Central BBQ

You can’t visit Memphis without sampling some award-winning, fall-off-the-bone barbecue, and Central BBQ is the place to get it. This local institution has been serving up tender, slow-smoked meats since 2002, rapidly gaining a cult following among locals and putting Memphis squarely on the national BBQ map. Their signature dry-rubbed ribs and pulled pork shoulder are the stuff of legends, but the real star is the smoked chicken wings. Don’t skip the classic Southern sides either – think crispy seasoned fries, vinegary slaw, and indulgent mac & cheese that’ll leave you weak in the knees. Fair warning: these finger-lickin’ plates pair perfectly with an ice-cold local craft beer. Plan accordingly.

Address: 2249 Central Ave, Memphis, TN 38104

Phone: (901) 272-9377

Gus’s World Famous Hot & Spicy Chicken

No Memphis food crawl would be complete without a pilgrimage to the holy grail of hot chicken: Gus’s World Famous Hot & Spicy Chicken. What began as a simple family recipe and backyard operation has grown into a fiery nationwide sensation. The batter is simple – just cayenne peppers, salt, and a few other spices – but the heat is no joke. Go for the Spicy if you can handle some serious tongue-scorching, or stick to the Tame for a more mild (but still packs-a-punch) version. Whatever you order, make sure to get a side of fried okra and the quintessential Southern sweet tea to keep that mouth cooled and happy. This no-frills, paper-tray kinda joint is a taste of true Memphis authenticity.

Address: 310 De Soto St, Memphis, TN 38126

Phone: (901) 527-5604

The Second Line

For a taste of N’awlins flavor in the heart of Memphis, mosey on over to Chef Kelly English’s The Second Line. As soon as you walk through the door, the lively spirit of New Orleans envelops you – from the brightly colored Mardi Gras beads to the funky beats thumping from the speakers. Kick things off with an order of English’s famous crispy BBQ Lamb Ribs, liberally coated in a sweet, tangy Southernglaze. Then dig into melt-in-your-mouth entrees like the decadent Seafood Roasted Crawfish Pie or the hearty Delta-style Hot Tamale & Greens. Better make it a true Big Easy experience with a round of hurricanes or Sazeracs from the bar. Laisser les bons temps rouler, indeed!

Address: 2144 Monroe Ave, Memphis, TN 38104

Phone: (901) 590-2828

Chez Philippe

Sometimes you just need to treat yourself to a fancy night out, and Chez Philippe is the prime destination for an evening of French-inspired elegance. This swanky eatery absolutely oozes romance from the moment you step inside the cozy, velvet-draped dining room. Allow yourself to indulge in the sublime four-course pre fixe menu, which takes you on an epicurean journey from delicate seafood appetizers to melt-in-your-mouth filets. The duck duo featuring crispy confit and tender breast is a true showstopper. Of course, no French feast would be complete without an expertly curated wine from their award-winning list. With its plush, candlelit ambiance and impeccable service, Chez Philippe delivers an unparalleled fine dining experience worthy of any special occasion.

Address: 961 Willow Tree Cir, Memphis, TN 38134

Phone: (901) 347-3569

Kwik Chek

This humble convenience store may not look like much from the outside, but locals know Kwik Chek is truly a hidden gem – the kind of no-frills, hole-in-the-wall joint that serves up the most authentic, crave-worthy soul food in Memphis. Get in line early, because the kitchen window only opens in the morning and folks line up down the street for the Southern breakfast of champions. We’re talking cathead biscuits the size of your fist, thick-cut smoky bacon, eggs and hash browns. But the real star is the Chicken & Waffles: juicy, crispy-crusted yard bird atop a mountain of melt-in-your-mouth sweet potato waffles, swimming in maple syrup and butter. A Memphis essential, no questions asked.

Address: 1645 Kenner Rd, Memphis, TN 38112

Phone: (901) 458-4453

Itta Bena

For a fresh, creative spin on Southern fare, check out Itta Bena in the heart of Memphis’ buzzy Cooper-Young district. This funky, intimate bistro creates seriously droolworthy New Delta cuisine served up in a vibrant, laid-back atmosphere. Small shareable plates are the move here – try the local favorite Korean BBQ Pork Rinds, with an addictive mix of sweet, spicy, and savory flavors, or the tantalizing Smoked Beet Tartare. Bigger appetites will delight in heartier highlights like the Ooey Gooey Benton’s Bacon Double Cheeseburger, stacked high with mouthwatering smoky bacon and hot pepper jelly on a pillowy brioche bun. Oh and the cocktails? Sublime. Settle in with an Itta Bena Smoked Julep or the signature Memphis on the Brain, spiked with peanut butter whiskey – you won’t regret it.

Address: 1346 N Watkins St, Memphis, TN 38104

Phone: (901) 615-4882

Midtown Sundries

Midtown Sundries may appear to be your typical corner convenience store on the outside, but step through those doors and you’ll find one of Memphis’ most unique hidden gems. Sure, it’s got your basic grocery essentials covered, but the real star is Huey Slocum’s kitchen area in the back. Here, Chef T. J. Southern cuisine. His next-level Hoppin’ Joh is a must – rich, deeply savory Anson Mills farro studded with snappy Ozark Smoke ham hock, veggies and sunny duck eggs from the nearby farm in mini cast iron skillets. Or try the unforgettable Sweet Potato Muffulletta packed with Italian meats, olive salad and creamy pimento spread, all piled Mile-High between two cornbread sweet potato muffins. This is bold, playful comfort food at its finest. Grab a classic RC Cola from the cooler or a homemade ice cream treat, and you’ve got yourself an eclectic Memphis foodie experience you won’t soon forget.

Address: 2509 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN 38112

Phone: (901) 323-1600

Reserve Your Private Shuttle to Memphis’ Best Eateries

There you have it, foodies – the essential Memphis dining bucket list to satisfy every craving. Whether you’re looking for legendary barbecue joints or innovative upscale flavors, Memphis delivers the goods in spades. But with a dining scene this spectacular, the last thing you want is to deal with parking headaches. That’s where Memphis Party Bus Company comes in! We’ll provide the perfect private transportation solution so your group can hop from eatery to eatery without a hitch. Kick back in plush seats and pass the time watching TVs, enjoying ice-cold AC. We’ll get you to each delicious destination on time and refreshed – the only effort required on your part is stretching those elasticized waistbands! Call 901-203-3181 today and let’s get this Memphis food tour on the road.