The Teen Appeal

Giving truth to Memphis youth

Our guide to eating in Memphis

After reading this, let us know if you agree or disagree, or if we left anything off by commenting on this article.

Best Restaurant After School

Some may find this very surprising but the best place to be after school is definitely Exlines’  Best Pizza in Town (multiple locations) Opening their first location at 2935 Austin Peay Hwy. Created in 1973, they have since grown to 12 locations in and around Memphis. My personal favorite is the one located in the Mendenhall Shopping Center. It is one-minute walking distance from my school. Everyone from my school really enjoys themselves here. They are mostly known for their delicious pizza, but my favorite menu item is the barbeque nachos with extra jalapenos.  It is so good that I happily eat this every day I stay after school. The service is great and the atmosphere is family-friendly.

Micah Davis, Power Center Academy

The Best Local

The best local place to also save coins in Memphis is definitely Gus’s Fried Chicken (locations on South Front Street and Mendenhall Road. Original location in Mason, Tennessee). The quality of the service alongside with the food definitely cannot be beat. Not to mention this is best chicken you could ever eat. They have a three-piece wing combo with slaw and beans that are to die for. After you eat their amazing fried pickles as an appetizer while sipping on their homemade sweet tea, you will feel like you’re in complete heaven. The rustic small town atmosphere of the restaurant has to be the best part besides the amazing prices. When you leave your wallet and stomach will definitely be happy and satisfied.

Micah Davis, Power Center Academy

Lenny’s Sub Shop (multiple locations) is a Memphis-based sandwich shop that provides the perfect alternative from Subway. Locally owned and operated, they use fresh ingredients and have their very own hot pepper relish to garnish salads and sandwiches. The meats and cheeses are cut right in front of you and you watch your meal go through every step of preparation.

–Erin Aulfinger, Central High School

Best Place to Save Coins

If you are pinching pennies, go to Cheddar’s (multiple locations). The food is great and comes in some of the biggest portions I have ever seen. If you split one of the meals, a bill for three will only cost about $25.

–Erin Aulfinger, Central High School

Best Splurge

Genghis Grill (locations on Winchester Road and Germantown Parkway), hands down. You can pile as much on your plate as you want and still only have to pay a flat fee! Last time I went they also made a lot of improvements, making it easier to juggle all of the things they gave you and surf through the options available.

–Erin Aulfinger, Central High School

Best Place for a First Date

After sitting in your car trying to find somewhere to take your date, South of Beale (361 S. Main St.) in Downtown Memphis will always be your hero. The restaurant is the hippest place to be when looking for a dim-lit dinner. The food choices range from creamy Gouda and shrimp mac & cheese to mozzarella and sun-dried tomato pie. Dinner plates are around $12-$20 with a large proportion of food to feast upon.

–Angelica Martini, Central High School

Best Place for Breakfast

I love Cafe Eclectic (locations on McLean, in Harbor Town and adjacent to University of Memphis on South Highland Street). They get almost all of their ingredients from local farms and providers, so the food is always fresh. The wide variety of drinks, from Illy brand coffee to chai teas, milkshakes and Italian sodas, are refreshing. You can also always stop by for a few pastries and a cup of decadent coffee if you’re in a hurry!

–Erin Aulfinger, Central High School

Republic Coffee. (2924 Walnut Grove Road) Let’s face it- breakfast for dinner is euphoric, but it’s hard to find a good restaurant that offers eggs and bacon around the clock. Republic Coffee is the solution to all your breakfast, lunch, dinner and coffee cravings. Exhausted students can rejoice in the fact that Republic stays open from 6:00 am to midnight, perfect for late-night and early-morning refuels. They roast their coffee beans and smoke their meat on site.

–Mary Carter Mullins, Houston High School

Best Place for Lunch

Every Sunday after church, my family and friends go to our favorite restaurants for lunch. One of the most accommodating options for a large group like ours has been Pyro’s Fire Fresh Pizza (locations on Union Avenue and Ridgeway Road. Their build-your-own pizzas and salads, Coca-Cola Freestyle machine and artisan coffees mean there is an option for everyone, even the pickiest members. A well-thought out rewards card can give you a new free item every time, including not only food and drink items but products such as glasses or even shirts.

–Erin Aulfinger, Central High School

Best Place for Dinner

Living around the corner from Huey’s (multiple locations) makes it a great choice for dinner. Not only do you get your exercise from the walk there and back, you can partake in the tradition of shooting frilled toothpicks at the ceiling, sample their famous burgers and fries, or try some of the other items on the menu. My personal favorites are the Steak Stick Snacks and Dinners. With one and three sticks of juicy beef, respectively, the meat is well-prepared and can satisfy any craving.

–Erin Aulfinger, Central High School

Best Restaurant for After the Movies

Whenever you get out of a movie, you have to go to IHOP (multiple locations). They are guaranteed to be open, you can discuss the film you just watched and enjoy either breakfast or dinner. Their seasonal specials are always a fun treat, whether you are testing out some new pancakes or sipping a hot cocoa with interesting toppings. This past holiday season, IHOP featured red velvet flapjacks with cream cheese between every layer and drinks flavored with caramel and gingerbread.

–Erin Aulfinger, Central High School

Best National Chain

When it comes to national chains, I’m pretty picky. I don’t eat hamburgers, so something like McDonald’s or Burger King is out of the question. Chick-fil-a airs their political views too much for my comfort; I haven’t been there in months (Also, who cooks the syrup into the waffle? It is all wrong!). However, Taco Bell will always satisfy my craving. The meat is actually meat—despite what others may say—and the fact that my best friend works there is a plus.

