Backtalk April 2006
Letters to the Editor
While thoroughly enjoying your Restaurant Guide [January 2006], I couldn't help but notice three glaring omissions in Marilyn Sadler's excellent "Down Memory Lane" list of restaurants we all hated to see close. I'm sure you and countless of your readers savored each of these as I did: Pappy's Lobster Shack, 2100 Madison. Legendary L.C. "Pappy" Sammons served two-pound lobsters, broiled or boiled, his famous Southern rolls, lobster bisque, giant T-bones, Tennessee ham with red-eye gravy, and whole friedTennessee River catfish. The Embers, 3881 Park. Incomparable prime ribs of beef, "bottomless" tableside salad bowl, silver coffee carafes, and a dining room waterfall. Dobbs House Luau, 3135 Poplar. Polynesian specialties brought to the South a unique atmosphere rivaling all Trader Vic's.
Probably no such list could ever be completed, but these standouts for dining in Memphis during years gone by should surely be remembered.
Memphis restaurants have been favorite destinations since I was a child growing up in a small town in the Missouri Bootheel, continuing during my years at Memphis State University's School of Law in the 1970s, and through today.
~ Stephen Rhodes Sharp
Editor's Note: Our article focused on restaurants that were included in our City Dining listings in 1986. The Embers, Pappy's, and The Luau had, sadly, closed by then. We still miss them.
Every month I read with interest the "Ask Vance" column. This month [February 2006], I read the story about Britling Cafeterias where Mr. Lauderdale reported that one of the Britling locations was torn down for the construction of Parking Can Be Fun. He also reported that Britling's used to house several of Burton Callicott's murals. Well, I am happy to report that one of these murals is now proudly on display in our [HenryTurley Company]offices. It was recovered from the Union Avenue location prior to the demolition for Parking Can Be Fun.
~ Jon Scobey
Michael Finger's fascinating profile of the late actress, Sherry Mathis [February 2006] is a sobering study of the vagaries and hardships in show business and how perseverance, talent, belief in one's self, and just plain luck can overcome the obstacles and pitfalls that can put a promising career in jeopardy.
Besides her extraordinary beauty, talent, and drive for success, Mathis seemed to be a well-rounded, grounded, intelligent "real" person who knew what she wanted in life -- a successful show business career without sacrificing her essential warmth and decency for her ambition.
Even though Mathis did not achieve so-called "A-list" status as an entertainer, she accomplished something more profound -- she kept her humanity and values intact in a business that is littered with damaged people (the living dead) who gave up everything they ever believed in for an elusive dream of stardom.
~ Randy Norwood