Meet the Bartender: Leanna Tedford

MICHAEL DONAHUE/The Commercial Appeal
Leanna Tedford, bartender at Jim's Place Restaurant & Bar

Photo by Michael Donahue // Buy this photo

MICHAEL DONAHUE/The Commercial Appeal Leanna Tedford, bartender at Jim's Place Restaurant & Bar

Age: 42

Title: Bartender at Jim's Place Restaurant & Bar

Hometown: Clarksdale, Miss.

How did you get into bartending? I was watching football on a Saturday here in Memphis with a dear friend of mine and also my best friend's fiancé. And she was waiting tables at Como Steak House and she … says, "Do you want to bartend tonight?" And I said, "Sure." So I drove to Como and I've been bartending ever since.

What makes a good bartender? Caring about your customers and caring about what you do. Your customers are your bread and butter. … You also have to think about the people that are out here (at tables in the restaurant). You've got that service bar too, and they've been waiting long on their drinks.

What's the best part of being a bartender? When certain people walk in, just the feeling you get. The smile. And just the social aspect of it.

What's popular at your bar right now? Definitely my sangria. ... Cucumber vodka is really going nuts right now. And a pomegranate martini has just been on fire lately even though it's been around for a while. And one thing that's making a comeback here is Pimm's Cup. People are ordering them like crazy.

Have you ever created a drink? It was called an M.T. Shooter. One of our regular's cat's name was M.T. And M.T. moved up to heaven and we had to get some people through that issue. And this particular person really liked this little shooter that I've made. … It's Hangar (One) mandarin (vodka), sour and cranberry. It's so simple. And it's just so refreshing.

Does your bar serve a signature drink? We are currently in the process of each bartender coming up with a signature drink. And it's actually going in our menu. So, my signature drink is the one we just talked about.

What's your favorite drink (mixed drink, wine or beer)? I'll have a Coors Light and a glass of red wine.

Who's the biggest celebrity you've ever served? Lisa Marie (Presley). Very nice, very reserved. It was her private Scientology party up at Elvis Presley's Memphis.

What are some of your other interests? I fly fish. I just can go in another land if I have a pole in my hand. It's my favorite thing in the world. I love any kind of sports. I love the Tigers. I love the Grizzlies. I love to travel. I love art. I also work for David Lusk (David Lusk Gallery).

-- Jim's Place Restaurant and Bar: 518 Perkins Ext.; 901-766-2030

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