A bit of the backstory

Memphis is the pork barbecue mecca of the world, and there are great joints in every nook and cranny of this town. We know how to eat right. And while everyone has a favorite, few can question that the Rendezvous is a quintessential Memphis experience.  For over 60 years, the Vergos family has been serving their signature dry rub ribs in a basement through a downtown alley across from the Peabody Hotel. And while the world outside has changed considerably, very little has changed in that alley basement. 

 
It all started in 1948. At the time, Charlie Vergos co-owned a meat and three restaurant called Wimpy’s with his brother-in-law. But they didn’t see eye to eye on everything and Charlie decided he’d move into the basement and sell ham sandwiches and beer. He called the place the Rendezvous. There was an old coal chute that he converted into a smoker to give the ham some flavor.  In the late 40s, Downtown Memphis was the shopping and business hub of the city. During the week, men worked downtown. After work men would hit the Rendezvous for a snack and a beer while they waited for their wives to pick them up. On weekends the fellas would drive their wives down for a day of shopping, and pass the afternoon drinking at the Rendezvous. Through the early fifties Vergos started cleaning up the joint a little, and the ladies decided they might like to stop in too. But by the late fifties, he realized he had a problem. He needed to diversify the menu.
 
After trying his hand at chicken and oysters, his butcher came to him with the one thing he had plenty of. Ribs. At that time, ribs were scrap meat. But Vergos’s right hand man in the kitchen, Little John, knew how to cook them. Ribs had been a staple of backyard barbecues in his neighborhood for years. So together they came up with the formula: they threw the racks in 18 inches from the fire, and grilled them for an hour and fifteen minutes to seal in the flavor. A vinegar wash kept them moist. And Vergos created a rub based on the seasoning from his father’s unique Greek chili recipe. He added paprika to give it a more traditional barbecue color. And that’s it. People went nuts for them. The standard for “Memphis style” barbecue ribs was set over half a century ago in a basement restaurant in Downtown Memphis.  Come experience it for yourself.

Featured Products

1 Slab of Ribs, 2 Pounds ...

One slab of our world famous ribs - about 12-14 rib bones on...

2 Slabs of Ribs

Our most popular item, it's enough for an ordinary family of...

Black Gift Tote (Option 1...

Small Black Reusable Tote filled with Rendezvous Favorites

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Our People

Robert Junior

Not to be confused with his dad Robert, Sr. Justin Timberlake's main man. Even though he'...

Bobby

The “man” – been here since 1970.  He’s the guy that runs the kitche...

Geno

Been here 44 years. Known as The Fixer -- there's no machine he can't fix. Can also serve a mean ord...

Robert Senior

Not to be confused with his son Robert, Jr.  Been here 54...

Big Jack

Been here since 1969. Don't ever question the "Old Dog's" bite, especially when...

Nick

Loves carrying on his father’s traditions.  The best cook in the family – has ap...

Joanna "Blue Eyes"

Our first female server.  "Blue Eyes" is probably too nice to work here, but a rea...

Tina

The youngest in the family.  Keeps track of all of the books and records.  She can also...

Percy

Started in 1970. Always with the big smile. Has served presidents on Air Force One and vice presi...

Dan

Another Memphis College graduate.  Dan started working during college and stayed.  Now ...

Calvin "Pooh"

"Pooh" took over Jack's room; also know as Shaq - notice the resemblance.  Lov...

Demetrious "Red Cap"

Demetrious is fast, efficient and quiet.  We still call him “Red Cap” even thoug...

John

The restaurant started the year he was born.  The oldest son and the politician/lawyer of th...

Frank

Started working here during the early 90's while a student at Rhodes College. He has been in ...

Fred

Also known as Hollyrock, but we don't know what that means. Been here 17 years. Moved into th...

Cheron

If you need to book a party, ask for Cheron.  She’s been booking all of our events sin...

Dean

Our first cousin, the other family member. Dean can be seen on the floor covering for the owners ...

Pat

University of Memphis grad.  Been here since 1988.  Mainly at the shipping kitchen, but...

Henry

Henry has been cooking these ribs for 30 years.  Mr. Charlie taught him how.  Lives in ...

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Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous