100 Things To Eat in Memphis (2012 edition)

100 Things To Eat in Memphis (2012 edition)

Ed. Note: This is the 2012 edition of "100 Things to Eat in Memphis". Some restaurants may have changed their menu since then, so please keep that in mind. If you want to see the 2013 list, click here.

You know that "100 Things to Eat Before You Die" survey that's been making the rounds lately? There's now a Memphis-centric version.

The Memphis Yelp community made a list of 100 Things to Eat in Memphis, a list of the most extreme, most well-known, or "best" local dishes. That list has disappeared from the Internet, but most of it is preserved here for posterity.

I've added in new or different dishes to replace restaurants that have closed. I've noted those with an (*).  I'm not saying this is exactly what I would pick for the Top 100 Things, but it's a great list and a great way to get a feel for the variety of delicious eats available in Memphis.

How many of these have you tried?

1. Tuna sandwich from Chinese Sub Shop
2. BBQ plate from Germantown Commissary
3. Fried chicken breast from Gus's
4. Soul Burger from Earnestine and Hazel's
5. Peach cheesecake from Cheesecake Corner
6. Chorizo tortuga from Las Tortugas
7. Sea bass at Tsunami
8. Ribeye from Folk's Folly
9. John Deere snow cone from Jerry's
10. Joyce roll from Sakura
11. Dry rub ribs from Bar-B-Que Shop
12. San Diegan from Brother Juniper's
13. Guacamole from Las Delicias
14. Homeroom Chicken and Grids from Lunchbox Eats
15. Red velvet donuts from Gibson's
16. Greek burger from Alex's Tavern
17. Gas station sushi
18. Uptown burger from Roxie's Grocery

Burger, Roxie's Grocery, Memphis, Tenn.

19. Muffaletta from Kwik Chek
20. Gyro from Castle
21. Key Lime Pie ice cream from La Michoacana
22. Twice-baked potato salad from One and Only BBQ
23. Cheesesteak from Yang's
24. Shrimp and grits from Sweet Grass
25. Buffalo tenderloin from Erling Jensen

26. Barbecue pizza from Coletta's
27. Cornish game hen from Cozy Corner
28. Grilled cabbage from Deja Vu
29. Bulgogi from Du Won Jung
30. Roast duck from New Asia
31. Rib tips from Tom's Barbecue
32. Capote cupcake from Muddy's Bakeshop

33. Barbecue tofu nachos from R.P. Tracks
34. Chips (aka fries) from Brass Door Tavern
35. Ravioli from Vanelli's Deli
36. Mac'n'cheese from Mollie Fontaine Lounge
37. Voodoo Chocolate Passion Cake at King's Palace
38. Banana pudding from Cozy Corner
39. Turkey leg from a vendor outside of a Melrose High football game
40. Spicy shrimp tacos from Maciel's*

Cornish Game Hen, Cozy Corner, Memphis, Tenn.

41. Almond croissants from Off the Square Catering
42. Crazy noodle bowl from Bhan Thai
43. Banana pudding from Germantown Commissary
44. Tiger Bleu Chips from Brookhaven Pub
45. Barbecue nachos from Central BBQ
46. Blueberry donuts from Gibson's
47. Hot wings from Ching's
48. Surf 'n' Turf from Restaurant Iris (we'll be waiting to see if this is still available when RI reopens)*
49. Shrimp salad from Bogie's
50. Chilean sea bass from McEwan's
51. Wedding cake supreme snow cone from Jerry's

52. Hummus and falafel from Casablanca
53. Nachos on Dorito's from Sushi Jimmi*
54. French fries / sweet potato fries from Young Ave. Deli
55. Pineapple shake from Shanghai
56. Coconut cake from Beauty Shop
57. Spicy crab soup from Ryu
58. Goat taco from La Guadalupana
59. Turkey and dressing from the Four Way
60. Reuben from Trolley Stop Market
61. Thai Gumbo from Tao
62. Honey gold wings from All-Star
63. BLT from Links of Galloway

Maciel's taco spread.

64. Pan-fried dumplings from Panda Garden
65. Hot wing rolls from Blue Monkey
66. Barbecue pizza from Pete and Sam's
67. Mussels from Bari
68. Ribs from A&R Barbecue
69. Salsa Tayde from Las Tortugas
70. Baklava from Cafe Med
71. Pickled green tomatoes from Soul Fish
72. Vegan Memphis barbecue sandwich from Imagine Vegan Cafe
73.Tacos from Fuel Food Truck
74. Brussels sprouts from South of Beale
75. Bi Bim Bop from Kwik Check

Bi Bim Bop, Kwik Check, Memphis, Tenn.

