Best of Memphis 

The People Have Spoken


As you've most likely noted, the visual theme for the Best of Memphis 2012 issue is a nod to this year's elections. With this in mind, I was scratching about, looking at old campaign slogans to come up with a suitably zippy I Like Ike!-like tagline. I Like Memphis! doesn't quite do it.

Romney's campaign slogan, btw, is "Believe in America," while Obama's is "Forward." The period is part of the slogan. While ellipses would most certainly work, the period suggests something more decisive.


So, I was talking to a co-worker about the winners in a particular category, and, boy, was she mad. Bark, bark, bark! The interesting thing is that she is a huge supporter of the first-place winner, frequents the place probably once a week. But, for her, that winner is not the BEST, and so, bark, bark, bark!

I love a good temper tantrum, but what I really appreciated was how engaged she was in the ballot, and that appreciation goes, too, to the record number of voters we had for this year's Best of Memphis. It takes a chunk of time to go through a ballot that has 125 categories.

This year's ballot has two new categories: Best Food Truck and Best New American Cuisine (which we used to call "contemporary"). Perhaps the biggest change on the ballot is that we axed the entire "And the Rest" section, which included Best Memphis Success and Best Memphis Failure (the wording of which drove some batty). We may bring back the section for 2013.

As always, the bold "BOM" means that the winner received an overwhelming majority of the votes. "Reader's Choice" means that the vote was too close to call.

The Best of Memphis issue was written by Greg Akers, Joe Boone, John Branston, Shara Clark, Anna Cox, Chris Davis, Michael Finger, Leonard Gill, Louis Goggans, Chris Herrington, Bianca Phillips, Hannah Sayle, and Bruce VanWyngarden.

Forward. — Susan Ellis, Managing Editor

Food + Drink

Best Food Truck
1. Central BBQ
2. Fuel Cafe
3. YoLo Airstream - Tie - Revival Southern Food Company

Best Barbecue
BOM 1. Central BBQ
2. Germantown Commissary
3. Bar-B-Q Shop — Tie — Corky's

Our readers have been saying it for years, so they weren't surprised when USA Today recently profiled Central BBQ, "the best barbecue in Memphis." It isn't only the homemade pork rinds or the barbecue nachos or the succulent ribs smothered in Central's signature tangy, sweet sauce; we also love the Ghost River beer on tap, covered patio, multiple locations, and snazzy new food truck. For all these reasons and more, Central has stolen the hearts (and bellies) of barbecue lovers in Memphis — and that's no small feat in a town that eats, sleeps, and breathes slow-smoked pork.

Best New Restaurant
1. Alchemy
2. Slider Inn
3. Stone Soup Café


Best New American Cuisine
1. Alchemy — Tie — Sweet Grass
2. Majestic Grille
3. Beauty Shop

Alchemy offers eclectic, modern cuisine, an extensive wine, beer, and cocktail list, and a swanky atmosphere. Somewhere between one of the mixologist's latest concoctions and your second helping of chorizo mac and cheese, you'll get an idea why Memphis diners are buzzing about Alchemy. Sharing top honors in this category is Sweet Grass, site of the recent Heritage BBQ pop-up restaurant and home to Ryan Trimm's smart take on Low Country cuisine. Try Sweet Grass' version of the classic shrimp and grits, featuring house-made sausage and Benton's country ham.

Best Breakfast
1. Brother Juniper's
2. Bryant's Breakfast
3. Blue Plate Café

Keep your bread and circuses; all it takes is a cup of hot coffee and the promise of an open table to keep patrons at Brother Juniper's happy. Year after year, our readers have insisted that this breakfast spot (visited by Rachael Ray herself) is worth the wait — and on weekends, you'll be in for one. Enormous omelets, breakfast specials, cheese grits, home fries, vegan and veggie options, and friendly service make this a Memphis institution.

Best Brunch
1. Owen Brennan's Restaurant
2. Majestic Grille
3. Boscos Squared — Tie — Beauty Shop

If you can't make it to Bourbon Street for brunch, Owen Brennan's serves up the next best thing at its impressive Sunday brunch buffet. Complete with omelets, waffles, a variety of Cajun/Creole-style seafood dishes, bananas Foster, bread pudding, and much more, Owen Brennan's has long been charming Memphians out of bed on Sunday mornings for a hangover-busting brunch with New Orleans flair.

Best Wine List
1. Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar
2. Le Chardonnay
3. Folk's Folly Prime Steak House

Mirroring its small-plate concept, Flight offers a number of flights of three 2-ounce wine samples, an excellent way to survey the wine list and pair each wine with a flight of upscale contemporary dishes. Of course, if you find something you like, any sample is available by the bottle. No wonder this is a favorite for wine lovers year after year.

Best Steak
1. Folk's Folly Prime Steak House
2. Ruth's Chris Steak House
3. The Butcher Shop

Folk's Folly has staked its claim as the best steak joint in Memphis, and it doesn't appear to be relinquishing the honor anytime soon. Since 1977, Folk's Folly has been an institution in Memphis, coupling valet-quality service with a comfortable atmosphere and some of the finest prime steaks in the city. Not only are the cuts spot-on, each piece of meat is cooked to perfection, and our readers particularly appreciate the charm of a locally owned and operated steak house.


Best Ribs
1. Charles Vergos' Rendezvous
2. Central BBQ
3. Corky's

Sometimes there's a reason for the hype, and once again our readers say this tourist hot spot has the food to back up its reputation. The fall-off-the-bone pork ribs rubbed in a Greek spice mix are the stars of the menu, but they're bolstered by a supporting cast of spice-speckled sausage and cheese plate, lamb riblets, pulled pork, and some of the surliest waiters in Memphis — it's all part of the charm.

Best Hot Wings
1. D'Bo's Wings n' More
2. Central BBQ
3. Mr. P's Buffalo Wings

Sure, they may add "and more" to their name, but it's the wings that make this local chain soar. Owner David Boyd built his wing business from a trailer at festivals and fairs to five brick-and-mortar locations throughout Memphis and north Mississippi. With all those D'Bo's around, Mid-Southerners never have to go without their mild, hot, or "suicidal" wings.

