For my money, the Port's specialty is something increasingly rare: delicious plate lunches. Weekdays at lunch they have a downright retro cafeteria-style buffet where the customer selects from 3-5 meats and 10-15 vegetables (1 meat and 2 sides or a vegetable plate.) In other words, you are sitting down with your food very fast. The servings are extremely generous. I have never had a bad meat or side here; off the top of my head, the baked chicken, salisbury steak, roast beef, and spaghetti stand out, while the yams, white beans, and mashed potatoes are some of the best vegetables. My only complaint is the bread, dry and tasteless rolls or cornbread. The iced tea is always well-made. There is always a brisk lunch crowd, but not to the point where things feel hectic, and seating is never a problem. Both during lunch and at dinner, there is also a menu. It contains simple, beloved entrees such as steak, grilled chicken, and catfish. It also has various sandwiches and burgers among other selections. I have had the grilled chicken with french fries, and it was simple and excellent. The dinner crowd has been sparse the few times I have been at that hour (most of the workers have left the island by that point.) Something else worth mentioning: although the plate lunch prices are very reasonable, the menu prices are some of the lowest you will ever find. Visiting the Port is so memorable that it can be easy to forget how stellar the food is--it is well of the beaten path even for locals. It is located 5-10 minutes, but a world away, from downtown on President's Island, between the causeway entrance to the island and the massive industrial build-up of the rest of the developed portion of this huge island (it is adjacent to the equally bizarre French Fort neighborhood.) The clientele is mostly the blue-collar workers of the island. The interior is charmingly archaic, as if a melding of the Steel Belt and the Gulf Coast circa 1960. It is only moderately lighted, giving a cozy, almost bunker feel to the place (in a positive, diner-esque way.) The recently discarded nautical objects adorning the walls heightened the retro ethos...it reminded of a time when Memphis actually and good but affordable seafood restaurants. It even still has a cigarette vending machine. The staff are all as friendly and attentive as you will ever find. The servers at the buffet and the waitresses are very helpful and nice (your drink will never be empty here.) Overall, eating at the Port is a very pleasant experience, and it is unfortunately a standout option that even most locals do not know. And a tourist looking for a sure-fire memorable (and authentic) meal should definitely visit the Port.
Kevin J. on Jul 6, 2014