Bluff City Beat, Vol 1

Look no further for your one stop shop for relevant Memphis news and opinions. If you want to know where to be, what to eat, and what’s going on in our great city, then you have arrived at the right place.


Food & Entertainment

Maciels on Highland

If you consider yourself a taco lover and haven’t been to Maciels Tacos and Tortas, you need to get there immediately. Their tacos are delicious and fresh and the guacamole rivals Babalu’s. While we didn’t try any of their signature cocktails, we were enviously eyeing the ones being enjoyed around us (mmmmm…margaritas).

Prior to the new location on the Highland strip, they were a single location shop on 45 South Main. This past summer/fall the Main Street location was closed for several months due to a collapsed roof. My wife and I spent this time unable to satisfy our taco fix anywhere else. If you know my wife, you know that is a deep and devastating loss. My wife and I walked to the restaurant numerous times hoping that it would finally be back up and running. 

Thankfully, we aren’t the only Memphians who treasure Maciels. The taco and torta company opened up a brand new location on the completely revitalized Highland Strip adjacent to the University of Memphis campus. The second location resides inside the old RP Billiards building. If my hazy memories serve me correctly, that bar used to be one of the few places in town where you could purchase a pitcher of Natty Lite (hence the haze). The new location has a hip, trendy feel with touches of authentic mexican flair on the inside and a substantial patio space located in the back of the restaurant. This makes the new Maciels location a great spot for warm spring and summer weekends, happy hours, or a place to hang out after classes.

Crosstown Brewing Company

For those of us 21 and older, you’ve likely discovered that brewery tap rooms are a popular spot for hanging out with friends and family. You can be sure to find a plethora of four legged friends as well. Breweries offer a place to drink delicious beer, not in a bar (which makes it acceptable to bring your young children and pups!). They generate feel-good vibes, give you an excuse to enjoy a few beers during the day, and still allow you get to bed at a reasonable hour.  

In February, the newest addition to the Memphis tap-room scene, Crosstown Brewing Company, opened up to the public. CBC is located adjacent to the Crosstown Concourse, which is an incredible urban village that has been revitalized to house numerous small shops, lovely apartments, and tasty restaurants. Since CBC’s grand opening, I have visited several times and each time I am more impressed. I recommend indulging in their flight (splurge on the stout) to sample all their tasty options. They have a varied selection and their quality rivals some of the best of the Memphis breweries. The Siren Blonde Ale is my favorite so far, and is one of their featured drinks. Their atmosphere is unique and is very much inspired by the neighborhood of the area (scrappy, creative, proud). The outdoor area is fairly small with only a few wooden tables for seating, but large roll-up garage doors help to bring the outside in during warmer weather.

BSMF Lineup Release

The Beale Street Music Festival, one of the best weekends of Memphis in May, dropped their lineup recently and our guy Sweaty Freddy wrote up an excellent summary of bands that you need to see. Don’t miss it.


Sports

Memphis Tigers Basketball

Much to The Chief’s chagrin, I think that we are likely in for at least one more year of Tubby basketball in Tiger Town. Despite a totally embarrassing loss Thursday night at home in front of a measly crowd of less than six thousand fans, I would be very surprised if the administration made the move to immediately fire and replace him. Clearly he was not the right man to fill CJP’s shoes, but it doesn’t look like the administration will own up to that fact just yet.  

To recap recent events in Memphis Tiger basketball:

Memphis caught fire last week and enjoyed a four game win streak which included a victory over the #23 ranked Houston Cougars. In that game, Memphis star guard Jeremiah Martin (18.9 ppg) left the game with what ended up being a broken foot. The injury will put him out 4-6 months, ensuring that he will miss the entirety of the conference tournament and whatever else might come after that (likely nothing).

Despite the devastating news, Jeremiah seems to be dealing with the reality of his injury the best way possible and has remained positive. 

After defeating the Cougars 91-85, Tubby was feeling himself at the post game presser and gave himself a pat on the back. Clearly a premature gesture of confidence.

The Tiger’s strong play continued after beating Houston as they shot 50% from three on 22 attempts against UConn and squeezed out a W on the road. Four Tigers picked up the scoring duties of the injured Martin and achieved double digits in the points column.

Thursday, the bottom abruptly fell out of this short-lived success. Just as it looked like this team was putting together a hot streak, everything came crashing down. The game against the University of South Florida (last in the AAC) hurt to watch. The Memphis bench was outscored 29-13 and the team as a whole shot 16% from downtown on 19 attempts. Perhaps the biggest kicker is that Memphis was out-rebounded 36-26. For a team with little talent, rebounding must always be their strength if they want to compete. If you don’t have talent you need to have hustle. This South Florida team previously had only one win in conference play. This is potentially the worst home loss ever in Memphis Tiger basketball history. This is the second loss that Memphis has suffered to a sub 300 KenPom team this season (ECU). Their win over a highly ranked Houston does not heal the wounds of these losses and serves more as a fluke occurrence rather than an indication of the trajectory of the program.

The Tigers have their last regular season game Sunday, hosting ECU at the FedEx Forum. ECU is ranked next to last in the American Conference and is 10-18 (4-13).  The tip is at 3pm and the game can be viewed on ESPN3.

Memphis Grizzlies

It’s official; the Memphis Grizzlies are the coldest team in the NBA. They are currently in the midst of a 12 game losing streak, complete with key losses to Atlanta and Phoenix. If the season were to end today, they would have the highest odds of achieving the number one overall pick according to tankathon.com.

Over the next 7 days, the Grizzlies will play games on the road against the Magic, Spurs, and Bulls, before returning home to face the Jazz.

The Grizzlies have around 20 games left. Though this is about a quarter of the season, it will only last one more month. What separates the Grizzlies from other teams vying for pole draft position is the immediate light at the end of the tunnel. In the course of 8 months, we could potentially see a return of our starting PG (Mike Conley), a young franchise star acquired through the draft (TBD), and a re-signed stellar 6th man (Tyreke Evans).

This is vision is easy to see as a fan, but I can imagine that as a player it is difficult to look past the current devastation to this long term vision.

Grizzlies franchise player Marc Gasol has expressed his displeasure with the way this season is projecting. 

As Grizzly Bear Blues producer Mark King pointed out, we really shouldn’t be surprised at Marc’s annoyance. 

Don’t forget this is not the first time Marc Gasol has thrown shade at Grizzlies leadership. If things do not immediately improve next season, it won’t be surprising if we see Marc asking for a trade to a contender. Maybe the Grizz would actually be able to pull the trigger on that trade instead of the colossal blunder that was this year’s trade deadline. For some reason, management decided to keep Tyreke Evans instead of trading him for rumored future draft picks. If Marc can give Memphis until December of 2018 before deciding to jump ship, things might start looking up. However, if the right player mix is not in place by then, it could be a long time before the Grizzlies see the post season again.

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@barnburnerbro

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