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Great To-Go Options: Memphis Takeout Is Easy and Excellent



Memphis is turning into quite the foodie town, and finding excellent take out here goes way beyond pizza or burgers - although you will still find those on this list of our 10 favorite take out spots in the city. All of the options on our list are locally owned, so they have their own made-in-Memphis taste - and you can have the added satisfaction of supporting local businesses.

Note that each of the eateries on this list have different take-out options - and by that, we mean in terms of how you can order. Some take no phone calls, others offer online ordering. Because Memphis is an easy town to navigate and in which to park, grabbing a meal to go is usually pretty easy - exceptions have been noted.

From hand-tossed pizza to juicy burgers and the city's best Asian food, finding take out to suit your taste is easy and relatively inexpensive; take options range from a few of Midtown's best eateries, including pizza from  Trolley Stop and deli-style sandwiches at Fino's, and our favorite East Memphis go-to's - Swanky's for tacos and Mosa for Asian.

And for a really quick take-out experience, check out the the local food truck alliance, which offers food truck rodeos and special lunchtime gatherings throughout the city.

 


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Cozy Corner


You'll get a huge bang for your buck at this family-run restaurant, located in a strip mall that has admittedly seen better days, just outside of downtown in a neighborhood that has also seen better days. What's missing in ambiance is more than made up for by the food, however. Served on paper plates and set on plastic tablecloths, barbecue comes in the form of baby back ribs, regular ribs and sandwiches. Bu the piece de resistance is and house specialty is the scrumptious Cornish game hen. Smoky and spicy, this isn't so much barbecue as a smoked meat - and is a truly unique taste of Memphis.

Recommended for Take Out because: Cozy Corner is the ultimate take-out in that it offers quick and friendly service and inexpensive eats.

Sally's expert tip: Cozy Corner is currently under re-construction, following a fire, but is still serving from the Encore Cafe.

Read more about Cozy Corner →




Cheffie's is where the guest is the chef - building salads and sandwiches from scratch - or for those who can't make a decision, you can choose from a broad menu of options. We love, love, love the salad-making; choose from a few lettuce bases, then add in grilled chicken, bacon, eggs, all manner of veggies, all of our favorite crunchies - and the result is the perfect salad. The same deal goes for sandwiches, and for those who are wavering between the two, never fear - you can go for the half-and-half option. A gelatto and wine bar offers homemade seasonal flavors of icy gelatto, with a nice selection of wines from which to choose.

Recommended for Take Out because: You really get a custom-made meal at Cheffie's, with super-fresh ingredients.

Sally's expert tip: Avoid the lunch take-out crowd - arrive by 11:30 or after 1:00.

Read more about Cheffie's Cafe →


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 cheese sandwich, salads, and smaller plates for kids. Yes, kids are welcome – and we'd advise to bring them during daylight hours, as when the deli starts rocking, it's a grown-up scene. The beer list is expansive, with what just might be the longest beer menu in town, a mix of the most exotic beers on tap and in a bottle or can - and you can indeed order a Bud Light or something of that ilk, but why would you, when you can have a Ghost River Wee Heavy or a Rogue Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout?

Recommended for Take Out because: The deli has one of the most extensive menus in town - so it's easy to please a crowd.

Sally's expert tip: While it's easy to order take out at lunchtime, avoid the later evenings, especially when there's a band.

Read more about Young Avenue Deli →


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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 Madison Avenue offers diners some of the best breakfast in town; the food is super-fresh, with locally-sourced everything on the menu: Eggs, bacon, grits and cheeses come from 'round these parts, and the result is fabulous. When the plate hits the table, you truly feel like you're eating at a friend's house, or at Grandma's - it's that good, and that home-cooked.

Recommended for Take Out because: Trolley Stop offers some of the best take-out pizza in town.

Sally's expert tip: The only thing that could make Trolley Stop more perfect is if they served breakfast all day - sadly, it ends promptly at 10:30.

Read more about Trolley Stop Market →




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 Take Out because: Huey's does take out right - quickly - with the same quality you expect from this local favorite.

Sally's expert tip: Bring a sharpie to leave your mark on the walls. (But not in the bathroom, please!)

Read more about Huey's →


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 a paper sack. This is the real deal spicy, crunchy, and juicy, served with white bread. And be patient - your particular order doesn't hit the oil until you've ordered. Cold beer (served up in 40-ounce cans) is a nice contrast to the hot chicken. Sides and starters include fried pickles and green tomatoes, beans and slaw, and strangely enough – fried rice. Assuming you have any room left, chess pie is the way to go for dessert.

Recommended for Take Out because: It's simple: if we take out, no one know how much fried chicken we've consumed.

Sally's expert tip: There are also locations in East Memphis and Collierville for those who can't make it downtown.

Read more about Gus's World Famous Hot & Spicy Fried Chicken →




The restaurant is tiny, the menu impressively expansive, and the pizza crust brushed with garlic sauce – and this neighborhood pizza joint tosses some seriously good pizza that way better than anything one can have delivered in town. With fried macaroni and cheese, a small variety of sandwiches, a full complement of traditional - and a few not-so-traditional - toppings, HPP is a favorite across the city, with folks driving miles to pick up. A few tables in the small dining room are actually vintage video game consoles - Ms. Pac Man included. When the weather's fine, a few outdoor tables are set up, and with the nearby greenline and a few more local businesses in the same strip mall, the people watching is always good. Beer is served, but you can bring your own wine in (a corkage fee applies).

Recommended for Take Out because: Great pizza, quick service - and a grocery store next door where you can grab a beer.

Sally's expert tip: Call ahead to pick up; this small local operation doesn't do delivery - and it is definitely worth the drive.

Read more about High Point Pizza →


Mosa Asian Bistro
Photo courtesy of Mosa / Craig Collier


A fresh -and we mean fresh -take on Asian dining, Mosa is a bistro that combines the best of Chinese, Thai and Japanese dishes - noodle and rice bowls, curries and a host of small plates - in a casual atmosphere that rocks with the business crowd at lunch. Dishes are made to order, truly some of the freshest Asian cuisine we've experienced. They come out as they are ready, so appetizers can be quickly followed by one diner's entree - the flow depends on how packed the restaurant is. If time is critical, call ahead and order to go. During lunch hours, you order at the counter and take a number, and one of the runners will bring your food. The Pao family is ever-present at both the White Station and Kirby locations, always making time to say hello and catch up with customers -and after just two visits or so, you can consider yourself a regular.

Recommended for Take Out because: The folks at Mosa know how to pack food so the crispy chicken stay crisp, and even in styrofoam, the presentation is pretty.

Sally's expert tip: Call your order in ahead of time - especially during lunch - if you're in a hurry.

Read more about Mosa Asian Bistro →




During lunch, it's a walk-up and order spot, with the line moving quickly as customers build-their-own burritos, tacos and salads – with the help of the friendly and often teasing food builders. One can get more complicated at lunch; there are grilled entrees including fish tacos, quesadillas and fajita plates. The star of the menu may just be the white queso; it is super creamy and rich, and practically a meal in itself. The fish tacos are another must-order with crispy yet lightly breaded white fish. Two locations - both on Poplar Avenue and one nearly in Germantown - offer a mixed lunch crowd of business execs, young professionals, yard guys and moms with tots, and both locations offer patio dining when the weather is fine.

Recommended for Take Out because: You can call ahead and even order online for take-out.

Sally's expert tip: During the heat of summer - July and August - avoid the patio at lunch, unless you like to sweat on your meal. Since the patio is a) uncovered and b) next to the parking lot, it's H-O-T.

Read more about Swanky's Taco Shop →


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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

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