Today was a lunch, long overdue. Ever since I saw WKNO’s Local Color – Best Burger in the Midsouth episode, featuring Deni Reilly’s Petite Lamb Burgers, I’ve been intrigued by the cuisine at the Majestic Grille. The Lamb Burgers are not on the menu, but sound like an amazing creation that I am dying to try at home soon. The Majestic Grille seems to have something for everyone there. On their lunch menu alone, there are salad, steaks, fish, pastas, sandwiches and of course, burgers. Check out their menus. And like most of my Best Burger candidates, I didn’t discover the Majestic Grille alone. Many of you have suggested their cheeseburger from the beginning. Like I said, my visit was long overdue, but so worth it.
The Majestic Grille is located downtown on the northwest corner of Main and Peabody Place. Deni and Patrick Reilly opened the Majestic Grille in 2006. They transformed the original 1913 Majestic 1 theater into one of, if not the best, overall downtown restaurants in Memphis. The Majestic Grille features many of the building’s original design elements and architectural features, such as pilasters, decorative ceiling tiles, and rounded corners. There’s free wireless internet access throughout the building, a large meeting room with audio visual capabilities and lovely patio dining outside their front doors, right in front of the the Main Street trolley line.
Tim and I got to the Majestic Grille just past 1:00 pm and decided to east inside. There were more people dining on their patio than inside, but several parties continued to come in for a late lunch. The menu looked great and I was really eyeballing that Ahi Tuna Salad, but trying to stay true to the burger quest, I ordered the Majestic Grille cheeseburger with swiss cheese and a side of parmesan french fries. I made sure our server heard me say “cooked medium” at least twice (I remain hopeful). Tim ordered the same, but Medium Well. I have to say, I was slightly hesitant because the menu described the burger to be served on a toasted sweet roll. All I could think of was the honey wheat bun that I really disliked at the Green Beetle. Our server assured me it was not honey wheat and not overly sweet. She down played it as more a tradition hamburger bun. It was way better than that.
Our burgers arrived about 10 minutes after we ordered them. What a magnificent sight. Similarly to Sweetgrass Nextdoor, the Majestic Grille knows how to present a burger. They were served open-faced, with beautifully fresh tomato, onion and lettuce toppings on the side. My nose was immediately overcome by the parmesan fries, but that wasn’t a bad thing. The smell was divine. I was dying to cut open my burger to check the temperature, but I resisted to let that first taste tell the story.
It was an amazing first taste. And yes, my burger was cooked perfectly medium. It was pink and juicy on the inside and brown on the outside. Tim’s was cooked perfectly medium-well. Unlike Alex’s or Stuffy’s, this burger wasn’t heavily seasoned. Instead I got the Angus beef flavor combined with the swiss cheese and my toppings. My only wish is that it was thicker, but the taste was all there. This, folks, was an damn good burger. Every bite was loaded with juicy aged angus beef flavor and a killer bun. I don’t know exactly what kind of bun it was, but it worked very well. There was a hint of sweetness combined with the juice of the meat that seeped into it that just added to the whole burger experience. If this was the last burger I ever ate, I would be happy.
The fries on the other hand, smelled way better than they tasted. The reason was that they were old. Somehow the kitchen had fries left over from the earlier lunch crowd that they felt they could pass off to us as freshly cooked. I’m sorry, but these fries are no thicker than McDonald’s fries. Meaning, it would only have taken a minimal amount of time to fry up some fresh ones. We were pretty disappointed and brought it to our server’s attention. She quickly apologized and within five minutes, brought us what we should have been served from the start. The second round of parmesan fries were the bomb! They were coated with a combination of sprinkled parmesan cheese and kosher salt. Together with the burger, this was an awesome lunch.
I give the Majestic Grille cheeseburger 4.5 out of 5 stars. A true pleasure to eat and my favorite burger of the week. I don’t understand why the kitchen felt it was okay to serve old fries, but our server quickly made it right and saved our lunch.
145 S Main St
Memphis, TN 38103
If you have a favorite burger that you think is Memphis’ best or that I need to try and review, please drop a note in my suggestion box.