365 Things to Do in Memphis #86: Eat a Soul Burger

365 Things to Do in Memphis #86: Eat a Soul Burger

Earnestine & Hazel's is sometimes forgotten in local Best Burger contests, sitting just below Huey's and their locally legendary burgers. Assignment #86 in the 365 Things to Do in Memphis is to give number two a little attention.

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Huey's menu has 12 different burger options on it, all of them topped differently and lovingly described in their own section of the menu. At Earnestine and Hazel's, there is no menu. There also aren't any choices. If you're going to eat at Earnestine's, you're going to eat a Soul Burger.

The Soul Burger is a smoky, inseparable mess of beef, cheese, grilled onions, pickles and mustard. If you don't want one of the ingredients, let the cook know before he gets started. Once the bun gets involved, it's too late - the cheese, onions and sauce act as a gooey, greasy glue that fuses meat to bread.

Though Earnestine and Hazel's serves Soul Burgers all day, they're not really a lunch food. They're not really a dinner food, either. They're the kind of food that should only exist between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m., little gut bombs designed to mop up your stomach after a long night of partying.

Soul Burgers come with a yellow bag of plain potato chips. I recommend pairing them with a cheap beer and a vintage Memphis soul track (like Otis Redding's "You Left the Water Running") from the jukebox.

Go there:

Earnestine and Hazel's

531 South Main Street
Memphis, TN 38103
(901) 523-9754
Originally published in 2012. Updated in 2018.

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Finally went to Earnestine and Hazel's this past Sunday night, and the Soul Burger was awesome! I was happy I got to catch some live jazz, too! Awesome place.
August 28, 2012 12:32pm
Meat Drunk
[...] to Stage Left, and Stage Left has the greatest burger I’ve ever eaten that wasn’t at Earnestine & Hazel’s, and that makes you alright with [...]
January 18, 2013 11:20pm
Jeff Martin
They are good. However $6 before tip for a small cheeseburger, a bag of chips, and a glass of iced tap water seemed steep.
July 12, 2013 5:46pm
Samuel F Campbell
OMG! I just love this place the food was an exceptionally great surprise weather you enjoy it relaxing in a booth or if you are like me and have a little exploration in your nature. Well, you may just find your self heading toward the back of the establishment. Just past the restrooms, up the narrow stairs, down a dimly lit hallway to a small room at the end of the hall. There is another surprise of the Memphis downtown music night scene. A home styled bar, no paint on the wall or trimmings etc.. but, not to despair this is one of the best takes on the downhome style hole in the wall bars I've ever enjoyed. The bar comes equipped with the most welcoming well seasoned bartender, willing to take your order for beverage or food. While you grab you and you guest a spot either near the bar, against the wall, near the front of the upright piano, or in me and my associates case behind the piano tacking turns. The upstairs is totally such good, old fashioned, American, adult fun my favorite part. Be ready to let you hair down and enjoy talent at its best. Save a few dollars for the tip jar, each performer brings his own, nerves and material the nights I've visited all of them were complete gentlemen about taking turns and had no problem showing their appreciation for the tips and encouragement. Don't be surprised to see or hear Piano Harmonicas, or guitars or the combinations there of, The visiting artist preform solo piano. Renown worldwide leading musicians poetic genius, professional and not so professional techniques, that's what I found to be without an equal. You might hear some mazurkas, waltzes, nocturnes, polonaises, études, impromptus, scherzos, preludes and sonatas, some of the published pieces of Franz Liszt, J. S. Bach, Mozart, Schubert and Chopin Or Country, Beal St. Blues, Old Fashioned Classic Mississippi River Blues, Delta or Chicago Blues, R&B, Soul, Gospel or local artist original works live first hand in living color as I like to call it ready for prime time but might not be feeling all the issues involved with syndication. So just enjoy while you can! I hope every one has the pleasant experience I enjoy every time I was their. College crowd or professional looking for a break, musicians getting some exposure, Tourist and locals all are welcome. Get you somewhere, get some good cooking, get in where you can fit in! ~ Samuel F. Campbell
May 27, 2017 4:57pm