Aldo's Pizza Pies specializes in hand-tossed pizzas, a wide variety of beer - 30 different draughts and 30 bottled options - and is quickly becoming known as the patio dining spot downtown. Situated on scenic Main Street in a cavernous space that lends to its big city atmosphere, Aldo's offers a huge patio for outside dining and people-watching. The New York-style pies served up in two sizes - small and large - as well as by the slice. A small is enough for two if ordering more than just pizza (see below). Options range from create your own to the Italian Popeye with vodka cream,chicken, spinach, and bacon or the Memphis Bird with barbecue chicken and red onions. Try the veggie dishes for something different; salads and sandwiches are also on the menu.
Recommended for Restaurants near FedExForum because: Aldo's is a great choice for feeding a crowd before the game.
Sally's expert tip: Save room for the house-made cheesecake - it is truly one of the best we've ever tasted.
Blues City Cafe, in the heart of Memphis's nightlife scene, offers the right ingredients for a perfect evening – terrific food and great blues (played right next door at the Band Box). While some folks may dispute the place's claim to the title of "Best Meal on Beale," Blues City does in fact serve a wide range of tasty, down-home delicacies, like barbecued ribs, chicken, steaks and fried catfish. The cafe is at the corner of Beale and Second - and there's always someone at the door to lure you in. Once inside, you'll note it's a bit dingy (at least the floors) but don't let that put you off - the food is excellent. If the rustic interior looks familiar, that's because you saw it in the film adaptation of John Grisham's The Firm.
Recommended for Restaurants near FedExForum because: Blues City is kid-friendly, and you can slip in for a meal without exposing the kids to what they ought not see.
Sally's expert tip: Our favorite late-night meal at Blues City is the meal combo; it features a half-rack of ribs, a catfish fillet, and a mountain of potatoes and other sides.
One local politico lovingly calls this Memphis favorite "ambrosia of pork" -but locals simply call it the 'Vous. Charlie Vergos started this Memphis landmark in 1948 - selling pork sandwiches and coleslaw on the street, eventually opening this one and only location tucked into a downtown alley. The best bets on the menu are the sausage and cheese plates, barbeque nachos and full slabs of ribs; the waitstaff can be brusque but don't take it personally - they are simply trying to get everyone served in the cavernous basement that is the main dining area. On any given night, the restaurant overflows with a combination of locals and tourists; upstairs, if there's not a private party, there's a simple bar and waiting area - and be prepared to wait. If there is a private party, don't be surprised if the waiting room is actually the alley; in either case, keep your ear out to hear your name called over the tinny microphone.
Recommended for Restaurants near FedExForum because: The 'Vous is always turning tables quickly, so you can get in and out before the game.
Sally's expert tip: The entrance is actually in the alley behind the address, just across Union from the Peabody. Don't be put off by this unconventional welcome to the 'Vous.
A lively Beale Street location complements the character of this '50s-style restaurant, which has additional locations throughout town but we love this one for its seemingly always-open, funky vibe. Opened in 1912, Dyer's has served its famous deep-fried burgers for many years. They claim, in fact, that they've been using the same grease since they opened! Legendary Dyer's serves burgers with one, two or three patties and up to three slices of cheese. The menu also offers hot wings, chicken fingers, hot dogs, and shakes. Open into the wee hours of the morning, Dyer's is a favorite spot of the nightlife crowd.
Recommended for Restaurants near FedExForum because: You can grab a burger and a beer and go mobile to watch the pre-game hoopla on Beale.
Sally's expert tip: This may be the least expensive meal on Beale Street - although note that an automatic 15% tip is added to every order after 9 p.m.
Take off for a taste experience at this downtown Memphis restaurant - with flights of both wine and food, the options are seemingly endless. From champagne flights to salad flights to beef or seafood, cabernets or chardonnays, it can actually be a bit overwhelming to choose a combination of food or drink. Our particular favorites are the chicken and waffles - said waffles being made of potatoes, and the shrimp and grits, some of the best we've tasted in town. The good news is that every dish you can try in a flight is also available in a full size - hooray!
Recommended for Restaurants near FedExForum because: Since Flight is a few extra block from FedEx Forum, you'll find pre-game parking and eating a snap.
Sally's expert tip: We never think of Flight for lunch - and we should - it's a great way to sample a fine dining experience in a more casual, less expensive way.
