Momma's Bar

Deja Vu at the "Crow"

A few months ago, I reviewed The Dirty Crow Inn that at the time was one of the newest acquisitions by Aldo Dean and his business partners. In it, I talked about the food and the bar itself as being a cool place to hang out while watching exciting music acts. I assumed that the "Crow" would be synonymous with chilling and relaxing on Crump Boulevard after a hard day of work on President's Island or a long day of driving for truckers passing through on I-55. Well, about a week after I posted this on my blog, I found out that the former "Dirty Crow" was no more. It turned out that Aldo wanted to go in a different direction for his new bar that includes a change in name and menu (by the way, the "Crow" owners will reopen the bar in a new location sometime in 2020, but not in Uptown). Needless to say, I didn't see that coming and my lack of info about it was embarrassing, given the timing. Hopefully, despite being an outsider in the local blogging community that doesn't have the readership or legitimacy of websites like "I Love Memphis" and others, I would appreciate it if my friends and others that I'm close to will apprise me of happenings in the local restaurant community. I'm not asking for much (like an invite to a "soft opening" that I've never gotten in the nine years of this blog's existence), but when something notable happens regarding restaurants, chefs or anything else associated with Memphis food, please keep me in the loop. Look, I know I'm not a local celebrity like Michael Donahue or Jennifer Biggs (RIP), but I hope that I've gained enough respect with at least some in the restaurant community, particularly from those people and places that I associate with the most. In the long run, I believe this blog is mutually beneficial to both restaurants and diners who rely on Ken's Food Find for the "411" on Memphis dining.

Okay, now that I got that off my chest, I want to talk about one of the many delicious burgers served at Momma's Bar (formerly "Momma's Roadhouse"), the Southwest Memphis Burger. I chose the cheeseburger because I was looking for something interesting and memorable. The Southwest Memphis Burger checks all the boxes in that regard because it comes with jalapenos and Ghost Pepper cheese, which by all appearances should make for a spicy burger. Given my past experiences with Ghost peppers, I made sure to have a glass of water on hand (along with a 24 oz. can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer). Because I'm a glutton, I also added bacon, avocado and a fried egg to get the maximum "Southwest Memphis" experience. Not to my surprise, the burger was extremely spicy, so much so that I stopped after a couple of bites. As my mouth burned, it made me think back to when I tried to put down a bag of Nikki's Hot Ass Chips that had me weeping. Fortunately the "Southwest" doesn't pack that kind of punch, although it not a burger that I can quickly grub because I'm a wuss when it comes to extreme spiciness. In the end, it turned out to be a very good burger that I enjoyed to the last bite.

If you're not into spicy cheeseburgers, Momma's Bar offers other burgers and sandwiches for milder palettes. For cheese lovers, there's the Wisconsin burger with white cheddar and fried cheese curds along with poutine aioli that's yummy. If beef isn't your thing, you can go with sandwiches like the meaty chicken breast Bluff City Slaw that isn't as sappy (and possibly canceled) as the TV show it's based on or The Fake Girlfriend that has, lo and behold, catfish (for guys like the manly NFL football player Manti Te'o). Personally, I don't think you go wrong with nearly anything on the menu, with one exception.

The Big Rig Grilled Cheese is a very impressive name for a sandwich that should carry a lot of expectations. Given how the grilled cheese sandwich has evolved into a feature item on menus of many restaurants in Memphis and beyond, I assumed that Momma's version would be a doozy. Unfortunately, my expectations were dashed the minute I took the first bite of what turned out to be a sandwich without much substance. The sandwich wasn't cheesy and for the most part, it seemed that I was eating mostly bread. After finishing the first half, I gave up on the sandwich and got wings (and on "Wing Wednesday" its two for one wings is a good deal). While waiting on my wings, my curiosity led to further examination of the sandwich. It was then that I discovered it lacked one the two things that I added, a fried egg (the other addition was avocado). So when eating the sandwich "plain" without adding anything else, it's almost like eating two wheat bread slices (with hardly any jalapeƱo flavor despite how its described in the menu) with little else in between. In the end, I advise anyone ordering the "Big Rig" to get it with all the add-ons (including bacon, despite having it already) for a decent sandwich that isn't in the upper echelon of grilled cheese sandwiches.

SIDE NOTE: For guidance, Momma's Bar should refer to the premier grilled cheese sandwich at its sister bar, Bardog Tavern. Bardog's Deluxe Grilled Cheese gives you a good helping of ham, bacon and tomato smothered with a lot of cheese. The Deluxe Grilled Cheese cost a dollar more than Momma's sandwich, so there must be some truth to the saying "you get what you pay for."

From my few visits to Momma's Bar, I will say it is a nice little bar that has a lot of potential. While I won't repeat what I said earlier about the other aspects of The Dirty Crow (all of that review applies here, including the music acts on the weekends), I will say that if things go the way that other "Aldo" owned establishments have turned out (such as Slider Inn's new Downtown location), I'm sure "Momma's" will be a success. As the far as the "working menu" goes, it definitely needs to fine tune some things like the "Big Rig" sandwich. I'm sure the bar staff will eventually get it right because Aldo always hire great people. Speaking of that, I want to give a shout out to one of its bartenders. On Thursdays, go there when Diana is running the bar. She and her regulars really livens thing up, which makes Momma's Bar an even more fun place.

NOTE: After being closed for awhile, Momma's back and better than ever. Check out my "mini-blog" on Tumblr to get my thoughts about it.


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