MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Four Way restaurant in Memphis’ Soulsville neighborhood has served high-profile customers from Coach Penny Hardaway to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. over the years.
But the group that pulled up Monday night was a first for the historic soul food spot, as the entire Brooklyn Nets team showed up to eat after their game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
“It was very exciting. It was like, we were probably like kids in a candy store,” owner Patrice Thompson said. “Like, okay so what do we do next? we were ready, but we were excited.”
Typically, The Four Way is closed on Mondays but decided to open for the team. Manager JoElle Thompson says it was an easy decision them.
“I remember when they reached out to us, I told my mom, yeah, we gotta do it. Like that’s exciting, like, we have to,” she said.
Despite hours of preparation, nothing could have prepared them for the moment they say Kyrie Irving embraced them — even after the team lost to the Grizzlies.
“He was like, ‘No, I gotta give everybody a hug,’ and he was going through the kitchen and making sure he didn’t miss anybody, so that was really sweet,” JoElle said. “I thought it really showed his character.”
The Nets visit came at time when the restaurant is dealing with hardships from the pandemic. So financially, it was huge boost for the small Black-owned business.
“I’m a woman of faith and I really believe in true blessings, and I honestly consider that a blessing,” Patrice said. “They could have gone anywhere else in Memphis to eat. We have plenty of eating establishments and I don’t take it for granted.”
She said the Nets enjoyed a lot of fried chicken, and that they’re hoping to one day serve our hometown team.