Thursday, May 17, 2018

Tacker's Shake Shack

Tacker's Shake Shack
409 Military Rd
Marion, AR 72364

My oldest monkey, Satchel (age 16), has a girlfriend (!!) who lives in Marion, Arkansas. This means his dad and I have been shuttling him back and forth. Last Thursday, I decided to make the most of it with a stop for dinner at Tacker's Shake Shack (also known as "Big John's.") Jiro (age 14) was on board, but Satchel requested to be dropped off at said girlfriend's first. He did, however, offer this as he exited the car, "Get a chocolate coconut milkshake."

From midtown, Big John's is about a 30 minute drive. And it's just a minute or two away from the Sultana Disaster Museum for those of you looking for summer outings.


The Shake Shack also has a nice little patio.


Once inside, Jiro and I were a little overwhelmed by the menu. Not only do they have breakfast all day, they have a bazillion burgers to choose from. And grilled chicken specialties. And favorite dinners. And sandwiches. It's nuts. (You can see PDFs of the menu here.) The gal at the register said, "Y'all can sit down and look at the menu if you want." So we did.

I also took a moment to read the story of the Shake Shack.


We finally settled on what we wanted and placed our order. Jiro, who wasn't that hungry after snacking all afternoon, ordered the fried shrimp dinner with fries and the chocolate coconut shake. I went with the breakfast burger (complete with a fried egg, bacon, cheese and hashbrowns) and a side of fries. I figured Jiro would share his shake, so I just got a water. (I *may* have asked about club soda, just because I'm "cringey," but they didn't have any. Our total came to $21.41 plus tip.

Jiro turned to his phone, and I did some snooping around since there was a LOT to look at in Big John's.


He was clearly an Elvis fan.



Our food came out after a few minutes and the young man asked if we were missing anything. "Just the shake," I said. And then he hollered at the gal behind the counter and then a few minutes later we got our shake.

Jiro's shrimp basket didn't look too extraordinary, but it was good enough and he was happy. I mentioned that he should have gotten the shrimp po-boy and he said, "WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME THEY HAD SHRIMP PO-BOYS?!"


Now, let's talk about my breakfast burger. HOLY SHIT. It was freaking delicious. Like way delicious. Like "why I have never eaten at Big John's before and every day since" delicious!


It could definitely give Hopdoddy's breakfast burger a run for the money. I will say that the fries were fairly lacking though. Just standard frozen crinkle cuts, and not especially crispy.

BUT. I'm saving the best for last.

Behold the chocolate coconut milkshake.


Yeah, I know. It doesn't look like much, but it was GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD. Really, really. REALLY GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD.

I should also mention they make and sell fried pies.

We'll be back.

Big John's Shake Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Hattie B's

Hattie B's
596 Cooper

Good news: Peak Hattie's has ended. That means you can go pretty much anytime and not wait in line. However, Jiro (age 14) wanted to go for his birthday at the end of April, so we had to brave it. (On a Saturday afternoon, no less.)


I've actually taken both monkeys to the Hattie B's in Nashville but neither remembers. (I've also taken them to Prince's in Nashville, but that was a looong time ago so I didn't expect them to remember that either. I made Jiro read that review while we waited in line. It was fun to see his reaction.)

Anyway, Jiro and Satchel would eat chicken every day if I let them so, Hattie B's just a few blocks from our house was an absolute must try.


I asked Jiro to time how long we were in line for the record, and it ended up being about 25 minutes. It really wasn't too bad. We knew a couple of people in line (Hi, Mark & Kelly!), and once we got inside we set about examining the menu offerings to pass the time.


By then I was pretty much just eying the beer selection (lots of local options), but I did hone in on the chicken eventually. Satchel (age 16) was at work, but had requested that we bring something home for him, so I decided to get the large white plate (medium) which seemed like a pretty great deal. Jiro immediately settled on the wings (mild) but asked if he could have an extra one as well. I figured between the two of us, we'd save enough for Satchel. Jiro got the fries on the side and the greens (!!). He actually said, "I should probably get a vegetable, huh?" Just for variety, I got a side of black eyed peas and a side of pimento mac and cheese. With my Tiny Bomb and a lemonade for Jiro, our total was $35.22.


We took a seat on the patio along the railing. It was quite lovely, and also fairly amusing to watch people drive by and scope out the line (which definitely was definitely growing).

The food came out before I could finish my beer, about ten to fifteen minutes. It looked great. Mine was clearly more than I would ever eat, and maybe my first experience with a breast wing quarter.


The sides were good, but nothing spectacular.


I was a little jealous of Jiro's wings. And fries.

