With colder months settling in, it’s the season to savor warm, homemade foods in beloved Memphis restaurants. From chicken tortilla soups, pumpkin stuffed pastas and famous fried chicken to mouth-watering desserts and pastries, Memphis has countless restaurants and bakeries ready to greet you with warm meals, treats and even warmer hospitality. Here are a few restaurants and bakeries to visit while in the Home of Blues, Soul and Rock 'n' Roll in the winter (and year-long!).
Pepe Magallanes believes there’s a genuine democracy of food that he and his son, Johnathan Magallanes, strive to replicate at Las Tortugas daily. Local favorites such as Spicy Gulf Shrimp Tortugas and Tacos Al Pastor have become a Memphis staple. And, sure to soothe any soul is the Chicken Tortilla Soup served piping hot and dressed to the nines. Let’s just say Pepe’s goal to “show Memphians what Mexican food was really about” will win your heart and your palate.
Las Tortugas has two locations: 1215 South Germantown Road, Germantown, TN 38138 and 6300 Poplar Ave, #115, Memphis, TN 38119.
Rotating local art adorns the walls of this cozy retreat, setting the tone for the mastery of Chef Erling Jensen’s global classics such as Seared Sea Scallops, Crispy Duck Confit and his signature Rack of Lamb finished in veal stock simmered for just under 48 hours. You should order the Wheat and Walnut bread, baked fresh daily. “I think we’d have riots if we didn’t serve it year-round,” server Scott Plaisted winks.
Erling Jensen is located at 1044 S Yates Road, Memphis, TN 38119.
Serving wholesome baked goods and fresh coffee since 2008, this pet-friendly business invites you to enjoy a Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookie while sipping on a Pumpkin Chai Latte with homemade “Whip” on the patio during crisp, autumn days. Come winter, cozy up inside and treat yourself to a Cinnamon Bun Cupcake, or pick up your pre-orders for those holiday parties. Vegan options are available upon request, and they ship, too!
Muddy's Bake Shop has two locations: 5101 Sanderlin #114, Memphis, TN 38117 and 585 S. Cooper Street, Memphis, TN 38104.
Brother Juniper was a cook for St. Francis of Asissi. This nationally-acclaimed breakfast spot embraces the principles of food, family and community wholeheartedly. Secure your place in the restaurant for the made-to-order omelets and other morning staples. You should order the San Diegan as featured by Rachel Ray’s $40 A Day on the Food Network. Or, head straight for the Cinnamon Roll Pancakes dressed in cream cheese icing.
Brother Juniper's is located at 3519 Walker Avenue, Memphis, TN 38111.
Self-taught, award-winning Chocolatier Phillip Ashley Rix is a native Memphian wowing the likes of Garden and Gun and Vogue with his haute-couture confections. “We don’t sell chocolates, we sell an experience,” says Rix. While he’s constantly daydreaming of chocolate, his fall/winter collection seeks to elevate traditional comfort foods. You can swing by the Cooper Young boutique for chocolates with notes of fennel and apple butter, maple pecan pralines, eggnog and even greens and cornbread. Yep, you heard right. We’ll leave the experience up to you.
Phillip Ashley's Chocolates is located at 798 South Cooper Street, Memphis, TN 38103.
Sabine Bachman grew up in Germany, lived in Italy for years, and now calls the serene Evergreen community home. A family-owned-and-operated neighborhood favorite, ECCO’s modern European fare is rooted in scratch-made pastas, sauces and other classics by Chef Armando Gagliano (Bachman’s son.) You can warm up with Tortelli di Zucca (pumpkin stuffed pasta) or Claybrook Farms Center of Ribeye. But, don’t miss happy hour (Tuesday-Thursday) when creative cocktails flow and small plates beckon you to come back again and again.
ECCO on Overton Park is located at 1585 Overton Park Avenue, Memphis, TN 38112.
More than 60 years ago, this Tennessee original set out to unite the community through their delicious and famous take on fried chicken. Today, Gus’s has 22 locations in 11 states, but this special chicken haunt still boasts only one succulent, yet spicy recipe. Fresh-never-frozen chicken is battered in a secret recipe and fried in peanut oil. You can count on Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken to be “one of the Top 10 meals in the United States worth flying for,” as GQ Magazine first declared in 2001.
Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken is located at 310 S. Front Street, Memphis, TN 38103.
Nourish your mind and body at Bachman’s newest restaurant, Libro at Laurelwood inside Memphis’ only independent bookstore, Novel. Bathed in natural light, the dining room gives you a warm setting to catch up on a choice read while savoring thoughtful, locally-sourced creations by Chef Gagliano. All-day menus change weekly according to the seasons and are rooted in European flavors, while leaving room at the table for Southern hospitality.
Libro at Laurelwood is located at 387 Perkins Extension, Memphis, TN 38117.
From cookies to cupcakes, layer to rosette cakes, there’s a dessert at this family bakery suited for every season. Get your fall on with all-things pumpkin. Perhaps the holidays call for a festive cookie plate? Baked fresh daily, selections are ready for same day pick up or in-store nibbles. You have to try the mouth-watering Memphis Cream Cake- Banana Walnut Cake filled with peanut butter and topped with chocolate ganache. Meanwhile, you can learn how to make one of those rosette beauties for yourself at Frost’s monthly cake decorating classes. Book classes online.
Frost Bake Shop has two locations: 394 South Grove Park, Memphis, TN 38117 and 1016 West Poplar Avenue, Collierville, TN 38017.
James Beard Award-nominated Chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Huder are at it again. If you’ve savored a soulful supper at Hog & Hominy, you’ll love their newest expression named after their grandmothers. Downtown Memphis’ newest hotspot highlights Tuscan and Sicilian cuisine. Because they proudly source from area farms, the menu is forever changing which makes every one of your visits unique. Most anytime, the hand-pulled Mozzerella dressed in bresaola (air-dried, salted beef) and olive oil is available, making all your Tuscan dreams come true. Reservations recommended.
Catherine and Mary's is located at 272 S. Main Street, Suite 105-A, Memphis, TN 38103.