76. Ribs from Central Barbecue
77. Grilled cheese from Say Cheese food truck*
78. Burger from Huey's
79. Fried chicken taco from El Mero Taco*
80. Homemade chips from Pop's Deli
81. Nachos from Interstate Barbecue
82. Steak sandwich from Jack Pirtle's
83. Pork chop sandwich from Tom's BBQ
84. Skewers from Stick 'Em Food Truck*
85. Meat-stuffed pizza at Little Italy
86.Fried shrimp poboy from Fresh Gulf Shrimp food truck*
87. Breakfast sampler from Bryant's
88. Crab eggs benedict from Sweet Grass
89. All-in-one from Las Delicias
90. Pronto Pup
91. Lobster roll from Slider Inn

Lobster Roll, Slider Inn, Memphis, Tenn.

92. Nuts and chocolate from Peanut Shoppe
93. Lunch buffet from Pho Hoa Binh
94. Hoppin John with corn sticks from Little Tea Shop*
95. Badass Nachos from Sweet Grass Next Door*
96. Island Club from Bardog Tavern
97. Lobster pronto pup from Rizzo's Diner
98. Monte Cristo from Half Shell
99. High tea from Chez Philippe
100. Chili pineapple paleta from La Michoacana

Is there anything that should be added? Add them in the comments.

top photo credit: David Meany / Contiki Purchase/ Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau

This post originally published on May 2, 2012

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Have to have the AM Breakfast at Andrew Michael Italian kitchen.  Creamy Polenta with a 63 degree egg, BBQ pork belly, and made to order pork rinds.  A death row meal!!
May 2, 2012 10:41am
Erica B
Aaron- I have read the description of this so many times while compliling the Weekly Yelp and it never fails, it ALWAYS makes me drool.  It's on my short list!
May 2, 2012 10:44am
Chicken supreme pizza from Memphis Pizza Cafe hamburger from Tops BBQ Vegas plate at Republic Coffee
May 2, 2012 10:47am
Definitely need East End Grill's Fried Pickles!   Also should have something from Fresh Slices... Grilled Halibut, Sweet Potato Fries, something.   Also need to have
May 2, 2012 10:53am
The fried catfish at The Cupboard is highly underrated and highly delicious!
May 2, 2012 10:54am
how did you leave off fried chicken from Uncle Lou's??
May 2, 2012 10:59am
Where are the MOJO cookies?!!!  
May 2, 2012 11:01am
Victoria Simmons
I haven't lived in Memphis in a long time, but are the Rendezvous, Corky's, and Leonard's no longer necessary (if mainstream) barbecue stops?  Or tea at the Peabody? For less famous deliciousness, my travels have not brought me a roast-beef sub as delicious as the one at the Chinese Sub Shop (Mama's Super Sub in my day).  O the sauce!  O the spices!  Add a little mayo for sake of sin, and it was perfection!
May 2, 2012 11:02am
How could the rendezvous not be mentioned? Good list but wow. Lays chips with crap blue cheese made it. Might wanna rethink list a wee bit.  
May 2, 2012 11:05am
H. Allen Rankin
Someone really did their homework hear with great choices on the 100 Things to Eat in Memphis list. I'd like to add eggplant gratin served on Sundays only at Stone Soup on south Cooper St.
May 2, 2012 11:06am
Tamales (or anything else for that matter!)  from Taqueria El Kora Burger from Local (best in Memphis in my opinion!) Krispy Kreme Donut Bread Pudding from Revival Food Truck Pimento Cheese Burger from Sweet Grass Bext Door Bacon Pancakes from Pancake Shop BBQ Nachos on the HOUSE CHIPS from Central BBQ (the ONLY way to do it!) Chicken Salad on Crassiant from La Baguette  
May 2, 2012 11:10am
Miss Mary's Italian Salad - Frank Grisanti's  
May 2, 2012 11:26am
Chive dumplings at Asian Palace (dim sum hours only). The barbecue pork is great, too. Actually, it's all great. My kids even snarf down the tripe there.
May 2, 2012 11:59am
how did something I really like get omitted from this subjective list?
May 2, 2012 12:36pm
If you want a real good bbq sandwich, hands down go to Morris'.  It's on Mt Pisgah Rd, inside the convenience store.  Some of the best.  Nice to see some tourist traps are not mentioned!  So many small businesses out there that are 100% better than those places!
May 2, 2012 12:38pm
the almond croissants at Off the Square are wonderful but have you tried the petit fours or the fantastic cheese straws!!!
May 2, 2012 1:00pm
What about Mortimer's Restuarant??? That place is awesome. Better than Huey's. And what about the Lunch specials from Formosa??? Or BBQ Nachos from Central BBQ. The list seems incomplete, and there are a few restuarant repeats...boring. Cool list overall, and great idea. Memphis is a great city for food. You should probably have made it 200.
May 2, 2012 1:14pm
I've got a lot of eating to do looks like. I'd like to throw Ryu's spicy crab soup into the mix too.
May 2, 2012 1:19pm
Would now be a bad time to tell you that is not 100? #57-59 are missing.
May 2, 2012 1:29pm
I highly recommend ordering the BBQ nachos from Central on the homemade chips- totally different level!  (and doesn't cost extra) and to the Rendezvous die-hards- I think this list is for food only and not food experience.  I think the actual bbq at Rendezvous is slightly overrated but the experience of going to the restaurant is awesome.  So maybe that's why it was left off the list? 
May 2, 2012 1:42pm
Gotta try Baked Brie with cranberries or apples from Off the Square Catering.  Serve it with Anna's Ginger Thins!!
May 2, 2012 2:21pm
With no listing from Frank's Deli, this list is per se invalid.
May 2, 2012 2:24pm
Goodness... great selections, but I've got to chime in with a few of my local favorites too: 1) The Original Hot Fudge Pie - Westy's [aka the "crack brownie" among friends - you think you're okay, then a week later you awake in the middle of the night without warning with a craving to go downtown & order another one] 2. Roasted Quail (appetizer) &/or Carmelized Catfish (entree) - Pho Saigon [earthy & cleanly cooked, like everything on the menu here; the quail is a particular delicacy, and the catfish pieces are slow cooked with a seasoned broth in a ceramic ramekin to which you add rice at your table] 3. Deep Fried Spicy Crunchy roll - Ryu Sushi House [Memphis, for being in the middle of the country, has a surprisingly good amount of sushi, but the best in town honors have to go to Ryu; whether you get the 3-roll early bird (great for college kids on a tight budget) or the sushi boat (two-foot long sashimi platter in the shape of an Asian vessel), or anything in between, you won't be disappointed.  This roll is especially good because of the flavor fusion (crunch, flavorings, sauce, rice warmed & covered in tempura batter & fried - what is more consummately Southern?] 4. BBQ Nachos - Rendezvous @ Autozone Park [alright, don't get me wrong, I think BBQ nachos are the signature dish of Memphis, and I agree that the ones @ BBQ Shop, Central BBQ, & Corky's are all top notch, and it really just depends on the flavor mood of a given day; but, it's not every ballpark where you can get such an iconic dish in the given setting, and this deserves to be on the list of "something every local should eat, just because you're in Memphis"] 5. Shrimp & Cheese Grits - Bosco's Squared [coming from someone who had never liked grits in the past, this dish made me a believer (in thiers, at least); one of many outstanding Brunch dishes they have to offer, this is a Southern favorite done no better anywere else]  Throwback Mention:  Tiramisu & Creme Brulee Hot Chocolates - Ugly Mug coffeeshop [alas, I give an homage this one; the Ugly Mug, well known for their flavored, blended, and organic coffees also had a stellar line of hot chocolates for those people who tried to not run on coffee; these blends hit all the right flavor notes, and the shop is sorely missed]   