Best Fried Chicken
BOM 1. Gus's Fried Chicken
2. Jack Pirtle's Chicken
3. Uncle Lou's Fried Chicken

Never mind why the chicken crossed the road — we've seen people walk into traffic for Gus's fried chicken, and if you drive around their Front Street location at lunchtime, you'd be smart to keep an eye out for chicken-crazed pedestrians as well. That's because the birds at Gus's are hot, crispy, slightly spicy, juicy, and always fresh out of the fryer — and Memphians just can't help themselves.

Best Cajun/Creole
1. Bayou Bar & Grill
2. Owen Brennan's Restaurant
3. Pearl's Oyster House

Our readers prefer to head on down to the Bayou to satisfy their po' boy, crawfish étouffée, and red beans and rice cravings. Not only do they have a variety of Cajun and Creole options, they also have a patio beloved by regulars. For filet gumbo and crawfish pie, Memphians know where to go.


Best Mediterranean
1. Petra Cafe
2. Casablanca
3. Kwik Chek

Hummus, falafel, kabobs, and salads (from Greek to Caesar). Dolmades, souvlaki, and moussaka. The Flying Camel sandwich, the Sicilian panini. We must be talking Mediterranean ... and more (the Philly cheese steak). We're talking Petra Cafe, which has had Cordova, Germantown, and Forest Hill-Irene covered for years. Now Midtown too on Union. Got a group to feed? Order gyro meat, pasta salad, kalamata olives, and tabouleh from Petra by the pound!

Best Dessert
1. Muddy's Bake Shop
2. Cheesecake Corner
3. YoLo Frozen Yogurt


Best Bakery
1. Muddy's Bake Shop
2. La Baguette
3. Gigi's Cupcakes

The eggs come from cage-free, free-range chickens. The milk's organic. No preservatives. No added hormones. No Styrofoam. Just cakes and pies (whole or by the slice), cookies, bars, and last, not least, cupcakes (plus pimento cheese) to drool over. And because Muddy's doesn't advertise, it relies on word of mouth from faithful customers at its East Memphis location. The faithful have spoken: They've voted Muddy's Bake Shop #1 in Memphis in two scrumptious categories.

Best Frozen Dessert
1. YoLo Frozen Yogurt
2. Jerry's Sno Cone
3. La Michoacana

YoLo's frozen yogurt and handmade gelato have been a big success — with Memphians in general and with Flyer readers in particular. In addition to frozen treats, YoLo offers baked goods too: good for you, good for the community: YoLo is a member of Project Green Fork. Its menu is locally sourced. That YoLo Airstream you've seen around town? You can rent it for that special occasion through YoLo's catering service. So, go local, go green, and go mobile: Go YoLo.


Best Italian
1. Pete & Sam's
2. Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen
3. Coletta's Restaurant

Pete & Sam's: family-owned for more than 60 years ... That's a lot of Memphians to feed. And that's a lot of antipasti, spaghetti, and ravioli. And that's not all: pizza, chicken, steaks, and seafood — all in a family-friendly atmosphere.

Best Mexican
1. Las Delicias Mexican Bar & Grill
2. Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana
3. El Mezcal Mexican Restaurant

To start with, the homemade chips at La Delicias Mexican Bar & Grill are customer favorites, and the chunky, made-to-order guacamole is there for those chips (or a spoon) to be dipped into. Don't stop there. The key word at Las Delicias is "delights" — "fresh," too. Try the Chicken Enchiladas Verde. And while we're on the subject of green: Try the equally refreshing margaritas at Las Delicias. And in this 'cue-lovin' city, the pastor (marinated pork) comes to you inside a taco or burrito and as a torta (hot sub).


Best Chinese
1. Wang's Mandarin House
2. A-Tan
3. Mulan Bistro

At Wang's, there's an extensive selection of Chinese favorites, and that includes the Happy Family (beef, prawns, pork, and chicken, along with Wang's special sauce and broccoli), an entrée to make you a happy camper — and eater. That's one reason Wang's has been consistently voted "Best Chinese" by Flyer readers.

Best Thai
1. Bhan Thai
2. Bangkok Alley
3. Thai Bistro

Nestled in a former two-story house in Midtown, the folks at Bhan Thai didn't scrimp on the backyard: The deck is a welcome respite from the Memphis heat. The heat is on, though, in the kitchen, especially the green curry, the Drunken Seafood Combination, and the Spicy Old Man (eggplant, onions, bell peppers, and fresh basil). Plenty of other offerings, however, for the mild-hearted. And FYI: bhan: That's Thai for "house."

Best Vietnamese
1. Pho Saigon
2. Saigon Le
3. Pho Binh

Pho Saigon has been warming the tummies and hearts of Memphians for years with its seemingly endless variations on classic Vietnamese soups with an equally endless variety of toppings. Don't overlook the drink offerings though: Beverages run from black milk tea to coconut meat on ice to jackfruit milk shakes to good old fresh-squeezed orange juice.

Best Japanese/Sushi
1. Sekisui
2. Bluefin
3. Sekisui Pacific Rim

At Sekisui, you're covered — whether it's the intimate setting in Midtown, the roomy interior on Humphreys, the sophisticated scene inside Pacific Rim on Poplar, or Sekisui in Collierville, Bartlett, Cordova, and Horn Lake ... or Chattanooga, Birmingham, and St. Louis. And that covers nigiri, shashimi, sushi ... the raw and the cooked ... delivered to you fresh from the kitchen, the sushi bar, or dramatically at table depending on location. What's more: Sekisui's Memphis-based.

