We left the Liberty Bowl game hoping to stop by Payne’s Barbecue, but it was already closed for the evening. Plan B was to try Cozy Corner BBQ, which came highly recommended. I entered the address in the GPS and it was only five or 10 minutes away from us and basically on the way to downtown Memphis and Beale Street, where my Mom and Dad were going to drop me off and then head back to the hotel.
It was already dark outside and we could tell we weren’t in the best part of town, but didn’t really know how bad of an area we were in. We pulled up to the restaurant and drove through the parking lot and could see inside but there were bars on the door and windows and the people inside were staring at us through the window. You remember the scene in Animal House where the guys walk into the bar where Otis Day and the Knights are playing? That’s the kind of looks we got when we pulled up and walked in the place.
Once we walked inside and started talking to everyone in line everyone was really friendly and helpful in telling us what to order and what their specialties and favorites are. I ordered a beef brisket sandwich and a combo platter of ribs and smoked wings. It came with bread and baked beans on the side.
I ordered the ribs dry and would have ordered the sandwich dry had I known it was served with coleslaw on it. I was able to take some of the meat off the sandwich and taste it and it was really good. The ribs were hands down the best ribs I have ever had at a restaurant. The wings were good as well, although I have a place in Kansas City, Jazzy B’s, that has my favorite smoked wings and I still like them better. Overall, it is fantastic barbecue and I highly recommend it! The next day I looked at some reviews online and Cozy Corner is pretty much agreed upon as the best barbecue place in Memphis. Glad we had to settle for Plan B!
After we got back home I looked up what kind of area of town Cozy Corner is in and apparently it’s one of the unsafe areas of Memphis. Regardless, we survived and had some excellent barbecue! However, I would recommend going during daylight hours if you’re going to visit! It was definitely an experience I’ll never forget!
After we stuffed ourselves on barbecue my Mom and Dad dropped me off at Beale Street and they headed back to the hotel. I wandered into one of the bars that was not charging a cover charge and ordered a beer. I was supposed to meet a couple of buddies down there but they both ditched me (you know who you are) so I was by my lonesome self. I could barely drink one beer I was so stuffed from the barbecue.
I got on social media on my phone and saw that Jerry “The King” Lawler of pro wrestling fame had posted that he was going to be hanging out at his restaurant that evening. Since it was right across the street I figured I’d go over there and see if I could find him and maybe get a picture. His bar was charging a five dollar cover so I paid it and ordered a beer at the bar. All the tables were full, so there was standing room only. They had a band playing and people were dancing. It was a neat place. I kinda scoped the place out to see if he was there and I did see Jerry standing down at the end of the bar talking to his girlfriend but then another friend of his whispered something in his ear and they both walked out the front of the restaurant right by me. I thought I blew my chance.
I’m not a Jerry Lawler fanboy or anything like that, but I was a huge pro wrestling fan growing up and my favorite wrestler was “Macho Man” Randy Savage. I’ve followed wrestling for a long time and of course know who Jerry Lawler is. He is known as “The King” of wrestling. In Memphis, there is no Hulk Hogan or Ric Flair. It is all about Jerry Lawler. His feud with Andy Kaufman is legendary and it culminated in one of the greatest television moments of all time when they got into a brawl on the David Letterman show. That bit was featured in the movie “Man In The Moon” starring Jim Carrey and Jerry Lawler. It’s been said there are three kings in Memphis…Elvis, Jesus, and Jerry Lawler.
So there’s a little background. I just thought it would be really cool to meet him at his restaurant. I thought I had missed my opportunity, but about five minutes later he came walking back in. I found it interesting that a lot of the people in the place didn’t seem to recognize him. A lot were wearing K-State shirts and had just come from the game and probably just walked into the first open restaurant they saw with live music and didn’t have any idea who Jerry Lawler is. But a few people did recognize him and asked for pictures and he was happy to oblige them.
This time when he walked by I went up and introduced myself and told him I am a big fan of his. He asked where I was from and I told him Kansas City and that I’m a K-State grad and was in town for the game. He said he watched a bit of the game and said there’s no shame in losing to Navy because they’re a good team. Then we talked football for a little bit. I was kind of impressed that he’s a college football fan. Anyway, I asked if we could get a picture and he said sure. I snapped a couple pics and then I thanked him and he went to hang out with his friends again. I looked at the pictures and they turned out blurry so I went and tapped him on the shoulder and told him they were blurry and asked if we could try again. My hand must have been shaking or something so he grabbed my phone and held it up and took a couple more pictures that turned out this time.
|Me and “The King!”|
I’ve met my fair share of famous people and Jerry is one of the nicest I’ve met in person. It was a pleasure meeting him and I was very happy he was a cool guy and not a jerk!
I hung out there a little while longer but my phone battery was about 10% and I still had to call an Uber so I thought I’d better do that while I still had a little juice left on my phone. It was about 10:00.
As I was walking out of the Beale Street area, the line to get into the bar we went to the night before was around the block! There was also a line to get into Beale Street and they had metal detectors set up and were wanding people who were coming in.
I got back to the hotel around 10:30 and had a glass of champagne with Mom and Dad. They went to bed and I stayed up watching Steve Harvey ring in the New Year.
We drove back in the morning the same way we came and got home around 3:30 in the afternoon. Quite a whirlwind of a trip but I’m very glad I went!
Till next time….