The Most Influential BBQ in America - Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous Forget about "the best" The Most Influential BBQ in America - Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous Forget about "the best" The Most Influential BBQ in America - Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous Forget
X

About Us

It all started in a basement off an alley in Downtown Memphis

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 magical 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 in a snack joint he called The Rendezvous. He turned an old coal chute into a smoker to give the meat some flavor. Business was good enough, but by the late 50s, he realized he had a problem. He needed to diversify the menu. 
 
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.   
 
Not much has changed today. While the meat is the calling card, a big part of what makes The Rendezvous special is the experience. The smoky aroma is grilled meat and barbecue shake. The sounds of Memphis soul and delta blues, cut with clinking beer mugs and laughter. The taste is perfectly seasoned southern heaven. It’s a meal that turns into a party you think about for the rest of the year. It’s a great time with friends old and new. And it only happens at The Rendezvous.

Mr. Charlie’s kids – John, Nick and Tina, along with their extended family (the restaurant staff) – still serve those signature ribs the same way. 
 
Locals, tourists, dignitaries and celebrities all come down through the alley and down those steps to experience The Rendezvous. And if ribs aren’t your thing, you’ve got options. Salads, brisket, chopped chicken, red beans and rice are all on the menu too. If you aren’t in town, we are sorry about that. Memphis is a heck of a place. But you can still have our world-famous ribs delivered to your door or you can buy our dry rub at your neighborhood grocery store. Seriously though, if you come through town, make time for The Rendezvous. You’ll be glad you did.

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...

Barbecue Nacho Box

Barbecue Nacho Box

More featured products

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 53...

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

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 since 1998. ...

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 ...

read more
Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous