Perfectly smoked, slow-cooked Pulled Pork, Brisket, Ribs, Sausage, Catfish and Chicken are paired with all the barbeque fixin’s or on its own by the pound. That’s what you will find at Memphis Blues Barbeque House, it’s messy, perfect for sharing and full of Southern BBQ flavour. Oh, and don’t forget about the pie!
Being relatively new to the Red Deer Restaurant scene, Memphis Blues Barbeque House will celebrate two years of business this summer. With the pandemic turning the restaurant industry on its head a time or two and then again, Memphis Blues has managed to serve their delicious Southern BBQ to Central Albertans despite these hurdles.
With three restaurant awards under their belt in less than seven months of operation, this modest, hard-working crew must be doing something right. In 2020, they received Gold for Best BBQ (Community Votes Red Deer), Silver for Best Ribs (The Best of Red Deer – Readers’ Choice Awards) and was crowned the “King of Wings” for People’s Choice Award for Best Wings (Central Alberta Wing Fest).
With a smokin’ resume and menu like this, Memphis Blues is a restaurant you will want to visit and then visit again. Read ahead to spark your appetite and get a glimpse into the soul of this Tourism Red Deer member.
What makes you different, unique or stand out?
“Memphis Blues BBQ House is Canada’s first authentic Southern BBQ restaurant franchise,” says Jolene Rennie, Owner/Operator of Memphis Blues BBQ House (Red Deer). This Canadian franchise was first established in 2001 and now has 9 locations, 4 in British Columbia and 5 in Alberta, including Red Deer which began operations in the Summer of 2019.
“We are committed to providing the very best quality, and all of our food is made from scratch in-house daily,” says Rennie. “All of the meat we prepare is Alberta raised, except for our sausage, which comes from Saskatchewan.”
When you open the door to Memphis Blues you are immediately hit with all the best barbeque smells you could imagine. Their giant smoker is on display greeting guests as they enter, offering an introduction of what’s to come. “Our meat is smoked for several hours at low temperatures,” says Rennie, “resulting in tender, mouth-watering meats that are full of traditional barbeque flavours.”
Why do you do what you do?
“We are locally owned and staff only local employees,” says Rennie, “We love Red Deer and want to support the community the best we can. We also love meat,” she laughs, “We take a lot of pride in what we do and the community feel that we contribute to Red Deer.”
Jolene and her husband were born and raised in Red Deer and knew they wanted to find a restaurant that brought different flavours to their community. While on the hunt to find their perfect fit, they stopped in at the Memphis Blues Barbeque House, just up the road in Edmonton. “We immediately fell in love with the food, the atmosphere and the passion of this restaurant,” she says. “To me, Red Deer has always had that small town, good-neighbour, family feel to it, and so does Memphis Blues.”
What can guests (local or visiting) expect to experience?
“We are a small restaurant with a warm, comfortable, upbeat atmosphere and you will be served incredible food by our outgoing, energetic staff,” says Rennie. “We want all of our customers to feel like they are visiting friends and family when they come to eat.”
Jolene recalls a time when four ladies, sitting at four different tables, struck up a conversation. “They were chatting back and forth laughing and enjoying each other’s company as if they were old friends,” she says.
“Community is very important to us,” says Rennie, “this includes our neighbours in surrounding towns, we gave a lot of thought to accessibility when choosing our location.” With their Village Mall location on the North end of the city, and just off of Gaetz Avenue and 67th Street they are convenient to get to whichever direction you hail from.
What is new or upcoming?
“We are now offering bourbon flights!” says Rennie, “we have something for the new-to bourbon drinkers and the more-seasoned bourbon lovers.” If you prefer your beverage on the lighter side, they also have a lovely wine selection, craft beers and craft sodas to choose from. “We enjoy partnering with local breweries to provide craft beer on tap and in a can,” Rennie says, “Troubled Monk, Blindman Brewing, Sawback and Snake Lake are just some of the local favourites we carry.”
With restaurants being restricted to curbside/take-a-way and patio dining options, Memphis Blues wasn’t quite ready for an early patio season. “Our patio is a bit of a construction zone, but still accessible,” says Rennie. “Work is underway to refurbish our outdoor space and we aim to have it ready closer to the May long weekend.”
To complement their refreshed patio space you can also expect to see a new lineup of refreshing slushy drinks to sip while enjoying the space and warmer weather ahead. Keep a close watch on their Facebook for sneak peeks and updates along the way.
Craving barbeque yet? Jolene recommends trying one of their sharing feasts, they include all 6 meats and all 6 sides. A good way to sample all of their BBQ, so you know what you will want to order the next time you visit them at Memphis Blues BBQ House.
With a menu drippin’ with southern barbeque favourites like Jambalaya, Po’boys, Catfish or Feast Platters named after the King and Queen themselves (Elvis and Priscilla), you are sure to be in for a down-home countrified dining experience while you #ExploreRedDeersBackyard.
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