Author Archives: Scott

For The Food Life’s “13 Lucky Pubs” on St. Patrick’s Day

FOR THE FOOD LIFE’S “Lucky 13” Favorite Irish Pubs

– Outside Boston, Chicago, South Bend, or NYC area.

CRITERIA: No prefab pop up template ‘Irish Pubs’

MUST HAVE: 10+ year history.

BONUS POINTS: It’s In a former residence, It’s in a neighborhood, It has a “Supernatural” component, It has a legendary Irish Pub Legend as part of its folklore.

Murphy’s Memphis, TN

Category – Glorious Dive & Neighborhood Hang Out

Murphy’s Midtown Memphis, TN

Originally Opened in late 70’s by Russell George, who named it after his son Murphy. The first motto was “Midtown, Motown, & Monk”. This anthem was displayed in the bar & on Murphy’s T-Shirts, a St. Paddy’s day fashion staple. Murphy’s was originally just a beer bar, with a great jukebox, as Russell always had a great love and insider’s understanding of jukebox Music history, especially the rarities, and later parlayed the expertise into the infamous Ernestine’s and Hazels venture on Main in a historic brothel used to service Beale street musicians and patrons back in its 1st heyday. But the Monk story; well, Monk was a notorious Street Personality usually in Midtown or Crosstown area, who had an intimidating profile with strategic facial protrusions that were highly visible, even under his well worn fluorescent orange hunting cap. He wrapped several dirty coats around his neck on his 4’ frame, and while brandishing his orange candy cane striped cane like a drunken Musketeer, he carried both an aroma of the street as well as the countenance of the old neighbor keeping the kids off his lawn.  He was usually seen waving his cane at passing motorists as he wandered in the streets, or guarding a local bartender/bookies payphone/house phone, keeping patrons away so that incoming bets could be received (anyone remember “Big Daddy’s on Madison, etc.?), in exchange for Hamburgers and Beers. But I digress….


So when Monk died, Russell was at the funeral and strategically tossed a set of Murphy’s keys (according to Russell they were an actual set of Murphy’s Keys, though no one to my knowledge ever dared dig them up to test the proclamation) into the grave as they tossed shovels full of dirt on the casket, promising to the dearly departed Monk for all to hear, “Monk, you’re always welcome at Murphy’s”. And for years Russell kept Monk’s dirty hat and cane behind the bar.


Patrons from those days would hardly recognize the place now, as Murphy’s has had a lot of work done. Full liquor bar, enclosed patio, extended raised east room, etc.. In Murphy’s early St. Patrick’s Days, Russell would remove all furniture and shuffle board game to the alley out back to make room for the overflow crowd that would extend on to Madison Ave. and the small parking lot. The day would start with Russell lifting young Murphy up on the bar, Russell pouring shots to the surrounding crew and all nighters, and then Murphy would bless the Kegs, the shots would be tossed back, and the fun would begin. Gail Stanton, Memphis model and former Playboy Playmate used to make an appearance every year.

I was lucky enough once during Cotton Carnival to share a beer with Archie Manning at Murphys’ as he was being Honored as a Cotton Carnival ambassador in early 80’s. This and other celebrity sightings are proof that Southern royalty will drop in to Murphy’s throughout the years, to rub elbows with the alcohol soaked underbelly of Midtown. ..


Casey Moore’s Oyster House – Tempe, AZ

Category – Collegiate & Neighborhood Hang Out

Casey Moore’s Oyster Bar in Tempe, AZ

Employees swear they have see a “Ghost in the walk in” –  It’s in an Old House @ 9th & Ash, an old neighborhood within walking distance of Arizona State University campus.  Large sprawling outdoor area with picnic tables, lawn bowling, romantic nooks, and benches.


Limerick Junction – Virginia Highlands, Atlanta

Category – Neighborhood drinking hang out

Limerick Junction Atlanta in Virginia Highlands

Irish Olympic Boxing Team = 96



Murphys Pub – Champaign, ILL

Category – Collegiate Hang Out

Open since 1969, right off the Illinois University campus, on Green Street – the main drag.  You may be lucky enough to run into the Fighting Illini Women’s Rugby Club team! Try to go toe to toe with them in a drinking game.)

