Friday, January 15, 2010

The Arcade Restaurant, Memphis


Arcade Restaurant, Memphis

The Arcade Restaurant is a historic landmark in Memphis. Credited as Memphis' oldest restaurant, Arcade Restaurant was founded in 1919 by Greek immigrant, Speros Zepatos. In the 1950's, it was renovated into the retro diner that it is today by his son, Harry Zepatos.

Although the food is not spectacular, Arcade Restaurant is famous for many reasons:
  • Elvis ate here often during his lifetime
  • Arcade was placed on the National Register of Historic Places (means it is worthy of preservation)
  • Arcade has been featured on TV Networks such as The Food Network, and The Travel Channel.
  • Arcade has been featured in publications such as Travel, Esquire, Southern Living, and Sports Illustrated
  • Scenes from Hollywood movies such as Great Balls of Fire, 21 Grams, and Walk the Line have been filmed at this restaurant.
And, the most important reason:
  • The service is impeccable!

I didn't know the true meaning of Southern hospitality until I dined here. The waitresses are constantly ensuring their customers are happy, and they go the extra mile whenever possible.

Arcade restaurant sticks to what they know, and serves four things: breakfast, sandwiches, salads, and pizza.

Arcade Restaurant, Memphis
Old Memphis Photo at Arcade Restaurant

I ordered the sweet potato pancake breakfast. It came with hash brown, sausages, and 2 eggs of choice. I wanted my eggs poached but they were pretty much hard boiled. Luckily, I didn't mind. The menu pointed out that these pancakes were voted as a Food Network favorite. The pancakes were really good: fluffy yet dense at the same time. The sweet potato gave it a really nice flavor.

Sweet Potato Pancakes
Sweet Potato Pancake Breakfast

I had never tried grits before, so I ordered it to see what it was like. I was pretty indifferent. I didn't love it, and I didn't hate it.


CK and his cousin ordered the famous arcade cheeseburger. It was a 100% Angus beef patty served with lettuce, tomato, pickle, and onion. The burger also came with fries.

Beef Burger
Famous Arcade Cheeseburger

S ordered the regular pancake breakfast with 2 eggs, bacon, and hash brown. Her pancakes were very burnt on the backside, but she didn't bother complaining.

Pancakes and Bacon
Pancake Breakfast

A ordered the 21 grams sandwich: roasted eggplant, roasted red peppers, feta, and pesto aioli on the side. This came with a side salad and dressing of choice. He enjoyed his sandwich.

Eggplant and Feta Sandwich
21 Grams Sandwich

His cousin, TK, ordered a personally designed 12" pizza. We named it "The Heart Attack Delight". It contained every cheese and every meat available except for pepperoni. On his pizza was mozzarella, brie, feta, ground beef, bacon, and sausage. We all made fun of him for ordering such a health destructive pizza, but a few of us tried it, and enjoyed it way more than we wanted to.

Meat and Cheese Lover Pizza
'The Heart Attack Delight' Pizza

TK's pizza took longer than expected to cook, so the waitress apologized, and brought him a salad on the house. His pizza also ended up being free of charge. Gotta love Southern hospitality.


We also discovered the talented George Hunt on this trip. He is a local artist whose art is deeply influenced by blues music and culture, the Civil Rights movement, and the Southern African-American experience. In 2005, one of his paintings was printed on a US postage stamp as part of the the United Postal Services series, "To Form A More Perfect Nation." To read more about George Hunt, click here.

Just a few doors down from Arcade Restaurant is D'Edge Art, a cool art gallery that features Hunt's vibrant work.

If you like burgers, walk across the street from Arcade to Ernestine & Hazel's, and order one of their famous mouth-watering soul burgers. I hear it is the best burger in town.

The Arcade Restaurant
540 South Main Street
Memphis, Tennessee, USA
Telephone: 901-526-5757

Arcade on Urbanspoon


La Table De Nana said...

I had to laugh at your remark re the eggs..yours:) I had to applaud at the service..
I actually find most customer service great in the US..
I ordered cutlery ..while in Fl.. came home..finally unpacked every little utensil..and one dinner fork was missing..they had put a dessert fork for the 8th piece..I called and they were so nice..Right away an spoon was should be here any day..Lovely service!

The pizza's name is quite cathy too..I visted the gallery you recommended..very cool..I love different art..My house doesn't agree:(

Thanks again for a fun post.I have not seen so much as you in my whole life and I am almost100 yrs older:)

The Asian Pear said...

I remember seeing that restaurant in Great Balls of Fire! :D

the pizza looks TOO good. although definitely a heart attack with cheese.

unitb612 said...

the pancake breakfast looks so temptING!