May 2, 2012 2:25pm
Spaghetti Carbonara from Bari. Bayou Burger from Bayou Bar and Grill. Broadway Pizza. Last but not least, the hole of all holes in the wall, Lemongrass Chicken at Lotus Vietnamese(FRESH everything)
May 2, 2012 2:33pm
I've had 55 on the list, not too bad...
May 2, 2012 2:53pm
Kerry (Admin)
Not at all. I'm on it.
May 2, 2012 3:27pm
Mexican Deli-Germantown Road Red Snapper Sandwich
May 2, 2012 3:35pm
judy flurry
I love the petit fours at Off the Square Catering and live out of state and have their homemade cheese straws shipped to me regularly.  Gotta try them!!
May 2, 2012 3:59pm
Strawberry Cake from Curb Side Casseroles and their Chicken Salad is Awesome too!!
May 2, 2012 4:13pm
I was sad to see Tsunami's Sea Bass on this list.  Sea Bass is one of the most overfished species in the water and is dangerousliy close to becoming endangered.  Tsunami has many other great items on its menu... their mussels come in a curry broth to die for and their bacon wrapped dates are melt in your mouth.  Perhaps promoting one of these other items would be more responsible.  
May 2, 2012 4:18pm
Banh Xeo and Banh Cuon- Lotus Vietnamese Restaurant ... nothing quite like it for sure!
May 2, 2012 4:19pm
I feel like this list could be done for every neighborhood in Memphis! There's so much yummy food in this town!
May 2, 2012 5:22pm
My only additions would be the burrito al pastor from Las Delicias (but they're already on the list twice, so maybe that would be cheating) the stone roll from Sekisui Midtown (a must for BBQ eel lovers), and the hot and sour soup from Panda Garden (no matter what sickness you have, it will cure you). Great list, though! The Castle gyro belongs on there for sure.
May 2, 2012 5:44pm
I can't believe Chilean sea bass is on the list. Both Seafood Watch and Greenpeace have listed it as a type of seafood to avoid. Chilean sea bass is overfished and often caught illegally. Fishing methods used to catch Chilean sea bass often put other animals in danger.
May 2, 2012 5:51pm
Saigon Le Special Spring Rolls... Iris brussel sprout salad ACRE's homemade truffle potato chips w/ malted bacon Fuel's fries w/ dipping sauces Cupboard fried green tomatos Ciao Bella pizza Belmont burger Nagasaki hibachi Bryant's sausage biscuit Seesel's cowboy cookies (RIP) Paulette's popovers Sweetgrass fried green tomato BLT Majestic flatbread Brushmark biscuits Ronnie Grisanti toasted ravioli
May 2, 2012 6:07pm
christy roberts
cheese straws, petite fours, and the piminto cheese from off the square really are a must try!
May 2, 2012 6:13pm
41. Got work to do. 
May 2, 2012 7:09pm
Some additions to your list... -World Famous Original Chipsticks from Ricki's Cookies -Carbonara from Bari -Pastries (my favorite is the almond poppyseed) from La Baguette -Ocean Pyramid from Sekisui Midtown -Cactus Quesadilla from The Happy Mexicn (downtown) -Corn Sticks from The Little Tea Shop -Garlic Parmesan Fries from Boscos -K-Pie from Paulette's
May 2, 2012 7:18pm
The list was created by Yelp members (www.yelp.com). Every member was invited to offer up 3 or more of their Memphis must eats. No conditions. Duplicate restaurants allowed, high brow or low brow dishes welcome and no matter the reason why, if you liked it you were encouraged to offer it up. The list is by no means complete for the 30 or so people that participated let alone for the masses of culinary adventure seekers. I contributed and have since thought of a dozen more entries that I could have shared. Mangia
May 2, 2012 7:50pm
Missing - Frank's Turkey sandwich, Broadway Pizza, catfish and/or hush puppies from Soulfish, Memphis Pizza Cafe, The Little Tea Shop corn sticks, Arcade sweet potato pancakes
May 2, 2012 8:22pm
Jane Kaman
The almond croissants are really great but the cheese straws from Off The Square are out of sight!!  The petit fours are the best dessert in Memphis!!
May 2, 2012 8:31pm
You need to list Off the Square Catering's food! The cheese straws are amazing, as well as the salted caramels and the sugar cookies. Fantastic!
May 2, 2012 8:54pm
Paulette's popovers and their palachenta (lunch/brunch is more affordable than evenings). I like the Thai Cobb salad at The Beauty Shop. The fried avocados at South of Beale. The stuffed biscuits at Miss Cordelias.  I think that The Brushmark has the best chicken salad sandwich I've ever had, but it's been awhile since I had one. Big props to Muddys being on the list. All of the cupcakes (my favorite is the Prozac) at Muddy's are so good that I now rate all other desserts by how many cupcakes I could have purchased instead. lol. I wish we'd read the comments before ordering dinner tonight. I'm trying to increase the number of these I have tried, so we ordered Central's nachos not knowing that we should've subbed their house chips instead. :) oh wells. :)
May 2, 2012 8:59pm
oh... and Dinsthuls strawberries should probably get a mention. :)
May 2, 2012 9:00pm
The nutella and strawberry stuffed French toast from Cafe Eclectic!
May 2, 2012 9:18pm
The mini pizzas at Pete n Sams
May 2, 2012 9:29pm
May 2, 2012 9:55pm
How could the Rendezvous not be mentioned on a list of 100 foods to eat in Memphis.  Not only being one of the most historical restaurants in the entire city, it is also one of the most famous.  Having people from US presidents, foreign prime ministers, grammy winning actors and actresses, professional athletes of all kind, and nationally known musicians walking through the Rendezvous daily makes it one of a kind.  Oh yeah, the food is top notch also since 1948. Greeks know how to cook
May 2, 2012 10:24pm
Homemade ravioli and meat sauce from Dino's. Saigon rolls from Saigon Le.
May 2, 2012 10:57pm
1. Spicy Asian Nachos, Seafood Tostada from Tsunami 2. Farm Fresh Deviled Eggs, Mushroom Risotto, Red Fish dish from Elegant Farmer 3. Chicken Spaghetti (or anything else) from Germantown Baptist Church Plate Lunch (weekdays) 4. Coconut Cake, Homemade Meat Sauce Ravioli from Cafe Piazza (Collierville)
May 2, 2012 10:58pm