Friday, July 19, 2013

Memphis Nosh: RP Tracks

Let me just preface this by saying that I've been to a lot of bars.

I've been to fancy bars, and I've been to dives.
I've been to clean bars and gross bars.
Fun bars and lame bars.
Expensive bars and cheap bars.
Bars in every country I've ever visited, and most US cities too.

I'm not an alcoholic. I don't even drink more than a beer or two (if that) at most bars.

I just like bars.

I like the atmosphere, the conversations you can strike up with strangers, the interaction with bartenders and other people.

One of my favorite bars is RP Tracks, a little bar right by the University of Memphis campus and next to the train tracks. Which makes sense.

*via, because I literally can never remember to get a picture. There's parking to the left and right of the building, and across the street at the little shopping center and the sadly defunct University YMCA. Just be careful crossing the street, people are maniacs. 
**Also next door is the best place to eat breakfast in Memphis, Brother Juniper's. I may have to go soon - for documentary purposes of course. Well, and to stuff myself to the point of scaring people. 

It's not too college-y, although a lot of college students go there, and it's actually got great food in addition to the nice beer specials and selection.

During lunch, it's a great place to go, have a beer, and either hang out with your friends or do some work - I'm absolutely that person who walks over from my office and does work at the bar on a semi-regular basis.

At night, it's fun to go with a bunch of people, go sit at the bar and meet new friends, or even go on a date. Here's my friend Michael looking fly a few months ago:

*and congrats to him and his fiancee Lauren on their engagement! It was the sunglasses, buddy, I'm sure. :)
**also, guy on his phone in the background - nice. 

I actually went on a date where we spent like 5 hours in Tracks just hanging out. Like the best first date ever, the cupcake date, the guy ended up being weird, but the date was fun.

And I've had multiple (grad) classes there.

Basically it's awesome.

And it's pretty large, but not overwhelmingly so. There are plenty of tables, a nice little covered porch, and a room to play pool in. Plus a few TVs (but not Buffalo Wild Wings overload style) and a pretty nice music setup.

The beer selection is really good, but what really impresses me, especially in such a small, sort of halfway to dive-y bar, is the food.

*via - and yeah, these are giant because I hate websites that talk about food and reference the menu but you can't see it. 

So basically, whatever you're in the mood for, they have it. 

I'm a big fan of the Lots o' Stuff appetizer, which comes with mozzarella sticks, onion rings, steak fries, and chicken tenders, which I usually get tossed in buffalo sauce, and your choice of two sauces. 

This is enough food to share. 

Or to make you feel bad about yourself. 

Either way it's delicious. 

Here's my lunch (and work -boo!) the other day:

You can see by the size of the bowl next to the ranch, my beer, and my paper, this is a shit ton of food. 

Like more than I can ever finish, but I love it and don't care. 

I've never had anything bad at Tracks. The Steakhouse Burger is awesome, the cheese fries are actually my main source of nutrition, and the Bacon Grilled Cheese is both bizarre and delicious. I've also gotten the Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla quite a few times, and it's really good. I love buffalo chicken in pretty much any form, but but putting it in a quesadilla just feels right. 

And the nachos are just insane. The Tofu Nachos are supposedly really good, although I've never had them, and the regular ones (without beans - ick) are good and HUGE. I don't usually get them because I'm partial to the barbecue nachos at Central and I like to save my sinful indulgences up for those, but the few times I've had the Tracks nachos they've been great. 

Tracks has weekly specials and daily drink specials. Beers are pretty cheap normally (I think Rolling Rocks are $2.50?) and they supposedly have discounts on shots every time the train goes by, although I don't take shots and I've never seen this. Also, and this is a big deal, they have great staff. I've never had bad service there, and it's always been friendly and fun too.* Some of the bartenders there know me, so they have my Rolling Rock ready to go when I sit down. :)

*I have had friends who've been asses go with me, and they're rude and demanding, and just generally bitchy, and they didn't like the service, but the staff has always been great to me. Weird...

Tracks is also good for the community. They're involved with Project Green Fork, a local organization that "contributes to a sustainable Mid-South by helping reduce environmental impacts, with a focus on strengthening homegrown restaurants." They're also involved with the community, and have been since they opened in 1987, according to their website

Basically, Tracks is an unpretentious, fun, and feel-good (both personally and community-wise) place to have a drink, a bite, or even just people watch and hang out with friends. Or eat an entire plate of fried food and a beer by yourself at noon. 


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