Best Burger
BOM 1. Huey's
2. Earnestine & Hazel's
3. The Belmont Grill

Best Lunch
1. Huey's
2. Trolley Stop Market
3. Central BBQ


Best Service
1. Huey's
2. Restaurant Iris
3. Folk's Folly Prime Steak House

 Best Late-Night Dining
1. Huey's
2. Earnestine & Hazel's
3. Alex's Tavern

Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant
1. Huey's
2. Kooky Canuck
3. Swanky's Taco Shop

From the venerable Midtown location to its colonies elsewhere, Huey's has it down. Huey's won Best Burger, Best Lunch, Best Service, Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant, and Best Late-Night Dining. Goodness. Consistently great burgers, service, and beer have earned our love.

Best Indian
1. India Palace
2. Bombay House
3. Golden India

How do you want it? Mild, medium, or hot? Off the menu or buffet style? Meaty or vegetarian? India Palace, the popular place for years to eat Indian in Midtown, is also the place for catering and party hosting in its big, airy interior.

Best Home Cooking/Soul Food
1. Soul Fish
2. Cupboard
3. Blue Plate Café — Tie — Gus's Fried Chicken

Soul Fish is the favorite with its signature catfish and some of the best sides in town: Try the black beans with the cucumber salad! Consistent, friendly service seals the deal for Soul Fish. And lurking below the surface of the menu is a Cuban sandwich that will pull you under with a smile on your face.

Best Vegetarian
1. Whole Foods Market
2. Trolley Stop Market
3. The Elegant Farmer

Memphis' mother ship for all things organic is set for an expansion that will make it 60 percent larger and with better parking. Construction starts next year and will make room for more of the produce, prepared foods, and ingredients loved by Memphis' often-overlooked vegetarians.


Best Seafood
1. Bonefish Grill
2. Half Shell
3. Tsunami

Flyer readers head east for their seafood fix. Bonefish Grill's huge menu can make you feel like Aquaman summoning the bounty of the sea. Bonefish takes the bar very seriously, offering an equally wide array of drinks to chase the fish.

Best Sandwiches
1. Young Avenue Deli
2. Fino's from the Hill
3. Lenny's Sub Shop

"The Deli," as we all seem to call it, is one of the legacies of Cooper-Young. The beer selection is outrageous, and people are nuts for the deli sandwiches as well as the burger, sweet-potato fries, and hot wings. A late lunch at the Deli on a fall weekend is advanced Memphistry.

Best Pizza
1. Memphis Pizza Cafe
2. Trolley Stop Market
3. Mellow Mushroom

Memphians love THEIR Pizza Café. Memphis Pizza Cafe sounds and feels like home to many, and it beat back some stiff competition from relative newcomers. Multiple locations and the quirky Memphian vibe are working for the Pizza Café.

Best Place for People-Watching
1. Flying Saucer
2. Peabody Lobby Bar
3. Young Avenue Deli

Location, location, location! The Flying Saucer takes real advantage of its great corner, and its open porch puts people-watchers in the thick of downtown: between the Peabody and Beale. Try any of the trillion beers they offer and watch Memphians prance and holler like we do.

Best Patio
1. Celtic Crossing
2. Bhan Thai
3. Boscos Squared

Celtic Crossing takes patio culture to the next level. With cooling fans in the summer and heaters in the winter, Celtic makes the tree-surrounded Cooper-Young corner a hotspot for trivia nights, live music, or just plain drinking.

Best Delivery
1. Garibaldi's Pizza
2. Trolley Stop Market
3. Young Avenue Deli

Garibaldi's has it covered: Germantown, East Memphis, the University of Memphis. Mike Garibaldi has been building his Memphis pizza-delivery empire since 1975. His three locations deliver local pizza, sandwiches, and salads.

Best Donut Shop
1. Gibson's Donuts
2. Howard's Donuts
3. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

Gibson's got your donuts. No matter how many people pack in on Saturdays after tee-ball games or Sundays before church, Gibson's keeps it all moving with a smile. The array of donuts is enough to stupefy anybody. So take your pick. It'll be good.


Best Coffeehouse
1. Republic Coffee
2. Otherlands
3. Café Eclectic

As a coffeehouse, Republic Coffee has much to recommend it. It's centrally located and serves up a wonderful selection of coffees. Plus, it's comfortable enough to settle down with your laptop and get some work cranked out. That said, plenty go to Republic for the eats, which include a fine barbecue tofu sandwich and tasty chicken salad.


Best Chef
1. Kelly English, Restaurant Iris
2. Andrew Ticer/Michael Hudman, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen
3. Patrick Reilly, Majestic Grille


Best Restaurant
1. Restaurant Iris
2. Flight
3. Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen


Best Romantic Restaurant
1. Restaurant Iris
2. Folk's Folly Prime Steak House
3. Paulette's


Best Server
1. Jeff Frisby, Restaurant Iris
2. Renee Naidoo, Fox & Hound English Bar & Grill
3. Jean Pruett, Bardog Tavern

Kelly English's opulent, creative spin on French-Creole cuisine rules the roost according to our readers, topping four categories. English is known for dishes like his towering "surf and turf" (New York strip stuffed with fried oysters and blue cheese), but you can pretty much close your eyes and point at the Iris menu and come out fine. Five-star cuisine with engaging service in an intimate setting? Sounds like great romantic dining to us. Sounds like great dining, period.


Best Bartender
1. Brian "Skinny" McCabe, Newby's
2. Allan Creasy, Celtic Crossing
3. Evan Potts, The Cove
Newby's still rules the Highland Strip, where, for years now, college students – and those of us who wish we were still college students – have congregated for good times, good tunes, and great service from our readers' favorite barkeep.

Best College Hangout
1. Newby's
2. RP Tracks
3. Flying Saucer


Best Place To See Live Music
1. Levitt Shell
2. Minglewood Hall
3. Hi-Tone Cafe

The lush lawn at the renovated Levitt Shell has again become one of the city's great meeting areas, with a diverse array of Memphians enjoying more than 50 concerts a year, most of them free. In 2012, standout performers have included folk stalwart Todd Snider, Memphis soul icon Booker T. Jones, and country legend Emmylou Harris, but the Shell is also a risk-free environment to discover new artists.

