Dec 3, 2012

Dyer’s Burgers – a late night Beale Street tradition

Before I move on to reviewing the many highlights from last month’s New Orleans trip, I have some unfinished business left over from our one-night layover in Memphis, which ended, as many of my nights on Beale Street do, at Dyer’s Burgers, a classic – and world-famous – burger joint that tests your grease endurance.

But before that, and after our dinner at Pig on Beale, we naturally did a little Beale Street bar crawling and checked out the entertainment along the way.  And I was about to experience one of my few disappointments on the trip – the Black Diamond bar, one of my favorites in Memphis, is no more.  Sure, the sign and the name are still there, but it’s been gutted and taken over by the gift shop next door.  Sometimes there is no justice in this cruel, cruel world.  A perfect dive bar replaced by tourist trappings. 

Oh, well, at least I have this picture from 2009 of the mini fridge behind the bar that tells you all you need to know about why I loved the Black Diamond (besides the affordable drink prices, of course).

After that disappointment, I was pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere in a bar I usually avoid – Club 152.  When we showed up, an excellent live band was playing, and we got a nice open air viewpoint to enjoy both the show and the street scenes.  In fact, we stayed for several drinks, as our entire group seemed happy to be there.

See, we're all happy to be there.
Eventually, of course, we moved on to one of my favorite Beale Street establishments that, thankfully, is still there and as popular as ever – the Beale Street Tap Room.  I can’t remember the actual name of the drink, but the bartender suggested I try a Shiner Cheer and Guinness together.  It was delicious.    

Not opting to stay long, we moved further on down the street and were drawn to the free entertainment in W.C. Handy Park.  A large crowd had gathered to hear a blues band that was tearing up (in a very good way) some classic Muddy Waters songs.  We might have stayed longer, but a steady drizzle was taking over.  So, with a few hours of drinking behind us, we decided to duck into Dyer’s across the street for some quality late-night grease. 

And believe me, there’s nothing like the grease that comes from a Dyer’s burger.  The legend has that they haven’t had to change it since opening in 1912.  That may because you can see the cooking process right behind the counter … don’t those skillets look like they go back 100 years? 

It’s actually pretty cool to watch the cooks press the patty, drop it in the grease and watch your burger float as it fries.  They’ll float a slice of cheese on top, too, if you prefer a cheeseburger.  And while you wait, they’re happy to supply you with a beer or a cocktail. 

To be honest, I never know if I should order the burger and fries or the fried baloney sandwich. Both are absolutely delicious, and the grease is seeping through the bun by the time you finish.  Anyway, on this trip, I went with the classic single with bacon.  With the fresh-cut fries, it was the perfect solid food base to end the night with.

Ironically, I was the light eater among our group.  My friend Joe, for example, not only split a double burger and fries with his wife, Shayne, but added a cup of chili to his order.  And the review on the chili was excellent.  You can see it in the background of the picture.  I have that image preserved in my memory bank for my next trip.  How sad is it that I plan my next trip’s meals before I even plan my next trip? 

Anyway, Joe wasn’t done ordering.  After much talk around the table, he couldn’t resist ordering a deep-fried Suzy Q for everyone to share.  The staff deserves extra points for the presentation.  They overheard us talking about it and did it up right.  

With the recent Hostess bankruptcy, I wonder how much longer they’ll be able to keep that and the deep fried Twinkie on the menu? 

Regardless, you’re coming here for the burgers.  Or the baloney sandwich.  Or the chili.  Or the wings.   And Dyer’s is open late on weekends when you need them to be.  It’s all incredibly delicious, especially after a long night on Beale.  Just make sure you have the Tums on standby.   


Traci said...

Fried baloney sandwich?!? Good lord, that sounds SO good! A side of fried pickles would be good with that.

John Watts said...

Traci, it's the really thick baloney, too, so it curls up some when it's fried in the skillet but not too much. It's great the way they serve it with mustard and pickles!

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