The always-fascinating Memphis Barbecue Restaurant Ghost Pit Chronicles blog has some pictures from when the building was still the Frayser Maid. I would love to meet whoever is behind that blog, especially since they apparently live in my neighborhood in Vollentine-Evergreen.
On my first visit to the Frayser Maid I got an order of meatloaf with greens and yams. Everything was good and the side portions were huge. It is one of a very small number of soul food lunches I've been unable to finish.
That isn't a tiny serving of meatloaf. Those are big bowls of greens and yams.
One of the reasons I love eating in places like Delicious Soul Food is open conversations you experience between the staff and the customers. Everyone talks to everyone in a way that would seem downright bizarre in a typical chain restaurant. In little family-operated barbecue and soul food places there is generally a welcoming sense of community that makes you want to come back. It's something I've witnessed countless time in restaurants in both the city and in rural areas with both mostly white and mostly black crowds.
In fact, at Delicious Soul Food all the friendly servers are family and friends of the owner who are just pitching in to help out and enjoy the sense of community at the restaurant. If you go, tip accordingly. Your meal will still be cheap. During my first visit conversation ranged from the Tigers and Grizzlies to a woman talking about charitable giving in the city and how "they can talk bad about Memphis but when push comes to shove Memphis has heart." It was an address to the entire restaurant that I wish I had recorded.
On my second visit I had pork chops with buttered corn and green beans. The plate came with two large chops and as soon as the plate was in front of me I knew that they were going to be good. When fried pork chops are really seasoned and cooked right the smell alone is enough to tell you. Once again the side portions were big enough that I wasn't able to finish them. This time there were several kids in the restaurant so the staff set up a TV for them to watch cartoons while the adults chatted. One of the biggest benefits of my barbecue and soul food quest, besides all the great food I've enjoyed, is the opportunities I've had to enjoy the character of the city I love.
I've made numerous return visits to my favorite finds along the way and Delicious Soul Food is another place I'll be visiting when I find myself nearby and hungry. Not every time, since I'll still have to get the occasional giant barbecue sandwich from Kelvin's down the street from them. Kelvin's and Delicious are only a couple blocks apart with a McDonald's, a Taco Bell, a Wendy's and a Church's Fried Chicken in between them. But when you open your eyes to all the great little independent eateries in town the fast food chains quickly just become an almost invisible part of the background scenery.