He shared.

I couldn't tell a big difference between the medium and the mild, and definitely think I could handle the hot. All of the chicken was perfectly crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Many paper towels were needed.

The underlying bread, once soaked with sauce and grease, is really fantastic. (If I was the boss at Hattie's, I'd offer a big salad with hot chicken tenders and croutons made from sauce soaked bread.)

Speaking of, I do want to try the tenders, and I suppose I could get some to go and meet up with a bunch of kale, but maybe that's silly. I also want to try the sandwich. I'll happily go back and eat chicken, drink beer, and sit on the patio.

Jiro has already been back with his school buddies.

Satchel liked his leftovers, but says he'd just get everything plain. WHATEVER, KID.


I really like the mix of people at Hattie's. It's a good reflection of our city's demographics. You don't see that everywhere and it was nice to see at Hattie's. That's right, Nashville hot chicken is bringing Memphians together!

Go see for yourself.

Friday, April 13, 2018


2-6 S. Cooper
Memphis, TN

Early last week, Jiro (age 13) and I got an invite to try the new Hopdoddy in Overton Square. Since we were invited, we got a bit of special attention. We didn't have to wait in line, and we could try whatever we wanted on the house. (Nice, huh?) Our Hopdoddy hostess, Erin, who was in from Texas for the opening, encouraged us to go crazy, so we did.

Let's take a look at the drink menu:


They have a pretty nice selection of local beers, wine, and several cocktails. For unknown reasons, I ordered the 3 Whiskey L.I.T. which I later learned stood for Long Island Iced Tea. Um, it was REALLY strong. I didn't come anywhere close to finishing it. Erin said they are known for their margaritas and that I should try one of those too. She brought me a Little Larry which is a mini frozen margarita. Cute! And YUM!


There's a nice bar in the middle of the restaurant. (You can sit there and order food and drinks from the bartender without waiting in the line.)


Ok, back to the regular menu:


Jiro ordered a Strawberry Shortcake milkshake and was very happy with it.


It took us a minute to narrow down which burger we wanted, but we had no trouble immediately deciding to split an order of Buffalo fries.


Jiro, Satchel and I all have a hot sauce problem and love pretty much anything with Buffalo sauce. The fries did NOT disappoint. They. Were. Amazing.

Ok, let's talk about the burgers. It was really hard to choose! Jiro decided on a Breakfast Burger and I finally pulled the trigger on the Goodnight/Good Cause burger ($1 from each sale goes to Stax Music Academy).


Erin, who was very encouraging, said we should definitely try a couple more. So, we got an Ahi Tuna and the Thunderbird.

And then this happened:


Let's start with the Breakfast Burger. It's got a patty made of sausage, ham and beef. It's topped with American cheese, bacon, egg and potato hay (skinny skinny fries). It's a winner.


The Thunderbird has a chicken patty, avocado, pico, pepperjack and poblano. (Menu doesn't say bacon, but look! bacon!)



The Goodnight/Good Cause burger was very good, but is probably not at all appealing to anyone under 18 and/or anyone who is anti-onion.



And finally, there's the Ahi Tuna, which was my favorite. It is a MUST TRY. That crispy nori on top is clutch.


It was cooked just right.


SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good. Seriously, eat it.

Clearly Jiro and I left stuffed and happy with lots of to go boxes. He could hardly wait to go back, so we went again this week to experience it without any special treatment.

We went on a Tuesday around 6:00pm and only had to wait in line about 5-10 minutes. When you get in line, they assign you a table so that you don't have to wonder if you'll be able to sit down when your food is ready. We were told there were no tables unless we wanted to sit outside. It was a lil chilly, but we decided to go for it. Once at a table, there are servers who come check on you and who can take orders for extra drinks or whatever you might want.

Honestly, I don't understand why this is easier than just offering table service, but it seems to be a trend right now. (Any restaurant people wanna weigh in?)

Anyways, Jiro wanted another Breakfast Burger and this time we decided to split the Truffle Parmesan fries. I decided to try the Hail Caesar salad. Oh, and Jiro got a Malted Root Beer shake. That put our total at $24.

Once outside, we were freezing but happy. I sent Jiro to get a hoodie out of the car and I had a scarf in my purse.


The fries and shake came out soon after Jiro retrieved the hoodie. The shake was yummy, but it was too cold to be drinking a shake.


The fries were good, but maybe a little too cheesy? They needed something. They were just a little too dry maybe. They were definitely nowhere near as good as the buffalo fries.


The Breakfast Burger was still a hit with Jiro. (The potato hay looked more like chips this time, but no matter.)


I was very pleased with my salad.


