This blog is devoted to highlighting restaurants of Memphis, Tennessee.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Best Wings of Memphis

A Burger That's 'Tops' With Me

Several years ago, I stopped at Best Wings of Memphis on Summer Avenue for a cheeseburger. I had low expectations about it, assuming that a hot wings restaurant couldn't make a great burger. My doubts were put to rest after taking the first bite, for it was very delicious. I can't precisely remember why I liked it, but the experience stuck with me like fond memories of a beautiful woman. Although the burger was great, I never got around to having another one until last week. Taking advantage of a day off from work, I made my way back to Best Wings for another wonderful burger. I went there expecting more, and I wasn't disappointed.
Best Wings' cheeseburger isn't anything other than a basic cheeseburger composed of the usual stuff that most expect. Breaking it down, it consists of a ground beef patty, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, mustard and mayo (and onions that I left out). In other words, the cheeseburger doesn't have anything that can't be found elsewhere. However, it's the way that those ingredients are thrown together is what raises Best Wings' cheeseburger above the pack. While the slightly charred and "well done" ground beef provides a good base for the burger, the excessive mayonnaise gives it most of its taste. There is so much of it in the burger that I initially assumed it was another layer of cheese. Even though it is a bit much, the mayo acquits itself well for a decadent cheeseburger that is delicious despite being slightly unhealthy.

SIDE NOTE: Speaking of health, I was glad that the soda fountain had an option for water. Despite having a small amount of Hi-C Punch mixed in, the water was a far better choice than the high sugar sodas that most get in a "combo" order. Not to go all "Memphis Que" about it, but I feel consumers should have a healthier beverage option. Then again, if a person is eating a heavily mayo-laden cheeseburger, he/she might not benefit much from drinking healthy. Anyway, I'm grateful for the water provided by Best Wings.

For those unfamiliar with Best Wings' cheeseburger, it is very comparable to Tops Bar-B-Q. Although the barbecue chain might have a slight edge in meat quality, it could prove difficult for most to distinguish between the two. Given the similarities, it's unfortunate that Best Wings' cheeseburger doesn't get more recognition. To help in that effort, I put Best Wings of Memphis on my best burger list. While it will never substitute for a tasty Uptown Burger from Roxie's Grocery or a Local Burger with gourmet fixings, Best Wings' cheeseburger is what it is. I appreciate it, and I'm confident that others will too.
Given that Best Wings of Memphis is, well, a wings joint, I should have an opinion about its primary product. I don't, so I'll defer to other blogs like Best Memphis Burger (which I believe would give Best Wings' cheeseburger three stars) and Memphis Gastro's Blog that have similar views about the restaurant's Buffalo wings. For the most part, the prevailing opinion of the wings is they are mushy and sweet that's due to its tomato-based sauce. I personally never had wings with a sauce like that, so I'll reserve judgment until I try them myself.

UPDATE (11/30/13): Since my initial review, I went back to Best Wings for a helping of its poultry. Like with other "wing" reviews, I got half my order "regular hot" and the other Honey Gold. The hot wings tasted like my fellow bloggers described. The tomato-sauced wings were moderately hot and slightly sweet. While that was expected, the big surprise was the Honey Gold wings. I want to stress the word HONEY, for the "sauce" was mostly honey with a little mustard mixed in. Also, the "sauce" wasn't spicy, obviously the result of it lacking hot sauce. Compared to other places, these Honey Gold wings were the most unique that I've ever had.

I want to end this review by commenting on Best Wings' service. For the most part, it is very prompt in getting out orders. It has to be, for none of its locations (Summer Ave., Elvis Presley Blvd., Getwell Rd.) take phone orders (I'm assuming that it got "stiffed" a lot). At the Summer Ave. location, Gospel music plays loudly throughout the restaurant (closed on Sundays). I definitely felt like I was in church while chomping on my burger. Overall, I had a great time at Best Wings, for it was an uplifting experience in terms of both the food and atmosphere. That said, I won't wait another several years for my next visit.


