A Year of Memphis Eats
Were you born in the right month? Does your favorite Memphis food line up with your birth month? Here’s a year’s worth of Memphis food. Shoutout to my colleague Alex Shansky for creating the graphic.
January: Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
Celebrate Elvis’ birthday month with a Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich in January. Order one and sit in Elvis’ favorite booth at the Arcade diner downtown, or make one for yourself. More PB and banana fun: Gladys’ Diner at Graceland has a PB+B sammie on their menu and Frost Bake Shop bakes a “Memphis Cream” cupcake made with soft banana cake, creamy peanut butter, and a swirl of chocolate ganache. Hog & Hominy is closed for now due to a fire, but of course their peanut butter and banana pie is to die for. Read more.
February: Handmade Dinstuhl’s Chocolates
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Treat your Valentine or yourself with handmade chocolate treats from Memphis’ own Dinstuhl’s Fine Candies. They offer chocolate-covered strawberries especially for Valentine’s Day, and other chocolate coated fruits throughout the year. Dinstuhl’s has four shops in the Memphis area, or you can order online. If you’re looking for more sweet treats handmade in Memphis, don’t miss the delectable caramels from Shotwell Candy or the gemstone-inspired gourmet chocolates from Philip Ashley. Read more.
March: Slider Inn’s Jameson Slushie
The first days of spring in Memphis are magical—we flock to the patios to soak up the sunshine, and order a round of cold, refreshing beverages. Slider Inn mixes up the perfect adult spring break drink with their Jameson Slushie: ginger beer, house-made lemonade, bitters, and Irish whiskey. Order the slushie from Slider Inn midtown or their new downtown location. Read more.
Memphis loves its mudbugs! These hot ’n’ spicy crawdads bring us out of the cold days of winter and into spring festival season every year. There are multiple festivals including the Rajun Cajun Crawfish Fest and Overton Square Crawfish Fest, plus spots like Max’s, The Bluff, Mortimer’s, and more that host weekly crawfish boil in Memphis during the season. See the 2020 Crawfish Guide here, and check out the list of Cajun and Creole restaurants here.
Barbecue is in season year-round in the world capital of smoked pork: Memphis. We’re giving it a special shoutout in May because it’s the month for Memphis In May’s World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, when hundreds of teams from around the world compete for smoked meat glory and cold hard cash. Check out a few of our favorite Memphis BBQ joints here and here.
June: Jerry’s Sno Cones
Jerry’s is an institution, serving up sweet and colorful snow cones to save us from the sweltering Memphis heat. Tell them you want it “supreme”, and they’ll layer soft serve ice cream in with your fruity shaved ice. I always like to point out that the food at Jerry’s is pretty underrated, so try a burger or some corn nuggets. Jerry’s has two locations, one at 1657 Wells Station and another in Cordova. Read more.
July: Hot Wings
Memphis is the Southern hot wing capital of the world and that is the hill I’m dying on. There are some parts of town where you can walk ten feet in any direction and hit up a different wing joint. From our signature Memphis honey gold sauce to individual hot wings creations, the variety and quality of chicken wings in town is unbeatable. Check out a few of our favorite hot wing spots here.
August: Paletas & Popsicles
When you’re tired of the heat, find yourself a Memphis paletería or popsicle stand and cool off! La Michoacana has been a staple of Summer Avenue for years, serving paletas in all kinds of flavors like pineapple chili, avocado, and pine nut. MemPops freezes fresh fruit and juices at their East Memphis shop and you’ll see them scooting around town in the converted postal truck saving overheated citizens with flavors like cherry limeade, peach, and strawberry.
September: Pronto Pup
It’s not a corn dog, people, it’s a Pronto Pup. The pinnacle of fair food, you can find freshly fried Pronto Pups at any fall festival or carnival worth its weight in batter, including the Cooper Young Fest, Delta Fair, and Mid-South Fairs. A Pronto Pup is made with a hot dog dipped with a batter of wheat and rice (as opposed to corn meal you’ll find for regular corn dogs) plus other top-secret seasonings. You can get a small or footlong, with or without mustard brushed on. Read more.
Dig in to autumn with an enormous pile of crispy chips, topped with mouth-watering meats and veggies, drizzled with cheese and tangy sauces. We have so many delicious nacho variations in Memphis, it’s hard to pick a favorite. You can go for the barbecue nacho variation available at the ballpark and most BBQ joints, a classic pulled chicken or beef nacho platter, a Tex-Mex version smothered in cheese, and plenty of other creative nachos. Read more.
November: Soul Food
Whether you call it soul food, southern food, or home-style cooking, Memphis has what you need for hearty meat-and-three cravings. Fried chicken at spots like Gus’ and Uncle Lou’s take top billing, but then you have the Four Way, Alcenia’s, Miss Polly’s, Peggy’s, Miss Girlees, Gay Hawk, Chef Tam’s, Little Tea Shop, the Cupboard, and many more.
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It’s at every holiday potluck and has a place in most of our fridges: Pancho’s cheese dip. Go for the traditional yellow queso or the white cheese, then dip chips, veggies, crackers, meats and more, or use it as a topping on nachos or any Tex-Mex dish. Even though Pancho’s is available all over the country now, it started in the Mid-South and is a Memphis staple.
No matter what month you’re born in, you can enjoy another Memphis food staple: a Gibson’s donut, in particular the maple bacon donut.
What month are you?