Flyer Flashback 

To mark the Flyer's 20th anniversary, we're looking back at stories from our first two decades.

"As openings go, it was a low-key affair. Rubberneckers lined the curbsides of Beale and Second (holding signs like 'Brad Pitt is my Elvis' and 'Elvis was a Jedi Knight'), but, despite the intense early-evening heat, there were neither streakers nor fainting victims.

"Advance rumors notwithstanding, such high-powered celebs as Pitt, Billy Joel, and Elton John were no-shows. And so were John Travolta and Tom Cruise — both members of the Church of Scientology, like presiding eminences Lisa Marie Presley and Priscilla Beaulieu Presley. Juliette Lewis, affecting a spiked blond haircut, was on hand, though, one of some 20 'friends' brought to town to help the two Presleys — daughter and ex-wife, respectively, to the late King of Rock and Roll — open Elvis Presley's Memphis Thursday night.

click to enlarge Lisa Marie and Priscilla Presley
  • Lisa Marie and Priscilla Presley

"The new Beale Street club will serve as flagship for an operation which Elvis Presley Enterprises hopes to expand to at least 20 clubs over the next two decades — with Las Vegas and Honolulu as the next proposed venues, and with various foreign glamor-capitals under active consideration. Something on the scale of Hard Rock Cafe or Planet Hollywood seemed to be the idea, but first reviews of EPM's culinary offerings were mixed."

So wrote Jackson Baker and Mark Jordon in the July 31, 1997, issue of the Flyer.

Five years later, Elvis Presley's Memphis closed and was reopened by Jimmy Ishii as EP - Delta Kitchen and Bar in 2006. Original plans for EP included a recording studio and two art galleries.

EP closed in late 2008 and is currently being converted into Republic Nightclub and Restaurant, which is billing itself as "Memphis' First Celebrity Driven Mega-Club!" You can follow them on Twitter at twitter.com.republicmemphis.

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