Alex’s Tavern

Hamburgers | Tavern
legendary
Worth driving from anywhere!
Save

There are two ways to make a hamburger that captures city-wide fame. The first is to make one different from all others; the second is to make one better than all others. The Greek Burger at Alex’s Tavern is both. It stands out even in Memphis, a city that boasts so many great burgers.

It starts as a six-ounce ball of choice ground beef that is hand formed and fried in a cast-iron pan that has decades of seasoning infused into it. This magic pan is reserved for Greek Burgers alone. The burger is named for the use of Cavendar’s Greek Seasoning on the meat. On a paper it doesn’t sound like all that exciting a twist, but the savory blend of oregano and seasoning salts makes it unique. It does fit the classic bar-burger definition of quality meat, thick and charred. Its bun, condiments, and fries, while perfectly fine, are afterthoughts. Who cares about the bun anyway? As is true of local barbecue, the meat is what matters, and this is as juicy and flavorful as a hamburger can be.

The Tavern has been around since 1953, and is now run almost single-handedly by Rocky, Alex’s son, who has been in and around the Tavern most of his life. He’s friendly and has an easy-going attitude. He doesn’t mind if you come in for a can of beer and sit in the corner, but you can tell that the food he serves is a passion project. The burger is presented with steakhouse precision. Wings are fried crisp and dressed in Rocky’s sauce. They rival some of the better ones in Buffalo.

Many bars can execute solid wings and burgers. We return to those that do, but Rocky deserves extra recognition for throwing together a deep and puzzling complex seafood gumbo.

Everything was so good (and reasonably priced), that we felt dejected that we couldn’t sample Rocky’s famous ribs, which are also seasoned with Cavadars (a la Charlie Vergo’s Rendezvous?). We’ll be back!

As much as we are impressed by the food, history, and friendly dive bar atmosphere, we are more impressed by how well everything is done, in spite of being a one-man show. Someone running back to slice tomato to order and scoop gumbo into a plastic container between pouring beers is bound to be a distracted cook, but our food is flawless. Practice makes perfect.

What to Eat
Alex’s Tavern, Greek Burger
Greek Burger
Must-Try
Greek burger: every element appropriately seasoned and perfectly executed
Alex’s Tavern, Rock-Mo’s Gumbo
Rock-Mo’s Gumbo
Must-Try
Thick, small-batch gumbo, full of seafood
Alex’s Tavern, Rock-Mos Wings
Rock-Mos Wings
Must-Try
Wings are crunchy and doused in excellent house sauce.
Directions and Hours
Information
Price
$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner, Late Night
Credit Cards Accepted
No
Alcohol Served
Yes
Outdoor Seating
No
Website

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Cupboard Restaurant

    Memphis, Tennessee

    The Cupboard of Memphis is all about fresh vegetables, well over a dozen of which are on the menu daily. For dessert: some of the best cream pies anywhere.

  • Helen’s BBQ

    Brownsville, Tennessee

    Real Tennessee pit barbecue still can be found at Helen’s, an out-of-the-way, smoke-worn shack serving sandwiches worth any detour.

  • Four Way Restaurant

    Memphis, Tennessee

    Legendary home for true Southern soul food since 1946, Four Way has been through many changes, but it remains a worthy Memphis destination.

  • Earnestine and Hazel’s

    Memphis, Tennessee

    A former infamous bordello and haunted bar, Earnestine and Hazel’s is home of the Soul Burger, one of Memphis’ best bites between buns.

  • Gibson’s Donuts

    Memphis, Tennessee

    Gibson’s is a friendly, high-quality, round-the-clock donut shop. Its World’s Fair donuts are tasty curiosities. Red velvet and Oreo donuts are must-tries.

  • Bryant’s Breakfast

    Memphis, Tennessee

    Excellent biscuits star at Bryant’s Breakfast in Memphis, along with every kind of pork there is, from ham and bacon to thick-sliced grilled bologna.