Best New Bar
1. Alchemy
2. Slider Inn
3. Blind Bear


Best Bar
1. Alchemy
2. Bardog Tavern
3. Blind Bear


Best Martini
1. Alchemy
2. Peabody Lobby Bar
3. Side Street Grill

It didn't take long for Cooper-Young's Alchemy to vault to the top of the Memphis bar scene, winning more golds — five total, with two more in the Food & Wine section — in its first Best of Memphis competition than Michael Phelps or Missy Franklin brought home from London this summer. The hip, spacious bar — boasting a lengthy drink menu highlighted by a captivating list of specialty cocktails — is often crowded but always comfortable, with street-front dining, an active, open area around the bar, and an intimate, well-lit back room.

Best Band
1. North Mississippi Allstars
2. Lucero
3. Star & Micey

More than a decade into their run, the North Mississippi Allstars — brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson, with bassist Chris Chew — are better and more popular than ever. The trio's most recent album, Keys to the Kingdom — a tribute to the brothers' late father, Jim Dickinson — saw the band's command of a sound that encompasses hill-country boogie, gutbucket blues, New Orleans soul, and Delta gospel at an all-time high. Touring demands make their local gigs rare these days, but that also makes them more special when they come around.

Best Pick-up Joint
1. Peabody Rooftop
2. Paula & Raiford's Disco
3. Flying Saucer

Our readers know where the, ahem, action is. Thursday nights when the weather is right, the Peabody Rooftop is the classic Memphis party, with the best views of the city and the city's most eligible.

Best Karaoke
1. Windjammer Restaurant & Lounge
2. Blue Monkey
3. P&H Cafe

Forget American Idol and The Voice, the real vocal action is on Brookhaven Circle, where the cheap pitchers of beer and karaoke classics never stop flowing at beloved hole-in-the-wall the Windjammer. As one regular told us, "You'll hear everything from Reba McEntire to Katy Perry. I think every time I go I hear one lady doing 'Black Dog' by Led Zeppelin."


Best Beer Selection
BOM 1. Flying Saucer
2. Boscos Squared
3. Young Avenue Deli

With more than 240 beers on tap and locations both downtown and in the eastern suburbs, Flying Saucer is a beer lover's oasis that's dominated this category. From Abita Amber to Yuengling Oktoberfest, the Saucer has whatever kind of beer you could want.

Best Singer
1. Amy LaVere
2. Joyce Cobb
3. Yo Gotti

After touring home and abroad on the strength of her terrific 2011 album Stranger Me, a swaggeringly musical suite of break-up songs, Memphis fave Amy LaVere has been back in the studio lately working on a follow-up. But in the meantime, she found the time to partner with some other ace Mid-South musicians (including "Best Band" member Luther Dickinson) in the folk/roots supergroup the Wandering. Over the past year or so, LaVere has packed our "Best Place To See Live Music" winner, the Levitt Shell, both as a solo act and with the Wandering. Memphis loves her in any form, and we can't wait to hear what she comes up with next.

Best After-Hours Club
1. Earnestine & Hazel's — Tie
Paula & Raiford's Disco
2. Alex's Tavern
3. Club 152 Beale


Best Jukebox
1. Earnestine & Hazel's
2. Alex's Tavern
3. Young Avenue Deli


Best Hole in the Wall
1. Earnestine & Hazel's
2. Alex's Tavern
3. The Cove

It's South Main Art Trolley night, and you've just polished off the last glass of free Merlot in the only art gallery that still had booze left. All you've had for dinner are crackers and cheese at your friend's art show. Your tummy is grumbling. There's only one answer to meet your after-hours booze and Soul burger needs — Earnestine & Hazel's. It is, after all, the city's finest hole in the wall. Bonus: There's a haunted jukebox that's said to play songs by itself, and sometimes the songs actually pertain to what customers are talking about. Creepy!

Best Margarita
1. Molly's La Casita
2. Happy Mexican
3. Café Olé

No one knows for sure what's in Molly Gonzales' secret margarita recipe. Okay, okay. We're sure the employees know, but let's not ruin the mystique. Regardless of what's in the sweet 'n' tangy tequila cocktail, we know it happens to be the best in town. Molly's margaritas are served frozen or on the rocks, or if you're a booze snob, opt for a top shelf margarita made with handcrafted Milagro tequila and Gran Marnier. Stop by on Mondays for $1.25 off house margs.

Best Happy Hour
1. Bardog Tavern
2. Flying Saucer
3. Boscos Squared

Downtown residents and workers can wet their whistle on the cheap every Monday through Friday since Bardog offers draft beers, well drinks, and wines by the glass for $1 off from 5 to 7 p.m. After you've knocked back a few, the Bardog poo poo platter, with shrimp skewers, pork and vegetable egg rolls, fried pickles, buffalo chicken tenders, and fries, is the perfect answer to the beer munchies.

Best Dance Club
1. Paula & Raiford's Disco
2. Club 152 Beale
3. Rumba Room

Last fall, DJ Robert Raiford accidentally shot himself in his sleep. But thankfully for Memphis disco fans, the legendary, Jheri-curled DJ pulled through. His survival probably had something to do with Raiford's hardcore staying power, which has also been reflected in his popular after-hours dance club. Even after retiring from the Hollywood Disco several years ago, Raiford just couldn't stay away. Ever since, he and his daughter Paula have been keeping the strobe lights on at this downtown club. Flyer readers love to boogie down there, and they apparently like to do so well into the wee hours of the morning since the disco tied in the Best After-Hours Club category.

Best Sports Bar
1. Fox & Hound English Bar & Grill
2. Buffalo Wild Wings
3. Jack Magoo's Sports Bar & Grill


Best Place To Shoot Pool
1. Fox & Hound English Bar & Grill
2. Young Avenue Deli
3. RP Billiards

If the Memphis Grizzlies are playing, you better bet the Fox & Hound has the game on. Same goes for the Memphis Tigers. But while you can see those games at just about any bar (or even at home), the Fox & Hound offers something that puts them a cut above the rest. The East Memphis watering hole broadcasts Ultimate Fighting Championships matches. And for those who like to rack 'em up, the Fox & Hound has plenty of pool tables.

