Breakfast Brackets Round 2: Bryant’s vs. the Arcade
Welcome to round two of the Breakfast Brackets, where the herd is thinned and all bets are off. Today, two Memphis breakfast stalwarts, Bryant’s and the Arcade stand before me. Only one will continue on in the hopes of becoming Memphis’s best breakfast spot.
3965 Summer Ave
Memphis, TN 38122
Order: Potato pancake, one plain biscuit, orange juice, berry cobbler
540 S Main St
Memphis, TN 38103
Order: Sweet potato pancakes, fresh fruit, OJ, and coffee
Orange Juice: The Arcade’s OJ is served in a cool hourglass-shaped glass. It’s tart, thick and had a fine layer of pulp across the top. It was tasty, but a little too thick for my liking. (6.5 points)
Food: I ordered from the a la carte section of the menu, where you can get four pancakes for $4. The sweet potato pancakes were just like regular pancakes in look and texture, but they tasted richer and sweeter. I think there was cinnamon involved. They’re billed as a “Food Network favorite”, which I tend to take as a challenge. In this case, the pancakes live up to the hype.
I was a little disappointed in the fresh fruit. The orange and melon slices were delicious, but there were a ton of pear slices that weren’t quite ready for prime time. (7 points)
Bathroom: Much like the rest of the Arcade, the restroom is charmingly retro. The ladies had huge mirrors to make it feel a lot bigger than it is. It was super clean, but dimly lit. (6 points)
Service: It took a few minutes after I sat down for the server to make her way over to the table, but after that, the service was consistent, friendly, and just attentive enough. I did have to wait a few minutes to pay the check at the counter, but the waitress that rang me up noticed that I was there and said it would be just a second. I always appreciate that. (7 points)
Atmosphere: I was at the Arcade on a Monday morning, and it seemed really quiet. A radio played softly in the background and the few groups that were there were chatting quietly. There were quite a few people having breakfast with their newspapers. The whole experience was unassumingly old school.
I should have sat at one of the booths that have been memorialized in the names of famous Memphians. Rufus Thomas and Elvis have booths bearing their names, and there’s a table in the back that’s labeled as “Punk Smith’s Table since 1955.” I’m not sure who Punk Smith is or what he did to deserve it, but I like him. (8 points)
Price: My meal was $11. That seemed a little high, but still reasonable. (6 points).
Total Score: 40.5 points
It was close, but it looks like Bryant’s is moving on to the Final Four. It will face off against the winner of the Barksdale / Blue Plate match up.