26 Sep Black-Owned Restaurants to try in Memphis
There are few cities in America where Black culture has made a global impact the way it has in Memphis. This town is where the Blues was born, a 100% Black invention, with the Stax Museum of American Soul Music standing as testament. It was an important stop on the Underground Railroad. It’s where the Beale Street Baptist Church has been fostering the Black community since 1869. And, of course, it’s the place where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his most. With such a long history of amazing Black culture, it should come as no surprise that the community heavily influences the cuisine in Memphis.
This brings us to Black Restaurant Week. Not only is it a great time of year to sample some delicious meals, but it’s also a great way to help our Black-owned businesses. Are you ready to chow down on some serious Grind City grub?
Start out with these 10 Black-owned restaurants to visit in Memphis.
3633 Millbranch Rd, Memphis, TN 38116
This delicious restaurant was featured TWICE on Food Network, on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” and “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” Also on Southern Livings Off The Eaten Path. Uncle Lou’s has become a mainstay in Memphis, and a hot spot for travelers the world over, having customers from over 60 countries, and 6 continents. Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken recipe is an ‘Original’ family recipe started by Uncle Lou’s Great Grandmother and was passed on to Uncle Lou by his Mom. His award winning ‘Sweet Spicy Love’ chicken is dipped in a honey sauce and pairs perfectly with the honey butter biscuits.
1404 Airways Blvd, Memphis, TN 38114
Talk about deep Memphis roots! Here we have what many have called the best BBQ in Memphis, run by pitmaster Merritt Baily, the son of legendary local activist and actor D’Army Bailey. Bringing his proud legacy to both the vibe of his place and the food he cooks up over a hot fire, BBQ lovers will taste that love and soul in every bite. Whether you’re sharing a plate of BBQ nachos or mackin’ on a full slab of pork, this is the place to be. Pro tip: First-timers should go for the Ballhoggerz sampler to get a taste of everything!
1661 Semmes St, Memphis, TN 38114
If you’re looking for some of the best eats in Memphis, then maybe it’s time to sink your teeth into one of Phoenix Southern Grill’s famous burgers! Don’t get us wrong — there are plenty of top soul food options here too. So whether you’re getting a catfish basket or a nice shrimp po’ boy, you can hit that spot in your belly. But it’s the Angus beef grilled to order and slapped between buns that are the big attraction. We don’t know how they do it, but these burgers just can’t be beat. There are even Impossible burger versions for the vegetarian joining you for lunch!
55 S Main St Suite 101, Memphis, TN 38103
Now here’s a place that doesn’t expect smiles when you say cheese — but you’re gonna find yourself smiling after that board shows up! Established in 2019, Feast and Graze is already considered to be among the best Black-owned Memphis restaurants. The focus here is on charcuterie and cheese plates. You’ll be wowed by the stunningly beautiful arrangements of rolled hams and salamis, Manchego, and Gouda sliced into lovely patterns, berries, and figs, all of it packed into an amazing box that’s as much a work of art as it is an awesome lunch especially for a picnic.
3736 S Mendenhall Rd, Memphis, TN 38115
Hot, gooey cheese, tomato sauce, dough — you get the picture. Owner Aaron Kearny has been passionately pulling pizza from his ovens since 2005, landing the title of the best pie in town, meaning it’s among the best eats in Memphis! Go for the large supreme if you and your friends are really hungry, or just get the regular cheese to start. But it doesn’t stop there. Italian sub sandwiches will fill your belly an inch at a time. As Aaron himself loves to remind everybody, this is the home of the overstuffed potato that you can get filled with everything from steak to Polish sausage!
615 Chelsea Ave, Memphis, TN 38107
Looking for the best seafood in town? Then take it from us; this Black-owned restaurant is off the hook! Whether you’re looking for platters of fried shrimp, dreamy lobster, and crab clusters, or some delectable salmon dishes, you’re in the right place. We don’t know just how their special spice blends change the game, but you’re in for an ocean of flavor. Straight and simple, these amazing offerings come at the best prices in town. Stripped down with a home-style feel, you can depend on the food being top-notch.
841 Bullington Ave, Memphis, TN 38106
When it comes to Black-owned restaurants in South Side Memphis, it doesn’t get more classic than this. Jim & Samella’s House is the best soul food in Memphis, hands down. With a revolving menu and front porch seating, we’re talking an authentic down-home experience to the bone. Owner and head chef Talbert Fleming is not only dedicated to traditional Southern cooking but also continuing the legacy of his grandmother’s recipes — the “Samella” in the restaurant’s name. Bring close friends and family to feel the love as you sink your teeth into pig’s feet, country fried chicken with red-eye gravy, and fried corn with cracklins.
Elvis Presley Location: 4407 Elvis Presley Blvd, Memphis, TN 38116
Riverdale Location: 7050 Malco Crossing #106, Memphis, TN 38125
Sometimes, there’s nothing quite like a finger-licking, bone-sucking plate of goodness to get you through your hunger pangs. When that’s the itch you need to scratch, head on over to D’bo’s Wings N More for the best chicken wings in Memphis. This proudly Black-owned restaurant was started by David and Leticia Boyd in 1990, when “Buffalo wings” wasn’t a thing. But they believed they brought the secret home, and the rest is history. Go with the tenders or full-on bone; you can order anything from five to a hundred! Plus, there’s awesome seafood, burgers, and pecan pie. Visit either one of their 2 locations for a deliciously good time.
115 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38103
You know the old saying about how folks cannot live on bread alone? Well, a lot of them are talking about how they gotta drink too! In Memphis, you won’t find any better cocktail to sip on than how they do over at the speakeasy-style watering hole known as Tailer’s Union. Loaded with homemade adult beverage recipes, be ready to sample everything from the bold “Tailor Made” gin and ginger beer concoction to the melon-based “Velvet Robes” to put some pucker in your cheeks. If you need something to chew on, small plates include white bean humus and wagyu sliders.
300 South Main St Relocated, from Court St, Memphis, TN 38103
You had us at “cupcakes,” sweet thing! Cupcake Cutie Etc. is Memphis’ confectionary king, the epitome of that whole “make sure you save room for breakfast” vibe. Be ready to have your cupcake made your way. Start by choosing a cake flavor from old favorites like French vanilla and red velvet to specialties like peach cobbler and key lime. Then pick your favored icing, whether you’re a buttercream person or more of a peanut butter fan. Ready for some toppings? Chocolate chips, almonds, gummy bears — oh my! Enjoy but don’t tell your dentist you stopped by!
488 S 2nd St, Memphis, TN 38103
If you thought we were done with dessert, you have another thing coming! Once you’re done filling up on cupcakes, be sure to head over to Butteriffic Bakery & Café for a whole new galaxy of sweets! This Black-owned spot is a major cookie depot whether you’re looking for a baker’s dozen or even the proverbial cookie jar to take home. Then there’s the pie, the banana pudding, and a chicken salad if you insist on eating something healthy!