Breakfast Brackets Round 2: Barksdale Restaurant vs. Blue Plate Cafe

Posted by Holly Whitfield | February 17th 2010 7107 0

Round two of the search to find the best breakfast in Memphis is underway. If this were March Madness, Round Two would be the Elite 8. This week, downtown’s Blue Plate Cafe faces off against Midtown’s own Barksdale Restaurant. The competition was fair – each restaurant was graded by the round two criteria (orange juice, service, atmosphere, meal, bathrooms, and price). And in the interest of total fairness, I even went a step further this week and made sure my dining companions had the same name.

Let’s get it on!

Blue Plate Cafe

113 West S Court Avenue
Memphis, TN 38103

Order: Orange juice, coffee, strawberry pancakes

Orange Juice: Blue Plate’s OJ was a little thin, but it was tart and had just the right amount of pulp. It comes in a decent-sized pint glass.  (6.5 points)
Food: Originally, I ordered the strawberry waffle, but Blue Plate’s waffle iron was busted. Most of the waffles are also available as pancakes, so choosing something else was easy. The stack of three fluffy pancakes were topped with fresh strawberries and several huge mountains of whipped cream. There was no need for syrup.
Honestly, I could have done with a few more strawberries and a bit less whipped cream. The pancakes tasted good, and the whipped cream didn’t make them too soggy or too sweet. Be warned, though, that this is a lot of food. I made it about halfway through mine before I had to admit defeat.
Kristin ordered the French toast, which she said was pretty tasty. (7.5 points)

Bathroom: Blue Plate’s bathroom reminded me of an egg yolk. The walls were bright yellow (just like the rest of the restaurant), but all of the tile and fixtures were grey. The bathroom was mostly clean (there were a few paper towels on the floor). On the whole, it was little depressing, but it was nice and functional.   (6 points)
Service: The service was attentive, but a little cold. We seemed to have about three different servers, but the food arrived quickly, and the coffee refills were just frequent enough. Bonus half point for two of the three servers wearing Memphis Tigers t-shirts. (7 points)

Atmosphere: Blue Plate was a little more crowded on this visit than it was on the last, probably because it was a holiday. There were a lot of families mixed in with the suits, but the room was still fairly quiet. No matter how many times I go into Blue Plate, I’m surprised by how bright it is. It’s painted a super sunshiney yellow, and it has big windows that look into Court Square. (7.5 points)

Price: The total for both of our meals was about $17. Not bad, not bad! (8 points)
Total: 42.5 points

Blue Plate Cafe on Urbanspoon

And the challenger, the Barksdale Restaurant:
Barksdale Restaurant
237 South Cooper Street
Memphis, TN 38104
The Order: Orange juice, coffee, a Greek omelet with a biscuit. It came with a choice of hash browns or toast, but I opted out.


Greek Omelet, Barksdale Restaurant, Memphis, Tenn.

Greek Omelet, Barksdale Restaurant, Memphis, Tenn. 

Orange Juice: The orange juice at Barksdale was so thick and pulpy it felt like straight-up drinking an orange. I wanted to run it through a strainer. The flavor was a little sweet and very, very orange-y. (5 points)

Food: I ordered the Greek omelet, which was filled with feta cheese, mushrooms, green peppers, onions and tomatoes. All of the vegetables were fresh and not over-cooked (the peppers had a noticeable crunch).  The eggs were thick and fluffy, and the slightly seasoned feta added a nice kick.

The omelet came with two salty, light biscuits. Barksdale’s biscuits are kind of a crapshoot – today, they were almost perfect, but sometimes, they’re dense, too doughy, and a bit overcooked.

This morning’s Kristin had a Western omelet, which came covered in cheddar cheese. Yum. (8.5 points)

Bathroom: The bathroom at Barksdale was decently clean, but it’s not really a place where you’d want to spend a lot of time. It’s a get in and get it done kind of bathroom. And, it’s tiny. Really, really tiny. (4.5 points)

Service: The service at the Barksdale restaurant was great. When I beat Kristin to the restaurant by 15 minutes, my waitress was totally relaxed – she brought my drinks and a second menu and then disappeared until we were ready to order. The food came out quickly, and we got coffee refills with it.  (8 points)

Atmosphere: Though the Barksdale Restaurant is packed on the weekends with families and Midtown hipsters that stayed out too late the night before, during the week, it’s a fairly relaxed place. There were a few older men, a big, well-behaved group of friends, and a couple or two.

No matter where you sit at the Barksdale, there’s something to look at on the walls. Usually, that something is autographed glossies of famous Memphians or political signs, and you’ll have to forgive Bob (the owner) for being a UT fan. Today, we were watched over by Elvis’s Humes High School class photo. (7 points)

Price: Breakfast for two was $18 before tip, which is totally fair.  (7 points).

Total Score: 40 points

Barksdale on Urbanspoon

It looks like Blue Plate has just barely edged the Barksdale out of the competition. Blue Plate will face off against the winner of the Bardog / Miss Polly’s match up.

Show Comments


  1. Mo Charlo says:

    This was the clash of the juggernauts.

  2. Ryan says:

    Booooo! Barksdales for LIFE! Haha. I always feel like Blue Plate is corporate for some reason. It’s like I’m getting the pre-approved mid-America breakfast dining experience, not something homemade and local.

  3. robin says:

    I think you should include Quetzal in one of the brackets! They have a great breakfast and awesome atmosphere. Deserve a chance against other breakfast places in memphis.

  4. Oh well, it’s all subjective, isn’t it? You know, everyone has an opinion… Mine says that a bad day at Bob’s Barksdale Cafe is miles better than the best day at blueplate. Regardless, it’s been fun following your adventure!

  5. So I’m wondering what a “decent-sized pint glass” is? A pint is a pint, right? The only difference is whether it’s a British pint or an American one.

  6. cdel says:

    I’m with Ryan. Boooooo! Blue Plate. I was really pulling for Barksdale on this one.
    I’ve only been to Blue Plate once and totally hated it. Maybe I should give them another shot.

  7. […] I dined at Barksdale’s one morning for breakfast recently, after walking for cancer research with some coworkers. Though it was not my decision, I have anxiously waiting to try it for the first time after I Love Memphis has recommended it. […]

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