Breakfast Brackets Game 4: Front St. Deli vs. Blue Plate Cafe
The first round of the Breakfast Brackets is now officially over. After the first round ends, the winners will compete in round two, where they will be judged on the meal of my choice, service, cleanliness, price, and orange juice.
With no further ado, let’s take a look at the contestants.
First up, the closest breakfast option to my office: Front Street Deli.
Front St. Deli
77 South Front Street
Memphis, TN 38103
The Order: scrambled eggs, bacon, a biscuit, coffee.
Coffee: Front Street Deli brews Starbucks coffee. On the day I was there, they were serving Sumatra. I looked around for creamer, but all they had was the powdered stuff. I added a little bit, and the coffee tasted just fine and got the job done. (7 points)
Biscuit: The Front Street Deli biscuit was medium-sized, dense and floury. It wasn’t fancy, but it was warm and chewy (and would probably be awesome with the addition of a sausage patty) (7 points)
Bacon: In the past, I’ve complained about a lot of restaurants serving bacon that’s just too crispy. This bacon had the opposite problem. It was crispy enough to still be bacon, but it seemed like the limpness sacrificed some flavor. (6.5 points)
Scrambled Eggs: My breakfasting companion, The Grit, thought that the eggs were excellent. “They had a fluffy texture and that nice yolk soaked flavor.” They seemed more scrambled than a lot of the eggs I’ve tried. (7.5 points)
Pancake: Front Street Deli doesn’t have pancakes, so they get averaged out. (5 points)
Grits: They also don’t have grits. Another averaging of the score. (5 points)
Service: Front Street Deli is a one-man operation. And when I say one man, I mean that one man takes the orders, cooks the food and rings you up. It didn’t take long to get our food after our order was taken, which was impressive. That said, the service was a lot like the food – kind of utilitarian. (6 points)
Atmosphere: Front Street Deli is seriously tiny. There’s bar seating in both windows. If you sit on the side facing Front Street (like we did), there’s a good chance you’ll feel like you’re constantly in the way of people coming in to place orders. There’s a definite dudely vibe to the place, and the crowd ranges from construction workers to lawyers. (5 points)
Price: The total for both The Grit and I’s meals came to $9.18. That’s seriously cheap. Also – Front Street Deli is cash and check only. (8 points)
Total Score: 57 points
In the other corner, it’s that sunshiney Court Square Staple, the Blue Plate Cafe.
Blue Plate Cafe
Coffee: The coffee was standard diner coffee, but it was hot and the refills were frequent. (6.5 points)
Biscuit: Blue Plate’s biscuits were big and fluffy and just a little salty. I added a little bit of butter for biscuity perfection. (7.5 points)
Bacon: It may be early in the game, but I think I’ve found the bacon standard to which all other bacons are held. The slices weren’t as wide as they are most places, but the texture was dead on – crispy with a touch of chewiness and a ton of flavor. (9 points)
Scrambled Eggs: The scrambled eggs were all fluff, no runny parts. They could have stood to be just a touch less fluffy, though. (7 points)
Pancake: Blue Plate’s pancake is kind of huge, both in diameter and thickness. . It didn’t have a lot of stand-alone flavor (though I had one bite that tasted just a touch burnt). It was a solid contender, even if I couldn’t finish the whole thing. (6.5 points)
Grits: Will someone check and see if there are any pigs leaving from Memphis International today? Because I kind of liked these grits. I think I’ve finally figured out how to eat them: add every condiment available. I added butter, honey (already on the table), and a touch of salt. With the additions, they had the texture of decent oatmeal and a flavor that didn’t make me want to cry. (6 points)
Service: I had a cute, attentive waitress in a University of Memphis t-shirt. She was attentive and quick with refills. Please note, though, that the check will be left on the table and you pay for your food at a counter near the door. Don’t be like me, sitting at the table, reading my magazine and wondering where my otherwise awesome waitress went. (8 points)
Atmosphere: The Blue Plate is very yellow. The downtown location had a lot of art hanging in the deceptively huge restaurant. It wasn’t crowded at all when I went around 8:30 on a Wednesday morning. They don’t open until 8 a.m., which seems a little late, but they stay open through lunch, and you can get breakfast anytime. (7.5 points)
Price: The total came to $14. It’s a little high, but there was a ton of food – two people could have easily split my breakfast. (5 points)
Total Score: 63 points