Andy's Restaurant Scorecard: Ellen's Soul Food, plus scores - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Andy's Restaurant Scorecard: Ellen's Soul Food, plus scores

(WMC-TV) - THIS WEEK'S BIG TIP:  Ellen's Soul Food, 634 S. Bellevue Blvd., Midtown Memphis (south of Central Gardens, north of Lamar Ave.), (901) 274-4222 (CASH ONLY!!!)

Tucked behind a convenience store, couched beside a barber shop --  it's taken three locations and 30 years to get Ellen's Soul Food settled.

After stints on South Parkway and Elvis Presley Blvd., Debbie Mitchell, her mom Ellen (the restaurant's namesake) and their family have pitched a spot on South Bellevue, their new and (hopefully) permanent spot.

But their fare is the same incredible soul food fans have enjoyed for three decades -- fried chicken (the best I've ever tasted), pork chops, meat loaf, sweet potatoes, candied yams, fried okra, pinto beans, black-eyed peas, seasoned cabbage - heck, just bring cash, an empty stomach and a grateful heart!

"We season (everything) with love," said Mitchell. "All you have to do is start eating. No salt or pepper required!"

"I eat here three days a week," said Johnson Saulsberry of South Memphis. "I eat only the veggie dishes because I have diabetes, and I've actually lost 15 pounds."

Saulsberry's story is special, but make no mistake -- Ellen's Soul Food is not where someone starts a diet.

The food is true Southern soul, and Ellen's soul is the spice that seasons it.

"I have to give my mother the credit (for the recipes)," said Mitchell, since Ellen doesn't do interviews. "She's a little shy."

Whitehaven sisters Shirley McKinney and Jean Martin weren't shy, boasting about their own cooking prowess as they ordered their first meals at Ellen's Soul Food.

As they attacked their dishes, their facial expressions shifted -- as did their perspectives on the plates they serve around their own kitchen tables.

"I got a ways to go yet," said a humbled McKinney, as she polished off Ellen's meatloaf with pinto beans, cornbread and macaroni & cheese. "Because this here is GOOD!"

WHAT ANDY LIKES:  Fried Chicken (doesn't get any better!), Pork Chops, Sweet Potatoes (what IS that seasoning?!), Cornbread Stacked Like Pancakes, Debbie Mitchell's Sweet Service & Smile

A BIG TIP IN TROUBLE:  New Que Huong, 942 W. Poplar Ave., Collierville, TN, 901-861-0162.

One of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants -- and a former Scorecard Big Tip -- rated the Low Score of the Week.

Oct. 13, New Que Huong scored a 71 on its health inspection:

"pork shoulder, beef (at unsafe food temp)"

"employee didn't wash hands before handling food after going outside"

"employee didn't wash hands before washing dishes after coming from outside"

"toxic items (pain killer, NyQuil) stored on shelf with food"

"We had a couple of medicine bottles, like NyQuil and Advil, in a bag (on a food storage shelf)," said Hen Le. "It was all in the container."

Le said the pork and beef the health department docked for temperature violations had just been delivered by the restaurant's wholesaler.

"(The inspector) thought it had been sitting out for a long time, when (the wholesaler's representative) was just checking it out to see if everything was right," he said.

Everything usually is right at Collierville's New Que Huong. The Scorecard honored it in April 2010 after its customers nominated it as The Big Tip (for that Scorecard report, please click here:

"This time that (the inspector) visited, she just caught us off guard," said Le.

He pledged that New Que Huong would be on guard for its follow-up inspection.


Small Closet, 14 N. Main St., Downtown Memphis, 100 on Oct. 12 

Gift Horse/Labaguette, 2095 Exeter Rd., Germantown, 100 on Oct. 13 

Lenny's Sub Shop, 153 S. Main St., Downtown Memphis, 98 on Oct. 12 

Bosses, 5030 Poplar Ave./Suite 3, East Memphis (White Station Area), 97 on Oct. 13 

Banks Restaurant, 5218 Millbranch Rd., Whitehaven, 97 on Oct. 13 

Wendy's, 2554 Mt. Moriah Rd., Fox Meadows/SE Memphis, 94 on Oct. 12 

Popeye's, 1430 E. Brooks Rd., Airport Area, 94 on Oct. 11 

KFC, 3215 S. Perkins Rd., Parkway Village/SE Memphis, 93 on Oct. 12 

Burger King, 2205 Frayser Blvd, Frayser/N. Memphis, 93 on Oct. 12 

Taco Bell, 871 N. Germantown Pkwy, Cordova, TN, 93 on Oct. 12 

Wendy's, 6156 Macon Rd., East Memphis, 93 on Oct. 11 

New Asia Restaurant, 2075 Exeter Rd., Germantown, TN, 92 on Oct. 13 

Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches , 5181 Poplar Ave., East Memphis (White Station Area), 92 on Oct. 11 

Wendy's, 815 N. Germantown Pkwy, Cordova, TN, 92 on Oct. 11 

Church's Chicken, 1668 Sycamore View Rd., East Memphis, 91 on Oct. 12 

Wendy's, 4972 E. Shelby Dr., Southeast Memphis, 91 on Oct. 10 

The Vine, 1814 Madison Ave., Midtown Memphis, 90, date not listed 

Krystal, 1688 Sycamore View Rd., East Memphis, 90 on Oct. 11 

Mulan Chinese Restaurant, 6525 Memphis-Arlington Rd., Bartlett, TN, 89 on Oct. 11 

Wing City, 2291 Airways Blvd., Airways Area/E. Memphis, 89 on Oct. 11 

McDonald's, 3845 E. Shelby Dr., Capleville/Airport Area, 89 on Oct. 11 

Fulin Chinese Restaurant, 1351 N. Germantown Pkwy, Cordova, TN, 88 on Oct. 14 

Peggy's Just Heavenly, 326 S. Cleveland St., Central Gardens/Midtown Memphis, 88 on Oct. 12 

McAlister's Deli, 7710 Poplar Ave., Germantown, TN, 88 on Oct. 12 

Half-Time Café, 5151 E. Shelby Dr., Southeast Memphis, 88 on Oct. 10 

Mensi's Dairy Bar, 162 Washington Ave., Collierville, TN, 87 on Oct. 19 

Honey Baked Ham, 6825 Winchester Rd., Hickory Hill/SE Memphis, 85 on Oct. 10 

Fazoli's, 3587 Riverdale Rd., Hickory Hill/SE Memphis, 85 on Oct. 11 

Alfred's, 197 Beale St., Downtown Memphis, 83 on Oct. 14 

Lenny's Sub Shop, 12 S. Cooper, Midtown Memphis, 83 on Oct. 13 

Catfish Cabin, 2846 Airways Blvd., Airport Area, 82 on Oct. 12 

Boscos Squared, 2120 Madison Ave., Midtown Memphis, 82 on Oct. 13 

Perkins Restaurant, 5112 Park Ave., East Memphis (White Station Area), 82 on Oct. 11 

The Cupboard, 1400 Union Ave., Midtown Memphis, 81 on Oct. 12 

Pancho's, 717 N. White Station Rd., East Memphis, 78 on Oct. 11 

Beijing Chinese Restaurant, 6149 Macon Rd., East Memphis, 78 on Oct. 13 

Grand Buffet, 2015 Exeter Rd., Germantown, TN, 77 on Oct. 13 

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