If you watch the Food Network, you’ve probably seen Guy Fieri’s show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” I recently took a cross country trip, and decided to check out one of his recommendations, Tom’s Bar B Q and Deli at 4087 Getwell Road, Memphis, Tennessee.
I would say that Tom’s would probably be classified as a “Dive.” It has an old warehouse look about it. There’s no fancy décor, but there is a eye-catching great sign with a pig on it. There were a few tables outside, for those who want to enjoy their food in the fresh air, and there is a small indoor dining area with 8 or 10 tables that can seat six people per table. I ordered my lunch at a counter that was 3 or 4 steps below street level.
The menu included Deli Sandwiches for $3.79, Combo plates including 2 sides from $7.99 to $12.99, and BBQ sandwiches and sandwich combos from $2.99 to $9.99. Also available for takeout were family packs which included chopped pork, beans, coleslaw, and buns for 4 to 12 people for $18.99 to $54.99. One could purchase ribs by the half slab, full slab, or as combos in a price range from $10.99 to $22.99. There were interesting options for side dishes-baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad, macaroni salad, deviled eggs, corn on the cob, boiled eggs, and of course, French fries.
According to Adam, the owner, the place serves 1500 to 2000 people per day, so I suspect that they do a whopping takeout business. They are located in an industrial park area, where many stop to pick up lunch and take it with them.
The smells emanating from the kitchen were phenomenal! Mouth-watering doesn’t even begin to describe them. I decided to try the rib tips, which Guy recommended, along with some baked beans and coleslaw. The beans were delicious and the coleslaw was tasty, but the rib tips were heavenly. The meat is marinated overnight in a rub of garlic, paprika, celery salt, pickling spice, nutmeg, red pepper, thyme, oregano, and black pepper, then slow cooked for a couple of hours on the BBQ pit. The rib tips are then served with Tom’s signature sauce. They are succulent and wonderful; you can’t help but lick your fingers!
When the kitchen got wind of the fact that I was from Maine, they brought out a sampler tray try for me so I could try some of the other items on the menu. The tray included a couple of ribs, some pulled pork, BBQ bologna, and a strawberry shortcake. I tasted each item…savored each, might be a better word. The best was the bologna. I am not a fan of bologna, generally, but Tom’s, marinated in the rub and then cooked on the grill was outstanding. I liked that even more than the rib tips. Dipped in their signature sauce it became a special treat.
If you are ever in Memphis, Tom’s Bar B Q and Deli is a MUST stop. I know if I ever return to Memphis, it will be the first place I go. The service was friendly and fast, the food was fabulous.