One of the earliest burger recommendations received on BestMemphisBurger.com was the Grecian Lamb Burger at Jim’s Place Restaurant & Bar. That recommendation has stayed on the list for several months because I normally don’t get excited about lamb. When I was young, my mother frequently served lamb chops and I just never was a fan of the gamey taste. When I was a bit older, I worked in a restaurant that served rack of lamb. That was a little more tolerable, but still not even close to being a favorite. Nowadays, I find myself enjoying a good gyro made with non-processed beef and lamb, fresh toppings and Tzatziki, served on fresh pita. It’s like heaven on plate.
My bad for not really researching the Jim’s Place Grecian Lamb Burger. It’s a burger served just like a gyro. Luckily, my office has this tradition of going out for birthday lunches to the restaurant of the celebrator’s choice. This past week, the birthday girl chose Jim’s Place for her office lunch. This was finally my chance to check out the Lamb Burger.
Jim’s Place Restaurant & Bar is located on Perkins Extended, just off of Poplar Avenue. Jim’s Place originally opened in 1921 when Nick Taras and Jim Katsoudes opened the restaurant’s first location in the basement of the William Len Hotel in downtown Memphis. In 1927, Nick and his brothers Bill and George opened a second location on Union Avenue across from the Hotel Peabody. Jim’s remained a downtown Memphis dining landmark for many years, moving once again to South Second Street in 1967 when Bill’s sons, Costa and Dimitri, joined him in the business. In 2006, Jim’s Place expanded further east to Collierville where co-owner Dimitri opened Jim’s Place Grille with his two sons, James and Sam. Today, co-owners Costa and his son Bill continue the tradition with the opening of Jim’s Place Restaurant & Bar in the heart of East Memphis at Perkins and Poplar.
Jim’s Place is a nice restaurant. Not necessary fine dining, but certainly on the upscale side with a very impressive lunch menu (see their dinner menu). I ordered the Grecian Lamb Burger, cooked medium and with a side of fries. And that’s exactly what I got. It was a hand-formed, 100% ground lamb burger patty served on fresh pita with lettuce, tomato, grilled eggplant and a couple dabs of tzatziki. It was cooked perfectly medium and was good and juicy. (Another example of my getting burgers cooked to order with cloth napkins.) Truthfully, I wasn’t overly impressed. Don’t get me wrong, everything tasted good, but as a burger, it was too much like a gyro, and as a gyro, it was too much like a burger. To borrow a quote from one of my new blog friends, “it was too gimmicky”. The burger patty didn’t fit the pita. You can see from the image that almost 1/3 of the pita was nothing but lettuce and tomato. At a restaurant like this, I shouldn’t have to cut up my burger up to fit the bun, or in this case the pita. Two smaller patties might have worked better. I would have enjoyed this burger much more on a good kaiser bun, with the same toppings, more tzatziki and maybe some feta cheese.
The fries that accompanied my burger were my favorite part of the meal. They were crisp, hand-cut potato fries that were good and salted. A nice side dish for any burger or sandwich.
I give the Jim’s Place Grecian Lamb Burger 3.5 out of 5 stars. While everything tasted good, my opinion is this burger in the depths of an identity crisis. Be a burger or be a gyro, but don’t be both.
Jim’s Place Restaurant & Bar
518 Perkins Ext
Memphis, TN 38117
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.