A&R Bar-B-Que (Memphis, TN)
Everyone who heard we were heading to Memphis and had actually been to Memphis before had the same “must-go” restaurant recommendation for us – Charles Vergo’s Rendezvous, a BBQ legend known for its ribs. So while we were wandering around downtown Memphis with Knox, we scoped out Rendezvous so it would be easier to find after some evening fun on Beale Street.
You’ll notice, however, that this post is not titled Charles Vergo’s Rendezvous but instead A&R Bar-B-Que. Despite no sign on the door, Rendezvous was closed that evening. Luckily, we weren’t super hungry, so we survived the 3 block walk back to the hotel and the neighboring A&R.
A&R Bar-B-Que is a local Memphis BBQ chain started in 1983 that now has 4 locations across the city. The menu is simple and pretty inexpensive, focusing on BBQ and sandwiches. Bonus? Lots and lots of pie and cake options for dessert!
The Rib Plate
Thanks to the awesome burgers from Huey’s, we weren’t super hungry. We decided splitting an entree was plenty and asked the woman at the counter for her recommendation. She said “ribs” so we went with the rib plate – 4 ribs with sides of baked beans and cole slaw (plus the bread they thrown in with each meal).
Ribs in most Memphis BBQ joints are served dry, meaning no sauce on top. Luckily, these ribs were meaty and juicy without needing any sauce for moisture. The smoked flavor was incredible too. Besides the smoke flavor, though, there was a dry rub on the ribs as well that was awesome. It made it difficult to decide whether to eat the ribs normally, or just lick off the yummy rub.
Although the baked beans weren’t especially noteworthy, they were flavorful. Perhaps a tad soupy, but still good enough that we finished them off.
Woohoo – non-mayonnaisey slaw! Again, beyond the fact that this slaw wasn’t swimming in mayonnaise like many of the recent slaws we’ve sampled, this side dish wasn’t exceptionally noteworthy. However, we did polish it off, too. [Even when we aren’t that hungry, we tend to clean our plates!]
The bread that comes with the BBQ plates at A&R is just simple sliced bread. Again, not noteworthy, but instead of polishing it off ourselves, we gave this side to Knox.
Edie’s sweet tooth kicked in when we walked through A&R’s door to see a mountainous display of cake and pie slices. Since Caramel Cake is a Southern specialty, we (read: Edie) picked a slice of that for dessert. Caramel Cake is just a basic yellow butter cake, but with ooey, gooey caramel icing on top.
This cake certainly lived up to its Southern glory – a moist cake with thick, rich icing. And the slice from A&R was certainly generous, too generous to be eaten in one sitting!
For the second time that day, we went with take-out, so there wasn’t any table service. That said, the woman at the counter who took our order was super friendly and helpful. Her recommendation on the ribs was definitely a good one!
Including a small tip, our total came to $18.00 for a meal that left us satisfied and a giant piece of cake that also served as a drive-time snack the following day.
The Doggy Bag, By Knox
After getting ditched alone in the hotel room for a few hours (I’m a hip dog who understands the blues – why wasn’t I allowed on Beale Street?!?!), my humans came back with a bag smelling of meaty goodness. Although I wasn’t allowed on the bed while they noshed on the BBQ, I did at least get frequent bites of meat and bread from Mommy, plus a few beans here and there. Unfortunately, it appears that Mommy and Scott need a little bit of education on my tastes. I prefer meat to bread, people!