1286 Union Ave
Last Sunday after spending the afternoon in West Memphis checking out the banks of the Mississippi, we got a hankering for some barbeque. Sunday is not an easy day to find barbeque. We knew not to bother with Cozy Corner (their odd hours vex me), so we headed toward Interstate BBQ. I couldn't believe it when I saw the open sign in the window. However, once inside we realized they closed at 4pm and it was 3:56pm. I thought for sure the Rendezvous would be open since it caters to tourists. Nope. We knew the BBQ Shop was a no go. Just as we were about to give up, we spied the Tops Bar-B-Q on Union, near Cleveland. "It's open!" I hollered as we pulled into the parking lot.
On a normal day, Tops is absolutely packed. On Sunday, not so much. That was fine by me. Usually just find a parking spot is a feat. Not on Sunday. We got pole position. The desolate nature of the parking lot actually concerned us. "Go make sure they are open," Warren suggested. I went inside, looked around, and asked the woman behind the counter. She looked at me a little funny since clearly the door was unlocked and she was eagerly anticipating my order. "Yes, we're open," she said politely. I notified the troops.
I have to say that the thing I like best about Tops is it's funky decor. Most of them--especially along Summer Avenue--are delightfully retro. And they are all totally different. (Believe it or not there are 11 Tops in Memphis! This is also their 57th year of being in business!) I also like how fast they are.
The monkeys were a little fried from our adventures--and apparently thirsty. They ignored my attempts at getting their order ("Burger or BBQ?") and began pawing at the stack of cups. "I'm thirsty!" "I want a drink!" They hollered. I tried in vain to get them under control. Finally, Warren sent them to a table to sit down and shut up. Satchel sadly whimpered that he wanted BBQ. Jiro opted for a "hamburger with sausage and meat and pickles." The woman behind the counter remained calm and smiled pleasantly despite the monkeys' shenanigans and our efforts to control them, which I appreciated. I also appreciated that there were hardly any other customers in sight.
I've been to Tops a few times, but never with the family. I was stressed from the monkeys' bad behavior and didn't have time to study the menu, so I didn't do the best job of ordering. I got all three boys a meal that came with a drink and two sides and just a sandwich for myself. If I had to do it over, I'd get two meals and two sandwiches on the side. That way everyone could have one side. The drinks are all you can drink, so sharing two is plenty. Our tab came to $20, which was a tad high I thought, but I didn't care. I just wanted to eat and leave.
I got everyone a drink and attempted to lift the mood at the table. The quick delivery of our food greatly helped my cause. Soon we were all happily eating and there wasn't a single complaint. I think Warren probably could have eaten two sandwiches, but he got full on Jiro and Satchel's leftovers. I enjoyed my sandwich, but especially enjoyed the fact that my seven-year-old seemed to like barbeque as much as me.
The boys and I did make a quick bathroom trip to wash our hands and it actually wasn't bad. Not sure I'd change a diaper in there, but otherwise it's fine.