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Goner Message Board / Memphis / overton square
Posted: Dec 30, 2005 9:09 pm
 
Paper says a new restaurant is opening where fridays was...a local guy trying his hand at a Southwestern style. hopefully it will work

Now they just have to fill the east side of the place
Posted: Dec 30, 2005 10:12 pm
 
Any word on what's going to be built in the vacant lot where Gertrude & Gonzales used to be?
Posted: Dec 31, 2005 3:46 am
 
The Pippin!!!!
Posted: Jan 2, 2006 3:00 pm
 
I was told by some folks that work at the Bayou that they are building a Chils where G and G's used to be. Sounds a like a little too much taco for me in the square....Mollys, Chils and a new place where Fridays used to be??
Posted: Jan 2, 2006 4:25 pm
 
I was told by some folks that work at the Bayou that they are building a Chils

This is really too bad. The continued insistence on corporate crap coming into a neightborhood that thrives on the exact opposite. I can't figure it out, but I am almost 3000 miles away.
Posted: Jan 2, 2006 5:30 pm
 
Former local news guy Earle Farrell is opening a restaurant there.

Article:

http://www.commercialappeal.com/mca/business/article/0,1426,MCA_440_43 51032,00.html

Overton Square greets new eatery

Southwestern grill moving into Friday's

By Amos Maki
Contact
December 30, 2005

The site of one of the city's most legendary watering holes and restaurants -- the former TGI Friday's in Overton Square -- is reopening under a new name and concept.

Earle Farrell, a local journalist and restaurateur, is launching Garcia Wells Southwestern Grill in the historic space in February.

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"I've been here since 1978 and Overton Square and Friday's are just a part of Memphis history," said Farrell, current host of the "My Favorite Restaurant" show on PBS and a former on-air personality at WREG Channel 3 and WMC Channel 5. "I'm really excited and I usually don't get excited."

The space has been vacant since 2003, when Friday's owner, Carlson Restaurants Worldwide Inc., closed the Midtown restaurant. At the time, Carlson executives called the move a "business decision" even though the restaurant was topping $2 million in sales annually.

In 2004, Blake Fisher, the Denver businessman whose company owns Overton Square, hired Memphis-based Lewis & Rasberry to handle leasing in the entertainment and dining district. Mike Ritz of Memphis-based Ritz Investments represented Farrell.

On Thursday, Jimmy Lewis removed the "For Lease" signs from the restaurant.

"What a relief," Lewis said. "Taking signs down is a fabulous experience, especially when it's for something like this."

Other business owners in Overton Square welcomed the news.

"I think it's great for our business and I think it's great for the neighborhood," said Chuck Skypeck, a co-founder of Germantown-based Boscos, which has locations in Overton Square, Little Rock and Nashville.

Farrell, a native Texan, will make some minor esthetic changes to give the place a more Southwestern feel -- like adding a tin roof over the awning that rings the lower part of the building, some Texas limestone trim and photos of his family's ranch in Texas -- but most customers will still recognize the old place.

The stamped metal ceiling is intact, the patio windows will still be raised on sunny days and customers will be able to belly up to the same famous bar where so many libations were made over the years.

"You will be able walk up to the bar and say, 'This is the bar,' " Farrell said.

A new mural featuring the restaurant's logo will greet motorists and pedestrians as they head east on Madison.

"I think the Square's time has come again, full circle," said James Rasberry.

The site has a long and storied history. Before Beale Street was booming and Cooper Young was a hot dining and drinking spot, Memphians flocked to Friday's and Overton Square.

The Overton Square Friday's opened in 1970 and was modeled after the original location in New York City. The Manhattan restaurant closed, leaving the Midtown Memphis restaurant as the oldest one of the chain.

It was the city's first "singles bar" -- even the brass handles on the wooden doors were shaped like nude women -- when it opened and the money it made paid for the rest of Overton Square.

"That's where it all started," Farrell said.

Friday's initial success was fueled partially by a 1969 city referendum in which voters approved allowing businesses to serve liquor by the drink.

The day after voters approved the liquor-by-the drink measure, the original partners in Overton Square publicly announced their intentions.

After that, Friday's became the hottest bar in town and remained that way for much of its history.

At least one famous musician dropped in after a concert only to be booted out later on. Chrissie Hynde, lead singer of The Pretenders, was arrested at Friday's in 1979 for disorderly conduct during the band's first stop in Memphis.

Farrell, who was an original partner in Downtown bar and restaurant Sleep Out Louie's, said Garcia Wells will feature traditional Southwestern fare and some high-end Mexican food.

"I think there's a little cowboy or cowgirl in all of us," he said. "Hats are welcome and so are boots."
Posted: Jan 2, 2006 11:51 pm
 
They shoulda made it back into a singles bar, like REAL 70s singles bar with a hot tub, and quaaludes, and shag carpet and shit.
Posted: Jan 3, 2006 1:34 am
 
What was that paradise of singles sin that used to be where French Quarter Inn is now? I know that was where my mom hung out back in her Memphis State Law School days in the mid 70's...it was a HUGE building.
Posted: Jan 3, 2006 2:09 am
 
Solomon Alfreds!! That was so, so, so fun.
Posted: Jan 3, 2006 2:43 am
 
Didn't it have some huge cartoonish character that was "Solomon Alfred" on the outside of the building? I just remember driving past it when I was little and just STARING. It seemed like some big bunker of adultness.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 7:13 am
 
