We Have a Winner – The Best Breakfast in Memphis

Posted by Holly Whitfield | June 8th 2010 12734 0

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:

Bryant’s

3965 Summer Avenue
Memphis, TN 38122
(901) 324-7494
Bryant's, Memphis, Tenn.

Bryant's, Memphis, Tenn.

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:

Brother Junipers

3519 Walker Avenue
Memphis, TN 38111
(901) 324-0144

#3, Brother Juniper's

#3, Brother Juniper's

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.


Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

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Comments

  1. Shane says:

    The audience vote under Bro Juniper’s says Bryant’s! And we all know that’s incorrect!

    Yay, Brother Juniper’s!

  2. Amy says:

    Woooo! Do they get some kind of trophy or certificate or is it all about bragging rights?

  3. Wintermute says:

    “Barbecue Brackets”? You better take out some life insurance and hire some bodyguards. (j/k)

  4. I want a Bro. Juniper’s San Diegan omelet. Right. Now.

  5. Brett says:

    Booyakashan. Bro June’s all the way! If only they were just a tad less expensive…

  6. Hooper Troopers says:

    We ate there today… YUM! I had the same #3 as in your photo above and it was absolutely delicious 🙂

  7. […] at Central is sort of like ordering at Bryant’s: there are rules, and you need to know them and follow them so that the line doesn’t get […]

  8. […] breakfast we skibbled over bright and early to Brother Juniper’s from what I love Memphis voted the Best Breakfast in Memphis.  It was amazingly delicious.  Open faced omelet and a […]

  9. Rebecca Smith says:

    Diversity is the worst category to include in 'who has the best breakfast'.  First of all, how much diversity does one require for breakfast?  Second, my guess is you added the category because you knew it would favor Junipers, and it's evident you are biased,

    Oh, and the whole 'most of the food seems to be of the same color category' mentioned under the heading DIVERSITY.  Just the absolute WORST douchebag sounding line EVER. Is that supposed to be some kind of subliminal message that Bryants is 'racist'? Don't you think a more appropriate category title for food selection is VARIETY and not diversity?  I just can't help but feel that was your intention. Nobody says 'diversity' for a menu, they say variety or choices.

     

    Under service you mentioned length of time for Bryants, but not for Brother Junipers.
    If you are going to use specifics under a category, then there should be duplicate subcategories – for example under service: friendliness, speed, coffee or tea refills, feel hurried or rushed, for BOTH and not just things you want to point out or leave out.  Junipers takes too long to be seated, once you are they take your order to fast, then getting a refill is too slow. I'm left feeling 'churned'.

    Comparing wheat biscuits to regular biscuits at Bryants, which also happen to be the best bicuits maybe in Memphis?  Yeah, that's a good comparison.

    You said the quality and quantity of Juniper's makes the extra price worth it?  

    NO it really doesn't. If they can qualify for 'best breakfast' then they should all be able to cook eggs, breakfast meat and biscuits equally well, and I have eaten no superior quality egg, meat or biscuit at Junipers. The 'quantity' is not superior to any good memphis breakfast I've had – so that's completely false. Maybe you should have said it was worth the extra price because it weeds out 'low class' people you look down on, made evident by your description of atmosphere.

    You were so heavily biased in the recitation 'obvious memphis loves – awards by the door' 'big crowds on weekends' in the gushing praise of Junipers and so equally biased in your lifeless, drab recition of Bryants and the 'a very blue collar, male vibe' that I found myself becoming angry and embarrased that you are a representative of my hometown.

    What you consider a mixture of everybody and what I consider a mixture of everybody is NOT the same.  You really mean 'people I approve off, educated, of the same class'.

    SO Bryants is pretty much just a bunch of BLUE COLLARS, not douchey enough for you and your vegan friends?  No whole wheat biscuits?

    At Bryants I see white, black, hispanic, families, the elderly, working class and business class ALL.  Then your full description lean towards regular business rush weekday for Bryants, which is completely different from weekeend – but for Junipers weekday, weekend both get rave props.

    Any douche who wants to eat whole wheat biscuits or a Memphis breakfast without MEAT or eggs or cheese or milk, should not be the judge of 'best memphis breakfast'.

    Also, you're arrogant and a bigot.

  10. Yikers… I feel like I walked into a Commercial Appeal Comment section 😀

    My opinion is Chik- fila as best Memphis Breakfast  – Those chicken biscuits are off the Hook! They also offer Chicken Mini Biscuits and your choice of Coffee or softdrink

    – @fantasyrideout

  11. Maggie says:

    Please, please let Rebecca be a troll.

  12. Also most over rated breakfast in the state of Tennessee – Pancake Pantry – Nashville

    http://www.thepancakepantry.com/ – its only an hour wait for average pancakes – no thanks

     

  13. Big_Kick says:

    Brother Junipers has service. Once you have to wait forty minutes for a table, then if your server deems you worthy, they will ask you what you want to drink. And then its another twenty to thirty minutes before that comes and they take your order. Then its rush, rush, rush to get you out of the door.

    To top it all off, the food is on the same level as IHOP. Bland, rushed, and not as affordable. To each their own, but if this web blog is going to be biased AND paid for by the city, you might want to make sure that you assess both places on the same merits.

  14. CMc says:

    Regarding the Pancake Pantry:

    We always go to Jackson's across the street, get seated within 15 minutes or so, have a great breakfast and snicker at the dummies waiting in line at the Pantry.

     

  15. Matt says:

    You seriously think that IHOP is on par with Juniper's in terms of food quality?  You are wrong.  And IHOP is actually pretty expensive for the quality you get – freshly unfrozen low quality items.

    If you go to any restaurant when they're really busy, what do you expect?  If you ever take the time to not go on a weekend you'll find it's a slower experience at Juniper's.

    I had Chik-Fil-A for breakfast this morning and I love it, but it in no way qualifies as the best breakfast in Memphis.  For goodness sake, it's a national fast food chain.  Get out and eat some more breakfast!

  16. I think Cracker Barrel deserves to be on this list too, what a great Atmosphere

  17. All of us generally head to Jackson's across Rose Drysdale the street, find sitting in a quarter-hour possibly even, use a fantastic breakfast time and snicker for the idiot's waiting in brand for the Pantry.

  18. I agree with everything Rebecca Smith said.  Bro. Juniper's is never worth the wait.  Bryant's does have great bisquists and they are fast with your order.  Barksdale's and the Cupboard have excellent bisquists also; nothing wrong with Blue Plate also.

    'Diversity', what an asinine category.  Sounds like you're trying to satisfy someone's ego.

    All in all, if your name ever comes up again as a food or resaurant rater, I will ignore it.

  19. Holly says:

    There is no way, Bryant’s is 10 times better in overall quality if nothing else.

  20. […] Bryant’s has been serving up breakfast since the 60s. They were originally located in East Memphis but after the first decade of being open, it moved to its current location on Summer Avenue. Opening up at 5 a.m and closing at 2 p.m Wednesday through Sunday, Bryant’s is a cornerstone of breakfast for the blue-collar class of Memphis. This restaurant is best known for its large and hearty plate sizes at affordable rates. Most plates could easily feed 2 people and cost around $8-9 on average. It is definitely where you want to go to get the most for your money. “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” is the way it was described by Memphis blog site Ilovememphisblog. […]

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