Memphis is the home of the blues, an iconic cerebral genre of music that has influenced nearly every genre of music that has arrived since. Like its music history, the city’s food scene is also full of soul. Whether savory or sweet, the hum of Memphis’s legacy wafts off piping hot meals like your favorite old-school record. On your upcoming trip to Memphis, check out these 10 Black-owned restaurants where the music and the soul of Memphis is alive and well. 

Mahogany Memphis

Mahogany Memphis is an upscale soul food restaurant in the Chickasaw Oaks Village. The food is amazing with fall-off-the-bone meat, succulent sides, and incredible flavors. The chef, Christopher Hudson, grew up watching his grandmother cook and used her inspiration to develop the restaurant’s savory menu. 

  • Location: Chickasaw Oaks Plaza
  • Type of Cuisine: Upscale Soul Food
  • Menu Spotlight: Oxtails & Three Cheese Grits 
  • Before You Go: Due to the popularity of the restaurants, reservation times are limited to one and a half hours.

Arnold’s Smokehouse

Travelers can get some downhome Texas barbecue at Arnold’s Smokehouse. The restaurant has a ton of different smoked meats that guests can try as dinner plates, sandwiches, and more. One of the best things about Arnold’s is they serve vegan barbecue favorites too so everyone can eat. 

  • Location: Memphis
  • Type of Cuisine: Barbecue
  • Menu Spotlight: Brisket Philly
  • Before You Go: Remember—Arnold’s isn’t open on Mondays before heading to the restaurant.

Sun of A Vegan

At Sun of A Vegan, Memphis barbecue is not synonymous with meat. The restaurant proudly provides a vegan option to the community, without sacrificing the delicious flavor. Sun of A Vegan has all your traditional Memphis culinary faves, but the owner is originally from Chicago. That means you can also get a little Windy City inspiration in every bite. 

  • Location: History Ridge Mall
  • Type of Cuisine: Vegan Comfort Food
  • Menu Spotlight: The SOV Chopped Cheese
  • Before You Go: Sun Of A Vegan has recreated many Memphis barbecue favorites into plant-based goodness like BBQ nachos and sandwiches.

Curry N Jerk

Curry N Jerk is a Caribbean restaurant with a slew of delicious items on the menu. The chefs have merged traditional Jamaican and Panamanian recipes to create a Caribbean wonderland of food choices. Beyond the food, the restaurant hosts events like karaoke for fun after your meal is finished. Curry N Jerk brings tropical vibes to Memphis like no other establishment. 

  • Location: Memphis 
  • Type of Cuisine: Caribbean
  • Menu Spotlight: Curry Shrimp & Grits
  • Before You Go: This restaurant also has a lounge connected to it where guests can enjoy live music on Friday nights.

A&R Barbecue

Considered the best barbecue in Memphis, A&R has been serving the community for 40 years. It started as a take-out restaurant opened by a married couple in 1983. Now, they have multiple locations in Memphis and are a staple for finger-licking good barbecue. 

  • Location: Multiple locations
  • Type of Cuisine: Barbecue
  • Menu Spotlight: Pork Nachos
  • Before You Go: The food served at A&R Barbecue is rooted in family recipes passed for decades.

The Four Way Soul Food Restaurant

Having been open more than 70 years, the Four Way Restaurant knows a thing or two about soul. Back in the day, Black and white diners would eat together at the restaurant, despite segregation. Civil rights leaders, famous musicians, and iconic Black figures would eat there when visiting Memphis. Today, the restaurant still serves soul food hot and fresh, uniting the community one plate at a time. 

  • Location: Soulsville
  • Type of Cuisine: Soul Food
  • Menu Spotlight: Fried Green Tomatoes
  • Before You Go: The Four Way was featured in Drake’s 2014 music video for his song Worst Behavior.

Bala’s Bistro

Dedicated to showing the beauty of African cuisine, Bala’s Bistro is the go-to place for African food in Memphis. Their food is made with fresh ingredients that highlight Africa’s diverse culinary legacy. Guests can take their tastebuds on a worldwide journey at Bala’s. They even have some traditional American dishes sprinkled into the menu too. 

  • Location: Whitehaven
  • Type of Cuisine: West African
  • Menu Spotlight: Spicy Beef Pies
  • Before You Go: Bala’s has vegan options as well.

Trap Fusion

Memphis flavor meets Caribbean rhythm at Trap Fusion. The restaurant is owned by two Black men who wanted to curate a menu with a global vibe. Trap Fusion is a hotspot for locals and travelers looking for Jamaican cuisine. 

  • Location: Multiple locations
  • Type of Cuisine: Caribbean Infusion
  • Menu Spotlight: The BossMane
  • Before You Go: Trap Fusion has been featured on the Food Network and even was visited by food guru Guy Fieri.

Biscuits & Jam

For a down-home Memphis breakfast, check out Biscuits & Jam. They have all of your breakfast favorites, with an emphasis on biscuits galore. The restaurant is very popular so don’t be alarmed by large crowds. Get in where you fit in to enjoy some of the best breakfasts in the city. 

  • Location: Bartlett
  • Type of Cuisine: Breakfast
  • Menu Spotlight: Down Home Blues
  • Before You Go: Reservations are highly recommended if you’re heading to the restaurant on the weekend.

Next time you’re in Memphis swing through some of these Black-Owned restaurants to fill your heart’s culinary desires. With so many options to choose from, you’ll be sure to find something your tastebuds will love.