As temperatures drop and winter arrives, the cozy decadence of comfort food steadily takes the helm for weeknight and weekend dinner plans alike. Dig into this list of local Memphis favorites, where to-die-for dishes range from beautiful, buttery side dishes to sinful yet soulful entrées. Forget about the calories for the time being — the holiday season is ours to enrich and indulge!
10 Delicious Comfort Food Dishes in Memphis
2144 Monroe Ave, Memphis, TN 38104 • (901) 590-2829
Hours: Open 7 days a week, 11 a.m. – until …
Order: BBQ shrimp, fried Gulf oyster po’ boy
Overton Square’s Creole king, The Second Line, pairs traditional New Orleans-style cooking with Chef Kelly English’s culinary acclaim and Memphis-based Southern charm. A mini cast iron skillet is filled with barbecue shrimp simmered in a Worcestershire-heavy butter sauce that beckons for a dunk of crusty French baguette. You simply can’t go wrong with the po’ boy lineup, ranging from roast beef and fried oyster to a vegetarian mushroom debris with all the usual fixins’.
551 S Mendenhall Rd, Memphis, TN 38117 • (901) 762-8200
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Order: Filet with potatoes
With more than four decades of fine dining in the comfort of a converted East Memphis home, Folk’s Folly pairs fine dining and relaxed Southern hospitality all under one cozy roof. Consistently voted “Memphis’ Best Steak” by a bevy of local publications, it is hard to beat a sizzling, butter-laden plate of filet mignon alongside a la carte sides of potatoes au gratin, twice-baked, shoestring and more — take your pick!
It’s hard to beat a butter-sizzling plate of award-winning filet mignon alongside a half-dozen options potato options at Folk’s Folly.
52 S 2nd St, Memphis, TN 38103 • (901) 523-2746
Hours: Closed Sunday and Monday; Tuesday through Thursday, 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Order: Half-order of ribs with a down-home side
The customer service while dining in Downtown’s finest bustling basement is almost unbeatable, and the comfort of a half-slab of dry ribs with potato salad or baked beans takes you to an iconic place in the Memphian palate. Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous delivers comfort in its consistency.
The comfort of a half-slab of dry Rendezvous ribs with potato salad or beans takes you to another level.
120 Monroe Ave, Memphis, TN 38103 • (901) 527-7085
Hours: Lunch is served Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Dinner is served Monday through Thursday, 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Closed Sunday
Order: Pan-seared Chilean sea bass with Shiitake mushroom risotto
Sophisticated yet approachable, McEwen’s is a mainstay off Main Street in Downtown Memphis, offering not only one of the best bourbon selections in town, but also an expansive menu of entrées and small plates with enriching ingredients throughout. Though it is a light and delicate fillet of fish, the Chilean sea bass packs a punch of serious umami-laden flavor. It is pan-seared with an orange-soy glaze to a perfect golden hue, then served over a creamy Shiitake mushroom risotto with sautéed spinach in a warm miso broth … heaven.
McEwen’s pan-seared Chilean sea bass with Shiitake mushroom risotto is a show stopper.
7 W Carolina Ave, Memphis, TN 38103 • (901) 290-1140
Hours: Closed Monday and Tuesday; Wednesday and Thursday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Order: Loflin hot chicken sandwich + s’mores
As if the community-backyard and fire pit-a-blazin’ atmosphere were not comforting enough, Loflin Yard’s kitchen specialties express Southern inspiration with an authentic taste and presentation. Try the Loflin hot chicken sandwich and fries with a craft beer or cocktail, served straight to your seat in the yard. And if near a fire pit — which shouldn’t be hard to come by — ask for a sack of s’mores ingredients to make your own dessert sandwich.
The Loflin hot chicken sandwich is an impressive hunk of comfort food. Image: DCA
707 W Brookhaven Cir, Memphis, TN 38117 • (901) 207-7396
Hours: Monday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Order: Thunderbird! Forty Twice! pizza
Neapolitan pizza is a centerpiece of Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman’s Hog & Hominy, and its Southern-meets-Italian inspiration creates a nostalgic yet newfound comfort throughout the menu. The “Thunderbird! Forty Twice!” pizza is completely addictive, pairing sweet and spicy flavors of Calabrese sausage and spicy honey.
2519 Broad Ave, Memphis, TN 38112 • (901) 410-8131
Hours: Dinner is served Monday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Order: Bounty Étouffée
This completely gluten-free establishment manages to make outstanding Southern-meets-new American food without skipping a beat. Bounty on Broad’s menu of shared plates immediately inspires a family-like table, and its dishes follow suit in satisfying the soul. The deconstructed Bounty Étouffée is impressive, bringing pan-seared Maine scallops and grilled head-on Gulf shrimp, aromatic curry leaf and harissa, matchstick okra and toothsome Arkansas rice grits together for a divine dinner.
247 Cooper St, Memphis, TN 38104 • (901) 633-0300
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Closed Monday and Tuesday
Order: Memphis barbecue bao + Tan Tan ramen bowl
When temperatures cool, what could possibly beat a piping hot bowl of authentic Japanese ramen? Husband-and-wife duo Sarah and Zach Nicholson of Lucky Cat Ramen are experts of every traditional ingredient of a ramen bowl, from the ajitama (soft-boiled, marinated egg) from Zach’s family farm chickens to the scratch-made pork bone broth that cooks the noodles to perfection. Memphis barbecue-style pulled pork is a popular choice to top either bao (steamed buns) or the flavorful ramen bowls.
Give your Japanese steamed buns or ramen noodle bowl a local touch by topping them with Memphis barbecue-style pulled pork. Image: Cara Greenstein of Caramelized
361 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103 • (901) 526-0388
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Order: Duck fried rice + maple-bacon Brussels sprouts
South Main’s gastropub South of Beale evolves its menu seasonally, but one satisfying small plate remains the same: duck fried rice, owner Ed Cabigao’s rich duck confit recipe with five spice and a sunny-side-up egg, perfect for lunch, dinner or weekend brunch on the patio with a Bloody Mary. Add on a maple-bacon Brussels sprouts side for a savory-meets-sweet accompaniment you can’t beat.
Owner Ed Cabigo’s winning duck confit fried rice always stays on the menu at South of Beale.
5101 Sanderlin Ave #114, Memphis, TN 38117 • (901) 683-8844
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Closed Sunday
Order: Anything, really.
Muddy’s Bake Shop has mastered baked-from-scratch Southern desserts with a whimsical, contemporary sensibility that has won a loyal local following. Whether cakes, pies, cupcakes, puddings or cookies, the shop is always pushing the envelope. Take it straight from the website: “Scrumptious, sweet, gooey, fuzzy-feeling-inducing expressions of love, topped with sprinkles and extra helpings for good measure.” The epitome of comfort, no?
Now, head out to try one of these delicious comfort food dishes, and enjoy a satisfying meal!