Risking Ruin is set in Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis is where my heart belongs and I eat very well there, too.
So what restaurants are real and what's my imagination in Risking Ruin?
At bottom, all places are fictionalized, but many places you can visit and see if my imagined version lives up to your expectations.
Paulette's -- The site of Trip & Marisa's first "date." Paulette's is a lovely French restaurant with great views of the Mississippi. It's a Memphis staple. I could see Marisa having dinner for prom here. High marks on Urban Spoon.
Pig & Barley -- This is the cozy low-country restaurant that Trip owns an interest in. This is totally from my imagination. But, it's back story could be real. Piggly Wiggly was founded in Memphis in 1916 and revolutionized the grocery store business. I located the fictional Pig & Barley in its original building in downtown Memphis. See pictures at the link above or here. If I had to pick a real Memphis restaurant that would be like Pig & Barley, I might suggest Sweet Grass. It's local food and low-country and the bar as plenty of whiskeys to try.
Cafe Piazza -- Italian restaurant in downtown Collierville, right near the town square in an old home. High marks on Urban Spoon -- Like Marisa's parents, the toasted ravioli and scratch-made cakes are my favorites.
Earnestine & Hazel's -- Every city has its dive bar/ burger joint. I think this is Memphis' quintessential dive bar/ burger joint. Check out reviews on Urban Spoon. Read about it here. Like Marisa, I haven't been to Earnestine & Hazel's sober.
Folk's Folly -- This is the granddaddy of fine Memphis dining. As a child, nothing said "big night out" than when my dad would take my mom to Folk's Folly. Urban Spoon. For a classic steakhouse experience in Memphis, Folk's Folly is the king. *Note - I have never played footsie at Folk's Folly and cannot advise on this point.
What's your favorite Memphis restaurant? I'm a huge farm-to-table fan. Where should Marisa and Trip eat next?