Bardog Tavern

A well-deserved anniversary!

Today's review is in honor of Bardog Tavern's second anniversary, which is well deserved for all the efforts that owner Aldo Demartino (aka Aldo Dean) and his staff have put into making the bar a success. Formerly a diner, Bardog is one of the hottest places in Memphis for people to socialize and party, which is evident every Friday and Saturday night. Plus, the food is first class, from sandwiches to pasta dishes made from recipes passed down from Aldo's grandmother.

Among Bardog's best menu items is the Penne alla Vodka, a wonderful mix of penne pasta, vodka sauce and parmigiano cheese (along with either shrimp or chicken) that blew me away the first time I tasted it. The vodka sauce is thick and creamy (which is the way real Italians make it) with a hint of tomato. As far as pasta dishes are concerned, it is (along with Bardog's spaghetti and meatballs and carbonara) one of the best I've ever had in America. I'm saying this as a guy who lived in Italy for almost four years. Needless to say, Bardog can hold its own with any Italian restaurant in town.

Penne alla Vodka with shrimp

As for other items on the menu, there many great choices to choose from. One of my favorites is the original slider, a small hamburger made with 100% fresh ground chuck. The slider makes for either a great snack or, if ordering more than one, a hearty meal. As far as burgers go, it is one of the better ones in the Bluff City.

Another great sandwich to try is The "Amazing" Island Club sandwich, consisting of an eclectic combination of ingredients including chicken, ham, eggs, avocado and provolone. The sandwich is so good that I'm not sure the word "amazing" does it justice.

In addition to sliders and sandwiches, Bardog also has hot dog (called “Dog of The Day’) specials that are unique creations from Chef John Haley and his staff. Anything you can imagine could be a potential topping on any given day, like chili, Andouille sausage or spinach and artichoke dip. No matter what’s on it, a typical foot-long “Dog” hardly disappoints.

This “Dog of The Day,” a beef monster topped with grits, gravy and bacon, was fantastic. I want to thank Jean Pruett for taking this great photo. Jean is one of Bardog’s sexy, hardworking servers who keeps the bar lively with her charm and outgoing personality. She’s also an award winner, for she won second place in the 2013 Memphis Flyer’s “Best of Memphis” poll for best server in the Mid-South. She has her fans, with some of them starting a Facebook page to support her “Best Server” campaigns. So whenever you’re at Bardog (or Aldo’s or Slider Inn, depending on her schedule), check her out.

For the Early Risers, Bardog also serves breakfast from Monday through Friday and brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Overall, the breakfast menu is great and is even better when "Bloomers" is working the bar. It's one of the few places in Downtown Memphis that a person can get a PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) with an omelet, which is nice.

Italian Omelet from Bardog Tavern
Italian Omelet (loaded with marinara sauce, sausage, red bell peppers and pepper jack cheese)

UPDATE (August 9, 2021): Bardog has added a blackened pork chop to its menu. Although the pork chop is tasty, I was surprised in how good the Brussels sprouts are. Never a fan of the vegetable, the sprouts has quite a bit of maple flavor that comes from the bacon jam that is mixed in. Along with its companion side item Mac 'n Cheese, the Brussels sprouts turn a good pork chop into a great meal.

Blackened Pork Chop with Brussel Sprouts and Mac 'n Cheese from Bardog Tavern in Memphis, TN

In summary, Bardog Tavern is an excellent place to either dine or party with friends. I'm sure that with continued success, the bar will see many more anniversaries in the future.

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