A VERY GOOD YEAR
Favorite fare of 2015 tended to be simple, hearty — and cheap
This was the year of the momand-pop in Memphis dining. Of the 10 Best Restaurants of 2015, you can eat a hearty meal for around $10 in most of them. But before we get to that list, here’s a review of what happened.
LYFE Kitchen and Heritage Tavern opened just across Poplar from each other, Heritage in Regalia and LYFE in the former Sharky’s spot. Kelly English designed a menu for the 5 Spot, which reopened behind Earnestine & Hazel’s. Also on South Main, Ray’z World Famous Dr. Bar-b-que just barely made the cutoff, opening last week. Bedrock Eats opened next to the Green Beetle, serving delicious food that complies with a number of dietary restrictions or choices, South Main Sushi and Grill opened, and the much anticipated reopening of Rizzo’s Diner came in spring 2015.
Downtown gained two new Mexican restaurants. Agave Maria opened on Union, and Maciel’s opened also on South Main. Farther north, Bass Pro Pyramid opened and brought Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and The Lookout to town. Blue Nile Ethiopian restaurant opened on Madison Avenue, next door to the BAR-B-Q Shop. In Overton Square, Belly Acres filled out the roster of new restaurants in the popular destination area.
Sabrosura opened on the fringe of the Medical Center and gave the people what they want: more Cuban food. El Sabor Latino, on Avon Road just off Summer Avenue, is a new Colombian restaurant. Mac’s Burgers has two specialties: burgers, of course, and a variety of mac and cheese dishes.
Speaking of burgers, the Sear Shack in Collierville makes a good one — and that’s all it serves besides the fries and shakes. Skybox, a restaurant and sports bar, also opened in Collierville. Julles Posh, a sweet little place that offers healthy meals for dine-in or to-go (including meal packages) also opened, and Rock ‘n Dough Pizza moved from Park Avenue and Ridgeway to a bigger spot at Poplar and Highland. Tart, Belmont in Germantown and Bluefin saw changes in ownership. Jim Neely and Tony Neely teamed up to open Neely’s Interstate Bar-bQ; the second Aldo’s Pizza opened in Midtown; Peggy Brown opened the second Peggy’s, this one on Elvis Presley Boulevard; Kelly English opened the second location of The Second Line, south of us in Oxford; and Fino’s East opened on Brookhaven Circle.
The sad stuff: We lost Edo, a blow to those of us who love Summer Avenue and are going to miss the Love Boat. Chiwawa closed, The coffee custard dessert at Porcellino’s Craft Butcher. and A-tan closed, then reopened, after a fire. We said goodbye to Cafe Fontana in Cordova.
Back on a positive note, The Grille moved a few blocks down Lamar and became an eat-in restaurant; the Tate family still owns it, and they opened T’s Wings in The Grille’s former spot. Crazy Italians, a fast-casual Italian restaurant, opened on Germantown Parkway. Maximo’s opened on Broad in the same spot, and owned by the same people, as the former 3 Angels.
Memphis got its first Cheesecake Factory, and I ate a lot of good food.
In alphabetical order, here’s the list of the 10 best restaurants I reviewed in 2015.
■ Alchemy (940 S. Cooper; 901-726-4444) is still mixing elixirs behind the bar and cooking up magic in the kitchen. Open a bit over four years, Alchemy’s kitchen is no longer in the hands