Best Gay Bar
1. The Pumping Station
2. Spectrum
3. Dru's Place

You won't find leather-clad gay men here every night of the week, but the Pump is home base for members of Tsarus, the city's fraternal leather club. If leather seems a little too much for you, never fear. The beer bust will loosen you up. Every Friday night and Sunday, the Pump offers a little something for beer fans of all kinds. Pabst Blue Ribbon is $3 for all-you-can-drink on Fridays and $5 on Sundays. But more sophisticated beer drinkers can opt for the $9 beer bust on Blue Moon and locally brewed Ghost River Golden.

Arts + Entertainment

Best Grizzlies Player
1. Marc Gasol
2. Zach Randolph
3. Rudy Gay

Best Local Athlete
1. Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies
2. Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies
3. Rudy Gay, Memphis Grizzlies

During the 2011-2012 NBA season, Marc Gasol put the Griz on his back, averaging 14.6 points per game and three assists. Currently one of the most impressive centers in the league, Gasol has the tools needed to help lead his team to victory during the NBA season and playoffs. Selecting him for both the Best Grizzlies Player and Best Local Athlete is only right.

Best Sports Team
1. Memphis Grizzlies
2. Memphis Tiger Men's Basketball
3. Memphis Redbirds

Since migrating to the city in 2001, the Grizzlies have experienced their share of rocky NBA seasons. However, the team's resilience and drive to win has brought forth brighter days over the last few years. Acquiring new talent, heightening its win record, and attracting more tourists and revenue to Memphis in the process, the Grizzlies deserve the label as the city's best sports team.

Best Museum
1. Pink Palace Museum
2. Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
3. Children's Museum of Memphis

The Pink Palace is like a bunch of museums crammed into one. There are exhibits dedicated to the natural history of the Mid-South, Memphis' health-care history, the Civil War, yellow fever, and earthquakes, plus a planetarium and IMAX theater. But perhaps the most loved exhibit is the replica of the Piggly Wiggly, the country's first self-service grocery store.

Best Golf Course
1. Mirimichi
2. The Links at Galloway
3. The Links at Overton Park

When looking to play a game of 18 holes, there are a host of golf courses to choose from in the area. But only one course is owned by Grammy and Emmy Award-winning entertainer Justin Timberlake. The Mirimichi golf course provides an eco-friendly atmosphere and a nice patio to chill out on. The course lives up to the meaning of its Native American name, "a place of happy retreat."

Best Live Theater
1. The Orpheum
2. Playhouse on the Square
3. Theatre Memphis

Memphis' only live Broadway theater has featured touring productions of everything from Memphis the Musical to Wicked to Monty Python's Spamalot. But not only does the Orpheum offer Memphians a glimpse of the Great White Way, it also hosts touring musical acts like R. Kelly, foodie phenoms like Anthony Bourdain, and the occasional psychic (think Sylvia Brown). It doesn't hurt that the grand old theater, with its gleaming gold embellishments and ornate chandeliers, is quite easy on the eyes.

Best Casino
1. Horseshoe Casino
2. Harrah's Tunica
3. Gold Strike Casino Resort

With more than 70 table games and 2,000 slot machines, it's a no-brainer why Memphians pick Horseshoe Casino as the best place to indulge in gambling. The delicious food, entertainment, and lodging are merely a plus. 

Best Commercial Gallery
BOM 1. David Lusk Gallery
2. Gallery Fifty Six — Tie — Fountain Art Gallery
3. D'Edge Art & Unique Treasures

The names of the artists who have shown at David Lusk Gallery over the years read like a roster of the Memphis arts who's who — Tad Lauritzen Wright, Nancy Cheairs, William Eggleston, Beth Edwards, Pinkney Herbert, Ted Faiers, John Torina, Twin. It's this reputation for showing the fine work of local artists and artists from across the country that led Flyer readers to give David Lusk a commanding victory in this category.

Best College Gallery
1. Main Gallery, Memphis College of Art
2. Art Museum at the University of Memphis
3. Hyde Gallery, Memphis College of Art Graduate School

It makes sense that the best college art gallery would be found at the only local higher education institution dedicated solely to the arts. On any given day, you'll find exhibitions of work by students, faculty, and visiting national artists.

Best Movie Theater
1. Paradiso
2. Studio on the Square
3. Ridgeway Four

Who doesn't like to relax and enjoy a good movie? At the Paradiso, you can recline in a plush, stadium-style seat and do just that. Why not purchase something from the theater's large concession stand, play an arcade game, or visit its Internet Cafe while you're at it?

Best Family Entertainment
BOM 1. Memphis Zoo
2. Concerts at the Levitt Shell
3. Memphis Redbirds Game

Lions, tigers, komodos, oh my! That's what humans say when they travel to the Memphis Zoo in Midtown. Visitors have the wonderful opportunity to view hundreds of animals from all over the world and check out various exhibits. It's a great attraction for the entire family.


Best Drive-Time Show
1. Drake & Zeke in the Morning, 98.1 The Max
2. The Gary Parrish Show with Geoff Calkins, 680 AM/92.9 FM ESPN
3. Conley and Karen, FM 94.1

Best Radio Talk Show
BOM 1. Drake & Zeke in the Morning, 98.1 The Max
2. The Gary Parrish Show with Geoff Calkins, 680 AM/92.9 FM ESPN
3. Ben Ferguson Show, 98.9 News Talk

Coffee isn't the only way to get your day started. Getting an earful of Drake & Zeke in the Morning can do the trick as well. Once again, the duo takes the prize for both the Best Drive-Time Show and Best Radio Talk Show. The topics, humor, and rock-and-roll playlist continue to keep listeners coming back day after day.

