Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s the first game of the first round of the Breakfast Brackets. Let’s meet the contestants.
In this corner, Three Little Pigs BBQ, hailing from East Memphis.
In the other corner, the Arcade Restaurant in the South Main Arts District.
And now for the scores (as based on this handy scoring rubrik). Remember that all scores are based on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest possible score.
Three Little Pigs
5145 Quince Rd
Memphis, TN 38117
Order: one “big breakfast” and coffee.
Coffee: At three little pigs, you grab a coffee mug and pour your own cup at the counter. It’s nothing fancy, just regular diner coffee. (5 points)
Biscuit: The biscuits were not too hard, but not too fluffy, either. They were definitely freshly made and just a little bit salty. (7 points)
Bacon: Eating bacon at Three Little Pigs was a little strange, as all of the happy pig figurines made it painfully obvious exactly what I was eating. The bacon was a super crispy, but a little too salty. (4 points)
Scrambled Eggs: The scrambled eggs were almost perfect – light and fluffy, but there were a few runny bits. I added salt and pepper. (7 points)
Pancake: Three Little Pigs didn’t have pancakes. As a result, it’ll receive the average score. (5 points)
Grits: The grits were a little soggy and nothing special. If a breakfast spot is going to do a staple like this, they need to do something to make it their own. (3.5 points)
Service: The counter service at Three Little Pigs is fast and efficient. Place your order, grab your coffee and wait until your number is called. (5 points)
Atmosphere: The decor at Three Little Pigs is sort of Grandma Utilitarian. The walls, booths, the tables and the trays are all the same shade of blue. When I was there, most of the patrons were older men. (5 points)
Price: My big breakfast came with grits, bacon, biscuits and eggs. It cost $4.98. The coffee was $0.90. That’s crazy cheap for a ton of food. (8 points)
Total Score: 50.5 points out of a possible 90 points.
And now, the competition:
540 S Main St
Memphis, TN 38103
Order: bacon, eggs, a pancake, and coffee. The Grit had grits, biscuits and country ham.
Coffee: The coffee at the Arcade was total diner coffee, and there’s nothing wrong with that. (5 points)
Biscuit: The biscuits had a lot of potential, but they seemed like they had been sitting under a heat lamp for a little while. Maybe it just wasn’t their best day. (5 points)
Bacon: The bacon was a great mix of crispy and chewy, and it wasn’t too salty. (7 points)
Scrambled Eggs: The Arcade did an awesome job with their scrambled eggs. Light, fluffy, no runny bits. I added a little Sonny Salt. (8 points)
Pancake: Holy crap, the pancake. It was dense, but not heavy and it had a surprising amount of flavor for a pancake. It was pancake perfection. (9 points)
Grits: The grits were a little more flavorful at Arcade, but still nothing super special. Grits are a blank canvas. They deserve to have something on them. (4.5 points)
Service: The service at Arcade is friendly and decently efficient. We did have to stand at the counter to pay for a few minutes before anyone came over. (6 points)
Atmosphere: The Arcade is the oldest restaurant in Memphis. The decor is very retro and funky. Many of the booths and tables are named for the people who used to occupy them (see the Rufus Thomas booth).
When the Grit and I first got to the Arcade, there was Memphis music playing, but as soon as the tour group that was eating on the other side of the partition left, the music was turned down and less Memphis-y. (8 points)
Total score: 52. 5
The Winner: The Arcade, by two points.