So maybe we go ahead and change it to Belly Yummers? Nah, it doesn’t sound as good as Belly Acres. Then again, why would I take the Fam to a place called Belly Acres (which sounds too much like a stomach ache, which sounds like gas, which sounds like gas bubbles, which sounds like little nuclear bombs that requires TP for my… too much, too soon). Let’s backtrack some here, Belly Acres is located in what I consider one of the best pockets of dining in the country, Overton Square. By now if you’ve read through the Memphis Hi-Lites you’ll notice that a fair amount of restaurants reviewed are in this area. As the revival of the Square began taking shape over the past few years, it became a vital hub for Memphians looking to hang out and enjoy food, music and company. While it is still too small and the Madison corridor still needs a connection to downtown Memphis, if you’re looking to get away for a few hours the few blocks at the corner of Cooper and Madison do an excellent job and with the addition of Belly Acres, Memphis is also beginning to become a Burger Lover’s paradise; which gives away the premise of Belly Acres. It’s a burger joint… but this is me underselling before getting to the meat of this review.
Okay I have to deviate from my direction… I live in East Memphis. In about a two-five mile radius there aren’t any restaurants that feature locally sourced menus. We have two of the busiest corridors for traffic in this area on Winchester/Hacks Cross/Forrest Hill and no one, not a single person has thought of creating a locally sourced restaurant in this area. (Hint Hint)
Back to what I was doing. Belly Acres has a slogan “Citified Farm Fresh”. Which is kind of awkward, but for me accomplishes the distinction between BA and it’s competitors. Who are the competitors? I’m not into competition… yes I am, but I don’t really like introducing new restaurants by referring to other restaurants, but I really don’t have a choice here. When we entered BA we were told this was going to be the best burger/meal experience we’ve had. Now granted they didn’t know that I eat at restaurants far too much and that I’m a really good cook (so says me, and the family, just go with it), so they were setting the bar really high. I like that though. Pride in your product is critical and helps to comfort the family getting ready to sit at your table. The competition according to me is as follows:
So where does Belly Acres fit in? In a class of it’s own and quite possibly the smartest of the “Burger” joints in Memphis. Let me explain. While Overton Square is really a hub for the twenty to thirty something crowd, there are more families in Memphis and when we visit restaurants our average ticket prices range between 75-125 dollars. While we aren’t the ones buying “drinks” we do buy a lot of food and you can kind of upsell the family on side items and milkshakes. That’s just a business thing for those of you who care about that stuff. This is why Belly Acres is in a class by itself:
1. As soon as you walk in it’s a well lit, eye catching building. Colorful graphics and the tables have nice spacing. While they have drinks available (local brews), the place does not have the feel of a only a date night venue. Now, there are tables in a nook with a fantastic moon that feels more private and suitable for couples and there is a patio that overlooks the Overton Square court. On the night we visited, Tuesday, there was a live band playing and a few games in the square (not to mention my daughter’s order came with a Frisbee which we tossed around in the courtyard.)
2. Sidestreet has more of a fast casual feel as it is a small building that focuses on the flavor. Oshi is definitely a date night burger joint. LBOE is more of a bar that serves burgers. It has a man cave feel to it, with potential for a date night. Belly Acres has delivered a location that by default wins for us because we love our family dining and most places are set up more for groups and couples than for families. This is not to state that Belly Acres isn’t great for those things. It is; which is why it is a (drumroll) Definite Repeat Visit Spot (I’m working on a cooler acronym than DRVS – although drives implies that we are willing to drive there, hmmm).
3. There is a huge emphasis on Farm to Table. Nuff said… if you’re an aware consumer who cares about how your money is spent then you seek out locally owned places who take pride in delivering a healthier option. This is important!
Okay enough of that, I know why you clicked and here you go.
My Food Reactions:
Food: 4.3 out of 5 – It’s very difficult to get a 5 out of me and I have my reasons. If a restaurant rates lower than a three, I don’t even write about it. I’m not willing to give a 5 to BA just yet because we had 4 different meals. Those four different meals we all sampled each others. While I love that my burger was very good (I had the Voodoo Moo), the blue cheese actually overpowered the Sirracha aioli and the flavor I was hoping for didn’t shine through. I wanted more spice, less blue. It was still very good. My bite of LV’s Chicken & Waffles was thoroughly surprising. You know in Cali we have Roscoes so when we see Chicken & Waffles we already have an idea of what is coming. This time we didn’t and that was great. What arrived was not the usual. I’ll leave it at that. This order also lacked a bit of punch in the chicken. They did serve a healthy belly aching amount of chicken, but after the crust (which was freaking awesome) the actual chicken inside wasn’t very flavorful. My son ordered the Early Riser and it was flawless. We had a separate order of fries, which should actually increase the score to 4.5. Fries were the bomb… almost better than Oshi’s (which currently holds the number 1 spot for fries). My daughter ordered from the kid’s menu and I have to say I’m actually impressed with the PB&J. Most restaurants serve that BS lunch snack, pie looking, pb&j. This was served with fries and my daughter added a Brownie Milkshake, so did LV and I. My son added a Root Beer Float, made with Creamery Memphis’ Root Beer Gelato.
The Brownie Milkshake was heavenly. This may sound funny, but the best part of a milkshake is when you actually have bits of whatever food the milkshake is named after in each sip. In other words, your milkshake is crappy when it’s just milk and shake. That kind of milkshake doesn’t bring any boys to the yard…(insert non family friendly music)
Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 I discussed this earlier, but when you can take care of families and couples in a vibrant, colorful atmosphere with subtle mature influences thrown in, you did good (poor grammar intended).
Overall: 4.65 awwww shiggity, I forgot the most important thing didn’t I? The pictures. This is a DRVS recommended spot. Yeah, I’m trying to make DRVS a thing. Let me know what you think when you visit.