Best Radio Personality
1. Drake Hall, 98.1 The Max
2. Ron Olson, FM 100
3. Zeke Logan, 98.1 The Max

Memphians searching for a radio personality who can keep them entertained and also informed on important things happening within the city and nationally: Drake Hall is your guy. He's one talented mofo. But don't take our word for it. Check him out for yourself.

Best FM Station
1. WEVL-FM 89.9 Volunteer Supported Radio
2. WXMX-FM 98.1 The Max
3. WKNO-FM 91.1 NPR

Those looking for an alternative to mainstream radio tune into WEVL-FM 89.9. The station continues to provide its volunteers with the opportunity to prepare their own playlists, resulting in a melting pot of jams.

Best AM Station
1. WREC-AM 600 News Radio
2. WHBQ-AM Sports 56
3. ESPN 680 AM

Why listen to WREC-AM 600 News Radio? Memphians can follow University of Memphis football and basketball games, tune into national talk-radio shows, and get local news. Your pick.

Best Sports Radio Show
1. The Gary Parrish Show with Geoff Calkins, 680 AM/92.9 FM ESPN
2. The Chris Vernon Show, 680 AM/92.9 ESPN
3. Memphis Sport Live, Sports 56

Once again The Gary Parrish Show with Geoff Calkins has been voted the Best Sports Radio Show. The duo is dedicated to disseminating the latest in the world of sports to listeners Monday through Friday.

Best Blog
BOM 1. I Love Memphis Blog,
2. Eat Local Memphis,
3. Dining with Monkeys,

— Tie — Paul Ryburn's Journal,

People really pay attention to I Love Memphis' Kerry Crawford. "Vote for the Best of Memphis" was #193 on her blog's "365 Things To Do in Memphis" post. Also, "If you love I Love Memphis, show a little love in the 'Best Blog' and 'Best Twitter' category. It would be most appreciated." And look what happened. Also, see below.

Best Twitter
1. I Love Memphis, @ilovememphis
2. The Memphis Flyer, @MemphisFlyer
3. Tony Allen, @aa000G9

Everything you love about the I Love Memphis blog in not as many characters.

Best Newspaper Columnist
1. Geoff Calkins, The Commercial Appeal
2. Wendi C. Thomas, The Commercial Appeal
3. Michael Donahue, The Commercial Appeal

Not everyone can be The Commercial Appeal's sports columnist and co-host a radio show. But Geoff Calkins is one of a kind and a standout in the home of the Tigers, Redbirds, and Grizzlies.

Best TV Sportscaster
BOM 1. Jarvis Greer, WMC-TV Channel 5
2. Glenn Carver, WREG-TV Channel 3
3. Carrie Anderson, WMC-TV Channel 5

When Jarvis Greer is on a television screen talking about sports, it's hard to imagine that there's a happier person in the world. Greer started dropping the scores for WMC-TV more than 30 years ago. Before that, he played football for the Tigers. He's a father, family man, and fan, and people love watching him loving his job.

Best TV Weatherman
BOM 1. Dave Brown, WMC-TV Channel 5
2. Ron Childers, WMC-TV Channel 5
3. Joey Sulipeck, WHBQ-TV Fox 13

We don't build up our winners by disparaging the competition but — taking nothing away from any of the Bluff City's other fine radar jockeys — this contest isn't really fair, is it? Dave Brown's half of the greatest announcing team in the history of televised wrestling, and even if he was born in Colorado, the silver-maned meteorologist is as Memphis as barbecue, blues, and an annual precipitation rate of 53.68 inches.

Best TV Anchor
BOM 1. Joe Birch, WMC-TV Channel 5
2. Claudia Barr, WREG-TV Channel 3
3. Mearl Purvis, WHBQ-TV Fox 13

When Joe Birch broke his neck in a traffic accident earlier this year (while delivering Meals on Wheels, following a regular nightly broadcast), Mayor A C Wharton did what great politicians do in times of doubt and uncertainty. He spoke directly to and for the people he represents. "He's like the Mississippi River, like Beale Street," Wharton said. "I mean, what isn't Memphis about Joe Birch? Memphis is Joe Birch. Joe Birch is Memphis." Birch mended quickly and returned to WMC-TV August 1st. He still has great hair.

Best Website
1. Memphis Flyer,
2. The Commercial Appeal, and
3. Live from Memphis,

We can't deny the fact that you like us. (Becoming a little verklempt.) Right now, you really like us. All class and a little sass, utilizes a heady blend of cutting-edge magic and ancient sorcery to make our comprehensive calendar and weekly content available on laptops, smart phones, enchanted mirrors, and tablets. Plus (shameless plug) up-to-the-minute news and informed commentary about politics, education, music, food, and entertainment from all your favorite Flyer staffers.

Goods + Services

Best Department Store
1. Target
2. Macy's
3. Dillard's

Anybody who can go into Target intending to purchase a single item and get out without filling an entire shopping cart is possessed of an inner strength beyond our comprehension.

Best Grocery Store
1. Kroger
2. Whole Foods Market
3. Fresh Market

Kroger: It's the grocery store closest to where you live. And the next closest grocery. And the next to the next closest grocery. What is it they say about location, location, location? In addition to total market dominance, the big chain always has a nice selection of fresh produce, baked goods, and meats as well as seasonal items. You can grab a rack of ribs and something to grill them on too.

Best Liquor Store
1. Buster's Liquors
2. Joe's Wines & Liquors
3. Kirby Liquors

Nineteen fifty-four was a good year for Memphis. Elvis recorded "That's All Right" at Sun Studio, and Buster's Liquors opened for business. With a bigger selection than any other commercial retailer in the state of Tennessee, Buster's is practically a tourist destination. Helpful staff, booze for days.

Best Bookstore (new)
1. The Booksellers at Laurelwood
2. Barnes & Noble Booksellers
3. Burke's Book Store

If you're in the mood for a good read, the Booksellers at Laurelwood has what you're looking for. From classics to current best sellers, their shelves are stocked with a healthy selection of (actual, real-life) books so that you can find the perfect one to curl up with.

