It's hard to miss Marlowe's. You drive south on Elvis Presley Blvd., past Graceland, through a few lights, and boom, there it is on the right side of the street, a gleaming barbecue beacon, bathed in pink light.
Right now, Marlowe's is all tricked out for Christmas, but I get the feeling that at least some of the pink lights stay up year-round. There's a pink pig trailer with a pink Christmas tree on top, strands of pink twinkle lights, a little arbor topped by both a twinkling angel and a pig statue. The poles supporting the awning are tightly wrapped in pink garland and there doors are festooned with two gigantic pink wreaths.
The restaurant's interior is just as visually stimulating as its exterior. There are several dining rooms, a bar (with the largest bar stools I've ever seen) and a gift shop. There are tons of Christmas lights, pigs everywhere and the walls (at least in the bar) are decorated with a random assortement of what-have-you.
My friend John and I were seated in the bar, underneath some Steelers paraphernalia (Marlowe's loves the Steelers), a 1918 photo of an army company and a panorama drawing of Miami. It seemed like the restaurant was unintentionally divided into two areas – the two dining rooms that seemed most accomodating for Elvis fans (lots of Elvis memorabilia), and the bar, where most of the locals (us, a table of cops, a few couples) were sitting.
The selection on the menu is pretty big, and we speculated that about 70 percent of the items on it have at least one fried component. This is in no way a bad thing. We started with an order of fried rolls, which our super sweet waitress informed us were yeast rolls that had been left to rise, then fried.
They came with butter and a little container of honey, which makes me wonder why every restaurant doesn't do this. Rolls (and biscuits) are awesome with honey. Since these were fried yeast rolls, they tasted a like donuts, minus the sugar.
Since Marlowe's is a barbecue joint, for dinner, we split a full rack of wet ribs. There are a few different rib options – there's a half slab, a full slab, and then something called "ribs for two". I'm not sure how many ribs come in the "ribs for two" dinner, but the full slab – which came with slaw and beans – was plenty for the two of us.
The ribs are roll up your sleeves ribs, especially if you order them wet. They're pretty good. They're tender, there was a ton of meat on them, and by the end of dinner, there was barbecue sauce all over everything and we needed a little to-go box. (Sidenote – if you want both ribs and a sandwich, do what we did and use the fried rolls and make little sliders.)
As we were waiting on the check, we heard some gentile crooning coming from the main dining room. Since we were sitting in the bar, it took a minute to realize that the crooning was live, coming from a slightly Guy Fieri-looking man who was roaming the dining room with a wireless mic, singing a song welcoming everyone to Marlowe's. After that, he gave some Elvis trivia, then launched into "Sweet Caroline".
We were on our way out, but I managed to snap this kind of blurry picture of him:
Marlowe's is open every day, from 4 p.m. until 3 a.m. They've got a full bar (and some Elvis themed cocktail specials), and they do specials on Steelers' game days. It's non-smoking and kid friendly.
(I think they meant TCB, but who knows.)
Ahe best part of Marlowe's? If you can't get yourself to Marlowe's, the restaurant will come and get you, for free, and give you a ride to and from the restaurant in a vintage pink Cadillac window. All you have to do is call them, and they'll come get you. Note that I think the pick-up area is limited – if you're downtown or at Graceland, they'll definitely come and get you. If you're in Cordova, they probably won't, but you can always ask.