Swanky’s Taco Shop, Memphis TN

You have to love a place whose mascot is the spitting image of ex-Bauhaus singer Peter Murphy from those old Maxell tape advertisements, you know? Perhaps that wasn’t intentional, but once I sat down at Swanky’s location in Germantown, a suburb just east of Memphis packed absolutely full of places to spend money, and saw this sunglassed guy on my cup, I was reminded of ol’ grumpypants, sang a verse of “All Night Long” and enjoyed a good taco.

After breakfast Sunday morning, Marie and her sister and I enjoyed a nice drive around the city, stopping at a large chain bookstore (Bookstar, apparently affiliated with Barnes & Noble) and seeing all sorts of things. We eventually made it out to Penzey’s Spices, about which more in the next chapter. Marie and Anne could easily have spent six hours and their next three paychecks here, but there’s only so much looking and sniffing that a man can enjoy without a payoff, so I excused myself and walked next door.

There’s really not much I can write here beyond a “first impression” capsule, since I just popped in and out for a single chicken taco and a soda to kill some time while the ladies shopped, read a few pages of the latest Flyer and beat the heat a little. Memphis was suffering an absurd heat wave that weekend; Wikipedia suggests that the average temperature in June is 91, but every bank we passed showed off a scorching 99 on its sign.

I did notice one thing that really sets Swanky’s apart from all the assembly-line burrito joints in Atlanta: it has a full bar, with what appeared to be more than a dozen tequilas on offer. I don’t know whether they do this at every location – there are three, two in Memphis and one in Franklin – and I don’t know that the posh interior design is all that necessary for a laid-back, light meal with simple food like this, but the taco really was good, and I certainly wouldn’t object to a longer meal and a chat with the owner or some locals next time. Heckuva lot better than Moe’s, anyway.

Other blog posts about Swanky’s:

Dining With Monkeys (July 15 2006)
Memphis is Not So Bad (Mar. 25 2011)


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