Best Bookstore (used)
BOM 1. Burke's Book Store
2. Tiger Bookstore
3. Book Traders

By an overwhelming majority, this quaint Cooper-Young store swept this category. It could be because the long-standing business has provided new, used, rare and collectible books to our community for more than 100 years. Whoa — Burke's truly is the "BOM"!

Best Shopping Center
1. Carriage Crossing
2. Wolfchase Galleria
3. The Shops of Saddle Creek — Tie — Oak Court Mall

Zales, Bonefish Grill, American Eagle Outfitters, LOFT, Macy's, Massage Envy, Build-a-Bear-Workshop, Carrabba's Italian Grill: These are only a few of the reasons why our readers think Carriage Crossing is the best shopping center in Memphis. Can you get a giant cookie there? Yes, you can.  

Best Gift Shop
1. Babcock Gifts
2. Maggie's Pharm
3. More Than Words

Baby shower? Birthday? Festivus? With an array of stationery, bath and body products, and work from local artists and potters, Babcock Gifts has your shopping needs all wrapped up.

Best Bank
1. First Tennessee Bank
2. Regions
3. SunTrust

With several locations around town and the recent addition of a mobile deposit option through their smart phone banking app, First Tennessee makes banking easy, and Memphians like that. Avoiding long lines by snapping a picture of your check — who could ask for more?

Best Farmers Market
1. Memphis Farmers Market
2. Agricenter Farmers Market
3. Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market

The Memphis Farmers Market has delicious, locally grown fruits and veggies. It's also a great place to score locally produced arts and crafts. Every Saturday from April through October, more than 70 local farmers and artisans set up shop at downtown's Central Station and offer up their goods. The market also hosts live music and food-awareness events, adding to its appeal and making it a favorite among our readers.

Best Women's Clothing
1. Crazy Beautiful
2. Indigo
3. Hoot + Louise

For the sixth year, our readers have spoken and they love Crazy Beautiful's super fun and funky selection of apparel and accessories. In store or online, they have the hippest styles for Memphis' fashionistas and trendsetters.

Best Women's Shoes
1. Joseph
2. Cook & Love
3. Outdoors Inc.

A new pair of shoes can make any woman feel fabulous — especially when that pair of shoes is designed by the likes of Jimmy Choo, Gucci, or Manolo Blahnik. A shopping trip to Joseph ensures that Memphis women are hitting the town with their best foot forward.

Best Men's Clothing
1. Oak Hall
2. James Davis
3. Outdoors Inc.

Best Men's Shoes
1. Oak Hall
2. Outdoors Inc.
3. James Davis

Memphis' fashionable men have looked to Oak Hall since it opened in 1859 for high-quality clothes, shoes, and service. They stock top brands and offer must-have styles for both the polished businessman and the more casual gent.

Best Vintage/Used Clothing
1. Goodwill
2. Flashback
3. Salvation Army — TieHoot + Louise

When you're looking for that perfect pair of broken-in bell-bottoms or a snazzy '70s polyester shirt, Goodwill's got you covered. Rummaging through their racks and shelves is a little like treasure hunting, minus the swashbuckling pirates.

Best Home Furnishings
1. Stash
2. Ashley's
3. Pottery Barn

From traditional to chic, Stash offers top-brand furniture and home decor at discounted prices. Memphians look there for unique, inspired styles to add a touch of personal flair and pizzazz to their abodes.

Best Hair Salon
1. Gould's
2. Dabbles
3. Hi Gorgeous

Best Day Spa
BOM 1. Gould's
2. Serenity Day Spa
3. Germantown Day Spa

Best Place To Get a Facial
BOM 1. Gould's
2. Germantown Day Spa
3. Serenity Day Spa

Best Manicure/Pedicure
1. Gould's
2. Nail Bar on the Island
3. Nail & Skin Bar – Midtown

Best Place To Get Waxed
BOM 1. Gould's
2. Hi Gorgeous
3. European Wax Center

Gould's ranked first in a whopping five categories including Best Hair Salon, Best Day Spa, Best Place To Get a Facial, Best Manicure/Pedicure, and Best Place To Get Waxed. With 80 years of experience and expertise in complete hair care and total body care, it's not surprising that they're turning heads.

Best Pet Store
1. Hollywood Feed
2. Petco
3. PetSmart

It could be assumed that no one enjoys a trip to Hollywood Feed as much as a certain beloved mini-dachshund that's been known to visit the Flyer's offices from time to time, but Memphians have spoken and they love it, too. With their knowledgeable, eager-to-help staff, finding the right natural, holistic food and treats for your furry friends is a breeze.

Best Fine Jewelry Store
1. Mednikow
2. Las Savell
3. Robert Irwin Jewelers

Mednikow Jewelers has blinged out the Mid-South for more than 100 years, featuring exclusive brands like David Yurman and John Hardy. Their rare gems and friendly, knowledgeable staff make Mednikow the crown jewel of Memphis fine jewelry.

Best Tattoo Parlor
1. No Regrets Tattoo Emporium
2. Underground Art
3. Trilogy

No Regrets Tattoo Emporium, located on Madison across from Huey's restaurant, is the best place to get inked in the Mid-South. With a talented staff boasting extensive artist portfolios you're certain to have no regrets about your tattoo experience.

Best Health/Fitness Club
1. Fogelman YMCA (Downtown) — Tie — French Riviera
2. Germantown Athletic Club
3. DeSoto Athletic Club

The Fogelman YMCA and French Riviera tied for Best Health/Fitness Club, proving that Memphians are up off their couches and working on their fitness. The Y offers members nearly endless opportunities for all ages to get active, from aerobics to aquatics. The French Riviera experts can help you reach your fitness potential by providing nutritional guidelines and helping you plan a personalized fitness strategy.

Best Yoga Studio
1. Midtown Yoga
2. Bikram
3. Better Bodies Yoga

If you're into zen, then Midtown Yoga is the perfect place for you to mellow out and sweat away your stress. With classes offered that appeal to newbies and seasoned vets and everything in between, you're sure to find the right class for you.

