High Ground's signature "On the Ground" series embeds our team of journalists and photojournalists in a Memphis neighborhood for 1-6 months of intensive, hyper-local coverage.
While we're there, we eat. A lot.
We chose a different locally-owned, neighborhood restaurant every Friday for team lunches. And it wouldn't be right to pen a profile on a restaurant without trying it ourselves, right? It's a tough job, but we're always ready to step up.
Local restaurants are a big part of our city's culture and economy, and the industry has been devastated by the pandemic. They need our support and we all need to eat so let us help you work up an appetite.
In "Destination Eats," we're rounding up some of the best restaurants we covered in our 14 On the Ground neighborhoods, starting with Hickory Hill.
We recommend getting it to-go to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.
Southern Hands Home Style Cooking
6025 Winchester Road | 901-367-8989
Southern Hands Home Style Cooking offers classic soul food entrees and sides, including smothered pork chops, fried chicken, meat loaf, baked spaghetti, black-eyed peas, and cornbread. (Cole Bradley)
Southern Hands is superb Southern food fit to feed body and soul. The menu includes 11 classic southern-style entrees, a plethora of well-seasoned sides, and desserts. A personal-sized loaf of cornbread accompanies every meal.
It's worth noting that Southern Hands passes one of the best tests of great soul food restaurants—it lists spaghetti as a vegetable.
Read more about Southern Hands here
El Mercadito de Memphis
3766 Ridgeway Road | 901-600-8000
Juan Antonio Hernandez, owner of El Nuevo Mercadito, poses with his wife, Norma Mendoza, at the restaurant's counter. El Nuevo Mercadito is a Mexican restaurant located inside the El Mercadito de Memphis in Hickory Hill. (A.J. Dugger)
The food is solid at El Mercadito, but it's the overall experience that makes this place stand out. The restaurant is tucked in the back of a bazaar-style market packed with Latino-owned shops and stalls including a pharmacy, tax preparer, barber, and clothing vendors.
El Mercadito also boasts one of the wildest playground in town. The jungle-themed Lion's Playground sits adjacent to the restaurant and its ice cream parlor. Definitely take the kids there when it's safe again.
Read more about El Mercadito de Memphis here.
The Chicken Coop and Mike's Hot Wings & Such
Chicken Coop: 6665 Winchester Rd | 901-425-5105
Mike's: 6825 Winchester | (901) 318-5778
Mike's Hot Wings & Such is located at 6825 Winchester Road in Hickory Hill. (Ziggy Mack)
Hickory Hill has serious wing game. There are plenty of places to chose from and what makes a "good" chicken wing is subjective. Luckily, we have science on our side.
As part of our hard-hitting coverage, we conducted a hot wing taste test between three wing spots that Hickory Hill locals recommended. Don't worry, we included honey gold in our sample too.
Mike's won for best music, best vibe, and the single best wing with their spicy seasoned wing, but Chicken Coop took best overall. Their hot wing sauce has a unique, smokey base with hints of roasted tomato, and their mix of seasoning was the most complex.
Read more about Chicken Coop, Mike's, and our highly scientific wing challenge here.
6635 Winchester Road | 901-590-1902
La Michoacana's Winchester location was the first to open in Memphis. The family-owned business now has seven locations. (A.J. Dugger)
The first La Michoacana opened in Horn Lake, Miss. in 2007. The second opened about a year and a half later on Winchester in Hickory Hill. The family-owned business is now up to seven locations, and has become a staple in Memphis and beyond. If you want a sweet treat or a savory snack, La Michoacana is where it's at. Just look for Hickory Hill's famed Statue of Liberation Through Christ
; La Michoacana is right next door.
Read more about La Michoacana here
or let La Michoacana's husband and wife co-owners tell their pandemic story in this quick video
The Grille at Hickory Hill
3200 Hickory Hill Rd | 901-305-6595
The Grille's stuffed turkey leg special includes a full smoked turkey leg flayed open and topped with a full order of fried rice. (Cole Bradley)
The Grille is best known for its grilled chicken skewers, wings, and BBQ, but their menu is fun and diverse. It sports smoked turkey ribs, Philly cheesesteak egg rolls, tamales, and top-notch desserts.
When we went, the special was stuffed turkey legs—a whole smokey turkey leg, flayed open and topped with a full order of fettuccine, fried rice, mixed vegetables, or nachos and cheese.
Eating that bad boy was a food adventure you can only get in Hickory Hill.