Lost Memphis: Chenault’s Restaurant
For decades, this eatery on South Bellevue was the place to be for Whitehaven High School students.
Chenault’s was far more than a restaurant; for decades it was the hangout for kids from Whitehaven High School, just down the street.
There were actually two Chenault’s — an older place and the new one, which is what most people remember. In 1955 Reginald “Rex” Chenault opened a roomy drive-in at 1400 South Bellevue to replace the smaller establishment next door.
Calling it “an interesting modern building,” newspapers noted the main dining room “of exposed brick and wood paneling,” but somehow failed to mention that the rows of booths were bright pink, as shown in the old postcard. Out back, “an enormous barbecue pit of unique design was worked out by Mr. Chenault and his architects.” The place was still dishing out burgers and shakes as late as the 1980s, and the unusual building is still standing.