Best Wings of Memphis #2 on Urbanspoon

LabelsBurgers, Midtown, Multiple Locations, Summer Avenue, Wings

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Pop's Deli

Deli Heaven

On the advice of friends and fellow foodies, I ventured out to Hickory Hill for lunches at Pop's Deli. Initially, my goal was finding another great burger to add to my list of favorite burger joints, but I eventually discovered an amazing sandwich. Although Pop's is a bit out of my Downtown/Midtown comfort zone, I'm glad that I took the time to dine there.

The sandwich chosen on my second visit (influenced by a review from the blog Tiffany Tastes) was The Chilean. It can come with either beef (steak) or chicken, along with guacamole, Chilean hot sauce, tomatoes, Muenster cheese and surprisingly, marinated string beans. The last ingredient isn't something that I would put in a sandwich, but it goes great with The Chilean. In the sandwich I had, the string beans (along with the guacamole) provided most of the flavor. The mildly spicy hot sauce provided additional zest to the cheesy steak sandwich that resulted in a unique experience. By the way, Pop's choice of Ciabatta bread meshed nicely while holding everything together, unlike the bun of the cheeseburger that I had earlier. To sum it up, The Chilean is a great sandwich that I recommend to anyone looking for something different yet tasty.

I'm glad that I made a second trip to Pop's, for my initial impression wasn't entirely good. As I said earlier, my primary reason for visiting Pop's was for its hamburgers. In making my selection from the deli's list of burgers, I chose something based on one of its signature sandwiches. In choosing the Philly Burger, I hoped to get the essence of Pop's Famous Philly while enjoying a great burger. From the standpoint of taste, the provolone burger (with onions and mushrooms) had the characteristics associated with a classic Philly cheesesteak sandwich. Unfortunately, I agreed to have it "loaded" with mayo, ketchup and mustard that severely weakened the bun. After a couple of bites, the bun disintegrated and I was left with a gooey mess. This is not to say that it was terrible, for it was the opposite of that. In fact, it was so good that it distracted me from evidencing the catastrophe of my burger. The takeaway from this is if I order the Philly Burger again, I will get it without the "loaded" extras (but with bell peppers) for a true "Philly" experience. As far as it making my list, the Philly Burger falls short of that but gets an honorable mention.
Because it is a deli, Pop's sells meats and cheeses from Boar's Head by the pound for those looking to make sandwiches at home. I probably won't take advantage of It because of the distance from both home and work, but I will a get a Famous Philly on my next visit. Based on the sandwiches that I had from Pop's, I'm confident that it will rival some of my favorite places like Broadway Pizza. I can't wait to have one!

UPDATE (April 15, 2014): Since my initial visits, I've returned to Pop's for its Famous Philly cheesesteak sandwich. Unfortunately, the sandwich wasn't as cheesy as its burger counterpart and was a dud by comparison. With all the praise that it gets, I expected more from a Philly that many say is the best in Memphis. My opinion might be in the minority but I will still declare Broadway Pizza House as my Bluff City favorite. If I get Pop's Famous Philly again, I will ask for additional provolone as a topping for the sandwich. If the deli can make it as cheesy as the Philly Burger, I might change my opinion of it. By the way, everything else in the cheesesteak sandwich (meat, green peppers, onions) were prepared right which made for a decent Philly.

The service is good, although the dining area is small (four tables) and stays full during weekday hours. The orders don't take long to fulfill, so a diner might have to get his/her food to go if waiting isn't an option.
Based on the sandwiches that I had, I'm safe in saying that Pop's Deli is excellent. The food (despite its cheap hamburger bun) is great and will have me coming back for more.

UPDATE (April 15, 2014): Pop's has moved into space next to its original location that is nearly doubles its size. This is a good thing, because the wait times are shorter which leads to better service.


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Pop's Deli on Urbanspoon

LabelsBurgers, Deli, Hickory Hill, Sandwiches, Wings

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