Southern Comfort: Best Homestyle Meals in Memphis

It comes as no surprise that Memphis is chock-full of restaurants where the words 'home style' and 'family' are as much a part of the menu as biscuits, country ham, farm-fresh, and homemade.

In the region that brought the phrases biscuits and gravy, shrimp and grits, and meat-and-three into the American dining lexicon, and despite the city's food-forward reputation, restaurants that are considered home cooking are still as busy as ever. A meat-and-three, for those unfamiliar with the phrase, is a daily special that offers a meat with your choice of three vegetables. And, to further confuse things, mac and cheese casseroles and grits are sometimes considered vegetables here in the South.

Our list includes some of the city's best cooking - and certainly include the kinds of places where you should come hungry and  check your diet at the door. From downtown's favorite lunch-only, power-broker lunch spot, the Little Tea Shop, to a homey suburban steakhouse, to the Woman's Exchange, which supports local non-profits (and has the best lunch deals in town), you never have to travel far to indulge in some serious Southern comfort.

A few of the spots on our list serve lunch only, a few others stay open for dinner - but not as late as most restaurants in town. Pay special attention to holiday schedules, too, as these mostly family-owned operations close for holidays.



Young Avenue Deli
Photo courtesy of Courtesy Young Avenue Deli


Don't be thrown by the name; this cavernous space is indeed a deli - and a tasty one, at that. Young Avenue has one of the broadest menus we've ever laid eyes on; there's everything from killer fish and chips to a cowboy pita to a pimento...  Read More



This family-owned restaurant on the Collierville square is the kind of place where few things ever change - not the menu, the waitstaff, and only occasionally the pricing. And that's its charm; the Silver Caboose is a throw-down for those who...  Read More



This tiny, family-owned steakhouse in suburban Bartlet opened in 1976, and is known for good steaks at more reasonable prices. The homey feeling of the restaurant and more casual atmosphere than some of the city's other steakhouses makes this...  Read More



One of the most unique spots in town, the Trolley Stop is part restaurant, part bar, part market and part gift store - and we adore each and every part that exists here. The cavernous space located across from the Orleans trolley stop on...  Read More

Brother Juniper's


This funky little breakfast nook, once owned by an Eastern Orthodox priest, stands apart from other breakfast places thanks to its fresh, healthy options. Practically located on the University of Memphis campus, one would expect that college...  Read More

Frank Grisanti


Nestled into a corner of the hotel lobby, Frank Grisanti ranks among the best-loved Italian restaurants in Memphis, and has for years. This is definitely an old-school Italian restaurant, in both its ambiance and its menu; that's one of the...  Read More



The Cupboard opened in 1943, and quickly became a Memphis favorite, serving up basic but scrumptious home-y meals, with loads of options, daily specials, and some killer side dishes. There are no surprises when it comes to eating at The...  Read More

Gus's World Famous Hot & Spicy Fried Chicken


The basic brick building on South Front might scare some folks away " but trust us, walk in and load up. Gus's is a franchise of the original in Mason, about an hour from Memphis; that eatery opened in 1953 and the chicken was served up in...  Read More



The Little Tea Shop is a family-owned downtown home-cooking restaurant. The Old Cotton Row eatery is like stepping back in time, with its vintage lunchroom atmosphere and old-fashioned menu. It's very common to see local business bigwigs...  Read More



Ladies who lunch in Memphis often lunch at the Woman's Exchange; it's a cozy lunch spot where the food is so much more than chicken salad, although that's on the menu too. Opened in the early 60's in a Midtown house, it hasn't changed a lot...  Read More


Meet Sally Walker Davies

Sally Walker Davies is enchanted by Memphis' music, history, and characters. From the artsy South Main Historic District to the grittiness of her favorite live music clubs to the sophisticated...  More About Sally