Photography by Andrea Fenise
There’s one thing that never goes out of style in Memphis, and that’s good food.
Food, like fashion, is driven by trends, seasonality and occasional hype. Decades-old restaurants like Cozy Corner have surpassed the “hype” and become staples. I invited one of my fashion design friends, Kris Keys, for lunch to catch up on life, travel, creative projects and plans for 2019. We met over perfectly seasoned slabs of ribs, smoked sausage sandwiches dripping with coleslaw and crispy barbecue bologna sandwiches. Kris is a recent graduate of the London College of Fashion, an illustrator and a travel-wear designer. She and I go way back and both agree there is no place like Memphis—the people, the culture, the music, the style, the twang, the relentless grit and grind, and the abundance of good food that flows like the Mighty Mississippi!
We arrive at 11:30 to beat the lunch crowd, but we are already late. There is a line out the door with locals, construction workers, doctors, couples and families. Cozy Corner has fed souls of Memphians and tourists for three decades. Raymond Robinson, the restaurant’s legendary pitmaster, began with his first slab in a small store at the corner of North Parkway and Manassas.
Today, folks from all walks of life are being nourished with good ribs and no frills.
Our girl chat about our lunch attire started a really cool conversation about the relationship between food and style in the Bluff City.
“It’s unpretentious and unique. The flavor with style and food in Memphis is something that you won’t find anywhere else,” Kris noted.
Food and style are expressive languages, and Memphis has her own dialect. We couldn’t help but notice that we were both “so Memphis” in the way we were dressed. Kris—being an avid traveler and travel-wear designer—dresses for function, yet always adds bold details in accessories and shoes, like her cobalt blue Nikes. (You all know we bleed blue in this town.) Style for me is minimalist, yet I always find a way to express myself. My “go-to” look is a good pair of denim, graphic tee and blazer. I am loving “Embrace Your Inner Memphis” tees designed by Eso Tolson; I think everyone in this city should find a way to embrace their Memphis, whatever that looks like.
When you are obsessed with expressing yourself with personal style, I think it’s a natural extension to express yourself with amazing food—style and food intersect like the Parkways. While Memphians are quick to point out the merits of their favorite tee shirt or Tiger Blue shoes, they also have their two cents to offer about who has the best barbecue. For me, it’s always been Cozy Corner, and as the child of a pit master, I know good barbecue. How? The expressions, the words and the lack of. My dad would always say, “You know them bones are fye when nobody says a word.”
Tuesday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
735 North Parkway
Memphis, TN 38105
Andrea Fenise is the owner and creative director of AFLD Creative Agency, a multidisciplinary creative agency. She is a lover of great design, fashion and graphic, and enjoys sharing her obsession of food with her husband and daughter. Follow her local food tasting tours and candids on IG @andreafenise.