Photos by Pamela Denney
An aquatic theme, including the shapely mermaid above, informs the menu and decor at Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl & Grill.
The wait for a table at Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl & Grill was about 20 minutes for lunch last week. No one seemed to mind, except for the mother behind us with the fidgety kids, because the line fit seamlessly into the thematic sprawl that is the new Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid.
Standing on a wooden deck that wraps around the restaurant, we watched the cypress swamp and debated if the elevator ride to the Pyramid’s apex merits the $10 ticket. (Yes, it does, at least once, but the glass observation decks might make you a little queasy.)
Once inside Uncle Buck’s, we sat at the bar, where we could see bowling lanes wrapped in blue light and guarded by faux alligators. A shapely mermaid perched near the stairs. In the restaurant, tables were grouped around a circular aquarium that reminded me of squishy bath toys filled with glitter and fish.
In hindsight, I’m not sure why I didn’t stick with the aquatic theme and order fish tacos served with pineapple, avocado slaw, and chipotle tartar sauce, but instead I went for a $12 Fire Pit Burger. The beef patty, mediocre at best, was helped along by a fresh egg hamburger bun and a cheesy melted topping of Pepper Jack and jalapenos. It was one of eight burgers on the menu ranging from a low-fat turkey burger for $10 to a $17 Swamp Burger topped with fried (not faux) alligator tail. All the burgers came with thick cut, skin on fries.
Overall, Uncle Buck’s menu mimics popular American franchise restaurants, but with a Memphis barbecue twist. Wings, Reubens, flatbreads, salads (Cobb and Caesar), turkey wraps, pulled pork, and baby back ribs join the restaurant’s burger and taco lineup.
Bass Pro’s observation level, reached by a glass elevator that travels 25 stories, promises more upscale dining. For our visit, the only food service available was complimentary tea and water. However, bar, furniture, and steampunk décor were all in place and looked ready for the restaurant’s opening. With aerial views of Memphis, Arkansas, and the Mississippi River, the space feels like a rotating chop house from the 1960s. But, fortunately, the top of the Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid does not move.