit as delicious as Kerry says.  The beef was good, too, although not quite as memorable.  For the sides I had the baked beans and burgandy mushrooms.  The beans were yummy; the shrooms were totally out of this world!  I must go back for more of those.  And other food, too (more on that in a moment).

    My wife ate their BBQ Shrimp, and couldn't stop talking about it for days.  She loved it as much as I loved the ribs.  She also had a BBQ Baked Potato, and I tried some of the pulled pork out of that…yep, good stuff. Our son, not a very adventurous eater, ordered the Elvis Burger.  He let us each try a bite; you'll be hard pressed to find a better burger at most bar-b-que places in the area.  The fries that came with it were nice, too.
    Before we asked for the check, though, I had to satisfy my curiosity about something:  there's one thing I love more than BBQ when it comes to eating, and that's spaghetti.  And I had noticed that the menu spoke of Marlowe's Spaghetti, "A full powl of pasta tossed with Mama Gigliotti's homemade meat sauce. A family tradition."  Well, after ribs and brisket and beans and mushrooms, I wasn't going to have room for spaghetti…but we live over a half-hour's drive from Marlowe's, in a direction we rarely come, and I couldn't just pop back any old time.

    So I placed a to-go order for that spaghetti, intending to try a quick bite before we left and save the rest to reheat for lunch the next day.  When my to-go order came to the table, I went to take my bite…and it was smothered with mozerella cheese.  Most people would love this, but I unfortunately can't enjoy that due to IBS.  Our cheerful server said it would be no problem to replace that, and apologizing that the cheese wasn't mentioned on the menu.  When she brought me the cheese-free version, I tried the one bite.  WOW!  I mean…uh, WOW!  Before we left, I told them how good it was…and then when we got home, I couldn't help myself: I ate the rest right away, while it was still warm.  SOOO good.

    There are other things on their menu I'd like to try: the beef tips, the steaks, more of the pork of course.  My wife wants to try their lasagna, after tasting that spaghetti (it was actually a flat noodle, by the way…linguini or fettucini, but eh, that's just being picky).  And the gift shop at Marlowe's, full of Elvis and Memphis souveniers and memorabilia, is good enough to satisfy any visitor to our city.  Lots of cool stuff that I had to talk myself, my wife, and my son out of buying after paying the bill for all the yum-yums we ate.

    Now, Marlowe's is not cheap food; the cost was high enough that my family can't make it a regular trip.  But well worth it for when we can afford the luxury. We'll be back!

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