MEMPHIS — Princes William and Harry jumped right into the local Memphis scene Thursday night, dining on the city's most famous barbecue at Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous downtown.
A crowd of more than 100 onlookers – many unhappy Grizzlies fans – gathered on the sidewalk outside the restaurant hoping to catch a glimpse of the young royals, who touched down in the city Thursday evening.
Several black SUVs, full of earpiece-wearing security, idled outside while the princes, along with their friend Guy Pelly and his bride-to-be, Holiday Inn heiress Lizzy Wilson, dined inside.
"I think everybody had a really good time," Rendezvous owner John Vergos told USA TODAY in his first post-dinner interview. "Everybody complimented us on the food and that was important. It's kind of surreal when you think about how my family – my mother came from Greece – and here we are. We've been able to feed the presidents and now we feed Prince Harry and Prince William, so it's pretty cool."
With the royals' visit shrouded in mystery until they landed, Vergos says he could tell no one about William and Harry's visit to the Rendezvous.
"We were sworn to such secrecy. It was difficult because I have all these friends in the media and I wasn't lying to anybody. I just kept telling them that I can't confirm or deny until someone from the royal family contacts me. And, the queen hasn't been in touch yet!"
So, what did the princes and the other 173 guests at the pre-wedding dinner eat?
"Rendezvous barbecue, cheese and sausage appetizers, ribs, shoulder, brisket and chicken. They seemed to enjoy it. They had beer and wine. Seems to be a lot of the British like Jack Daniel's!"
Did Harry and his brother, um, enjoy themselves a little too much then?
"No, they were very good, but a lot of the entourage from London (drank)."
Vergos -- still in his apron after the princes' security whisked them away around 11 p.m. local time -- says he didn't get to say much to them while they were inside his restaurant.
"It's not like we palled around, but they were cool. They were real nice. I told William that I appreciated all the things that they do environmentally in Africa, trying to save the species that are about to become extinct and I commended them on that. That was about the only extended conversation I had."