There were nice big pieces of Parmesan. I really thought that the fried chickpeas were croutons until the very end. The tomatoes were heirloom. Major thumbs up. (I just looked back at the menu and this salad is also supposed to have potato hay on it. Oh, well. I didn't miss it.)

All in all, I see why everyone was so excited about this place opening. And there's a reason this is their 22nd store. Try it for yourself!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Liquor Store

The Liquor Store
2655 Broad Avenue


I've already thoroughly documented my love for The Liquor Store over on the I Love Memphis blog, but I still wanted to see what the monkeys (Satchel, 15, and Jiro, 13) thought. So for this year's (really last year's) lunch with Chip and his fancy camera, which doubles as our annual family photo, we went to the Liquor Store.

Read: All photos by the amazing Chip Chockley!

In addition to my monkeys, my mom, and Chip, we were joined by Chip's wife, Steph, and their two monkeys (Connor, 14, and Chloe, 11).

Before lunch, I insisted we all go to the newly restored Grand Carousel at the Children's Museum to work up an appetite. It's really quite fun, and it goes faster than you'd expect. (Chip got a lil queasy standing backwards snappin pics.)


There's a separate entrance and it's $3 per person, per ride. Rides are every 15 minutes on the quarter hour.


Ok, on to lunch! The building used to be an actual Liquor Store and owners Lisa & Luis Toro were inspired by that lovely hunk of metal pictured above, hence the name. In reality it's a diner, but they also have a full bar.

I called Lisa to let her know I was bringing 8 people, but considering the size of the place, they really can't guarantee anything. However, we got lucky and were able to get seated together after just a few minutes.


I had done a LOT of talking up of the Loaded Fries so Satchel knew he wanted them. However, he wanted them all to himself, not as an appetizer. This caused a bit of teenaged angst when I informed him that meant he had to wait and eat them when everyone else got their main dishes.

This angst was further fueled by the fact that Team Chockley had easily agreed to share an order as an appetizer.


Now, I will say that having ordered these multiple times, they do come out different every time. I would attribute it to the fact that the Liquor Store has only been open, what, two months? And like any new place, they are working out the kinks. However, no matter what the proportion of gravy to Cuban pork to aioli to cheese to fries is, it ALWAYS tastes great. (One time they even ran out of their standard skinny fries and it came out with girthy fries and ...still good!) The way the cheese gets crispy around the edges on the grill is my favorite part.



I didn't want our end of the table to die of jealousy, so I put in an order of papas rellenas.


Looking at the current menu, they appear to have been cut. Which is understandable because they did not, in fact, cure our jealousy.

When Satchel finally got his very own Loaded Fries he was super cranky about sharing...until he realized there was no way he was going to be able to finish them.

Jiro, who is my breakfast lover, went with the Pancake Stack (which comes with 2 eggs and a side of breakfast meat) and an extra side of hashbrowns. The Liquor Store serves breakfast all day! Actually all menu items are available all day! Yay!


His side of hashbrown's was accidentally given to Chloe who was next to him, and by the time the replacement came, he was stuffed. No worries, he took them home and ate them about an hour later.

My mom went with the Breakfast Hash with Cuban Pork at my recommendation.


It was a little heavier on pork than I had previously experienced, but that just meant that she had leftovers for a sandwich later.

Speaking of, none of us ordered the Cuban, but Chloe did. It was bigger than her head. (And she's got a big head.)

I think she ordered it without pickles though, which is CRA-ZY.


Chip & I both got the Blue burger which comes with applewood smoked blue cheese, caramelized onions and bacon. It's so good. It's preventing me from trying other things on the menu.


Oh hey, BIG NEWS for my VEGAN and VEGETARIAN homies. The Liquor Store just added the Impossible (TM) Burger to the menu! You may have heard of it as the "vegan burger that bleeds." I had one in New York and it really, really could fool a meat eater.

Ok, back to our meal. I am not sure what Connor ordered as it isn't photographed, but Steph had the Grilled Cheese (white cheddar, Swiss and American cheese) with potato salad instead of the usual choice of tomato soup or fries. (Apparently Steph is as weird as Chloe.) Actually, I think Connor maybe shared the Grilled Cheese with Steph? Anyways...


Sadly, we didn't save any room for pie.


I love looking in the pie case by the front door. Well the PIES in the pie case, that is.


All of the pies and most of the breads are made in house. Don't be like us. Save room for pie!


All in all, we had a great meal. There were a few bumps along the way, but the more I go to the Liquor Store, the more I am impressed with the service and the food. And I like that they are adapting the menu along the way.

Hope to see you there soon!
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