Memphis has so much to do that it's easy to fill up a trip's itinerary. Whether you’re visiting for two days or two weeks, you’ll want to start out your day with a delicious, hearty breakfast. Here are 11 favorite local spots.
Bryant’s Breakfast is a Memphis institution. Yes, their heaping platters of eggs, bacon, pancakes, and other breakfast favorites are amazing, but it’s those flaky buttermilk Southern-style biscuits and gravy that keep locals coming back. You can even get the gravy in a to-go cup. Expect longer lines the later you go; but don’t worry - it’s well worth the wait.
Pro tip: Take a look at the menu ahead of time; Bryant’s quickly-moving cafeteria-style line means you’ll want to be prepared to order when it’s your turn.
Another Summer Avenue breakfast favorite, The Pancake Shop got its reputation as the perfect late-night joint to satisfy your buttery flapjack stack craving 24 hours a day. Now, the shop is only open until midnight most nights (it’s open for 24 hours Thursday through Saturday) but it still offers up pancakes in all kinds of flavors like banana, chocolate chip, and bacon chip. That’s right: on Summer Avenue, they put bacon in their pancakes. They have omelets and all your favorite breakfast sides as well.
Pro tip: The Pancake Shop is cash-only, so come prepared. There will likely be a wait on busy weekend mornings.
Brother Juniper’s has won more “Best Breakfast” awards than just about any place on this list. The cozy spot near the University of Memphis makes more than just your everyday omelet: go for the Spanakopita omelet or the open-faced Hunger Tiger omelet with bacon, ham, and sausage with veggies and cheese on a bed of Brother Juniper's beloved home fries.
They have plenty of vegetarian options, and their java is extra good. Brother Juniper’s is just down the street from both the Botanic Garden and the Dixon Gallery & Gardens if you’re looking for a pre-garden-stroll meal.
Since 2015, Staks Pancake Kitchen in East Memphis has provided diners a chance to flip their own pancakes and mix in toppings at special griddle tables. If you’re more a “bring my breakfast to me” kind of person, they are happy to serve you. This place is a sweet lovers heaven, with pancakes in flavors like cinnamon roll, red velvet, birthday cake, and oreo cookie. They also have a selection of egg dishes, a chicken biscuit, and sandwiches.
Fun fact: They serve cocktails, if you want a little extra something with your stack.
The Arcade Restaurant is Memphis’ oldest diner and a popular spot for Elvis fans who want to dine where the King often ate. There’s even a special “Elvis booth” for folks who want to sit where Elvis sat; The Arcade is a popular filming location for movies made in Memphis, too.
The South Main eatery has your classic diner fare all day and night, every day - including some seriously satisfying sweet potato pancakes - as well as a full bar offering boozy milkshakes and coffee drinks.
After breakfast at the Arcade, you'll be ready to visit other Elvis-centric sites like Graceland and Sun Studio.
This hearty Memphis diner has two locations. One is downtown right off of Court Square within walking distance of plenty of hotels and several attractions; the other is in East Memphis also near several hotels.
The convenient locations plus the crowd-pleasing Southern breakfast and brunch fare make it ideal for travelers who need plenty fuel for their full days. Don't forget to read "The Blue Plate Good News" while you sip your coffee - the menu is made to look like a newspaper.
Cafe Eclectic lives up to its name as a combination coffee shop, bakery, and cafe. Get your fancy espresso drinks (the Star & Micey, named for a local band, is a safe bet) as well as made-fresh-daily donuts, bagels, and pies, plus plenty of breakfast sandwiches, wraps, and scrambles.
There are three locations: midtown, Harbor Town (downtown), and East Memphis by the University of Memphis. All three have patios, if al fresco dining is the way you want to start your day.
The no-frills Barksdale’s can give you what you need, as long as what you need is a steady flow of coffee, a basket of biscuits, and your choice of breakfast meats and eggs. The walls are adorned with decades’ worth of memorabilia (think autographed posters of college teams, orange University of Tennessee pendants, and kids’ coloring pages) and there’s plenty of personality to go with your make-your-own-omelet.
For a trendy spot that does a little bit of everything, make your way to the modern cafes of Tamp & Tap. Their breakfast menu is small but mighty (muffins, oatmeal, eggs, bagel and lox) but the real reason to stop in is for the gourmet coffee and tea selection.
They have pour over, nitro cold brew, and every kind of espresso drink. Go for the signature Cannonball Express (a chai espresso latte) and blast off to the rest of your day in Memphis.
For the health-conscious/clean-eating breakfast seeker, Bedrock Eats is your go-to spot in downtown Memphis. Everything is gluten-free but still hearty and delicious. Most popular is the Super Charged Waffle, a thick, perfectly crispy protein-laden meal served with real syrup and organic butter.
Get it with a side of bacon or sweet potato hashbrowns...or go for the mouth-watering chorizo and egg grilled cheese breakfast sandwich. The pulled pork enchilada is another filling, tasty option. After breakfast, you'll be within walking distance of attractions like Beale Street, the National Civil Rights Museum, and the Blues Hall of Fame.
Though unassuming from the outside - it's a literal shack in a parking lot - locals go crazy for Elwood's Shack, most known for their decadent fish tacos. But don't sleep on their breakfast offerings, either.
There's a bbq breakfast burrito, a country biscuit sandwich, breakfast pizza, and Elwood's taters...and it's all truly divine.