Banderas Memphis and Bloody Marys at Rizzo's

Banderas Memphis and Bloody Marys at Rizzo's

If you only know Rizzo's for its Lobster Pronto Pups or cheeseburger soup, you're missing out. This downtown eatery's weekend brunch is on point.

If you haven't been to their "new" location (it's not really new, they moved there in 2014) it's much, much bigger than the original spot on GE Patterson. There's a nice, spacious bar that was full at 1 p.m. on Sunday, plus plenty of tables.

It's got an upscale vibe, but not remotely stuffy. Think exposed brick, white tablecloths, colorful modern art, but the menu items are all between $9 and $15.

Chef Michael Patrick is known for his Southern-inspired dishes, but the brunch menu shows he's taken a page from Latin and Cajun cooking as well. I spied chorizo, andouille, and a dish called the "Banderas Memphis" which reminded me of bandeja paisa, a traditional Colombian dish. More on that in a moment.

My first question to our server - because I am a true Memphian - was: do you have any brunch drinks specials?

The answer: Rizzo's serves $3 mimosas and $5 Bloody Marys during brunch. Score. Also, these Bloody Marys were excellent, the best I've had in a while. They're served with pickled okra, a pickled green bean, a green olive, and some kind of peppery bbq-ish rub on the rim.

We picked three entrees because a) we believe variety is the spice of life and also b) we believe in leftovers.

First up, the Blackened Catfish Eggs Benedict ($14).

Fun fact: I first read this item as "Catfish Eggs", imagining some kind of cajun caviar, but that would have been weird. Turns out it's really just Eggs Benedict served with blackened catfish, which is a much better idea.

My friend loved this dish, and if you're into blackened things and seriously tasty albeit seriously rich Cajun hollandaise, you will too. The English muffins were so buttery and toasty, we thought they might be Johnny cakes at first (free idea right there...)

We also ordered the chorizo meatloaf sandwich ($12) because we were curious. Rizzo's serves this same sandwich during Friday lunch, and the chorizo meatloaf is on their dinner menu as an entree served with green beans or some such vegetable.

It seemed so simple, but it was great. The roasted tomato and arugula were key. Also, the potato salad served with it made me extremely happy. I am probably going to have to go back on a Friday and get this for lunch.

Next time, on "Inside The Meatloaf", we'll talk about the Cajun mayo's role on this brunch sandwich.

Then came my Banderas Memphis ($15). The best word to describe this is "hearty", or maybe "meaty". It's like a Colombian bandeja paisa got revamped with mostly Southern ingredients.

On the left, you have the chicharones, aka fried pork belly - rich, flavorful, and salty, basically bacon on steroids. Then there's steak, andouille sausage, black-eyed peas, some  grits, a fried egg, and some avocado and a roasted tomato. You can make a lot of different flavor combinations and they were all delicious.

I appreciate the Banderas Memphis because it was unexpected for brunch, packed with protein, and most certainly would be hangover-curing. I want to come back for dinner soon.

Rizzo's hours:
Monday - Thursday for dinner 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday for lunch 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. and dinner 5 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Sunday brunch 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Go there:

Rizzo's by Michael Patrick
492 South Main Street
Memphis Tennessee 38103

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Rizzo's does not serve brunch on Saturdays.
May 11, 2018 10:20am

Holly Whitfield
They did when I went, and it still says they do on their website, but it's possible they changed their policy and did not update their site. I will call them today and confirm and update.
May 11, 2018 10:31am

Holly Whitfield
Update: Just called and they said on Saturdays it is lunch/brunch served 11-2, which is confusing. I will update the post.
May 11, 2018 10:34am