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Friday, March 28, 2008

Life's Necessities: Food & Music

For just a few Saturdays lately, Mike and I have slipped out of the tax office a little early to go to dinner by ourselves. Don’t tell.

A couple of weeks ago, we went back to a bar & grille favorite, Huey’s. Although it looks and sounds like a pretty traditional bar & grille, it has some distinctive qualities – topped by their show-stopping burgers. Huey’s hamburgers have been rated “best in town” for years and years by both Memphis Magazine and The Memphis Flyer. The homegrown mini-chain has seven locations and has apparently upheld its food prep standards at each restaurant.

Pointing to another Huey’s tradition, Mike explained to me that the ceiling is covered with hundreds of toothpicks. Customers are encouraged to use their drink straws to shoot the long, sandwich-variety toothpicks into the ceiling. Fun and games, I guess; but I’m thinkin’ alcoholic beverages plus “blowguns” doesn’t sound like a great idea to me. The graffiti’d walls represent a much more liability-friendly custom.

They have a huge beer selection and feature live music on Sundays. And, speaking of music as we frequently do, the co-founder of Huey’s is Thomas Boggs, local musician made good. He played with the Memphis Counts (which Mike did as well, but not at the same time), The Box Tops, and Flash and the Board of Directors.

The Box Tops are best remembered for hits such as The Letter, Cry Like a Baby (late 60s) and I Shall Be Released. The group had 10 Hot 100 singles between ’67 and ’70. Flash and the Board of Directors was at one time the opening act for Paul Revere & the Raiders.

After his music career, Boggs completed his college degree, worked for T.G.I. Friday’s, first as a server and then at the corporate level. Moving back to Memphis, he started working as a bartender at the original Huey’s on Madison. In two years, he was a partner and now the CEO. Because of his Friday’s experience, Boggs started broadening the Huey’s menu and took it from a bar to the successful restaurant it is today.

Boggs is also a partner in Folk’s Folly, an award-winning steakhouse located in a renovated home in one of Memphis’ fashionable neighborhoods.

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