Our Story

Voted Best New Restaurant in it’s first year of business, Tsunami went on to garner other accolades such as Most Creative Menu and Best Seafood. After opening to much acclaim in 1998, Tsunami has continued to gain recognition and garner praise, making Smith one of the select few in the region who can boast of being both a pioneer of Memphis’ now thriving culinary scene and a current contributor to its growing reputation for world class cuisine.

Voted “Restaurateur of the Year” in 2010 by Memphis Restaurant Association, Ben Smith is the owner and executive chef of the award-winning restaurant Tsunami. Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Chef Smith is well known for an innovative culinary style influenced by his extensive travels in the Pacific Rim.
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Returning home to Memphis in 1994, Smith was ready and able to draw on his globetrotting experiences in his formation of an original restaurant concept: Pacific Rim cuisine suffused with a French influence, as well his own adventurous ethos and minimalist aesthetic. The son of local art legend Dolph Smith, Chef Smith inherited his own artistic sensibility that is revealed in his culinary minimalism, a style that eschews pretension and emphasizes focused flavors via the meticulous selection of ingredients.

In its inaugural year, Tsunami was voted Best New Restaurant and has been included in the Best Seafood category in Memphis Magazine and Memphis Flyer reader polls every year since its inception, with other categories of recognition including Best Restaurant, Best Chef, and Most Creative Menu.

In 2010, Tsunami expanded its bar in order to accommodate the growing demand for enjoying their food and beverage offerings in a more casual setting.

In 2010, Tsunami expanded its bar in order to accommodate the growing demand for enjoying their food and beverage offerings in a more casual setting.

In December of 2016, Chef Smith purchased the building that has housed Tsunami since its opening, further cementing his commitment to his concept and his dedication to the vibrant Cooper-Young neighborhood in which it resides.

In December of 2016, Chef Smith purchased the building that has housed Tsunami since its opening, further cementing his commitment to his concept and his dedication to the vibrant Cooper-Young neighborhood in which it resides.