R to the Izzo. Yes to the Rizzo’s

When I was in school back in the day, our headmaster would rhetorically ask, “is this a great school, or what?” That will always stand out as a memory, and thankfully, a question that I answered (then and now) with a “yes!” Well, I’d like to steal a page from his playbook and ask, “is this a great time of year, or what?”

For those of us that enjoy going out, trying new things to eat, and seeing good people put their skills to the test, the answer is a resounding YES. Although I haven’t been to all of the places that have recently opened, I’ve been getting good reports, and I can say I’m excited about the Winter Rookie Class of 2011.


First up on the rookie tour is Chef Michael Patrick’s new place, Rizzo’s Diner. Since word travels pretty fast around our little town masquerading as a big city, I found out very quickly that Rizzo’s would serve a LOBSTER PRONTO PUP. I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but I immediately stopped listening/reading/thinking about anything else, and started plotting my first trip. To explain, part of my year is spent in wait of the Cooper Young Festival, so that I can get a pronto pup. Pronto pups fall into the “never gets old” category of things that I like.

Things that never get old

  • Pronto Pups
  • Clarks Wallabees and New Balance 99x series shoes
  • Memphis Tiger Basketball
  • A perfect behind the back pass on a fast break in lacrosse
  • The Chronicles of Narnia and A Separate Peace
  • Tsunami’s mussels

You get the gist of it. My list is actually a bit longer than that.

Mah! Meatloaf!!!

Ok, ok, ok. So, my mom and I were having one of our semi-regular lunches about town (can I get an “amen” on living in the same town as your parents), and we both were like, “Rizzo’s!” and “lobster pronto pup!” at the same time. Synergy. And thus the plans were made.

We got to the restaurant and were able to sit outside, and we immediately asked about the lobster. We were a little dejected to find out that it was not available at lunch, and I was a little sheepish about not having that info, after all, I write about food ALL THE TIME. So, after apologizing to mom for misleading her, we settled into the menu. All it took for me to forget the lobster was our server saying the phrase, “chorizo meatloaf.”

I was that excited, as it mixed two of my favorite things, loaf and chorizo. It came with a couple of sides, so I opted for the spinach, the squash casserole, and the mashed sweet potato.

I know that is a pretty decent picture with pretty good light, but I don’t know if any photo would do this lunch justice. I’ll give a shot with a closer look.

Lawd have mercy. Everything about my meal was excellent. The veggies were fresh and tasty, and the meatloaf was spicy, rich, and delicious. Our server said it was a 7 on a scale of 10 in terms of spiciness. That sounds about right, I’m not a big heat person, but it was no problem for me. Adding the sausage to the loaf created a complex flavor that was richer than any other meatloaf I’ve ever had. Just get it.

Swimmin Upstream

Want to know the best part about lunch? When my mom got her lunch, she too forgot about the lobster. That’s big that both of us came in with these grand expectations of a lobster on a stick, and we were both able to totally forget about it because everything else was so good. Mom went for a salad with some grilled salmon, and it came out perfect.

I meant perfect, just look at that. This salad was totally delicious, and I’d recommend it to anyone that doesn’t have their heart set on something a little loafier.

I Went Back. Pronto.

I was so impressed by my lunch at Rizzo’s that I went back for dinner last Friday. Since it was a spur of the moment thing, I didn’t have my camera, but, needless to say, I got the lobster, and it was good. So were the brisket and scallop entree’s that K and I split. So was the Phish music playing on the stereo. When a new place is so good that I have to go back that soon, that’s a good sign. So, take my advice, head on there, and welcome one of the Rookie of the Year contenders. They won’t give it up without a fight, that’s for sure. See you there!



You want to go to there:

Rizzo’s Diner
106 G.E. Patterson, Memphis, TN 38103

Rizzos Diner on Urbanspoon

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