We Have a Winner – The Best Breakfast in Memphis
It started with a simple question asked via Twitter: “Who’s got the best breakfast in Memphis?”
After six months, 30 meals, and multiple attempts to describe bacon in new and exciting ways, I’m proud to announce that we’ve got a winner.
But first, let’s meet the Breakfast Bracket Championship contestants. Scoring in the championship round works like this: the food, service, atmosphere and price scores from all past rounds will be totaled. A new category, “Diversity”, was introduced for this round – it focuses on the diversity of the menu and clientele. Also, I’ll take into consideration the results of the reader poll I conducted a few days ago.
Let’s get it on!
In this corner:
Food: My advice to you is to make sure that whatever you order comes with a biscuit. They’re consistently amazing. They walk a delicious line between crispy and soft and are at once dense and fluffy. Seriously hungry people should get the breakfast sampler – the sheer quantity and variety of pork products on one plate was amazing.
Most of the menu items are Southern standards. Bryant’s is best in the wee hours of the morning (they open at 5 a.m.) after a night of partying.
Final food score: 43.5
Service: The lines at Bryant’s may be long, but they move insanely quickly. What the service lacks in overt friendliness it makes up for in precision. The line at Bryant’s was clearly designed by the Swiss and implemented by the Germans. While it’s possible to get in and out of a 10-deep line at Bryant’s in 10 minutes or less, it can be a stressful for first-time visitors trying to figure out what they want among a crowd of regulars that’s got little patience for indecision.
Final service score: 21.5
Atmosphere: Though the crowd at Bryant’s changes throughout the morning, it’s still got a very blue collar, male vibe. Early in the morning, the shop is packed with construction workers. Between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., there’s a blend of blue and white collar workers, picking up sausage biscuits to go. After that, the people lingering in the plastic booths are mostly the retired or the people who had too much fun the night before.
It’s always a little quiet, the sort of place where eating comes first and conversation is secondary.
Final atmosphere score: 21
Price: You can get a ton of food for very little money at Bryant’s. A breakfast sampler, which feeds two normal people or one competitive eater, runs about $9. It’s cheap, it’s good, and you’ll get full. It’s hard to beat that.
Final price score: 22.5
Diversity: As amazingly consistent as Bryant’s is in all other categories, they lack diversity. Since the food is Southern standards, it can be repetitive. It seemed difficult to try something new every time I went, and most of the food seems to be of the same color family.
Final diversity score: 5.5
Audience Vote: 35 percent of readers voted for Bryant’s to win the Breakfast Brackets.
Final Score: 114
And the contender:
3519 Walker Avenue
Memphis, TN 38111
Food: When I was adding up Brother Juniper’s food scores from the past rounds, they had a few 9.5 / 10 scores. Their omelets are incredible, the whole wheat biscuits are to die for, and the daily baked goods are delicious. All of the ingredients are crazy fresh. I even liked the grits, which is saying something.
Final food score: 55 points
Service: The same people are always working at Brother Juniper’s, which indicates low turnover. The staff is helpful, friendly, and always willing to grab a new fork for you when you drop yours.
Final service score: 26.5
Atmosphere: It’s clear that Memphis loves Brother Juniper’s – there are a handful of awards near the front door. It’s also evident from the crowds that pack in on the weekends. During the week, Brother Juniper’s is laid back, homey and friendly. The clientele is a mixture of everybody – U of M students and professors, the elderly, business people, families.
Final atmosphere score: 22.5
Price: Brother Juniper’s is a little more expensive than its Breakfast Bracket competition, but the quality and quantity of the food make it totally worth it.
Final price score: 20.5
Diversity: I could eat at Brother Juniper’s three times a week and not get sick of it. Their large menu has a ton of variety and the daily specials keep things interesting. I also like that Brother Juniper’s caters to all sorts of eaters – there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. While some of the food can seem a little pretentious (pesto omelets), it’s balanced with classic, down-home breakfast dishes.
Final diversity score: 8.5
Audience Vote: 65 percent of readers voted for Brother Juniper’s to win the Breakfast Brackets.
Final Score: 133 points.
There you have it, hungry people of Memphis – Brother Juniper’s has the best breakfast in Memphis.
Stay tuned for the Barbecue Brackets later this summer.