Monday, May 9, 2011

Cozy Corner Restaurant

MEMPHIS: Cozy Corner Restaurant
745 N Pkwy

Memphis, TN 38105


Open Tues-Sat 11-9

Not until I walked through the glass door did I realize that I had visited this joint back in the nineties in my pre-barbecue quest days. It was Liberty Bowl weekend, and Corky's had not satisfied my craving for decent ribs, so a friend and I made our way here for a great down home experience. The hospitality was just as memorable on this trip with owner Desiree Robinson taking the orders. We chatted about the unique Chicago style aquarium pit they use, and I learned that charcoal is the only fuel they use here. I would learn later in the day that this is not an oddity in Memphis, especially among black owned BBQ joints.

Ordering a pork sandwich, I just assumed it would be pulled, but a pile of thinly sliced pork came topped with a soupy and mustardy slaw with an incredibly sweet sauce. The pork had a heavy smoke flavor from the pit, and that thick sauce added another punch of smoke, of the liquid variety. The sandwich was certainly enjoyable, but more restraint on the sauce would have allowed that pork to shine through a bit more.

The option for small orders is always appreciated when I know I'll be eating at eight or so joints in a day. So many Memphis BBQ joints have a minimum rib order of a half rack that can easily run in the $12 range, so the 2 bone rib plate for $6.75 was a refreshing way to start the day. The direct heat charcoal cooking provided both a uniquely memorable flavor and a tougher texture than indirect heat. The meaty St. Louis cut ribs certainly had great flavor, but it was a chore to get that meat off the bones. After reading some additional reviews after my visit, I wish I had gotten the cornish hen, but I'll have to save it for next time.

A side of barbecue spaghetti was available with the rib plate, so I jumped at the chance to try this Memphis specialty. I couldn't detect a speck of meat in this conglomeration, but chili powder had been mixed with the sauce to give it an extra kick. Thick, sweet, and smoky BBQ beans were a better option, and make a great combo with that pork sandwich. I won't wait another decade for my next visit.

Rating ***
Cozy Corner on Urbanspoon


todd said...

My fave BBQ in Memphis. I made a point to stop here on a road trip from North Alabama to North Texas. Ordered the rib plate which filled me up and gave me plenty of re-fuel for the remainder of the trip.

Jack said...

Was hoping you would review the Cozy when I saw you were posting about Memphis cue. Wife and I stopped in here during our last stop to Memphis on the recommendation of my father and other Memphis locals and loved it. Had to admit I thought the ribs were a little tough too, but much more flavorful than what Corky's provided.


Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.