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Table Talk: Guy Fieri is in Memphis, and festival/fair season is on.
Guy Fieri poses with the 2023 World Series Of Poker Main Event Bracelet and Stack of Cash at Horseshoe Las Vegas July 7 in Las Vegas. (Denise Truscello/Getty Images for Caesars Entertainment)

Guy Fieri poses with the 2023 World Series Of Poker Main Event Bracelet and Stack of Cash at Horseshoe Las Vegas July 7 in Las Vegas. (Denise Truscello/Getty Images for Caesars Entertainment)

Welcome back to Table Talk, where Daily Memphian writers and editors send the latest food news — along with a dash of this and that — directly to your inbox every Wednesday.

Spiky hair alert: Guy Fieri is on the loose in Memphis.

The celebrity chef and host of the popular Food Network series “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” is in town this week.


Chef Guy Fieri takes a selfie with a fan on the field before an NFL football game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Las Vegas Raiders in Las Vegas, Nov. 13, 2022. (Matt York/AP file)

In July, Fieri opened his first Mid-South restaurant, Guy Fieri’s Tunica Kitchen & Bar at the Horseshoe Casino. In addition to checking in on that, Fieri has at least a couple of publicly scheduled Memphis events this week.

There’s an appearance tonight at the Lakeland cigar store Tinder Box where Fieri will be promoting his Knuckle Sandwich cigar brand.

Then on Friday, Fieri will be at Buster’s Liquors in the University of Memphis area, signing bottles of his Santo tequila. The signing is from 4 to 5 p.m. For that event, an on-site purchase is required, and you have to be in line by 5 p.m.

But while Fieri is in town making appearances, his “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” crew has also been in town, apparently filming a few local spots for a future episode — or episodes. They were at Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana on Tuesday where I hear they sampled some pork belly tacos and tortas. On Wednesday, they were at the Downtown location of Wiseacre Brewing Co. where they focused on the Thud Butt pizza and Imagine the Future wings from the in-house pizza window Little Bettie.


I was invited to sit in for part of the Little Bettie/Wiseacre taping, perhaps because when Jennifer Biggs and I shared our respective lists of our five favorite Memphis pizzas on a Sound Bites episode last year, Little Bettie was my top choice, with a particular nod to the Thud Butt. My minute-and-a-half of commentary will probably grace the cutting-room floor, if not the actual episode.

“Whoa, It's Todd” (right) and “Thud Butt” (left) were served at the soft opening of Little Bettie inside Wiseacre Brewing Co.’s Downtown Memphis location Dec. 17, 2020. (Ziggy Mack/Special to The Daily Memphian)

Speaking of beer, Memphis Brewfest, which proclaims itself the Mid-South’s biggest beer festival, is taking over the Memphis Sports and Events Center at Liberty Park Saturday, Sept. 16. 

It’s fall fair/festival season in Memphis. The Delta Fair just ended, and the Mid-South Fair looms. Last weekend was the Germantown Festival. This weekend, in addition to the Brewfest, we’ve got the increasingly gargantuan Cooper-Young Festival, the Collierville Hot Air Balloon Festival and the Medical District Wellness Festival.

Festival and fair food was one of the topics on Sound Bites this week, on which producer Natalie Van Gundy dropped some Pronto Pups knowledge, we issued some funnel cake and lemonade warnings and Natalie and I talked about some of the fair/festival foods we wished were more common in Memphis. 


Will Zio Matto gelato be at any of these festivals? I don’t know, but the locally produced Italian-style gelato is easy to find at farmers markets and many local restaurants and food retailers. You can get it scooped to order at FedExForum and now at another location: The Square Beans coffee shop on the Collierville Town Square.

Zio Matto founder and co-owner Matteo Servente will be at Square Beans from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday to scoop gelato and talk about the product. Since its launch in 2020, Zio Matto has also expanded into Nashville. You can check out its locations in both cities here.

Memphis-made gelato Zio Matto, from partners Matteo Servente (left) and Ryan Watt, stand with their new cart imported from Italy Sept. 10, 2021. (Mark Weber/The Daily Memphian file)

In other food news, Hive Bagel & Deli had a soft opening on Front Street last weekend. The line was down the block Saturday morning, and I noticed one couple taking their to-go order down to Tom Lee Park. I’ll consider that a pro tip.

Hive breads and pastries will also be available during weekend brunch service at The Majestic Grille, which returns after a yearlong hiatus.

Also on the Downtown dining horizon: Construction has begun on South Main Street for the Memphis sibling to New York Italian restaurant Forsythia.

Speaking of second locations, coming sooner: The second Elwood’s Shack, on Park Avenue, should open soon. Joshua Carlucci got a sneak peek, and be on the lookout for a Jennifer Biggs tribute on a mural at the restaurant. 

Josh and I were both out on Summer Avenue recently. He recommended a $10 Deal at the Yemeni restaurant Balqees Restaurant and Grill. I found a mix of two of my favorite things: authentic Mexican and classic greasy spoon diner. That would be La Palapa in a former Waffle House on the east end of Summer.

La Palapa Mexican Restaurant is in a former Waffle House building. (Chris Herrington/The Daily Memphian)

Further east, Christin Yates checks in on the new-this-year Perch 74 Bistro and looks at the fine-dining going down at a Collierville senior living center. 

Whether at Tom Lee Park or one of the many fests, get outside this weekend. And here’s hoping you find some good eats and drinks when you do.

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