Twitter link for Murphy’s Champaign, ILL

Facebook link for Murphy’s in Champaign, ILL



McGuire’s Irish Pub – Pensacola, FLA

Category – Tourists and Locals welcome

Open Since 1977, Over One Million Signed Dollar bills on the ceiling, in Pensacola’s original 1927 Firehouse

McGuire’s Irish Pub, Pensacola, FLA



3 Angry Wives Pub, Las Vegas NV. (in West LV area Neighborhood near Summerlin)

Category – Neighborhood Hang out, Open 24 hours a day! Gambling machines.

3 Angry Wives logo features One wife brandishing Meat Cleaver, One with Rolling Pin, and one with a Frothy mug of beer in each hand.

3 Angry Wives Pub, Las Vegas, NV west suburbs



The Shanty – Tuscon, AZ – since 1937!!!!

Category – Neighborhood & Collegiate hang out

“ Unique Experience for the Drinking Enthusiast” – you can find retired professors reading worn poetry books, sports enthusiasts, drinking professionals and students on the 7 year plan hanging out in this amazing place!

The Shanty, Tuscon, AZ


Celtic Crossing –Memphis

Category – Neighborhood Hang Out, Soccer Fan Pub, Entertainment

It is in an Old House that still has stairway in main room.  More on this later in my best Soccer Pubs story in 2 weeks.

Celtic Crossing Midtown Memphis, Cooper Young Distric


Padre Murphys – North Phoenix, AZ

Category – Neighborhood Hang Out, Sports Bar, OTB Parlor

Truth be told, it’s named for an Irish Catholic priest that owner Tom Boyle has known since childhood.  Hence the ANTHEM – “Go and Sin No More”

Padre Murphy’s north Phoenix on Bell Road



Silky O’Sullivans – Beale Street, Memphis, TN

Category – Entertainment, Sports Bar, Tourists and Locals Welcome – Live GOAT!

In heart of Beale Street, across the street from Fedex Forum, in 100 year old building that was even then a sprawling saloon of incredible proportions. Silky Sullivan was founder & owner who had several versions of his Tavern going back to 1973 in Overton Square district. Current location since 1992. More about Silky O’Sullivan’s in the best places to watch March Madness Next week in For The Food Life.

Silky O’Sullivans on Beale Street, Memphis, TN



Seamus McCaffery’s – Downtown Phoenix, AZ

Category – Neighborhood Hang out, Sportsbar, Tourists and Locals welcome

Don’t be fooled, even though the website is impressive to point of overwhelming, just like the junky assemblage of Irish memorabilia and uniform patches behind the bar – It’s Really just a Good old Irish pub

Seamus McCaffreys, Downtown Phoenix, AZ



Auld Dubliner – Long Beach

Category – Neighborhood Hang Out, Sports Pub, Tourists and Locals welcome

Ok, so now they have several of these in 3 states, but I included them because this is the original and it is a classic Irish Pub.   In 2013 when in town for the TED show, “Bono” of U2, dropped in to pour some pints for the crowd.

Auld Dubliner, Long Beach, CA


Fibber McGee’s – Chandler, AZ

Category – Glorious Dive & Neighborhood Hang out

Unique bar shape and overhang.  some serious drinking goes on here, take a cab as you will not be walking straight line when you pop out into the Arizona sunshine.

Fibber McGee’s, Chandler, AZ

Little Italy – Midtown Memphis

A classic “Pizza Joint”: Counter service, deli display, smells like garlic, basil, and tomato sauce when you walk in. If you tried them before 2015, it wasn’t the same quality, because I had my first experience in 2013. It was just average. Then saw they had changed hands. Since the change: Better pizza sauce, better spinach, better delivery, a make over of the room, friendlier staff, etc.. – and still really great prices.

My favorite is the Spinach Roll or Spinach “Stromboli”. It’s delicious with fresh Spinach, garlic and spices wrapped in homemade dough and freshly baked.   To be truthful they usually are par-baked and in the display cabinet, and when you order they put it in the pizza oven until piping hot and serve with their homemade marinara for dipping. I like with some Parmesan sprinkled on top, but they are pretty tasty just by themselves. $5.25 and is a meal in itself.

The  regular Pizza is very good too, taste like New York pizza. Individual slices are served to order, and are too big for the paper plates – pretty tasty standing, in the passenger seat, or sitting down. They have stuffed pizza for those that like that, but I prefer just the 10” Fresh Mozzarella & Basil pizza with marinara. Can’t beat it under for $10!