Memphis has more than its fair share of neighborhood bar and grills, and Huey's happens to be one of the best. The atmosphere is no frills and all bar, and the menu features what many locals regard as the area's tastiest burger. With locations from downtown to Collierville, the local chain really understands what it means to be a neighborhood favorite; each spot offers live music, some have patios, all offer the same excellent food - with burgers just being the start. Salads and seafood, soups and guilt-inducing snacks - there's something for everyone. Huey's is a great place to swing by and catch the game on TV too � especially if you're inclined to down a few brews and sample something delicious, like sublime onion rings.
Recommended for Restaurants near FedExForum because: Huey's is easy, fast, and fun; tables turn frequently so getting a quick bite before the game is a snap.
Sally's expert tip: Bring a sharpie to leave your mark on the walls. (But not in the bathroom, please!)
Capriccio is a solid downtown dining choice, and a good option for a meal downtown if you want to avoid post-game crowds (and craziness) on Beale Street. It's not every day that a hotel restaurant becomes a must-eat for locals. But in the case of the venerable Peabody Hotel, attracting the local crowd has never been an issue. To appeal to the business crowd, the folks at Capriccio have changed up their lunch offerings, offering a full complement of Southern specialties with a bit of a twist in addition to their regular American and Italian fare, including sandwiches, a pasta bar and pizzas. There are plenty of lawyers, financial types and kings of cotton located in the downtown business district who want an excellent but fast lunch, and that's a tough find in the city's central business district. Capriccio's quiet yet elegant atmosphere lends itself well to a business lunch: it's the kind of place where hushed conversations are almost expected, and tables and booths are positioned in such a way that one can actually conduct business in relative privacy. The twist in Capriccio's Southern comfort food is that you can order small plates to share or full-on entrees, whichever you prefer. Starters to share include some serious Southern favorites, cooked just like your grandma (assuming she was from the South) would make them. Fried green tomatoes come with a side dish filled with toppings of bacon, cheese and more. Who knew you could make fried green tomatoes better with cheese and bacon? If you've never had traditional buttermilk fried chicken, this is the place to start. Chef Andreas Kisler says the hotel's long-time cooks – all of whom apparently have grandmothers who make killer fried chicken – are true to the process that delivers such crisp-on-the-outside and juicy-one-the-inside pieces. This is Memphis, so of course there's some kind of barbecue (pork, thank you very much) on every menu in town. Capriccio's take on barbecue is in salad form, and it comes in a jar – pulled pork with barbecue sauce that you (or the server) can pour atop lettuce.
Recommended for Restaurants near FedExForum because: People seem to forget about Carpiccio on game days, so your chance at scoring a table on the fly is pretty good.
Sally's expert tip: Capriccio offers a late evening dessert and drinks menu - perfect for a post-game recap.
This South Main neighborhood gastropub is a bit of a secret spot, with its in-the-middle-of South Main location, in a block that needs some more gentrification. The good news is that this stretch of South Main is improving daily - thanks in part to S.O.B., as most folks call it. With a fantastic list of crafted beers including the locally-produced Ghost River, a robust wine list that the owner's totally willing to take suggestions for, and an excellent array of food including bar pies - think pizza with a twist, like pulled barbecue pork, cheddar cheese and carmelized onions - there's a myriad of reasons to drop in.
Recommended for Restaurants near FedExForum because: SOB serves up a Grizz Shot on game days - a blue-tinged concoction ($3) that taste like a lemondrop with claws.
Sally's expert tip: For something completely different, try the breakfast bar pie during the weekend brunch.
Tucked high above noisy Beale Street, but with a great view of the action, Itta Bena is a lush bit of quiet yet rustic elegance that sits on top of B.B. King's Beale Street club. With a practically unmarked entrance (facing Second Avenue, around the corner from the entrance to B.B. King's), the idea is to evoke the feel of a speakeasy in modern Memphis, and it works. While the name seems to indicate Italian fare, nothing could be further from the palate; Southern delicacies including fried green tomatoes, she-crab soup, duck and waffles, and Cajun-grilled shrimp and grits are all worthy of a taste.
Recommended for Restaurants near FedExForum because: Itta Bena offers pre-game happy hour drink and appetizer specials for Grizzlies fans.
Sally's expert tip: Cell phone usage in the dining room is seriously frowned upon. Do everyone a favor and put it away, and if you must take a call, take it outside.