Memphis >Food & Dining > Pete & Sam's Restaurant
3886 Park Ave, Memphis, TN | Directions 3811135.107951 -89.933073
Monday To Thursday From 04:30 PM To 09:30 PM Friday To Saturday From 04:30 PM To 10:30 PM Sunday From 04:30 PM To 09:30 PM
Neighborhoods: East Memphis/Colonial/Yorkshire, Jackson - University Area PD
Horrible decor, horribly outdated look, and food was the worst I've ever had in an Italian Restaurant. I LOVE Italian food, it's one of my favorite food groups! I can't remember the last time I've sent food back at an Italian restaurant, been that let down by the food, or the last time I've been that unimpressed with the upkeep of a place I'm eating at.
I had the lasagna, with a salad and ravioli as a side. The "pot" of lasagna they brought out was BLACK it was so over cooked. I've never in my life had any that dry and burned. After one bite, I sent it back, and the waiter acted like I had no idea what I was talking about. I got the Cannelloni afterwards... Was so soupy it was ridiculous. There were several people that ordered the lasagna in our group, and EVERYONES was black and burned. Not one person that had my dish was happy with their food. Had three bites, and pushed it away and gave up. The ravioli, was mediocre. The salad was made with VERY wilted lettuce and was also soupy b/c of the massive amount of salad dressing in it.
The "Decor" and general look:
So out of date it's not even funny. I had heard it had that "Old Chicago mafia family restaurant" style feel to it... if by that you mean ceiling tiles COVERED in water spots, falling off the ceiling, and in shambles surrounded by dark panel wood walls like you'd see in an old single wide trailer, then I don't want that "Old chicago mafia" feel... I've never been in a restaurant where such LITTLE care and attention was given to your ambiance. It was disgusting, and unpleasant to say the least.
And I know they can't necessarily help this since they've been around so long and it's a small area of land, but the parking is HORRID. Not that big of a deal in the summer, but when it's 28 degrees out I don't want to walk through other parking lots to get there. Not sure why that many people were there, apparently it is very popular and the reason for that evades me.
Save yourself the let down and go to Olive Garden or Macaroni Grill... so much better. And if your craving Lasagna, you'll be better off getting a Stouffers from your local grocery store frozen food section. Trust me, I don't EVER write reviews, but my conscious compels me to do so in this case.
Th service was just horible i have notice last couple of times i been there the servise declining. The employees are just rude. We were only customers there at 4:45 pm, the employees just walked around and never acknowledge we were there . I will start going to Colettas or Olive Garden from now on.
I made many jokes about Olive Garden having the worst Italian food, and after eating at Pete & Sam's, I owe the Olive Garden an apology. Pete & Sam's is the worst. The food, the service, the facility, and the prices were all substandard. Our party sat where half the table had lighting and the other half was so dark, I had to use my cell phone to make light to read the menu. The waiter made a rude remark to our guest for having confused him by ordering a "plain" salad, which the waiter interpreted as a "dry" salad, and upon correcting him, he got irritated, to which I sternly corrected him right back. I had to get up to get our guest straws, get my own beer that he forgot, and other things. I had to ask other waiters for help because mine was no where to be found, and the other waiters seemed embarrassed about it.
The food that I sampled from others at the table, including my own was bland, plain, burned, or just nasty. I spotted several people offering their food to others at the table because they didn't like it. I saw one person scraping something gross off his food that was not food. I ordered the eggplant parmigiana, which had many parts darker black than my car tires. I chipped off the burned sections and tried eating the rest, but it was the most repulsive eggplant parmigiana I ever had. It was so soggy, it could have been a soup. After pouring it out of the stainless steel boat they cooked it in and onto a plate, I notice the entire bottom was black and burned. Nasty. The salad was no better, just a small bowl of iceberg lettuce and a few pieces of tomato hardly worth mentioning, and for that they charged an extra $4.50 (an overcharge of a buck from their menu listed price).
I was eager to forget this horrible dining experience, get up from the dark drab hole we were seated in, and get in my car in their worn down parking lot and leave, but that's when I noticed the 'insult to injury'. They had hidden $7 in the subtotal (and no it was not gratuity). Understand, they hand write their tickets, and do not use a calculator tape to show the math, which makes it easy to overcharge (purposely or not) a customer. Not only was I overcharged, but I was then charged tax on the overcharge. I held up the line with no apologies to have them run it on an adding machine, and they were embarrassed to find I caught them. No apologies from them, just defense for their waiter making a mistake in doing simple math. They cared more about their incompetent (possibly dishonest) employees than customers.
After eating at the Cordova location about three times, this was about my fourth time trying them out. I thought maybe their main location would be better. Nope. It was horrible in all areas of dining. Now, I know what you're going to say, but they are a Memphis landmark. That means nothing to me when I'm rating the dining experience and especially the food and service. I have tried them enough times now to know that they must have a cult following to continue giving them business when the food, service, prices, and atmosphere is as bad as I described. They are a complete waste of time and money to eat there. But if you want to support them just because they are a Memphis landmark, go for it. I just recommend you eat first and don't expect much from the service.
de-friggin-licious – Some of the best seafood I've had in Phili.
homemade italian – best italian I've had in years! Can't wait to return...
Last Meal – Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain always talks about a person's last meal and mine would definitely be Pete and Sam's Toasted Ravioli, Italian Spinach, and an entire BBQ pizza. My family has been coming to Pete and Sam's since it opened and I love this place. Go for an unforgetable family meal in the 50s era wood panneled dinning rooms on red and white checked tables or pick up a couple of pizzas from Miss Vita up front and be sure to admire the pictures of Elvis and nearly every other famous Memphian on your way out. Memphis would be a far different and a very hungry city without Sammy!
Good Food - Terrible Service – My family went to Pete and Sam's to celebrate my father's 80th Birthday. We had a party of 30 people ( we had reservations so they knew we were coming). Unfortunately, they only had ONE server and even she was covering other tables!!!!!
In her defense, she did an OK job - but food was cold - she didn't know who ordered what . She simply stood at the end of the table and screamed out the entrees that were on her tray. It was up to us to determine if it was our dish being served.
The tables were not bused between the dinner and desert so my sister and I had to bus them ourselves to make room on the table for dessert. It was horrible!!!!!!!!!!!
I let the management know about the situation and they acted clueless.
The Legendary Pete & Sam's – After over half a century, Pete and Sam's is still the best. The atmosphere is refreshingly non-stuffy and perfect for a large family, the wait staff is always friendly and most importantly, the food is outstanding...time-tested recipes unchanged by trends or fads.
The Veal Scallopini with a side of sausage pizza and ravioli with a fresh, crisp Italian salad is an incredible feast that I have enjoyed for years. Occasionally, I will sample my wife's eggplant parmisan and it's very, very good as well.
The wine list is up to you. Stop by Buster's Liquor at Poplar and Highland on the way...Pete & Sam's is BYOB for a small corkage fee.
If you are looking to spend $$$$ for modern ambience and food that is more suitable to the eye then the palate, may I suggest another restaurant. But, If you are looking for the very best Italian food in Memphis, go to Pete & Sam's.
Formerly great restaurant that's run it's course – I've been eating there 40 years, but in the last 3-4 years the restaurant has diminished greatly. The food is now only fair, the kitchen is mismanged - food comes irratically to your table, often cold, and the service is non-existent. On my last visit, and I emphasize LAST visit, there were 6 of us, and every entre came at a separate time. The first entre didn't arrive until an hour after we ordered. It's sad. It has been extended-family run for years, and the manager/nephew who held things together left about 3 1/2 years ago. Now the owner's kids run it, and they have failed. It's one of those situations where they take the customers for granted, and the old-time customers have had enough.
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