Grawemeyer's in downtown Memphis offers an authentic taste of Germany by way of its loaded menu, lined with traditional favorites. Start off with a giant bavarian pretzel before choosing between the sauerbraten sandwich, made with pot roast and mashed potatoes on toasted german rye, or the gruyère spaetzle casserole. There’s also a deli counter in the back for fresh cuts of meats and cheeses. The restaurant’s custom-built bar has an extensive collection of wines and imported German beers to complement the menu. And on select evenings, piano music and trivia night spice up meals.
Don your nicest of men’s or women’s patterned vests and settle in for a night of elegant dining at your own pace; Safari’s dim lighting, cracked-plaster walls, and ornate molding create an Old World atmosphere perfect for discussing German expressionist film noir or the correctly patterned vests for sophisticated dogs. While thinking of the next thing to say, you can fill your mouth with a menu featuring a variety of tapas ($6 to $9) such as Creole crab cakes served with tri-colored peppers and shallot ($9); southern fried chicken skewers with three-cheese macaroni ($7); and Moroccan beef skewers with button mushrooms, onion, and cous cous ($8). Vegetarians can join in the plate-passing pageantry with a little falafel with roasted-garlic hummus and tempura-battered seasonal vegetables with Asian dipping sauce; while those craving a comfort food can savor the simple delights of pita pizzas such as the three-cheese pizza with cheddar, mozzarella, and fontina. Safari also offers a selection of fresh salads and wraps, including the fried tilapia wrap ($7).
To reach their table at Spaghetti Warehouse, guests commonly have to step through two doors: the front door of the restaurant and the door of the antique trolley parked inside. Since its inception in 1972, the Italian eatery has merged the functions of kitchen and museum. Artifacts such as grandfather clocks, factory flywheels, and circus billboards surround diners as they delve into signature plates of 15-Layer Lasagna or hand-rolled meatballs. Apart from the items they've amassed, each of the buildings also has a particular history, from the one-time ice-manufacturing plant in Columbus to Memphis's Civil War munitions depot. Given their storied pasts, it's no surprise that several of these venues house their own ghosts—at Houston's warehouse, for example, elevator lights have been known to flicker, objects are mysteriously found in new locations, and a lady in a white gown is said to roam the restaurant.
Yet the main attraction of the place is the delicious food. Like any great Italian meal, made-from-scratch dishes are created from family recipes passed down for generations via email. Guests devour the perfectly al dente pasta, crispy calamari, bottomless soups, and 12-layer chocolate cakes while dining with family and friends. It’s that feeling of togetherness that people love about Spaghetti Warehouse, a feeling that is only enhanced when the drinks start flowing and the air is punctuated by the sounds of laughter as kids play retro games, such as The Claw prize-grabbing machine.
Fronted by British-Nigerian lead singer Sade Adu, Grammy-winning band Sade has seduced eardrums with a potent mélange of R & B, soul, and jazz for nearly 30 years. Performing songs from the new compilation album The Ultimate Collection, Sade will delight fans with greatest hits as well as a smattering of brand-new songs, melding soul-stroking vocals with eye-tickling dancing and onstage spectacle. Special guest John Legend will also throw his honeyed voice into the ring, soothing ears that have been damaged by the cacophony of city life and the screeching of prima-donna chalkboards.
The food slingers at Lunchboxeats dish out a menu of sandwiches and meaty entrees cleverly bestowed with school-inspired names and served on cafeteria-style trays. The Third Period Smoking Birds sandwich ($8.95) rebelliously stacks chicken, tender duck meat, and slow-smoked Cajun turkey between slices of slaw-slathered wheat bread for a nostalgic taste invoking fond memories of cutting class and curing poultry in the school parking lot. Otherwise, hang a fang on the homemade chicken-and-waffles sandwich ($7.95) or the Broken Rib Bones, a red-wine-braised xylophone of beef short ribs nestled within a crispy—and sadly unsigned— cast of grilled cheese, veggies, and gravy ($10.95).