In case you missed it, the Memphis Magazine’s Annual Readers poll winners were announced in their February issue. I really love these readers polls, as I love seeing different local Memphis restaurants in the spotlight. I also enjoy seeing what locals think of different restaurants.
First, I would like to say congratulations to Restaurant Iris and Chef Kelly English, as they took home two of the top awards: Best Restaurant and Best Chef! What a big year for them. Sweet Grass also took home a big one, winning Best New Restaurant. Alongside this, Chef Ryan Trimm is currently nominated for People’s Best New Chef in Food and Wine Magazine, and he is the only one in the Southeast Region with a nomination. Before time ends, please go vote for him!
Overall I agree with many of the winners, as I voted for many of them myself. Memphis Pizza Cafe is, and will always be, the best pizza in Memphis. Pete and Sam‘s will always be the best, authentic Italian in the city, even though they came in second next to Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen. As most Memphians can agree, Huey’s DOES have the best burger. I also love Molly Fontaine, voted the Hippest Bar. This list goes on and on.
However, I do need to pick a bone with Memphis for one minute. For “Best Coffee”, no local place won. Starbucks took home this award, and I am upset by this. I will not say that Starbucks has bad coffee, because they do not. However, Starbucks is not only a national chain, but they have helped to close down Mom and Pop coffee shops all over the nation (RIP High Point Coffee). I would much rather go to Republic Coffee, Otherlands, Bluff City Coffee, or Cafe Eclectic any day of the week.
These places not only have better coffee, but they are also locally owned and run. Starbucks will survive, even if they eliminate half of their locations in the city. However, these other coffee shops do not have that luxury. At your local coffee shops, you also gain the benefit of establishing a relationship with the staff, getting personalized service, and feeling the authentic atmosphere of each place. Why would you not go to these places instead? Starbucks has friendly service most of the time, and they do help our nation with different community projects. However, they do not nearly help our city to the extent that these other places do. Please Memphis, support your local coffee shops so they can thrive with the rest of the city.
More of these winners and other stories can be found at the Memphis Magazine website. From a server’s point of view, I also recommend checking out the “Waiter’s Tips: How to be a Good Customer” article.
Happy eating Memphis.