Rendezvous Barbeque in Memphis, Tennessee: A Legendary Dining Experience

Nestled in the heart of downtown Memphis, Tennessee, Rendezvous Barbeque has been a culinary institution for more than seven decades. With a rich history, mouthwatering food, and an unforgettable atmosphere, Rendezvous is more than just a barbeque joint; it’s an experience that has etched its name in the annals of Memphis culture.

A Rich History

The story of Rendezvous Barbeque dates back to 1948 when founder Charlie Vergos, a Greek immigrant, started the restaurant in a small basement. Originally intended as a tavern serving ham and cheese sandwiches, Rendezvous quickly gained notoriety for its delectable barbeque ribs. The secret to their success? The unique seasoning blend and cooking method that Vergos developed, which has remained a closely guarded family secret to this day.

Over the years, Rendezvous Barbeque has attracted an impressive roster of famous patrons, including musicians, athletes, politicians, and Hollywood stars. From Elvis Presley to former President George W. Bush, the restaurant’s walls are adorned with photos of its celebrity visitors, adding to the unique charm and storied history of the establishment.

The Atmosphere

Stepping into Rendezvous Barbeque feels like stepping back in time. Located in a historic building, the restaurant’s basement setting provides an intimate, cozy atmosphere. Exposed brick walls, dim lighting, and vintage memorabilia create an ambiance that transports you to a bygone era of Memphis. A warm, inviting scent of smoky barbeque fills the air, setting the stage for a memorable meal.

The staff at Rendezvous Barbeque are known for their friendly, attentive service. Many of the employees have been with the restaurant for decades, and their passion for the establishment is evident in the warm smiles and expert knowledge they share with guests. From the moment you walk through the door, you’re made to feel like a part of the Rendezvous family.

The Food

Of course, the star of the show at Rendezvous Barbeque is the food, and it certainly lives up to the hype. The menu is centered around the restaurant’s legendary charcoal-broiled ribs, seasoned with their signature dry rub and cooked to perfection. The ribs are served with a tangy, vinegar-based sauce on the side, allowing guests to customize their meal to their liking.

The ribs themselves are tender, succulent, and bursting with flavor. The dry rub, a blend of spices that includes paprika, garlic, and onion powder, imparts a smoky, slightly spicy taste that perfectly complements the meat. The vinegar-based sauce adds a tangy kick that cuts through the richness of the ribs, creating a symphony of flavors that dance on your taste buds.

In addition to the ribs, Rendezvous Barbeque offers a variety of other barbeque staples, such as pulled pork, smoked sausage, and beef brisket. Each dish is expertly prepared and seasoned with the same care and attention to detail as the ribs. The pulled pork is tender and juicy, while the smoked sausage has a delightful snap when you bite into it. The beef brisket, meanwhile, is melt-in-your-mouth tender and boasts a rich, beefy flavor.

The side dishes at Rendezvous Barbeque are equally impressive, with options like coleslaw, baked beans, and potato salad rounding out the menu. The coleslaw is creamy and refreshing, with a hint of tanginess that complements the smoky barbeque flavors. The baked beans are rich, smoky, and slightly sweet, while the potato salad is creamy and well-seasoned.

For those looking to sample some local brews alongside their barbeque, Rendezvous offers a selection of beers from Memphis-based breweries. These local options perfectly complement the rich, smoky flavors of the restaurant’s dishes and help wash down the hearty fare.

Appetizers and Starters

Though the barbeque dishes are the main attraction at Rendezvous, the restaurant also offers a variety of appetizers and starters that are well worth trying. The barbeque nachos, for instance, are a crowd favorite. Loaded with pulled pork, cheese sauce, jalapeƱos, and their signature barbeque sauce, these nachos offer a delicious combination of flavors and textures that set the stage for the meal to come.

Another standout starter is the sausage and cheese plate. Served with a generous helping of smoked sausage, cheddar cheese, and pepperoncini peppers, this dish is a great way to whet your appetite for the main event.


No meal at Rendezvous Barbeque would be complete without sampling one of their delectable desserts. The dessert menu offers a variety of Southern classics, such as pecan pie and bread pudding. The pecan pie is rich and sweet, with a buttery crust and a filling packed with crunchy pecans. The bread pudding, meanwhile, is a comforting, indulgent treat that pairs perfectly with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Take-Home Options

For those looking to recreate the Rendezvous Barbeque experience at home, the restaurant also sells its signature dry rub and barbeque sauce, as well as a variety of branded merchandise. These items make great gifts for friends and family or simply serve as a delicious reminder of your visit to this iconic Memphis institution.

Final Thoughts

Rendezvous Barbeque is more than just a restaurant; it’s a living piece of Memphis history that offers a dining experience unlike any other. From the moment you step through the door, you’re transported back in time and made to feel like a part of the Rendezvous family.

The food at Rendezvous Barbeque is nothing short of exceptional, with each dish expertly prepared and seasoned to perfection. The legendary ribs, in particular, are a must-try for any barbeque enthusiast, boasting a flavor that is both unique and unforgettable.

With its warm, inviting atmosphere, attentive service, and mouthwatering fare, Rendezvous Barbeque is a true Memphis gem that deserves a spot on any food lover’s bucket list. Whether you’re a local resident or just passing through, a visit to Rendezvous is a culinary experience that you won’t want to miss.

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