You are Here: Memphis

Meet Leslie of Sharp Stick in the Eye.

I've "known" Leslie 
{through mutual acquantainces}
for several years now.

In fact, I was even at her lovely wedding-
as a date of one of her friends.

Yet it's been through blogging that I've actually got to know her.

One thing I have discovered is:
 Leslie is a girl who loves Memphis.

She LOVES it.

When getting the cities organized for this series, 
I knew that we would all be in for a heart-felt treat
if Leslie would walk us through her city.

Lucky us!


Aspiring Kennedy: Where do you live?

Leslie J: Memphis, Tennessee: "Home of the Blues, Birthplace of Rock 'n Roll"

Aspiring Kennedy: Describe "your" Memphis- your daily experience to us.

Leslie J: My Memphis is what some call a "Big Little Small Town." Everyone has some sort of connection, so you never really meet a true stranger.

I live in the same zip code where I grew up, went to school, and learned to be who I am (mostly)...consequently, my husband also grew up in this zip code and our parents still dwell in our childhood homes.

Big trees, friendly people, and the best tap water around (artesian wells baby!).

photo by me, today!
There is a gritty, underdog spirit that underlies the Memphis city pride like I've never encountered. Kinda like, we may get a bad rap, but the diehards know the TRUE Memphis... and that it's a great place to live.

Cherry trees in the spring along {fittingly} Cherry Road, via
AK: Memphis is a really soulful place. That environment has to produce some inspired people. Tell us about the local talent.

LJ: How can we NOT start here?

The King of Rock 'n Roll.

Elvis Presley's home in Memphis, Graceland, is second only to the White House as the most visited home in America. {But I will tell you that most lifelong Memphians have never visited Graceland. Take that for what you will.}

Behind and surrounding EP is one of the most rich musical heritages a city can have... Aad this is what really makes us proud. Sun Studios (Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis), Stax Records (Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Sam & Dave, Booker T & the MGs), Hi Records (Al Green, Willie Mitchell)...see?

Obviously, that list is PACKED with some of the best music ever.

Besides these, we claim Justin Timberlake, Aretha Franklin, Morgan Freeman, BB King, Penny Hardaway, & Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT (I went to his high school band's shows!)

AK: Where does Memphis go to see music today? And Beale Street doesn't count...

If you ever come to Memphis, rest up, and make your way to Wild Bill's juke joint. (You really can't get there until 11:30 or midnight. Late for me, at least.)

It's only one of the most wonderful places in the world. Yes, it's tiny and they only sell forties, and in part of town you may otherwise not visit, but it's my favorite place to listen to live music EVER. 


You can read more Wild Bill's, among other legit places, in this great New York Times travel article about Memphis here, if you'd like.

AK: So after staying out all night at Wild Bill's... where should we head for for breakfast?

LJ: Gibson's Donuts. Be still my heart.

Promise me, if you ever go, you'll get a glazed Old Fashioned.

AK: Memphis obviously has a past with some really important people. Who could we "rub elbows" with these days in Memphis?

LJ: Besides JT coming home for Thanksgiving (and the subsequent Britney, Cameron, or Jessica sightings), one of the biggest celeb events of my life was when they shot The Firm here in the early '90s.

The "Firm house" as people call it:

photo by me- taken about 5 minutes away from our house!

While they were shooting here, I remember moms keeping their kids home from school so they could try to get a glimpse of Tom Cruise. My best friend lived in the neighborhood and saw TC once or twice.

AK: I love that! What is the quintessential Memphis meal? Where do we find it?

It has to be said: Bar-b-que. But I'm not writing about it because a) it's too emotional for people [and I don't really "get" that] and b) much has already been said and written much better than I could do.

But yes, it's bar-b-que. And for the record, my preference is probably Central BBQ.

AK: And... dessert?

Muddy's Bake Shop was started several years ago by one of my schoolmates. Stop by Muddy's to get a freshly-made delicious baked good. No freezing allowed!

AK: What's the blogging community in Memphis like?

We have a wonderful resource here: a blog called I Love Memphis... Kerry's full-time job is finding out what's awesome in Memphis and writing about it [broken into sections like EAT, SEE, DO, LOVE, MEET, HEAR. She's darn good at discovering the up-and-coming spots and giving them some spotlight.

AK: Leave us with a lasting impression of Memphis. Give us a taste of the overall flavor of the city.

Underlying everything Memphis is is the constant presence of the Mississippi River... the "Mighty Mississip" or more affectionately "Ole Man River." It is because of him we're here in the first place.

[photo from here]

The Old South feel of Memphis is present yet at once it's as if everyone has acknowledged they don't revel in it too much.

Like I've said, it's underdog and people like it that way.

Come and see us!


  1. Leslie, great post. I have had many a great time in Memphis in my life. I must also say if you are still up for that Arrested Development marathon with me and Andrea, I will drive there!

  2. What a great view of Memphis! I have only passed through Memphis on a road trip, this is definitely making me want to take a trip sooN!

  3. Lauren, thanks so much for having me! It was a great experience for me to sit down and {try} and funnel all the things I love about Memphis into one post!

  4. Great interview!!! Memphis is definitely on my list of places I'd like to visit..preferrably on a road trip :) And I could totally see why Memphis folk never visit's like New Yorkers going to the Statue of Liberty! It's one of those touristy things that locals never do :)

  5. Id never really thought of Memphis for my list of destinations, but Leslie paints it in such a beautiful light! I definitely want to go, given the opportunity!

  6. i am so glad you wrote this! i tell people all the time that i dont just sell houses, i sell MEMPHIS, and i love that you love it too! i also love that you included the river- my hubs works on the river in the tugboat/ barge industry and it is such a huge part of our economy that is always over-looked! thanks for showing off our little city!!!!! you did a great job!
    you are the best!
    ps- i love that you included Gibsons too! DONUTSO!!!!

  7. What a great view of Memphis! I love the tidbit about the house used in the film The Firm. How fun would it be to have your home in a movie?!!! You can tell I've actually thought of this.
    xo E

  8. This is a great post! Makes me want to explore my own town and write about it as well....(Knoxville, TN if you were wondering!) xoxo

  9. aww, i love it! would be a great road trip stop. especially if you were wanting to try some of that bar-b-que. and i've heard the debates, just never tasted. i wonder how oklahoma would do on this....haha.

  10. Oooooh, thanks to Aspiring Kennedy for the topic of Memphis and many thanks to Leslie for the great nod to Muddy's (that's me!) and so many other great things to love about Memphis! Yay!

  11. Memphis is a fun city...can't forget the ducks at the Peacock and the BBQ on Beale street too! We used to live in Nashville and always loved a memphis weekend!

  12. My botfriend (and several friends) have either lived or grown up in Memphis. I have to agree, Central BBQ is pretty much the best ever!


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