This is an excerpt from Jennifer Bigg’s article featuring Summer Avenue restaurants for the Daily Memphian.

Side Pocket Cafe (5099 Old Summer Road; 901-761-1583) is the grill inside High Pocket’s, the large pool hall just off Summer, back by the Palace movie theater. There’s something exciting about the sound of pool balls being racked, the snick of the cue ball as it hits its target, the rolling, the tumbling in the pocket, and here it’s times 20? 25? There are a lot of pool tables, and they were all in use when we recently visited on a tournament night.

Catfish sandwich and cheeseburger with fresh-cut fries at Side Pocket Cafe. (Jennifer Biggs/Daily Memphian)

But it was also oddly relaxing, watching men (just one woman) of many ages and of different ethnicities come together for a couple of hours of a game that would end with a winner and a payout. It is an excellent place to be a spectator with a cold beer, watching the competition unfold as you wait for a very decent griddle burger that comes with — get this — freshly cut fries. You get a choice, though: Steak fries, crinkle cuts or fresh, and for us, it’s always going to be whatever was a whole potato most recently.

There are other sandwiches: a patty melt, catfish, a BLT, and a chicken club, to name but a few. There are salads, chicken strips, pizza, nachos; the menu of bar food is pretty extensive and the prices excellent as a cheeseburger and fries is $6.75. One drawback is that smoking is allowed, but the place is large, the ceilings high. So yes, of course, you can tell people are smoking, but it’s not like walking into a smoke-filled bar.