Eating Out: Pete and Sam's Restaurant



Everywhere I turn, someone is gushing about Pete and Sam’s Restaurant for engagement parties, birthday dinners, or a fun evening out. I ate at the Italian restaurant on Park Avenue about 10 years ago, and dinner was ordinary and forgettable. I sat in the restaurant’s back room (no charm) and ordered fish (another mistake).

Despite this experience, I’ve had an attachment to the restaurant because our house in East Memphis was built by the couple who owned a much-loved steak house called the Embers, another popular mid-century restaurant located across the street from Pete and Sam’s. This connection coaxed me into giving Pete and Sam’s another try Saturday night.

My recent visit was altogether different, thanks in part to our table in the main dining room and the advice of friends who said, “Don’t order anything fancy. Stick with basic Italian.”

Meat sauce and mushrooms seemed pretty basic to me, and the sauce was excellent, a solid play on what my husband calls “the Southern, sweet Italian style.” I was put off by the canned mushrooms on my plate, but as I pushed them to the side, I decided they added to Pete and Sam’s retro appeal.

My friend Victoria was impressed that the minestrone is made with farfalle pasta, which, as she says, “explodes into big, delicious noodles in the home-made soup.”

The rest of the food at our table (lasagna, toasted ravioli, spaghetti and meatballs) was good, with ample portions and great dollar value, especially the dinner specials that include an entree, a single-serve thin crust pizza, and a second side for about $13.

Be forewarned: Pete and Sam’s is loud, and most people in the restaurant on a Saturday  night are having a rip.-roaring good time. I suspect the restaurant’s generous BYOB policy contributes to the vibe. Pete and Sam’s only sells beer, but you can bring your own wine and liquor (one of my friends brought in cold vodka in a mason jar). Set ups or the “empty wine glass fee” are only $3 apiece.

I actually felt a little sorry for the poor fellow trying to eat and read at the table between our party and the group of women wearing cowgirl hats. The friends are members of a riding club called LIGGs (Life is Good Girls) who trail ride together, except when it’s too hot. Then they get together for dinner, which for member Cheryl Ramsey means heading to Pete and Sam’s where she’s been eating several times a month since her college days in the late 70s. “I had steak and spinach tonight. It's one of my favorites,” she said. “But when I’m not watching the carbs, I always get Half  and Half: ravioli and spaghetti.”

3886 Park Avenue  (458-0694)
Hours: Sunday through Thursday 4:30 to 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 4:30 to 10:30 p.m.

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

Yippie Hippie Granola: My New Favorite Breakfast

2012.04.18 06:34 AM

Butcher Shop Opens Inside Bounty on Broad

Chef Jackson Kramer rolls out caul fat and marinated duck confit along with more typical beef and chicken cuts.
2015.03.05 04:05 PM

New Japanese Restaurant Serves Ramen & Rice Bowls

Authentic menu at Skewer also includes yakitori and sushi.
2014.03.29 12:51 PM
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Stories

Midtown’s Ecco Serves Stylish, Delicious, and Affordable Food for Saturday Brunch

Sweet and savory crepes, crispy herb potatoes, cocktails, and coffee: What’s not to love?
2015.03.31 09:23 PM

Here’s Jennifer Chandler’s Easy and Delicious Recipe for Pesto Pasta Salad

It’s time to make pesto pasta salad to welcome the start of spring.
2015.03.27 08:28 PM

Rizzo’s Diner Settles Into Its New Home on South Main

Chef Michael Patrick mixes new dishes with favorites from first restaurant down the street.
2015.03.20 01:32 PM

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags