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“Reputation better than experience”

Charles Vergos' Rendezvous
Ranked #22 of 1,447 Restaurants in Memphis
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $20
Cuisines: Barbecue
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Local cuisine
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Breakfast, Delivery, Reservations, Takeout
Neighborhood: Downtown
Description: The Rendezvous, founded by Charlie Vergos in 1948, started out as an 80 seat tavern serving ham and cheese sandwiches. When Charlie cleaned out the basement beneath his diner, he discovered a coal chute and started a barbecue legend. The coal chute gave Mr. Charlie a vent for his considerable talent over the grill. He developed a unique seasoning fusing his Greek heritage with spices he enjoyed from New Orleans. Mr. Charlie was a collector and hung antiques, memorabilia, and artwork on the walls. This, along with a soulful jukebox, lively waiters, and aromas from the kitchen helped him to create an atmosphere unequalled in the city of Memphis. Today, the restaurant is still in the Vergos family and run by Mr. Charlie's three kids. The ribs still taste the same as they did in the beginning. Ribs are the Rendezvous' specialty. Years ago, people started calling them "dry ribs" which is a terrible misnomer. The ribs are neither "wet" nor "dry." They are moist and juicy and come heavily basted in a vinegar solution that should be used for dipping, and they are sprinkled with our unique Rendezvous seasoning. Any use of sauce should be on the side. Most of the main dishes come with a 4 oz side of baked beans and a unique mustard/vinegar based cole slaw. Should you want additional sides, they may be purchased for only $1. While Rendezvous is famous for its ribs, don't overlook the other items on the menu. From the beef brisket to the pulled pork shoulder sandwich to grilled chicken everything is excellent and well seasoned. The newest item, the greek salad, is a recipe that comes all the way from the Vergos' village back in Greece. On your way out, pick up a bag of BBQ popcorn.The Rendezvous can handle parties as large as 300, call us for reservations. Reservations are accepted for 15 people or more during the week and 25 people or more on the weekend based on availablity. Our main dining area is in a basement. If you require elevator access please let our hostess know.
Macungie, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
80 reviews
63 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Reputation better than experience”
Reviewed January 1, 2014

Traveling down to Texas, stopped for the night in Memphis, primarily to have some good BBQ. Had visited Memphis 4 years ago, and enjoyed Rendezvous. Yeh, I understand it is tourist place, but the last time the ribs were fantastic, as I enjoy the dry rub ribs. We arrived late on a Friday on Beale Street, so getting there was easy and they were opened late. We were able to walk right in and get seated. The service was friendly and attentive. We ordered the ribs and the pulled pork. The ribs were good, but not what I would call great. While I enjoyed the flavor of the rub, the meat was a little dry and the flavor of the meat was just ok. The pulled pork was not memorable at all. The sides of slaw and beans were average. Could be my expectations were too high, but in any case, did not meet expectations. If I were to go back to Memphis, would try some place else, as I have been here twice, and there are so many good places to eat.

  • Visited December 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank MacungieJohn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Germantown, Tennessee
Level Contributor
468 reviews
380 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 135 helpful votes
“Great dry rub ribs ”
Reviewed December 29, 2013 via mobile

Approx. 40 minutes wait on a Saturday night. Amazing dry rub ribs. Excellent slaw and beans. The best sweet tea I have had in a long time. Pulled pork was ok.

Unique atmosphere. Perfect for Memphis BBQ! I would return!

Helpful?
Thank jwillstp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Angelo, Texas
Level Contributor
37 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 65 helpful votes
“Huh?”
Reviewed December 29, 2013

All over the Food Network, we had our sights set high on this Memphis landmark when visiting with our family during the IBC's earlier this year. Our hour wait only added to the anticipation and when we were herded to our table we were quickly enjoying some appetizers. We were told by the masses to order ribs so that's what we did. Our waiter was indifferent to our dining experience and did not engage except for the bare minimum required to take our order.

We were soooo excited to see our order arrive but . . . wait. Those praised-to-the-heavens ribs were a huge disappointment. I suppose they are an acquired taste for our Texas palates? We were all at a loss for words and just looked at each other. Huh? This is what the fuss is all about? They were just off the mark with the seasoning and the texture. The meat did NOT fall off the bone, despite the claim. Their cole slaw was even worse. A mustardy, vinegary train wreck for me. Again, I blame it on my Texas bbq upbringing?

In Memphis I prefer Corky's or Central for outstanding bbq. In the world, Country Tavern near Kilgore, Texas reigns supreme as far as ribs go. And any of the joints around Taylor, Lockhart or Luling, Texas will certainly please ANY bbq lover's tongue.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Ava H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Des Moines, Iowa
Level Contributor
46 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“When in Memphis, do the Rendezvous.”
Reviewed December 28, 2013

The Rendezvous is simply something you have to experience. People can debate about the best ribs in Memphis for an eternity.
The ones here are very good. All the food here is good. But it's the experience that's even better. The entrance is in an alley, for crying out loud. How cool is that??? Waits can be long but worth it. The atmosphere is full of history that you can see and feel! The service is how it should be in all restaurants. Efficient and very friendly by folks who seem to love what they do and have been doing it that way for years.
On this visit we had a rib and brisket combo and a rib and pork shoulder combo. We loved it all. Best we've ever had? Probably not but certainly ranked near the top. I'm not a huge fan of the Rendezvous slaw and beans but that by all means will not stop us from going back time and time again. Besides we're going for meat and with the big portions they serve, we got it! My only regret is we didn't get the cheese and sausage appetizer plate or the bbq nachos. We saw platters of these go to an adjoining table where they were devoured in minutes!
If you go at prime time meal times, expect to wait for a table. But it's worth it.
The Rendezvous is something you've got to do at least once but I bet you'll keep going back. We do as do many people we took there.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank 1cutekid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Little Rock, Arkansas
Level Contributor
34 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Take out was great”
Reviewed December 27, 2013

We went to Rendezvous before the John Mayer concert in November. We were a little late getting to town, so we were afraid we wouldn't get to eat here. When we got to the alley, it was full of people standing around waiting, when we got inside there were even more people standing around. It was an hour and half wait. Of course, we didn't have the time. Knowing that BBQ is already cooked and just waiting to be put together, we asked how long on a take out order... 5 minutes. We placed our order and 5 minutes later we were walking back to our hotel for dinner. The meats were perfectly smoked and the sides were great. I'm not a fan of their style of coleslaw but I ate it anyway. My only complaint? No plastic utensils in our carry out bag, so check before leaving. It was interesting figuring out how to eat the sides without, but we made it work. It was great food and we will return (to actually sit down and eat inside) soon.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank BlueJeanBabyLRLady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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