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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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 142 days 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 172 days 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 172 days 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 176 days 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 176 days 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 172 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 177 days 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 three 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) and Vance Lauderdale’s Lost Memphis (2013). He is also the recipient of quite a few nice 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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