Best Antiques Store
1. Flashback
2. Toad Hall
3. Palladio

Flashback showcases 2,800 square feet of gift ideas and personal treasures — featuring everything from period garments, accessories for costumes, and everyday clothing to retro '50s diner booths, chrome dinettes, barstools, and other quality home furnishings.

Best Smoke Shop
1. Tobacco Corner
2. Wizard's
3. Madison Avenue Tobacco

Memphis' Tobacco Corner has been a premier smoke shop in the Mid-South for the past 40-plus years. Opened in 1969, it offers a variety of cigars, tobaccos, pipes, and pens as well as mail-order service for out-of-town customers. Their knowledgeable staff and friendly atmosphere makes it the one-stop shop for your tobacco needs.

Best Alternative Smoke Shop
1. Wizard's
2. Whatever
3. Cooper-Young Glassworks & Gifts

For alternative smoke supplies, Wizard's is the best in Memphis. With a wide selection of merchandise, from spice mills, ashtrays, pipes, and incense to prints, posters, and vitamins, Wizard's is smokin'!

Best Dry Cleaner
1. Bensinger's Fine Cleaners
2. Dryve Cleaners
3. Happy Day Cleaners

After 50 years of service and 12 retail locations in Shelby County, Bensinger's is still locally owned and operated by partners Larry Adler and Ray Dan. Their attention to detail and customer service helped make them the best dry cleaner in Memphis.

Best Florist
1. Pugh's Flowers
2. Holliday Flowers
3. Garden District

Pugh's Flowers has been family-owned since its opening in 1976, and you can smell the success! This full-service flower shop has three locations in Memphis, delivers seven days a week, and is ranked among the nation's 100 largest floral order senders from more than 25,000 Teleflora member shops.

Best Garden Center
1. Dan West Garden Center
2. Midtown Nursery
3. Digger O'Dell Nursery

We can remember when Dan West was crammed into a former gas station on Poplar. Oh wait — they still are (though they recently opened a second location near Eads). But don't let the tiny building fool you; the place offers anything that anybody with a green thumb can grow. We bought a dogwood a few years ago, and when it didn't seem to be thriving, we brought the staff at Dan West some soil and they examined it, found the problem, and offered the cure. That's how good these guys are.

Best Bicycle Shop
1. Peddler
2. Midtown Bicycle
3. Outdoors Inc.

The Peddler opened way back in 1971, selling 10-speed Raleigh road bikes and not much more. Fast forward 40 years, and this is your one-stop bike shop for anything on two wheels, whether you're a professional road racer, a weekend mountain biker, or an urban commuter. Plus the store on Highland is crammed floor to ceiling with all the related gear you can handle: helmets, clothing, shoes, accessories, locks, and more.

Best Athletic-Goods Store
1. Outdoors Inc.
2. Breakaway Running — Tie — Fleet Feet
3. Dowdle Sports

Yes, we admit it: Sometimes we pry ourselves from our La-Z-Boys and go to Outdoors just to stock up on the cool clothing, from makers like Patagonia and Mountain Hardware. But our more adventurous readers picked Outdoors #1 because they know they can find just about anything related to outdoor adventures here, whether they're into biking, hiking, skiing, canoeing, climbing, kayaking, and lots more.

Best Record Store (new)
1. Spin Street
2. Goner Records
3. Shangri-La Records

"Record" store really doesn't begin to describe what you can find in this entertainment emporium. Sure, there are plenty of great albums and CDs, as you might expect. But customers can also browse a great selection of DVDs, entertainment-related books, posters and framed art, merchandise, and clothing featuring popular bands and movie stars.

Best Record Store (used)
1. Goner Records
2. Shangri-La Records
3. Spin Street

Goner brags that they offer "good old vinyl records" and, boy, they mean it — more than 1,100 the last time we checked, and the selection is astonishing. If you're in the mood for the LP Battle of Rat Fink Hill, featuring "crude unissued Pittsburgh instrumentals" from the Sonics, Mad Hatters, Keys, and other bands from the early 1960s, they've got a copy. And a bargain, we think, at $13.99.

Best Music Equipment Store
1. Amro Music Stores
2. Gibson Guitar
3. Guitar Center — Tie Memphis Drum Shop

Amro opened in 1921, originally focusing on pianos and music lessons. Over the years, it has greatly expanded its repertoire to include all kinds of instruments, classes, band equipment, repairs, rentals, and sheet music. Now in its fourth generation of family ownership, the store is consistently named one of the Top 200 music retailers in the country. It's a great place, and we have to admit we've grown fond of the girl playing the piano in the window.

Best New Car Dealership

Dobbs Honda
Wolfchase Honda
Lexus of Memphis
Jim Keras

Is there a "worst" car dealership in town? Hard to say, since our readers named so many "best" ones that it was impossible to declare a clear winner in this category. If you're looking for a new set of wheels, from Honda to Nissan to Volkswagen, you're in good hands here.

Best Used Car Dealership
1. Carmax
2. City Auto
3. Gossett

Start paying attention to the little dealership decals on the backs of cars, and you can't help but notice how many Carmax stickers you see. There's a good reason for that: a wide-ranging inventory, quick and easy computer searches of all makes and models, and a friendly sales staff.

Best Motorcycle Dealership
BOM 1. Bumpus Harley-Davidson
2. Honda-Yamaha of Memphis
3. Southern Thunder

Gone are the days when a motorcycle shop housed a half-dozen bikes and a grimy parts counter. Bumpus, one of the top-selling Harley dealerships in the country, is a full-blown motorcycling experience. Sure, they have rows of gleaming Hogs, a parts counter, and service department. But half the building is devoted to accessories and what Harley calls "motorclothes," which can include anything and everything, from a $400 leather jacket to a $10 scarf for your dog. Even if you've already bought a bike (or two), it's hard to walk out empty-handed.

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