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New eats: Backlot Sandwich Shop opens in Downtown Memphis with 'big and fluffy' biscuits

Courtesy of the Commercial Appeal. 

Tucked behind the historic Downtown Memphis building that once housed movie reels for Paramount Studios is a new sandwich shop.

The Backlot Sandwich Shop opened Wednesday, the first of two new dining concepts going into the building at 265 S. Front St.

The Paramount, named for the building’s movie history, will occupy the front part of the building. The full-service restaurant is set to open in May and will include an upstairs speakeasy and rooftop bar.

The red door entrance to Backlot Sandwich Shop off Front Street downtown Tuesday, April 13, 2021.

Restaurateur Tyson Bridge and chef Derk Meitzler are the duo behind both restaurants. Meitzler has decades of experience as a chef in Memphis and is currently the chef at The Vault, which is also owned by Bridge. The two also own Earnestine & Hazel’s.

The Backlot will be open for breakfast as well as lunch and early supper. The hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.

Freshly baked biscuits, homemade jams, sourdough French toast and avocado toast are a sampling of the early-morning fare that will be available.

Guests can build their own biscuit sandwich by choosing one from one of the three biscuit offerings (buttermilk, cheddar-chives or honey butter glazed) and picking from a selection of more than a dozen different fillings. Breakfast bowls with either smoked gouda grits or hash browns as the base are also on the menu.

Kyle Gairhan, the sandwich chef at The Backlot, describes his biscuits as “big and fluffy.”

Owner Derk Meitzler of Backlot Sandwich Shop off Front Street downtown Tuesday, April 13, 2021.

An extensive sandwich menu includes items made with house-made corned beef, pastrami, roast beef, Barq’s root beer glazed ham and smoked brisket.  There is even a lamb belly pastrami sandwich.

“We are making everything we can in-house,” Meitzler said.

Gairhan added that he is excited for customers to try his house-made pickles and condiments like sauerkraut and mustard green pesto.

The hot sandwiches are a mixture of traditional deli fare and creative one-of-a-kind sandwich creations.

Meitzler said that the Turkey Pot Roast Debris sandwich (which is served with potlikker gravy and melted Swiss) will be a popular item for those who prefer turkey over red meat.

The Jive Turkey (herb-roasted turkey with warm brie and raspberry jam) is a sandwich Gairhan said he created for his wife. “She loves those flavors,” he said.

The finishing touches are applied to the entrance of Backlot Sandwich Shop off Front Street downtown Tuesday, April 13, 2021.

Hearty salads, chili and daily soups round out the offerings. A grab-and-go case will be filled with composed salads (like chicken salad, tuna salad and pimento cheese), traditional cold sandwiches and salads.

“Eventually we plan to add items like roasted chickens for those in the neighborhood wanting prepared meals,” Meitzler said.

The sandwich shop is currently for take-out only.

The front part of the building will be home to The Paramount, a 130-seat restaurant that will feature an exposed open kitchen and a large bar. Meitzler said they hope to open the restaurant in May.

Jennifer Chandler is the Food & Dining Reporter at The Commercial Appeal. She can be reached at and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cookwjennifer.

At a glance

The Backlot Sandwich Shop

Where: 265 S. Front St. (enter on MLK Ave.)

Hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily; breakfast served until 11 a.m.

Phone: (901) 509-8612