Memphis, TN – Dyers (the Legend)

Since 1912, Dyer’s has been serving up legendary burgers in Memphis, choosing deep frying as the cooking method. It’s always been purported that the secret to the “good taste” is the fact they have never changed the cooking oil since they opened – but strain it nightly. On the surface, some people might be put off by the sound of this, it’s really not as dramatic as it sounds, potato chip factories to it. On a regular schedule, chip factories vacuum the oil out of their fryers, filter it and put it back it, topping off with “new”. In that situation, about 1/3 of the oil used goes out on the chips daily. Some percentage of Dyer’s does as well.

I thought it would be MUCH cooler if they actually had this bubbling mass of dark oil that they had NEVER removed from the fryers, and one day, Geraldo went down there and emptied the vats, to find Jimmy Hoffa, the Ark of the Covenant, and planes that had disappeared from the Bermuda Triangle! Now that would be great!

Some people probably tout the experience of going to Dyer’s as excellent because it enabled them to escape Memphis’ panhandlers for a few moments of solitude.

I walked in, was surprised at the cheeriness and decor (reminds me of a Johnny Rockets, actually), I was expecting dark and oily interiors, like the barbecue places in Lockhart, TX. But alas, apparently Dyer’s had moved numerous times before landing in touristville, Beale Street.

No matter. The menu is straight-forward, burgers, dogs, shakes, fries, rings, and the young waitpersons pretty enthusiastic, all things considered.

I went for the single with cheese combo, which comes with fries and a drink. Instead I got a double plain, by mistake, but it was the server’s fault, and I wasn’t charged with the double. I probably shouldn’t have cheese, anyway.

The fries were excellent, too good in fact, best I have had on this road trip.  The burgers come standard with mustard, pickle, and onion, and you know I’m all about that combination, so they had me for that.

I don’t know that the average palate  (like mine) could tell that these patties are deep-fried, they aren’t dripping with grease, and, I suspect, the baptismal dip into the hot oil probably seals the meat.  You could tell that oil was nearby tho, due to the shimmering spots on the bun (pictured).  I thought that was kinda cute, actually. It’s a good burger, thin and crispy, flavorful meat, all on its own.

Belly full, tee shirt in hand, I emerged back into Memphis’ Disneyland for the Homeless (even Bourbon Street in NOLA isn’t this bad), and was content to know another legendary burger had been checked off BurgerDogBoy’s “Burgers I Must Have Before Dying, or Where I’d be Happy to Die Mid-Bite!”

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