Breakfast Brackets Game 7: CK’s vs. Bardog Tavern

Posted by Holly Whitfield | January 8th 2010 4613 0

It’s game seven of the Breakfast Bracket Challenge. That means that there’s only one more match up left in the first round. Today, the Midtown branch of CK’s Diner faces off against downtown’s new darling Bardog Tavern. Let’s get it on!


1698 Poplar Avenue
Memphis, TN 38104

Order: The Paul Bunyan breakfast – scrambled eggs, bacon, grits, toast, a hash brown, orange juice, coffee.
Breakfast at CKs Diner, Memphis, Tenn.

Breakfast at CK's Diner, Memphis, Tenn.

Coffee: The coffee was a little oily and bitter, but it was so cold out that I didn’t really care. I don’t think I’d drink it by choice, but it’s decent. (5  points)

Biscuit: CK’s didn’t have any biscuits, so they’ll receive an average score of five points.  (5 points)

Bacon: The bacon was crispy and flavorful, but it was pretty greasy and salty. It definitely gave me that weird awareness of exactly what I was eating. (5.5 points)

Scrambled Eggs: Everything at CK’s was sort of decidedly average. The eggs were fluffy, but not too fluffy, but nothing truly special. I hate giving straight up fives all the time, but this meal just seems to warrant them.  (5 points)

Pancake: CK’s didn’t have pancakes, so they’ll be averaged out at 5 points. (5 points)

Grits: These were by far the least watery of the grits I’ve tried. I added salt and pepper, but the grits tasted like they had been pre-buttered. (6 points)

Service: I was in and out of CKs in half an hour. Seriously. The waitresses were very efficient and quick. They weren’t crazy friendly, but they did what they needed to do politely. (7 points)

Atmosphere: CK’s has a jukebox in it. I didn’t notice it when I came in, but every few minutes, the silence would be broken by an obscure soul song. I think the guy in the booth next to mine was playing them, because he serenaded the waitresses. CK’s is open 24 hours, and the smell of pre-restaurant smoking ban smoke seems to linger in everything. (6.5 points for the entertainment value)

Price: The price was crazy reasonable, about $8 total for a huge plate of food. (6.5 points)

Total Score: 51.5 points

Ck's Coffee Shop on Urbanspoon

And next up, a newcomer to the Memphis breakfast scene – downtown’s  Bardog Tavern.

Bardog Tavern

73 Monroe Avenue
Memphis, TN 38103

Order: Pancake breakfast (Pancakes, bacon, toast, hash browns, scrambled eggs) and coffee.

Pancake Breakfast from Bardog Tavern

Pancake Breakfast from Bardog Tavern

Coffee: Again, it was a super cold morning (the windchill was -2), so any warm liquid would have worked. Bardog’s coffee was tasty, though, and the server brought the cream in a shot glass. (6.5 points)

Biscuit: Bardog doesn’t serve biscuits, so they’ll receive an average score of five points.  (5 points)

Bacon: Hey Blue Plate, watch yourself. Bardog’s bacon was thinly sliced, delicately crispy and had great, unassuming flavor.  (9 points)

Scrambled Eggs: A few weeks ago, I was lamenting that there are only so many ways to describe scrambled eggs, because it’s hard to mess them up. Bardog’s eggs were possibly the best ones I’ve had so far. They’re the ideal mix of fluffy and yolky and not at all overbeaten.  (9 points)

Pancake: The pancake breakfast came with three pancakes. They were manageably sized, had a hint of sweetness (even without syrup) and weren’t crazy thick. Yum, pancakes. (8 points)

Grits: Bardog doesn’t serve grits, so they’ll be given an average score of 5 points. (5 points)

Service: ((In the interest of full disclosure, a few of my derby teammates work there. My server today was not one of them.) One of the things that I love the most about Bardog is the service. No matter how busy they get, they never seem unattentive.  My server this morning was friendly and charming. This is the sort of place where everyone is treated like a regular.  (8.5  points)

Atmosphere: There’s something a little strange about having breakfast in a bar, even a bar with excellent food. It was warm and inviting and  the news was on the flat screen TVs.  If feel like it’s also necessary to point out that even though smoking is allowed inside Bardog, the smell of last night’s smoke wasn’t lingering this morning. There weren’t many people dining in at Bardog this morning, but several people came in to pick up take out orders.  (8 points)

Price: The price was reasonable for the huge amount of food, about $10. I took a to-go box full of hash browns back to the office with me for lunch. Two meals in one! (7.5)

Total Score: 66.5 points

Bardog Tavern on Urbanspoon
Though CK’s breakfast is decent, Bardog is the clear winner – the quality is better in every way. If you work downtown (or you can find an excuse to be around for breakfast), do it.

Show Comments


  1. shaneofmemphis says:

    You’ve convinced me. Next time I am in town, its Bardog for breakfast.

  2. Sarah Rachor says:

    Bardog has breakfast!? I am SOOO Excited! I have been there for lunch, had the hot dog sliders which were amazing. I’m from Montana, breakfast in a bar isn’t that out there for me. mmm, need to find an excuse to be downtown in the morning…

  3. Nikkal says:

    SOOOO glad you found Bardog! OTOH, I give you mad respect for actually eating at CK’s. (and I’m glad you lived, wanna see the final results) I live about 100 yds from CK’s, and wouldn’t darken their door unless I was outta my mind drunk, or literally starvin’ to death. Thankfully, neither of those has happened in the last 3 years! 😉

  4. Nooschi says:

    Wow…what a detailed post. Wish I was still in Memphis to enjoy a Bardog breakfast.

  5. erin says:

    CK’s is the worst place you can eat, it just not good, this is an example of a inefficient 24 hour place, maybe they would have better food and service if it wasn’t open 24 hours a day

  6. Rebecca says:

    Wow, great post. I eat at Bardog late-night so much, I have been wondering how their breakfast was. I will have to check it out one day.

  7. […] clean single-person ladies room.  (8 points) Service: I raved about Bardog’s service the last time I ate here, and nothing’s changed – it’s still great. I ate at the bar, and server Jen was […]

  8. ratloko says:

    Pretty funny that you would write a review comparing CKs to bardog 🙂 They are not only in different leagues, they aren’t even playing the same game!

    I used to frequent bardog and pay for their overpriced drink simply because of the excellent food!

    The only time CKs becomes a fair comparison is if its past 3 am and you are absolutely blasted! 🙂

    Cheers, love your blog!

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