We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Laid-back and just right” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Central BBQ

Central BBQ
Ranked #12 of 1,429 Restaurants in Memphis
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: American, Barbecue
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Local cuisine, Families with children, Kids, Dining on a budget
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Highchairs Available, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Television, Wheelchair Accessible
Kansas City, Missouri
Level Contributor
25 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Laid-back and just right”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 8, 2013

Despite a couple negative reviews we wanted to retry Central BBQ (used to live in Memphis) and so glad we did. Not fussy, helpful and downright witty staff coupled with simply great BBQ and very reasonable prices make this a must-visit. Nice large tables great for families and atmosphere so easy going and not fussy makes Central BBQ a perfect spot to relax, and refuel your hungry friends and family. And yes, the pulled pork BBQ sandwich is easily the best in Memphis. Maybe anywhere. Get the large for 5.99- it's so worth it.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank tlinville71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

845 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    469
    258
    86
    24
    8
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
24 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“BBQ is not the same as grilling”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 8, 2013

My daughter and family moved from the Chicago area to TN about a year ago. Friends had taken them to Central BBQ and they raved about it. So when we went to Memphis they insisted that we stop here for lunch. I am glad they had been there before because I would never have 1-found it or 2-gone inside. The building looks more like a warehouse than a restaurant from the outside. There is a sign above the door that I would have missed but the smell certainly draws you in.

Once inside you order at the counter and they give you a number and bring the food to you. There is not an overhead menu so grab a paper one if you don't know what you want. The gentleman taking our order was very nice and helpful. We did not have a line when we went in but there was a line when my husband wanted to get a T-Shirt. It moved pretty quickly though.

We sat in the outside eating area. This is not a patio area. It is a part of the building that has the upper part of 2 walls opened up. There is certainly no view to speak of. You look into a parking lot across the street that had a large work trailer parked in it. If the trailer were to be removed I believe you could see the sign for the Lorraine Hotel, which is where Martin Luther King was shot. The opposite wall is painted with caricatures of musicians and a map of Memphis.

They brought the food out to our table. They were missing my food and asked what I had ordered. They returned quickly with my ribs but my plate had potato salad and I ordered onion rings. They apologized and gave me the plate with the potato salad and said they would be back in a moment with the onion rings. I was surprised at how fast he did return with the onion rings. I tried both and actually preferred the potato salad so it was a win for me!

I ordered the ribs-wet. They have a sauce bar with 4 different kinds of BBQ sauce so you can choose the flavor you prefer. I am not sure which one is served on the wet ribs but I did not need to add any additional sauce. But everyone at our table preferred the mild (which we thought had a bit of a kick) I sampled my husbands pulled pork and it was very moist. There were 6 of us and we were all happy with our meal and will certainly go again.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank sle516
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Germantown, Tennessee
Level Contributor
65 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Consistently Terrific!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 8, 2013

Moving to the Memphis area from Austin, we knew we were in for a change in our typical barbecue meal. I've been to over 15 different barbecue places in the area, my husband even more. We both agree - the best is Central!! Consistently very good food, very good service, clean, available parking, etc.

We get our ribs dry and add our choice of sauce - delicious. My husband also really enjoys their BBQ turkey nachos while I love their very lean and tender sliced brisket dinner. They make their own potato chips, husband's favorite side, while I am a fan or their potato salad and slaw. While I've been tempted to get dessert, I'm always full. Friends we took there a few days ago also enjoyed the pulled pork sandwiches along with the ribs. To date none of our friends have been disappointed with the food at Central.

We enjoy eating on the covered patio often; always like the painted murals and watching the activity around the National Civil Rights Museum. Inside there is plenty of seating, including seating for groups of 8 or more. Luckily, we've never had to wait to find a seat but know that there are times you may have a wait as the line sometimes is out the door...but it's worth the wait!

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank SharoninOK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alta Loma
Level Contributor
76 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Great food & location”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 7, 2013

Across the street from the Civil Rights Museum and about 4-5 block walk to Beale St. (I wouldn't walk it though, not a great neighborhood). The dry ribs were so good you don't need sauce. Although the sauce was also tooo goood! YUM! The pulled pork sandwich was great with the coleslaw on it. Great flavor. You order at the register and they bring the food to your table. Service was good and the employees were very friendly. So glad we found this place.

  • Visited June 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Shirley M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Level Contributor
551 reviews
330 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 167 helpful votes
“A great place to enjoy the Memphis barbecue experience.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 7, 2013 via mobile

I opted for the brisket instead of the ribs but after my wife and son raved about the ribs, I probably should have had them as well. I did, however, enjoy my brisket and the relaxed atmosphere of this eating place. I did not feel like a tourist compared to Rendezvous and Central' s prices are far more reasonable. The staff here are very friendly and personable and there is plenty of free parking on nearby streets.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Stucolco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Been to Central BBQ? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing