BT Bistro

 A Tip Of The Hat

I want to give a shout out to the folks at BT Bistro, the "fast casual" restaurant on the corner of Pauline and Madison in Memphis' Medical Center district. Occupying the space that was previously a Lenny's location, this iteration of the restaurant serves burgers, tacos, wraps and sandwiches. Although the food is decent, what impresses me the most about the bistro is the enthusiasm of the owner(s). In particular, the manager of the place (a South Asian man named Mike) REALLY goes out of his way in engaging customers about every aspect of the menu. He sells food almost like a car salesman, for he super-sells the menu. Included in his pitch is the "combo" option featuring the best fries ever, according to him. It's that kind of enthusiasm that drives BT Bistro's success.

The Chipotle Burger from BT Bistro

One of the things on BT Bistro's menu are its "craft burgers." There are several options to choose from, each consisting of unique elements that makes them "crafty." One of them is the Chipotle Burger, consisting of chipotle mayo, bacon, jalapeños, tomato and lettuce on a "well done" quarter-pound beef patty. Although I didn't taste much chipotle flavor, the burger had a spicy kick coming from the jalapeños. In all, it was a nice satisfying burger that did the job. By the way, the fries were fresh and delicious, just as the manager promised.

Carnitas tacos from BT Bistro

A week after having the burger, I went back to the bistro for tacos, another signature item on BT Bistro's menu. I opted for the carnitas tacos because of my desire for pork and a curiosity over whether they were as good as genuine Mexican tacos. The tacos (priced at $8.95 for three) were bigger than most Mexican restaurants, sufficiently satisfying my appetite. By themselves, the tacos are decent but taste much better with the bistro's tomato-rich salsa. The salsa is a difference maker that deserves its own kudos. Although the tacos are a bit pricier than most, it's worth it if you're looking for a delicious light lunch.

From my visits to BT Bistro (due in large part for its proximity to the VA hospital where I get my health care), I've come away with a deep amount of respect for the drive of the people who own and operate it. As far as I can tell, the proprietors of BT Bistro are immigrants who I believe make America a better place. I hate the vitriol in American politics about the issue of immigration, given the contributions immigrants have made throughout the centuries of American history. As it relates to food and restaurants, immigrants (both "legal" and "illegal") play a significant role in feeding America, from the farm workers who harvest crops, to the workers at plants who process and package food, along with many restaurant workers who cook and serve. Speaking of restaurants, immigrants also own about eighteen percent of American small businesses that includes many restaurants like BT Bistro (the owner said it is a franchise but I couldn't any info about it other than one other "BT Bistro" in Princeton, New Jersey that went out of business). I respect the hussle of those who come to America to achieve the dream of a good life, something that all of us desire. That said, I tip my hat to Mike and his wife for going out of their way in providing great service that made my visits to BT Bistro memorable. I wish them a lot of success in the future as their business thrives.


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