Lost Memphis: The 91st Bomb Group Restaurant

A World War II themed restaurant was one of our city's hottest eateries -- for a while.

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I took my 1st wife there in 1987 for dinner

I took my 1st wife there in 1987 for dinner,,, it was around August/September of 1987 when we ate there, and there were few people there..

David Richardson 71 days ago

91st Bomb Group

I actually worked there one summer as a hostess. I wore a long gray Red Cross nurses uniform ( a floor length dress!) with a big red cross on the bib, with a nurses cap. I was in college from 1982-1986 and soI believe it was the summer of 1984. I am pretty sure that it was open until after I graduated in 1986. I wish I had a picture of that old uniform. Good memories of a lot of soldiers coming through with war stories. They came to see the Memphis Belle. You could see from the dining room windows, and there was a view of the Memphis Airport. It was a classy place in it's time, and it gave a lot of service men and women a place to gather and remember.
Bartlett, Tn.

Suzi Iverson Kohn 274 days ago

Open until the late 80s

I recall the restaurant being open until, at least, 1988 or so. It had pretty much regained its popularity by the mid-eighties, and was known around town to be visited by several celebrities.

Michelle Martin more than 1 year ago

91st was a dining experience.

My then girlfriend-now Bride and I dined there a couple times (before salmonella). I don't remember that the food was either good or bad, but I do remember the atmosphere and experience was incredible. It was the first "themed" restaurant we had ever been to. You were made to feel like a soldier on leave. The doors were kept closed by pulleys and sandbags, the attention to WWII detail was second to none. It opened at the same time the nation was obsessed with M.A.S.H. on Monday nights. We did not return after it reopened. however it sat empty for several years and was eventually absorbed by airport expansion.

Leonard Temple more than 1 year ago

I have some pics somewhere....

I remember going out there with my dad in about 82 or so. They had a few WW2 airplanes that had flown in and had parked them close to the restaurant. I have several pictures somewhere that show the restaurant and several of the planes. I vividly remember a P-47 being there. It was a good place to eat. Wish it would come back in some form.

Rev. Brian Hayes more than 1 year ago

Still open in March 1986

We took my parents to brunch there to celebrate their wedding anniversary and announced our engagement. This girl s how I know that exact month and year.

Michelle more than 1 year ago

I had my Prom Date here too - in April 1983.

First, whoever wrote this article was born about 20 [expletive] years late, and suckled in such liberal ideology, such heinous focus on the negative and painful side of WW2, it was obvious they forgot American pride in military service to save millions from fascism was worth the cost. It was not a senseless war like Vietnam with questionable objectives.

Secondly, their facts are wrong - I had my prom date there in 1983. I guess sloppy revisionism goes with the territory of black-washing any positive emotional response to WW2 [Hogan's Heroes? Ever think it was a MOCKERY of German POW camps to brings humor and healing to Vets? No? Perhaps all the Jewish actors in it were not "being insensitive" but rather demanding a chance to ridicule their oppressors [Skip down to Jewish Actors on the Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hogan's_Heroes ]

Thirdly, I probably have a photo, of me sitting in the booth with my date, bit it is gone to history. I wish I could have it now, to refute your sloppy reporting.

Fourthly, you forgot a delicious food item in your disdain-filled snark:

"Beer Cheese Soup". Only recently have I had it at a restaurant, but it paled in comparison. It was my first - and sadly - only bowl from that very cool establishment.

It used sandbags on pulleys to close the doors. And from inside the rustic-themed restaurant, you could look out the huge plate glass windows and see the blue lights lining a nearby runway [obviously for small craft and rarely used] at Memphis International Airport.

I truly hope we get better memories and less liberal commentary in the future - from someone who has either a) wisdom or b) done research.

There. I have blackened both of your eyes, so let me leave you with this:

It was a wonderful place. Thank you for attempting to write something on it.

It was a ham-fisted attempt, but better than nothing.

