3035 Lamar Avenue
I'm on the Southern Tastes panel for the Commercial Appeal. Every week we get asked a question and our answers are printed in the paper. This week they asked us which street in Memphis is the tastiest. Not surprisingly a lot of us answered Summer Avenue.
Last night, Warren and I decided to try a couple of places on Lamar. We really want Lamar to be the home of hidden jewels like Summer, but it always falls short. Everything is fried, greasy, or otherwise unhealthy.
We had high hopes for The Grille, which grills everything--namely chicken.
It looks a little like a sno cone stand. I thought we'd have to order outside and get it to go, but there is a little room inside with chairs and a counter. However, it did seem like it was more for waiting than for eating.
There was actually a children's book on the counter, so the monkeys (Jiro, 8 and Satchel, 10) kept busy.
Ordering was a bit of a clusterf*ck since I am always trying to figure out THE best thing on the menu and Warren is naturally indecisive. He kept asking what I was getting, but I didn't know, and it made it hard for him to make up his mind. Thankfully the kids knew exactly what they wanted. Chicken on a stick with fries for Jiro and hot wings for Satchel. Warren ultimately got a stick/wing combo with okra and I ordered the catfish. Only they were out of catfish. So I just ordered grilled corn.
Here's a peek at the menu, which is posted on the wall.
While we waited on the food, I did a little snooping. I love the scene out back:
I also checked out the restroom, which was small but clean. And despite assuming this was a cash only place, they do take cards.
Now, for the food. We didn't actually eat it until we got home, and we had a small detour, which I will tell you about in a second, so the fries required a little crisping up in the toaster oven. Also the corn, which I envisioned as grilled and delicious, was half an ear, probably previously frozen, and boiled. I didn't even take a picture of it.
The chicken is clearly the star at The Grille. Each chicken on a stick is an entire boneless breast.
The wings are full wings.
Here's the stick/wing combo. (It came with fries, so Satchel's wings actually had Warren's okra order for those of you with close reading skills.)
The most curious thing, or maybe not since everything is grilled, is that the sauce comes on the side. When we ordered there wasn't any real concern over whether we wanted hot, mild, honey, etc. We all just got the same sauce, which I'm afraid is probably from a bottle. (If it isn't, then imagine what bottled sauce typically tastes like and then you'll have an idea of what they serve.)
Anyways, the chicken is tasty. Not sure it's tasty enough to warrant another trip to The Grille, but it wasn't a wasted trip. Our total was $23.00. There is a tip jar for the cooks, and apparently they have a second location in Collierville.
Ok, so...as we were driving home down Lamar we spotted another interesting looking place called the Home Style Taco Shack. Since I hadn't actually ordered a meal at The Grille I convinced Warren to make a U-turn for a taco.
Seriously awesome, right? The door is for employees only. You do stand at this window and they send the food out of the little drop box like at the pharmacist. Hilarious.
There are two old style booths on the sidewalk for waiting/outdoor dining. They looked ripped straight from an old McDonald's. There were people in them so I didn't want to be too rude and take a picture.
The family waited in the car while I perused the menu.
Don't ask me why, but I ordered fish tacos. They said they were grilled! I was intrigued. I was told I could get the combo with fries, but when I said I didn't want fries she said I could have spinach rice and beans. Spinach rice? Ok, I'll try it.
I waited. And waited. And waited. And regretted this pit stop. Then, my food, which is made to order, was ready. The lady gave me a free Big K soda for my trouble, which was nice.
Intrigued I popped open my styro clamshell in the car.
Satchel, who was now starving in the backseat, lunged at me and said, "Can I have your beans?"
I guess they smelled good to him. And clearly spinach rice is actually Spanish rice. I took another photo of the tacos unwrapped but it is blurry. They basically consisted of a corn tortilla, fried cod patty (formerly frozen) and some slaw. They were ok. They were not grilled though as advertised. And they were not catfish, which is what I was told when ordering.
Warren was all, "Why on earth would you order fish tacos?"
I know, right?
So there you have it. The latest installment of adventures on Lamar Avenue. Kind of a fail.