It’s only fair to tell you that they also have great Pasta it’s priced great too.  Pasta with Marinara and Meatballs (lots of food!) with slice of Garlic Bread and a small salad with house Italian dressing for only $7.99. Honestly most people can make 2 meals out of this deal.

Oh yeah – Free delivery in Midtown Memphis area! And that’s good, because the only drawback is the parking along that part of Union can be tricky and they are next door to a Cigar lounge and Kimbrough Liquors both of whom have a following.   Here is their FB:

1495 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38104

Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana

Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana

Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana

1215 South Germantown Road, Germantown, TN 38138

Traveling to Memphis Germantown area Medical Clinics?   Looking for delicious food on the go?  Give Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana a try.

First, this is not your average Mexican Restaurant and certainly stands out in the Memphis area.   If for no other reason for what they offer. Of course they also feature the unique personality of the Owner; Jose “Pepe” Magallanes, whose philosophy and humor is plastered all over the walls in Pictures, Quotes, Check copies, and more.

The name Tortugas comes from the Bread Loaves they bake daily, then scoop out and grill. So it is just the shell of the bread called a “Tortuga”.

You can spend from $4.25 to $17.95 on a menu item here, again, not the norm.               In fact the only Tacos they serve are the small soft tacos, served 4 to an order with 2 kinds of homemade salsa, lettuce and spiced cucumber salad and hand cut tortilla chips. Each taco is then garnished with fresh avocado, lime, cilantro, sweet onion and salsa tayde.

I tell you because it’s important to know it’s not going to be like any Mexican place you have probably ever been, especially around Mid South, unless you’ve also traveled to Mexican Baja Gulf coastal towns. And there it would be a lot cheaper.

I like the Antojitos or “small plates” section of the menu. Recommend: Flauta de Huachinango – Red snapper rolled in a Fried “flute” with lime, cotija cheese, crema fresca and salsa Valentina.   Also everyone likes the: Elote Con cotija y Mayonesa – Sweet corn steamed fresh rolled in lime mayo cotija cheese and crushed chilies.

Fresh Mango juiced and blended with shaved ice – very authentic, but some might consider it pricey at $4.95

I really enjoy the place, but it may not be for everyone, and as Pepe says: “Be nice or leave.”   In other words he doesn’t want to hear that you are disappointed that he doesn’t have Taco Bell items!

The presentation is 1st class.   The Daily Special board may offer Lobster, Ceviche, Clams, Locally raised Beef, or even Scallops on any given day. They say their food is purchased at local markets daily, instead of large food service companies.  Though there is something on the wall about it not being street food, it is served in lined plastic baskets and disposable cutlery that you get at the serve yourself beverage station…so I guess they are referring to the content in the baskets…


Las Tortugas Corn

Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana Mirror Sign

The Cupboard – Lunch

The Cupboard is a Memphis tradition since 1943 and has been at its current location since 2000.  It features fresh vegetables, prepared “Down Home” style, but now make their vegetables without the animal fats, as they were usually prepared in the good old days on the farm.  The family used to be in the Produce business and their knowledge of fresh vegetables shows in the daily variety of sides they offer.

The offer 8 to 10 entrees every day with about 20 sides to choose from.  You can get a 4 veggie plate for $8.49, or Meat and 2 for $9.87 or Meat and 3 for $10.49.  They all come with your choice of fresh breads: Corn bread mini muffins or Homemade pan rolls.  There is always at least 6 desserts on the menu and a Dessert of the day that is usually Cobbler or Banana Pudding.  Banana Pudding may be the best around.

My personal favorite is the 4 Veggie plate and generally put together 4 of my favorites, including:  Eggplant casserole, Fresh Turnip Greens, Italian Spinach, Carrot Souffle, Butter Beans, Lima Beans, Field Peas with snaps, Fried Green Tomatoes, Fried Okra, Buttered Squash, Crowder Peas, etc..   If I get a meat they have some of the best Grilled Catfish around, and of course if you prefer it Fried that is excellent as well, served with Hush Puppies and homemade Tartar sauce (with Red Onions which gives it a pink tint).

Can’t really go wrong here, the menu varies daily, even on the weekends, they close at 8pm and I recommend that you eat there from 11am to 3pm, but dinner is certainly a value as the prices stay the same all day.  Link:

The Cupboard – Breakfast

I really think the Meat and 3 lunches are what put them on the map in Midtown Memphis, but they have a good breakfast going too, so check it out some time.  It isn’t cutting edge, just great value that’s fresh and prepared to order.