Sincerely,
Brian Justice Carmon
Southaven Class of '83

Brian Justice Carmon more than 1 year ago

Hogan's Heroes and other things

I normally don't respond to comments on my own blog, being a Lauderdale and all, but since you took the time to insult me, I'll take the time to clarify a few details about my "disdain-filled snark."
First of all, I'm almost 20 years older than YOU, so your comment about my being "born 20 years too late" is pretty funny. I wish.
Second, despite being "suckled in liberal ideology" I assure you that I have the greatest respect for the men and women who have served in our armed forces. With good reason. My own family served honorably in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. In fact, my grandfather served as a sergeant in World War I and saw action in some of the most horrific battles ever waged in Europe. He was shot, gassed, left for dead, and captured by the Germans. After a lengthy stay in a German hospital, he spent the rest of the war in a German POW camp. So I believe I have some perspective on this subject.
And even though "Hogan's Heroes" was supposedly a comedy, I believe very strongly that by portraying the enemy as witless boobs ("I know nothing, I saw nothing") who simply couldn't "win" when confronted with Colonel Hogan's wisecracks, smirks, and fraternity-boy hijinks, you are actually diminishing the real bravery, brains, fortitude, and sheer guts of the soldiers who survived the torture, starvation, deprivations, and cold-blooded cruelty of a much more formidable opponent.
If you believe that a show like this actually helps veterans heal, I think you are giving it more credit than it deserves -- especially if they were prisoners. I wonder how Senator John McCain would feel if NBC producers asked him, "Senator, we are thinking about making a comedy about your experiences as a prisoner-of-war in Vietnam. What was the funniest thing that happened to you there?"
It's true that I probably erred about the date of the restaurant's final closing wrong. I got that information from a Memphis Press-Scimitar article, and if the restaurant closed and re-opened several more times after that food-poisoning episode, as it apparently did, the newspapers didn't bother to report it.
And I didn't mention the beer cheese soup because I didn't feel like reciting the entire menu. So I guess that is indeed "ham-fisted" reporting.

Vance Lauderdale more than 1 year ago

Observation

I read your original article, Mr. Carmon's reaction and your rebuttal.

Regrettably, my initial reaction to tenor and descriptions contained in the original article was similar to his, though the majority of his observations on specifics don't necessarily resonate with me. Now that it is 2017 my experiences at the restaurant are 23 years in the past. In the interim I have fought in Panama, Desert Storm, and the GWOT in both Afghanistan and Iraq. The members of the "Greatest Generation" that fought in WW II were a far different breed of American than one generally finds today. I felt then (and still do) that the restaurant was a fitting testament to the determination of the members of the US Army Air Corps to carry on irrespective of the massive loss of life they witnessed during their combat tours. Today our soldiers, airmen, sailors, marines, and coast guardsmen, are still exceptional people when compared to the average American Citizen today. Nevertheless they are still members of todays American society which in general finds there are few things worthy of any discomfort or actual physical risk. With some notable exceptions they (including me) still lack some of the grit and intestinal fortitude of WW II service members. It was a restaurant that gave one a certain nostalgic feeling for the service members of WW II. Not nostalgia for the carnage of that war, but for the breed of American that could endure a war of that nature and carry on everyday until victory was achieved.

(The Rev'd) Canon William C Fleenor 14 days ago

91st Bomb Group

The place made it at least to April of 1984. I took my prom date there my senior year. (Easy to remember because it was the only prom I attended - I think.)

Dr. Todd Collier more than 1 year ago

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Vance Lauderdale

Ask Vance is the blog of Vance Lauderdale, the award-winning columnist of Memphis magazine and Inside Memphis Business. Vance is the author of four books: Ask Vance: The Best Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine’s History and Trivia Expert (2003), as well as Ask Vance: More Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine’s History Expert (2011), Vance Lauderdale’s Lost Memphis (2013), and Vance Lauderdale’s More Lost Memphis (2014). He is also the recipient of quite a few nice awards (including “Best Blog - 2017” from the Society of Professional Journalists Green Eyeshade Awards), the creator of several eye-catching wall calendars, and the only person we know with a vintage shock-treatment machine in his den.

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