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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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