Just an old fashioned ‘Blue Plate’ style breakfast.  Eggs how you like it, with Homemade Biscuits or toast, bacon, sausage or ham, Hash browns, grits, or Home fries.   They also have simple Omeletes (their spelling!), Pancakes, French Toast, Steak & Eggs, Biscuits with white gravy, or Country Fried Steak.

The prices are reasonable $5 to $12 depending on how big a breakfast you want, and the staff is usually experienced and fast.  They will keep the coffee flowing, butter and jelly is already on the table as well as a couple types of hot sauce.  Also the Breakfast special from 7am to 11am as of this writing was 2 eggs, biscuits or toast with sausage or bacon for $4.99!

El Mezcal – Midtown Memphis, TN

El Mezcal Website and Menu

1492 Union Ave. – Memphis, TN 38104

After living in Arizona for 30 years and dozens of trips down to Mexico while living there, it has become apparent that “Mexican Food” takes on influences where ever you go throughout the USA.  I mention that because to me it is only authentic when you are in Mexico or near the border, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good.  El Mezcal is family owned and operated, but has 8 or more locations, I prefer the Union Ave. location.  They definitely have their own brand of “Mexican Food” and some is definitely unique to Memphis, TN., and perhaps USA.

They have pretty good salsa that is almost pureed but has cilantro and other proper ingredients and the fresh made chips are crispy and thin.

My favorite is the Pescado y Camarones al Ajillo – Grilled fish and shrimp in garlic butter sauce.Topped with sautéed mushrooms and guajillo peppers. The Guajillo  pepper is usually used in making different sauce and tamales, in fact I have used them in tamale making myself.  It gives this dish a nice balanced flavor that allows the garlic to come through.

Chile Colorado – This has a good spicy red sauce and chopped steak and is consistently a satisfying dish.

Empanadas El Mezcal – These aren’t exactly “Central American” style, larger, but pretty tasty.  They are pretty good on their own, which is good because the ‘green sauce’ is not a consistent item in my experience.  The green sauce can be really spicy and not like the tomatillo or cilantro/pepper sauces I have had in Costa Rican or Panamanian restaurants, but the Empanadas are usually pretty good and can be filled several different ways, I prefer the shredded beef or spinach.

The Beauty Shop for Lunch or Dinner

The Beauty Shop

 966 Cooper St. Memphis, TN 38104

Located in the Cooper Young District in Midtown Memphis, the motto here is              “Look Good. Eat Good”

A one of a kind atmosphere self described as ‘Jetsons-era Vitrolite’ with seating offered beneath Belvedere hair dryers among Box Glass cubby hole booths.  Brunch is a standing room only affair on the weekends, but I prefer Lunch at this time travel gastro-boundary bending eatery.

My favorite is the Fish Club (sandwich) with avocado, fried green tomatoes, and marmalade in addition to Tilapia, Bacon, greens, and lemon zest.  Fries or Onion Curls are both presented in unique fashion.   Oh and Beverages here can double as dessert with such must haves such as Lorina French Lemonade, Ice Cream Float, or a Fancy Milk Shake.

It’s not a real macho hang out, but the ladies will love it and Foodies of all persuasions can’t help but enjoy the dining offered here.



Welcome! I want to share my enthusiasm For The Food Life: The who, what, where, and how we celebrate the eating and drinking experience. My mission is to share it with you. In doing so I will learn from you: What you like.  What you want.  How to make it happen. And Where to find it.

It’s an exciting and challenging era, with the many ways we connect and comment about our experience regarding what we consume for nourishment and pleasure.  There is ever expanding numbers of us working in the industry, at various stages of our lives and careers.  Sometimes by choice, sometimes from the dissatisfaction of the other options, and certainly for some of us it’s just part of a journey. There are limitless types of venues and work environments, and the experience can be fondly remembered for some, or never ending destiny for others.

Amazingly, there are some experts in the business world now bold enough to actually consider our work  “A Real Job!”

Regardless of the type of attention, it is still a life where success requires a unique, relentless spirit, unstoppable energy, constant attention to detail, ability to change while learning every day, and finding Joy in the process.

So when you find an experience worth having again; if it’s memorable enough to recommend to those of us that share your passion for “Good Eats on the Go”, then express yourself in celebration – “For the Food Life!”

This is what I love, why I love it, and what I do.  Join Me!