–Erin Aulfinger, Central High School

Best Asian Food

Sekisui: Pacific Rim (4724 Poplar Ave.) has the best options if you are looking for something exotic. They have everything from octopus to California rolls. The ambience is great for a party, and the wait staff have always been attentive, especially in light of my mom’s serious allergy to sesame.

–Erin Aulfinger, Central High School


One of my favorite restaurants in Memphis is Pho Binh (1615 Madison Ave.). Pho Binh is known for their outstanding Vietnamese dishes.  They are sought out for their excellent tofu dishes, soups, beef and seafood dishes and their lunch buffet.  One of the great things about this fabulous cuisine is that the price for a meal is under $10.  One of their most highly sought out dishes (and my personal favorite) is the lemongrass tofu.  With a hint of spiciness, the dish captivates you with not only its looks but as well as its taste. This savory entree is the perfect combination of spicy and sweet. Served with a steaming bowl of white rice, the expertise and flair put into this dish is worth looking into.  Pho Binh is a one of a kind restaurant.

–Thea Wilkens-Reed, Homeschooled

Lee Kan’s Asian Grill (255 New Byhalia Rd) is a great lunch and dinner restaurant in Collierville. They offer Japanese sushi and traditional Chinese food. They make amazing edamame and ‘fried rice for the brazen fool,’ but be wary of the latter; it’s super spicy! Although, if steamed soybeans and rice that will set your mouth on fire aren’t your thing, they make a mean General Tso’s chicken, too.
–Lily Donaldson, Bolton High School

Best Soul Food

Patricia’s Independent Soul Food (615 Chelsea Ave.) is one of Memphis’ most scrumptious and nifty restaurants. From fried chicken to burgers, this soul food place satisfies all of your southern savoring desires. Before I even took step into the restaurant, I was entranced by the delectable zephyr of a home-cooked burger. Ms. Patricia herself helped me find out exactly what I wanted which was one with bacon on it. In the minute we were conversing about how beautiful the weather was outside on that Saturday afternoon, my burger was ready. The luscious juice from the beef was flawless; all of the toppings were just right. I appreciated her seasoned fries because it’s so hard to find some that are made at a high-quality like hers.

–Desmond Catron, KIPP

Best Hot Wings

If you’re a hot wing lover and looking for an affordable place in Memphis to satisfy your taste-buds, Ching’s Hotwings (1624 Getwell and other locations) is the place for you. Ching’s is a family-owned restaurant that offers a variety of wing flavors such as Hot, Extra Hot, Suicide, Seasoned, Lemon Pepper, Dry Hot, Honey Gold, Honey Hot and Honey Extra Hot. The restaurant is also known as a hangout for University of Memphis students due to the comfortable environment. Celebrities like Bruno Mars and the Hooligans have made their way to Ching’s and so can you.

–Khari Bowman, Overton High School

Best Vegetarian/Vegan:

Imagine Vegan Café. (2299 Young Ave.) The motto says it all: “Real food for real people.” The family-owned and operated restaurant strives to offer a menu that is guilt free for animal lovers. The entire menu is vegan which means that animal-loving epicureans never have to feel out of place. The relaxed atmosphere makes it perfect for any age!

–Mary Carter Mullins, Houston High School

Fuel Café. (1761 Madison Ave.) Take a trip back to the roaring ‘20s in Memphis. The name, Fuel Cafe, pays homage to its past as a car service station and to its “clean fuel for the body” philosophy. The gas station-turned-restaurant offers fresh and natural American cuisine. The menu is vegetarian-conscious, but it also offers a selection of meat.

–Mary Carter Mullins, Houston High School

Best in Midtown

If you are in the mood for German, go to Schweinhaus (2110 Madison Ave.). They have authentic community dining, with little tin dishes and giant glasses for your silverware to come in. They have songs and fun games on the weekends and the staff is always very hospitable.

–Erin Aulfinger, Central High School

The Beauty Shop. (966 S. Cooper St.) Take a trip back to the 1950s in this vibrant restaurant! Karen Carrier took the iconic features of this former beauty shop and turned it into a far out dining destination. Complete with seating under vintage hair-dryers, this reasonably-priced restaurant offers American food with a worldly twist-perfect for everyone!

–Mary Carter Mullins, Houston High School

Best Mexican

With locations all around the Memphis area, El Porton (Various locations) is a delicious, reliable place to get authentic Mexican grub. The wait staff is incredibly friendly. They have chicken, beef, pork, seafood, and a vegetarian section; my favorites are the fajitas and guacamole.

–Lily Donaldson, Bolton High School

Elena’s Taco Shop (6105 Summer Ave #101) in Bartlett is a modern, cheap tex-mex shop specializing in fish and steak tacos. They take pride in using “only fresh ingredients.” Elena’s is a great place to get a quick lunch; service is fast and friendly.

–Lily Donaldson, Bolton High School

Best Ice Cream

Jerry’s Sno Cones. (1657 Wells Station Road) No Memphis food list could be complete without our nationally recognized shaved ice shop! Jerry’s Sno Cones has been serving Memphis their funky flavored shaved ice since the 1970s. They are open all year Monday through Saturday. Try the wedding cake flavor, and beware of the summer lines, but don’t let them stop you; it’s worth the wait.

–Lily Donaldson, Bolton High School


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