Don't know about the adultness part. But it was a pretty big place... not cavernous ala 616, but it had a back and a front room. I saw Arlo Guthrie in the big back room as well as Quarterflash and Y&T (Yesterday and Today) all during the mid 70s to early 80s. Saw John Hartford in the front room which did a lot of more acoustic acts. Also saw a great Valentines Day show by The Late Show on the front room and Horslips in the back room. Leon Redbone played the back room and a new act called Van Halen who were in town to open for Thin Lizzy the next night at the Coliseum came to see their label mate on Warner Bros. Also saw Mama's Pride play there twice as well as Blood, Sweat and Tears before DCT started doing Maxwell House commercials.
It was the New Daisy/Hi-Tone of its day in terms of who played there. Of course, every name local act played there... Target, Keith Sykes, Larry Raspberry & The Highsteppers. The Highsteppers played the farewell show in the early 80s.
They need another place like it to bring back the Square.
Fondest memory: a New Year's Eve when I was just a mere lad on 18... watching wide eyed as the champagne bottles were passed out. While I was eyeing the bottles I saw a beatiful woman walking by arm in arm with her boyfriend through a large group of people. From the clump of people a guy's hand and then arm emerged to rub her ass boldly and anonymously. She didn't even look back but she also didn't quit walking.

Aaaahhhh, I feel better now.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 2:53 pm
 
You could buy bagels and cream cheese in the the room between the front and back room, when bagels and cream cheese were exotic as all hell for Memphis. Am I making this up, or do you remember that, too, JM? Also, if I remember right, it was one of the first places to carry exotic beer, like more than Bud and Miller. I think that's where I started drinking Heineken.
I saw that John Hartford show, that Leon Redbone show...also an incredible show by Richie Havens in the back. First time I (or anybody, I think) ever saw a reggae band play in Memphis...maybe it was Toots and the Maytals. I got thoroughly disgusted at this drunken girl who kept yelling "FUCK THE BLUES...THIS is what I'm about!" because I was a superior little Memphis girl snot who'd been to NYC and knew that reggae WAS the blues.
Saw Leon Russell in the back room, and was there for the Highsteppers the night it closed.
The Coolers used to play there a lot. Blue Beats too, I think.
Fun...very fun. Yep, Overton Square definitely needs something like that again. Having SOs and Trader Dicks within walking distance was some good times.
Posted: Jan 6, 2006 3:26 pm
 
I also remember an arcade that was next door to Solomon's called Dick Tracy's. It was sort oe behind it more on Cooper I think. I remember my dad taking me to both places and playing shuffle board at Solomons. My dad also used to take to Trader Dicks all the time, which is where the Blue MOnkey is now. I got all kind of memories from that place.
Posted: Jan 7, 2006 3:08 am
 
I forgot about Richie Havens. I don't think I made that one... one of the few I missed in those days. The reggae show could have been Toots but then again it could have been Kaya and the Welders. There were several local reggae groups that popped up in those years but Kaya was the best of the lot.
Trader Dick's always had some really good bluegrass for some reason. It could get a lot more congested than SA because of the physical layout but it was a good kind of congested.
Posted: Jan 7, 2006 5:11 pm
 
I remember Dick Tracy's...this would be a little earlier than some of these reccollections but remember Berkel's (sp?) Bakery in the Square? THAT was considered some hip eats--they had eggs benedicts on Sundays. At least I think they were the place that had a brunch in Midtown that was lowkey--I do remember going there on weekend mornings with mom and all her MSU friends. My mom never cooked.
Posted: Jan 7, 2006 9:31 pm
 
Paper says a new restaurant is opening where fridays was...a local guy trying his hand at a Southwestern style.

All we need is another shitty Tex/Mex resturant in midtown. If someone opened a real Mexican joint out here they would make bank! It would be cool if it did well enough to put Molly's out buisness. I don't see how that place is still open...I've eaten there twice...got sick both times and one of them I had food poisoning and was in bed for 4 days.
Posted: Jan 7, 2006 10:15 pm
 
Yeah. Mollys BLOWS. I never had good mexican until I travelled a bit. It's night & day no question. SF has the best of course.
Posted: Jan 7, 2006 10:50 pm
 
guadalapana. . . is that how you spell it?? that's pretty good mexican i think.
Posted: Jan 7, 2006 11:03 pm
 
Best in town, for my money.
Posted: Jan 7, 2006 11:32 pm
 
La guadalapana
Best in town, for my money.
Posted: Jan 7, 2006 11:40 pm
 
mollys does have a decent happy hour though.
Posted: Jan 8, 2006 12:17 am
 
SF has the best of course.

Los Angeles, my brother. Kicks SF's azz in the true Mexi dept. SF does Yanqui-Mexi the best though.
Posted: Jan 8, 2006 12:45 am
 
yes. i've had mexican in LA and i have to agree. crabmeat enchilada. . . .mmmmm
Posted: Jan 8, 2006 10:53 pm
 
Southwestern is definitely my least favorite style of food. Its always terribly dry and bland. I know that theoretically it could be really good because I've seen Bobby Flay's tv show, but I've never had anything good myself.

Anyways, there's a more informative article here
Posted: Jan 9, 2006 2:33 am
 
I think it is just so easily sold to the masses because it is pretty bland and has all those cute chili pepper and cactii decor that the housewivery love.
Posted: Jan 9, 2006 5:46 pm
 
Posted: Jan 9, 2006 6:12 pm
 
Lewis said they also have a good prospect for their largest vacancy, a 12,700-square-foot property on the corner of Cooper and Madison that used to house The Comedy Zone and the Vortex nightclub. He declined to reveal the prospect.

Vortex.. more like Black Hole. Good luck.

Though they could move that Lennys Sub Shop in there... that place is always PACKED.
Posted: Jan 9, 2006 8:41 pm
 
they made a declaration that they intend to improve the horizon and to freshen the welcome mat here. [Demolishing Cancun] has made such a big difference just in the overall appearance, even though it's not even paved yet," he said.

I don't see them putting in a chilis over there if they are also talking about paving over.
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