(WMC-TV) - THIS WEEK'S BIG TIP: The Parsonage Bakery & Deli, 198 Military Rd., Marion, AR, (870) 559-2133.
Chef John Myers simply got tired of watching his neighbors abandon Marion, AR, establishments for Midtown or Downtown Memphis eateries.
So in May 2012, he bought and renovated Marion's First Baptist Church's 1940's parsonage and crafted an alternative to Marion's fast food, barbecue and burger fare: healthy choices in healthy portions, with surprise specials revealed first on Facebook.
Just like its namesake, The Parsonage Bakery & Deli is a customer's sanctuary from the status quo in East Arkansas restaurants.
"The way he's got it decorated, you have a sense of the history of what this building used to be," said customer Adam Wheat, a staff member of First Baptist Church of Marion. "It's really cool. I appreciate that kind of atmosphere."
They'll also rattle his cage if he doesn't post his surprise special-of-the-day on The Parsonage's Facebook page by their morning's second cup of coffee.
"John goes and he is inspired with what's in a market and what he finds that is fresh and good, so you never know what it's going to be," said Marlis Ketrow of Marion.
Monster garden salads. Gourmet soups. Paninis and wraps.
Wrap it all up with homemade baked love: brownies, muffins and cakes.
All at great price points, considering the portions are so huge, you have to take something home.
"Some of the older ladies, they get a little upset about that, but when I tell them, look, it's two meals for the price of one, you know? We box them up, and we push that," said Myers.
About those to-go boxes: recycled material. Myers believes in environmentally sustainable practices in addition to local farm support.
"They're sustainable. They use local ingredients. They recycle. It's just a really very special place," said Memphis customer Kristin Young.
WHAT ANDY LIKES: The Parsonage House Salad, The Wingate sandwich (house pimento cheese & bacon on Parsonage cheese bread, pressed HOT!), Surprise Daily Specials, Excellent Use of Social Media.
SCORES OF THE WEEK:
The Grapevine, 6284 Chester St., Arlington, TN, 100 on Dec. 4
Wendy's, 714 W. Poplar Ave., Collierville, TN, 99, date not listed
Domino's Pizza, 308 New Byhalia Rd., Collierville, TN, 99 on Dec. 2
Subway, 11615 Hwy. 70, Suite 110, Arlington, TN, 99 on Dec. 3
Popeye's Fried Chicken, 2491 Winchester Rd., Memphis Intl. Airport, 98 on Dec. 4
El Huisache Bar & Grill, 4780 Summer Ave., Berclair/East Memphis, 98, date not listed
Wisteria, 1125 Hwy. 70, Suite 101, Arlington, TN, 98 on Dec. 4
Brendalay Grill, 6259 Quintard St., Arlington, TN, 98 on Dec. 4
Rizzi's Pizza Café, 6230 Greenlee St., Arlington, TN, 97 on Dec. 4
All Star Hot Wings, 8500 Wilkinsville Rd., Millington, TN, 97 on Dec. 5
Papa John's Pizza, 622 W. Poplar Ave., Collierville, TN, 97 on Dec. 5
Popeye's Chicken & Biscuits, 1430 E. Brooks Rd., South Memphis, 97 on Dec. 5
Abner's, 1100 N. Germantown Pkwy, Cordova, TN, 97 on Dec. 4
Cajun Catfish Co., 336 New Byhalia Rd., Collierville, TN, 97, date not listed
Arby's, 967 W. Poplar Ave., Collierville, TN, 96, date not listed
El Porton Mexican Bar & Grill, 1016 W. Poplar Ave., Collierville, TN, 96 on Dec. 4
Jack Pirtle's Fried Chicken, 3571 Lamar Ave., Airport Area/Oakhaven, 96 on Dec. 5
Dot's Deli, 2650 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Parkway Village/SE Memphis, 96 on Dec. 4
Aunt Cora's Pit Bar B Que, 73 E. McLemore Ave., South Memphis, 96 on Dec. 4
Little Caesar's Pizza, 235 New Byhalia Rd., Collierville, TN, 96 on Dec. 2
Pizza Hut, 8979 Hwy. 64, border of East Memphis/Bartlett, 96 on Dec. 2
Lucchesi's Ravioli & Pasta Company, 540 S. Mendenhall Rd., East Memphis, 95 on Dec. 3
Jim's Place Grille, 3660 S. Houston Levee Rd., Collierville, TN, 95 on Dec. 4
Chef's Downtown Wings, 200 Poplar Ave., Suite 105, Downtown Memphis, 95 on Dec. 3
Krystal, 975 W. Poplar Ave., Collierville, TN, 95 on Dec. 2
DeJAVU, 936 Florida St., South Memphis, 95 on Dec. 2
Jim's Place Restaurant & Bar, 518 Perkins Extd., East Memphis, 94 on Dec. 5
3rd World Restaurant, 709 Whitney Ave., Frayser, 94 on Dec. 4
Wilson's Wings-N-Things, 286 N. Cleveland St., Crosstown/Midtown Memphis, 94 on Dec. 4
Garibaldi's Pizza, 921 S. Yates Rd., East Memphis, 94 on Dec. 2
Sam's Down South BBQ & Wings, 1056 E. Brooks Rd., Whitehaven, 93 on Dec. 5
Taste Bar-B-Q, 1028 E. Brooks Rd., Whitehaven, 93 on Dec. 5
Panda China, 11615 Hwy. 70, Suite 109, Arlington, TN, 93 on Dec. 3
Mayo's Burgers & Wings, 6050 Airline Rd., Suite 107, Arlington, TN, 93 on Dec. 3
Ty's Smoke House, 7174 Hwy. 64, Suite 101, Bartlett, TN, 93 on Dec. 5
Cozy Corner Restaurant, 745 N. Parkway, Near Uptown/Downtown Memphis, 92 on Dec. 4
El Mezcal Mexican Restaurant, 9045 U.S. Hwy. 64, Lakeland, TN, 92 on Dec. 3
Three Guys Pizza Pies, 9045 U.S. Hwy 64, Lakeland, TN, 91 on Dec. 3
Collierville's Best Wings, 875 W. Poplar Ave., Collierville, TN, 91, date not listed
Green Bamboo Noodle House, 990 N. Germantown Pkwy, Cordova, TN, 91 on Dec. 4
Off The Hoof Burgers, 12013 Hwy. 70, Arlington, TN, 91 on Dec. 4
Arlington Barbecue Company, 11875 Hwy. 70, Arlington, TN, 91 on Dec. 4
Coletta's Italian Restaurant, 1063 S. Parkway E., South Memphis, 91 on Dec. 2
Taqueria Reyes Restaurant, 1535 Cherry Rd., East Memphis, 90 on Dec. 4
La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant, 746 W. Poplar Ave., Collierville, TN, 90 on Dec. 3
Brad's Bar-B-Q, 2845 Bartlett Rd., Bartlett, TN, 88 on Dec. 4
Ryan's Steakhouse, 8115 Hwy. 51 N., Millington, TN, 88 on Dec. 3
Grand Buffet, 7954 Hwy. 51 N., Millington, TN, 84 on Dec. 3
Steak & Shake, 8477 Hwy. 64, Wolfchase Area, 83 on Dec. 2
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