The Butcher Shop Celebrates 40 Years of Steak and Burgers | Tennessee News
By JENNIFER CHANDLER, The Business Call
MEMPHIS, Tennessee (AP) – It’s hard to find parking at The Butcher Shop during lunchtime on Fridays.
For decades, customers have flocked to The Butcher Shop for its Friday lunch special “steak burger”.
It’s just one of the things that has made this Memphis steakhouse a favorite for 40 years. The restaurant known for its grilled hickory and charcoal steaks celebrates its 40th anniversary this month.
When it opened, The Butcher Shop was a revolutionary concept. The one-of-a-kind steakhouse gave diners the flexibility to choose and cook their own steaks. It was one of the first restaurants to allow customers to actively engage with their food before and during cooking.
The butcher shop opened in 1981 at 101 S. Front St. in downtown Memphis.
Dennis Day, who also ran The Pier restaurant, created the steakhouse concept that featured grills where customers could cook their own steaks. Simpson Hughes, a current minority owner, has also been heavily involved in operations throughout the restaurant’s 40-year history.
Hailing from Iowa, Day bought grain-fed beef straight from the Midwest. The butcher cut and aged all the steaks on site; it’s a process they still do today.
In 1999, Day expanded its concept by opening a second location in Cordova at 107 S. Germantown Parkway. The new space was huge compared to the original location in a historic building in downtown Memphis. Covering an area of approximately 21,000 square feet, the building offered a large dining room that could accommodate nearly 200 guests, a large bar, a large outdoor patio and a ballroom that could accommodate approximately 250 people.
The Downtown Restaurant, which had been a dining destination for Memphis diners for nearly three decades, closed in 2012.
Today the restaurant is run by the next generation, with Day’s daughter Michelle Day Harkins at the helm.
When patrons walk through the restaurant doors, the first thing they see is the huge charcoal grill where every steak, burger, and piece of fish is grilled.
“What makes our steaks special is that they are cooked over an open flame,” Harkins said.
Customers always have the option of cooking their own steak, but according to Harkins, most customers choose to grill their steaks in restaurants for them. Harkins said plans for the future include cooking classes on how to cook steaks over an open flame.
Harkins said The Butcher Shop is a “value-driven concept for fine dining”.
“We don’t compete with restaurants like Folk’s Folly or Capital Grille,” she said, explaining that they offer top quality steaks at an affordable price.
Matt Reisinger has been a loyal customer of The Butcher Shop for over 20 years.
“Besides having the best patio in the Memphis area, this is a great location for any event. As a former coach, I organized sports banquets at The Butcher Shop. As Managing Director, I have organized corporate Christmas parties as well as staff dinners, ”said Reisinger. “The Butcher Shop is a Memphis institution that sits above any other restaurant in the Tri-State area.”
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