Breakfast Brackets Game 1: Three Little Pigs vs. Arcade

Posted by Holly Whitfield | November 13th 2009 3976 0

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.

Three Little Pigs BBQ, Memphis, Tenn.

Three Little Pigs BBQ, Memphis, Tenn.

In the other corner, the Arcade Restaurant in the South Main Arts District.

Arcade Restaurant, Memphis, Tenn.

Arcade Restaurant, Memphis, Tenn.

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.

Big Breakfast from Three Little Pigs BBQ

Big Breakfast from Three Little Pigs BBQ

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)

Inside Three Little Pigs BBQ

Inside Three Little Pigs BBQ

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:

Arcade Restaruant

540 S Main St
Memphis, TN 38103

Order: bacon, eggs, a pancake, and coffee. The Grit had grits, biscuits and country ham.

Bacon, pancake and eggs from Arcade

Bacon, pancake and eggs from Arcade

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)

Inside the Arcade Restaurant, Memphis, Tenn.

Inside the Arcade Restaurant, Memphis, Tenn.

Total score: 52. 5

The Winner: The Arcade, by two points.

Arcade on Urbanspoon

Three Little Pigs Bar Bq on Urbanspoon

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.

Show Comments


  1. THE GRIT says:

    Side note to The Arcade.

    I had the Country Ham, a fairly standard Southern breakfast item that normally consists of a cut off the butt part of a pig partially fried to give it some heat. It should be cured, and salty without fear of sending the consumer into immediate cardiac arrest.

    What I got was, well, best described as a bit of overly thick bacon around a bone. It was painfully salty for my tastes and more of a brownish color than the pink I’m used to in a breakfast ham.

  2. GG says:

    I’ve eaten at The Arcade many times in both centuries and it is still in my top 3 places for breakfast in Memphis. Three Little Pigs is more “Picadilly” and I’ve found the food to be over-salted and eggs runny (which to me is gross).

    A definite “thumbs-up” for The Arcade.

    PS – When I was at The Arcade this past summer they had an “Elvis booth” – is it still there?

  3. Cristen says:

    I love the Arcade, haven’t been there in years though. I always thought the service was a little spotty, but I guess that is typical of diner type places. The food was always fantastic.

  4. Dugan says:

    I love the breakfast contest, but I can’t say I agree with one aspect of the scoring. If 3LP doesn’t have pancakes on the menu, it should get a 0 not a 5. No pancakes, no points.

    Everything you’re judging is a breakfast staple (at least in this part of the country). If a restaurant doesn’t bother to offer something on your list, it should be penalized.

  5. jonesdavide says:

    Thanks for throwing 3 Little Pigs into the mix. I think if a place is filled with elderly men, that says something about the place. And sorry, but it ain’t no Picadilly.

  6. […] will go on to face the Arcade in round two. Leave a comment | Trackback No comments […]

  7. Memphis Baby Bug says:

    Three Little Pigs is certainly not comparable to Picadilly. How offensive to Three Little Pigs!
    And if you are testing southern staples….shouldn’t you be eating the biscuits with gravy and the grits with either A) sugar and butter or B) salt and butter or C) cheese????
    Come on! No one eats grits plain!!

  8. […] qualifications: Jen was along for the very first Breakfast Bracket meal, so it’s only fitting that she would return for one of the final […]

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