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Table Talk: Crazy Cactus closes; Coletta’s pizza is at Grind City Grocer
Crazy Cactus on Summer Avenue may be closing, but the restaurant’s Olive Branch location remains open and has the same menu. (Jennifer Biggs/The Daily Memphian file)

Crazy Cactus on Summer Avenue may be closing, but the restaurant’s Olive Branch location remains open and has the same menu. (Jennifer Biggs/The Daily Memphian file)

Welcome back to Table Talk, where Daily Memphian food and dining editor Jennifer Biggs sends the latest food news (along with a dash of this and that) to your inbox every Wednesday. 

You’re going to wish I’d stayed gone and kept my mouth shut when I tell you this:

Crazy Cactus closed Monday, Aug. 1. My favorite restaurant on Summer Avenue, the home of cold margaritas and enchiladas rancheros, is no more. And I felt horrible when I heard about this, as I’d just recently revealed in our Summer Avenue series that it was my favorite of the Mexican restaurants on the street, and I felt responsible.


The enchiladas rancheras at Crazy Cactus are served under a red sauce. (Jennifer Biggs/The Daily Memphian)

It didn’t help that when I texted The Daily Memphian’s Chris Herrington to tell him, his reply was to the point: Kiss of death.

But, whew, not my fault. I called owner Francisco Gonzales and we talked briefly; he thanked me for my business and my support, then handed the phone to his son Luis Gonzales:

“He didn’t want to leave; he was planning to sign a new three-year lease, but we couldn’t come to an agreement with the owner and so he couldn’t sign anything,” Gonzales said. “I wish we could have had a little more time, and maybe we would’ve worked it out.”

Anyone who’s been to Crazy Cactus recently has noticed that it’s been mighty warm in there, and Gonzales said getting the air conditioner fixed, and who would fix it, was part of the problem. But, ultimately, they didn’t reach a deal with the landlord.


It’s not all bad news. First, the Olive Branch location of Crazy Cactus at 7142 Highway 305 (at the corner of Pigeon Roost) remains open and has the same menu.

And this doesn’t mean Crazy Cactus is gone from Memphis — or even Summer Avenue — forever.

“It’s crazy the support my dad is getting from regular customers who are calling, who are sending messages on Facebook,” Gonzales said. “They’re texting addresses of other places he could go, but he needs to take a few months and regroup. Then, if an opportunity comes up, who knows?”

But don’t look for the building to stay vacant for long. I didn’t talk to the owner, but Poncho Herrera owns four local Los Cabos restaurants and two in Kansas City, Kansas. He says he’s putting his next one in there.

“I’ve been looking for a space on Summer Avenue for a long time, so when I heard about this, I acted on it,” he said.


He expects it’ll be about two months before he opens. He has to deal with the air conditioner, do some kitchen renovations and remodeling, but he says he works fast.

And he’ll have a full bar, which is a plus for a Mexican restaurant on Summer; many don’t serve any alcohol and a handful serve only beer. A margarita with your (fill in with your favorite Mexican dish) is always nice.

Harold Cook, the longtime bartender at Sweet Grass, is now behind the bar at the newly reopened Belle Tavern. (Jennifer Biggs/The Daily Memphian file)

Moving along, here are a few events coming up that you should know about:

If you miss Sweetgrass, you need to be at Belle Tavern, 117 Barboro Alley (or enter through 117 Prime at 117 Union Ave.) on Friday, Aug. 5. This great bar finally reopened a few months ago, and now, they’re having a little cocktail party, and Harold Cook, of course, is slinging the drinks. There will be snacks, a bar menu, drink specials featuring B.R. Distilling/Blue Note products and tastings and flights of the line of local spirits. Giveaways! Fun! Whiskey! It’s 5-8 p.m. 

The Chicken and Beer Festival rolls around again on Saturday, Aug. 6 at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium, 6-10 p.m. Tickets are $40 and include admission, a souvenir glass, beverage samples, live music, yard games and more, and it all benefits Merge Memphis. Local restaurants will have food available for purchase; you must be 21+ to attend; and The Daily Memphian is giving away four tickets. Click here to enter by 10 a.m. on Aug. 5, and we’ll notify the winner later that day.

Tsunami and Memphis Made Brewing will host a five-course dinner on Monday, Aug. 8, at 6 p.m. that includes seasonal dishes prepared by Tsunami chef/owner Ben Smith paired with Memphis Made beers selected by head brewer Drew Barton. The dinner is $75, and tax and gratuity are included in the cost; call the restaurant at 901-274-2556 for reservations.

And something sweet for you: My favorite fast-food place, Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, celebrates National Frozen Custard Day on Aug. 8 by giving away a single-topping mini sundae to app users who have signed up for Freddy’s rewards program. Find the reward in the offers section of the Freddy’s app Aug. 8 - Aug. 14; no purchase necessary but come on, if you’re at Freddy’s, you’re getting a cheeseburger.

If you didn’t get tickets for our Friday, Aug. 19, lunch at Magnolia & May, well, they sold fast. If you want to be on our waiting list, email and I’ll notify you, in first-come order, if we have cancellations. We’ll have another lunch coming up in September.

Several of Memphis-based Wiseacre Brewing's beers will now be available throughout Texas. (Courtesy Wiseacre Brewing Co.)

Now, while I was out, the food news and features kept coming. In case you missed it last week, Wiseacre is taking good old Memphis beer to Texas, and that’s a big deal for our largest local brewer; Jasmine McCraven brought us the story.

Michael Waddell filled us in on the second Micco’s location, this one in Arlington. This is a great sno cone and milkshake dairy barn that’s been popular in Collierville and is sure to be a hit in Arlington, too. 

Jordan Arellano stepped up and brought you a $10 Deal from Ermyias Shiberou’s StickEm restaurant, and I’ll second Arellano’s relief that some of Shiberou’s Ethiopian food from Blue Nile is still on the menu. 

Chris Herrington went live for Sound Bites with Meredith Clinton, who just opened Lucky Cowboy at 409 S. Main St. It aired on WYXR-FM 91.7, but if you missed it, you can listen to the podcast.

"Dynamic Duo" co-owner Stephanie Feng has created a very Memphis burrito. (Mark Weber/The Daily Memphian)

Chris also took on some street food with Dynamic Duo and a burrito made with pork and a sauce that’s a barbecue/mole hybrid. He was suitably impressed, from the flavor to the size to the spice level in the variation that includes habaneros. 

Finally, we finish with something fun and new, with more to come on this: Craving Coletta’s pizza? You can now get it ready to heat and eat at Grind City Grocer, 60 S. Main St. There’s cheese, pepperoni, veggie supreme, ‘round the world, and because you can’t help yourselves, barbecue. Here’s a link to our first Never Have I Ever occasional series, where I eat the barbecue pizza for the first time. (We’ll have another Never Have I Ever coming up soon, folks. Real soon.) 

OK, I’m back; I’m busy; I have a great recipe coming up for you on Saturday, and here’s a final reminder that if you’re looking for big fun on Saturday, you want to be at the Beauty Shop and Bar DKDC for the Beauty Shop’s 20th birthday bash. Any time you can have a Karen Carrier kind of day, seize the opportunity. 

Have a great week!

Beauty Shop owner Karen Carrier (second right) with sous chefs Jarrod Phillips (left) Devin Brown (second left) and chef Shay Widmer (right) on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. (Mark Weber/The Daily Memphian)

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