The Grille opened in April 2011 the same way I envisioned I might open a restaurant.
Herb Tate is a whiz with a pair of tongs, a spatula and a barbecue pit. Always the hit at backyard parties and family reunions, Tate said his friends and family suggested he open a restaurant where the fare is all grilled and reasonably priced.
The suggestion box wasn't half-full before Tate and his wife Anita had installed two pits inside a smokehouse, linked to a charming cinder block walk-up on Lamar Ave.
They churn out grilled whole hot wings, chicken-on-a-stick, steak-and-veggie kabobs -- all things grilled.
"It's not fried," said Montana Trax, a Memphis rap artist who's a regular. "No grease. You got zucchini, peppers...so yeah, I like a few of the vegetables they have."
"We're trying to teach people how to eat fast food, but in a healthy way," said Anita Tate. "So this gives them an alternative to eating fried. It's quick, and it's cheap."
Want cheap? Order The Special: two whole grilled hot wings, one small chicken-on-a-stick, one side (fries [yes, you can order fries], okra, corn or potato salad) for $5.00.
If you're not necessarily watching what sneaks by your gum line, score a slice of The Grille's homemade strawberry or caramel cake. Toss on a dollop of soft-serve ice cream.
"We sell three to four whole cakes a day," said Anita. "Some people come here just for the cake and ice cream. We sell more caramel cake than any of the other cakes."
SCORES OF THE WEEK:
Ralph's Bar & Grill, 5162 Millbranch Rd., Whitehaven, 96 on Nov. 19
Papa John's Pizza, 9160 Hwy. 64, Lakeland, TN, 94 on Nov. 21
Buckley's Lunch Box, 919 S. Yates Rd., East Memphis, 93, date not listed
Tellini's Pasta Market, 7974 Hwy. 64, Bartlett, TN, 93 on Nov. 19
The Movie & Pizza Company, 110 Harbor Town Square, Harbor Town/Mud Island/Downtown Memphis, 92 on Nov. 19
Papa Murphy's, 8950 Hwy. 64, Lakeland, TN, 92 on Nov. 20
Garibaldi's Pizza, 921 S. Yates Rd., East Memphis, 90 on Nov. 19
Panda Buffet, 6600 Stage Rd., Bartlett, TN, 90 on Nov. 19
West St. Diner, 2076 West St., Germantown, TN, 90 on Nov. 20
Local, 2126 Madison Ave., Overton Square/Midtown Memphis, 87 on Nov. 20
Lin's Garden, 1420 Jackson Ave., Frayser, 87 on Nov. 19
Dairy Queen, 2760 N. Germantown Pkwy, Wolfchase Galleria, 87 on Nov. 19
Danver's, 7970 Hwy. 64, Bartlett, TN, 87 on Nov. 20
Café Society, 212 N. Evergreen St., Midtown Memphis, 86 on Nov. 20
Stevi B's Pizza, 2990 Kirby Whitten Rd., Bartlett, TN, 83 on Nov. 19
Chick-Fil-A, 2760 N. Germantown Pkwy, Wolfchase Galleria, 82, date not listed
Cozy Corner Restaurant, 745 N. Parkway, Downtown Memphis, 75 on Nov. 20
Café Eclectic, 603 N. McLean Blvd., Midtown Memphis, 61 on Nov. 19 (FAILURE)...upgraded to 85 on re-inspection Nov. 26.