The Dish 

The score on downtown dining.

Man cannot survive on basketball alone. So in the interest of keeping you properly fueled, we've culled the Flyer archives to put together this guide to spots around FedExForum offering Memphis' finest in food, drink, and ambience.

Comfort-food connoisseurs must try the sweet-potato pancakes at the Arcade on South Main. A delectable twist on the original, these huge cakes are of the moist, rich variety, but they still maintain their fluffiness. Let them soak in some maple syrup while you're eating the grits and eggs that accompany the dish, and they'll taste, if possible, even better.

The Arcade, 540 S. Main (526-5757)

arcaderestaurant.com

It's 1:30 on a Saturday (we're talking a.m.) and after a long night of weekend-prompted debauchery, you've got the munchies. If you're still on Beale, head for Blues City Café to prevent your looming hangover. The institution stays open until 3 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 5 a.m. on weekends. Go for a sausage-and-cheese platter or try the "World's Best Tamales."

Blues City Café, 138/140 Beale (526-3637) bluescitycafe.com

Smoky, crispy, explode-in-your-mouth fried chicken is the trademark of Gus's Fried Chicken. Well, that and red-check tablecloths, cold iced tea, friendly help, and big lunch crowds.

Gus's Fried Chicken, 310 S. Front

(527-4877)

No matter where you are in Memphis, you aren't far from a Huey's. The Huey Burger has consistently topped "Best" lists for so many years now that it's pretty much a given. Don't pass up their thick and scrumptious onion rings.

Huey's, 77 S. Second (527-2700)

hueyburger.com

click to enlarge Rendezvous
  • Rendezvous

With all the fixings, Kooky Canuck's Kookamonga burger weighs more than seven pounds. Eat it all in less than an hour, and not only does the restaurant refund the $21.99 price, you get your name and photo added to the Hall of Fame.

Kooky Canuck, 97 S. Second (578-9800) kookycanuck.com

Forget herbal teas, the Majestic Grille has herbal martinis. The Strawberry Basil Martini features chopped basil leaves, strawberry pieces, Strawberry Stoli vodka, and raspberry liquor. Or, try the Lavender Cucumber Martini: Hendrick's Gin with bits of fresh lavender and cucumber pieces.

Majestic Grille, 145 S. Main (522-8555) majesticgrille.com

Luring diners down the best-smelling alley in the world for more than 60 years, the Rendezvous is the ultimate Memphis dining experience. The Rendezvous' mustardy slaw and smoky ribs are better than a whiskey shot on Sunday.

The Rendezvous, 52 S. Second (523-2746) hogsfly.com

Jose Gutierrez is a true Southerner — a Southerner if you happen to have been born in the South of France. But he's practically an American Southerner too if you count the 22-plus years Gutierrez headed Chez Philippe inside the Peabody. In 2005, he opened Encore, a contemporary French-style bistro at 150 Peabody Place, but given the quiet sophistication of the dining room and bar (not to mention its wonderful food), it might as well be worlds away from the action outside on Second Street near Beale.

Encore, 150 Peabody Place (528-1415) encore-memphis.com

Embrace your inner pyro and head to Spindini where the wood-fired oven takes center stage. Positioned near the bar, every seat has a view of the bright orange blaze as the restaurant's signature flame-kissed dishes enter the inferno. Dishes prepared in the oven, such as the generously topped wood-fired pizza or stuffed "brick" chicken, are denoted on the menu with a fire icon.

Spindini, 383 S. Main (578-2767)

spindinimemphis.com

Some of Memphis' most searingly succulent treats find their origins in Jamaica. The jerked, slow-roasted duck at Automatic Slim's is a juicy delight that brings the unbridled fury of Scotch bonnet peppers to the table, along with the sweet and savory flavors of traditional Jamaican jerk seasoning. Top it all off with a relish of pineapple and sun-dried cranberries, and you have heaven on earth.

Automatic Slim's, 83 S. Second (525-7948) automaticslimsmemphis.com


click to enlarge Kooky Canuck's - BY JUSTIN FOX BURKS

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