Legendary rocker Jerry Lee Lewis has plans to bring a little flavor to Beale Street. "The Killer" is set to open up his own club and restaurant this spring.
"Jerry Lee Lewis' Cafe and Honky Tonk" will move into the structure on the east end of Beale Street that once was Pat O'Brien's.
"Jerry Lee Lewis' Cafe and Honky Tonk" has a target opening date of May 1.
Pat O'Brien's, which closed in 2008, was one of the largest clubs on Beale with indoor and outdoor eating and dining.
But what made it great was also part of the problem with Pat O'Brien's making it. The building is so big that the cost of running it, along with the fact that the east end of Beale, has always had a problems with drawing the crowds that the west end pulls.
The drain finally took its toll in 2008. Several clubs opened in its space since then, the latest rebirth in the name of Dancing Jimmy, a local character who used to hang out in the Overton Square area.
J.W. Whitten, Lewis' road manager, said "The Killer" will perform at the Beale Street Music Festival on May 4, and sometime after that he will perform at a grand opening of his Honky Tonk on Beale.
Also involved in the project is Bud Chittom, a well known restaurant operator and the main force behind the success of the Blues City restaurant on Beale.
With Pat O'Brien's being one of the biggest venues on Beale Street and with the combo of the name Jerry Lee Lewis and Chittom operating the club, everybody thinks it has a pretty good chance of making it this time.
"I've been on Beale Street since 1987," said Leo Allred of Tater Red's on Beale. "Back in the early years there were some great places and great restaurants and bars, but not the right time for them. Timing is the thing."
Whitten said the legendary singer will appear from time to time, but "The Killer" won't be down there every Saturday night.
It is no accident that "Jerry Lewis's Cafe and Honky Tonk" will open in May, with the crowds that come to the music festival and Memphis in May barbeque. There is no better time to open a place on Beale Street.
Chittom said there will be live rock 'n' roll and a menu that features Southern foods.
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