Breakfast Brackets Game 2: Cafe Eclectic vs. Bryant’s
It’s game two of the breakfast brackets. In one corner, a relative newcomer to the Memphis breakfast scene, known for its coffee and bakery, behold Cafe Eclectic!
Facing off against Cafe Eclectic is an old standby, a stalwart Summer Ave. classic. Ladies and Gentlemen, Bryant’s!
Remember that each category is judged on a scale of 1-10 for a possible 90 points.
603 N Mclean Blvd
Memphis, TN 38107
Order: Two eggs any style (comes with biscuits and grits) with a side of bacon and a pancake, coffee to wash it all down.
Coffee: Cafe Eclectic has a definite coffee shop vibe to it, so I had high hopes for their coffee. Their regular drip coffee lives up – it’s fresh, drinkable and better than average. (8 points)
Biscuit: The meal I got came with two small-ish biscuits. They may be small, but they’re densely fluffy. They don’t have much flavor other than “BREAD”, but that’s not a bad thing. (6 points)
Bacon: The bacon is super crispy. You can break it without trying terribly hard. It’s a little salty, but there’s not a whole lot of bacony flavor. (6 points)
Scrambled Eggs: These were the weirdest scrambled eggs I think I’ve ever had. They weren’t scrambled like normal scrambled eggs (in a little messy egg pile). They were flat and folded into a nice little square. They tasted alright, but the texture was off. (4.5 points)
Pancake: The Cafe Eclectic pancake was fluffy and of a decent (but not overwhelming) thickness. They weren’t anything super special, but they get the job done. (6 points)
Grits: In the interest of full disclosure, I have to let you know that I don’t like grits. I’m suspicious of their jiggling, and their texture kind of freaks me out. But in the interest of the breakfast brackets, I’m going to set that aside and try them anyway.
That said, the grits at Cafe Eclectic are from Delta Grind, a local supplier. They get points for that. As for the grits themselves, they were very watery. Think spoon, not fork. (3.5 points)
Service: Cafe Eclectic has full table service. It’s a little hit or miss – sometimes, the waitstaff is overattentive, sometimes they’re perfect, and sometimes it’s going to take a miracle to get your check. When I was there, the service wasn’t super speedy, but it was attentive. (7 points)
Atmosphere: I mentioned that Cafe Eclectic has a reputation of being coffee shop. That’s not untrue – they’re fine with laptop use and totally cool with you sticking around as long as you like. But with the full table service, it’s a little bit more like a European cafe than a regular coffee shop. Breakfast can get a little crowded, especially on the weekends. (8 points)
Price: My breakfast cost $12. There was a lot of food, but it seemed a little high, considering that most of the food was good, but nothing to write home about.(5 points)
3965 Summer Ave
Memphis, TN 38122
Order: Bryant’s Breakfast Special, pancake, coffee
Coffee: The people at Bryant’s have their priorities straight. While you’re waiting in line to place your order, you can grab a mug or a go cup and fill up on coffee. The coffee is standard Folger-y diner fare, but I swear they add some extra caffeine to it – I was buzzing for hours. (6 points)
Biscuit: The biscuits are amazing. They’re perfectly fluffy, slightly salty and have a lot of flavor. It’s like they’re baked in heaven every morning and delivered to Bryant’s by a pack of hangover-curing angels. And the breakfast special comes with three of them, which is more than any sane person can eat. (10 points)
Bacon: Bryant’s bacon was a little greasy, but it wasn’t super crunchy, tough or salty. (7.5 points)
Scrambled Eggs: The scrambled eggs were light and fluffy. They had a tiny bit of runniness to them, but it was a patchy, inconsistent runniness. (6.5 points)
Pancake: Bryant’s doesn’t do regular bread pancakes, so they gave me a potato (hash brown) pancake instead. Whatever – it was so good, I don’t care what it’s made of. It was salty and greasy and flavorful. Love! (8.5 points)
Grits: People, grits are a blank canvas. They’re the 8.5 x 11 white paper of the breakfast world – they need something on them to be interesting. The texture of Bryant’s grits was right on, but there was no real flavor. (6 points)
Service: You place your order at the counter at Bryant’s. They give you a number and nice ladies in shirts that say witty things about gravy come and bring you your food. When the place gets crowded, the service is still fast, friendly and efficient. (9 points)
Atmosphere: Bryant’s is super unpretentious. You need somewhere to eat breakfast, they have tables. There are a lot of regulars and everyone seems to know everyone, which is nice. (7 points)
Price: The Bryant’s Breakfast Special plus coffee and a pancake ran about $9. Not bad, considering how much food you get and how delicious it is. (7.5 points)
Next hangover, thy cure is Bryant’s.
Bryant’s will go on to face the Arcade in round two.