So, for lunch yesterday, some of the guys from the office and I decided we’d give Main St. Hound Dogs a chance.
We’d all seen him on Twitter and heard good things about him. We’d even stopped and talked to him for a few minutes while walking down Main St. on our way to another lunch destination downtown. Christopher McRae is genuinely one of the nicest guys you’ll find in Downtown eateries, and he spends his midday at a hot dog cart by the trolley tracks!
Open from “11ish to 2ish” Monday through Saturday, Chris sells his dogs (turkey and beef) and his fresh-squeezed limeades (regular and cherry) on the corner of Union Ave. and Main St.
If I worked in Downtown proper, I’d be at his cart multiple times a week. The dogs are cooked decently, but are prepared with a good selection of toppings. One companion (@aranhia) got his turkey dogs with “all the standards:” deli mustard, ketchup, sauerkraut, relish and onions.
My other companion (@blakepalmer of @memphisnews fame) went with two beef dogs, one with deli mustard, celery salt and salsa (I’ll be trying this next time) and one with sauerkraut, celery salt and mayo.
After talking with Chris, and another customer in line behind us, while he was making the dogs, we sauntered down roughly half a block from Union and made with the eating.
Sitting there watching the midday foot traffic of Main St. it made me reflect on my time in Memphis (my entire life with a 3-year hiatus in Murfreesboro for college). It also makes you think that the efforts to revitalize Downtown actually have a chance of succeeding, especially when you see all the construction workers creating new spaces along Main.
One great thing at Main St. Hounddogs is Chris’ trivia questions. If you answer them correctly, you win something (since I had no clue about today’s question, I was unable to find out the prize). His trivia question today was about The Peanut Shoppe a couple blocks down from his cart.
How could we not hit up The Peanut Shoppe on the way back? It would have been a criminal offense, I think.
The staff of The Peanut Shoppe is almost too friendly. I picked up some Yogurt Pretzels and @bpalmer got some salted red skin peanuts. His peanuts were so fresh they were still warm (insert 5th-grade jokes here… we certainly did). My pretzels were tasty, if fairly standard dipped-pretzel fare.
The thing that got me reflecting (and titling this post in the way I did) was how amazingly welcomed I felt Downtown. It’s often easy to focus on the negatives of Memphis. You see the crime stats in the news and you see the panhandlers walking around Downtown and Midtown.
It’s very easy to lose perspective.
Places like Main St. Hounddogs and The Peanut Shoppe can remind you of all the good in Memphis. It makes me feel proud of my city. I wasn’t born here, but Memphis is definitely home.
Not to get too mushy here at the end of the post, but go down to Main St. and these exceptional shops (and many others) and open yourself to the soul of Memphis.
A truly hospitable place.