This bike trip was supposed to be a National Park and Triple-D Tour...Triple-D referring to Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives -- Guy Fieri's popular Food Network show. I had my list of Triple-D establishments with me on the trip, hoping to stop at several of the restaurants along the way. As things turned out, I managed to visit only one place on the list and that was for lunch on the next-to-the-last day on the road. Welcome to Cozy Corner in Memphis, TN!
Cozy Corner definitely qualifies as a Dive, as testified to by the decor, including the duct tape patches you will find on most of the booth seats. But it is a long-lived and beloved dive. Located at 745 N Parkway just north of I-40 and half a block east of Thomas St (Rte 51) Cozy Corner has been serving up barbecue to Memphis folks for over 30 years. I recognized photos of Danny DeVito and a host of other movie stars, politicians, and dignitaries tacked on the bulletin boards. People who love barbecue don't come here for the decor, they come for the food. Raymond Robinson began cooking ribs and shoulders at this unassuming location a long time ago. Raymond is no longer with us, but his widow, Desiree, carries on the tradition. It was Desiree who was featured in the Triple-D episode on Memphis barbecue when Guy visited Cozy Corner two years ago, and it was Desiree who greeted us at the entrance when we walked in. Guy always concentrates on a couple of specials of the house at each place he visits on the show. I asked Desiree what dish Guy featured at Cozy Corner because it had been quite awhile since I had seen the show and I couldn't remember the details. As soon as she said Cornish Hen, it all came back to me. They do Cornish Hens the same way they do their ribs and shoulders, using the same dry rub and low-and-slow smoking method. I had to try it, and it was great. Ron ordered the ribs and wings combination, and pronounced it very tasty. My only complaint would be having to try and eat a Cornish Hen using a plastic fork and knife. I quickly gave up on that and just tore it apart and ate with my fingers...the way barbecue is supposed to be eaten. I was too anxious to dive in to the food to think about taking photos before we dug in, so what you see here are pretty much the remnants.
That's Desiree in the white cap and jacket behind the counter and also her picture on the banner.
By the time we finished eating, there were only two other customers in the restaurant...a couple from Tulsa who were on their own Triple-D/barbecue tour. He had his own list of Triple-D establishments, but he said they were at Cozy Corner because of the write-up in the BBQ magazine that you see in his hand. He had missed the Triple-D episode that featured Cozy Corner, but a glowing review in the magazine enticed them to seek it out. They not only ate lunch, but also carried out a large bag of to-go ribs and pulled pork. I'm guessing that is Desiree's grandson standing beside her. I forgot to ask, but it is definitely a family affair.
Since we only managed to eat at one Triple-D establishment on this ride, I'm glad it turned out to be Cozy Corner and that we got to experience a Memphis institution and meet Desiree Robinson.