To share some of my new book, “Food Lovers’ Guide to Memphis,” I thought it would be fun to periodically post excerpts on Memphis Stew. Since today is the birthday of Elvis Presley (he would be 78 ), here is a comprehensive guide to eating with the King:
"It’s time to dispel a food myth about Elvis Presley. Peanut butter and banana sandwiches weren’t his favorite meal. He preferred bacon, and a lot of it. (But if you insist on the recipe, here it is!)
The ultimate night owl, Elvis liked to sleep until late afternoon when his cook, Nancy Rooks, brought “breakfast for dinner” to his bedroom. Typically, the tray included a pound of bacon fried extra crispy, coffee, toast, pancakes and eggs.
Peanut butter sandwiches were more of a late-night snack for Elvis, but they make a quick lunch option at Rockabilly’s Burger Shop for the more than 700,000 visitors who come to Graceland every year. Rockabilly’s, a retro 50s diner located in Graceland Plaza, serves the sandwich the Elvis way; white bread, peanut butter, and bananas grilled in butter. Rockabilly’s also serves a trademark burger, hotdogs and smoked Cajun sausage baskets.
The Graceland Plaza includes two other places to eat, along with Sirius/XM Elvis Radio, where you can stop by and share a favorite Elvis story. The Chrome Grille serves meatloaf and mashed potatoes, another Elvis favorite, along with catfish dinners and Southern-fried chicken tenders. Shake, Split & Dip scoops up traditional ice cream favorites like sundaes, house-made fudge and single or double dips in waffle or sugar cones.
For authentic Memphis wings, don’t miss BJ’s Wings and Things on the plaza’s south side. Sold drive-thru only, BJ’s Wings are tasty and affordable. Individual wings sell for 49 cents Monday through Wednesday, a good time to sample all six sauces ranging from seasonal to suicidal. My favorite, honey mild, falls somewhere in the middle.
To find a barbecue landmark in the Graceland loop, look for a pink Cadillac and follow it to Marlowe’s Ribs & Restaurant. Better yet, call ahead for a free limo ride to the family owned restaurant, where Missy and Pete Gigliotti serve recipes like their grandmother’s marinara sauce and their father’s fall-off-the-bone barbecue ribs. Featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-In’s & Dives,” Marlowe’s mixes Elvis kitsch with barbecue done many ways: ribs, chopped pork, beef brisket, shrimp, chicken and spaghetti. There are Elvis tie-ins on the menu too, such as the Blue Suede Burger topped with blue cheese and fried onion rings."
BJ’s Wings and Things, 3824 Elvis Presley Blvd., (901) 396-4688; Chrome Grille, Rockabilly’s Burger Shop, Shake, Split & Dip, 3773 Elvis Presley Blvd., Graceland Plaza, (901) 332-3322; Marlowe’s Restaurant and Ribs, 4381 Elvis Presley Blvd., (901) 332-4159.