After rocking the Hi-Tone Café till late in the night, the Canadian crew of Boats, one of my favorite bands, needed a great Memphis spot to enjoy breakfast the next morning. Although they didn’t sleep in as late as their intense tour-strained bodies might have needed, we did head to breakfast well after the morning rush. I led them to the Arcade restaurant, probably “the perfect breakfast spot for rock stars because they serve breakfast all day!” Seriously, I should suggest that be the Arcade’s new slogan, but the band would humbly disagree on the rock star label especially since they recently signed with the US indie label Kill Rock Stars. I asked what changes exactly when signing with a label. “Nothing,” Boats front man Mat responded cynically then laughed. It did get one of their songs on a Target commercial though*. I thought it was pretty special even though the band joked they sold out.
Rock star or not, they were still very impressed that they played at the Hi-Tone where Elvis learned karate and ate at the Arcade restaurant where Elvis was a regular. The Arcade menu and bio is also scattered with other bragging rights, marking Food Network and Travel Channel favorite dishes and noting that many major movies were filmed inside the ‘50s vintage interior. Even without all the cool advertising fluff that impresses tourists, the heart of the menu, the tasty dishes that end up in front of you is what impresses both tourists and locals.
Among the five band members Mat, Louis, Luke, Ashley, and Rory, the best of the breakfast menu standards were ordered – hash browns, biscuits and gravy, sausage, eggs, and French toast. Ashley confirmed the uniqueness of her French toast with the kitchen. Yes, they were deep fried, making them as delectable as doughnuts or beignets. I ordered the buttermilk pancakes with bacon and grits, which I promised them tasted great with bacon. They politely refused my offer to sample as I rethought my bacon phrase. (Sorry, grits but everything tastes great with bacon.) We soon noticed that no one ordered the Food Network favorite, sweet potato pancakes, which became sort of a detailed topic. At the Arcade, they are pancakes with sweet potato bits/flavor mixed in the normal batter. It seems the term ‘sweet potato pancakes’ may be misleading as Rory and a few others imagined them to be hash browns made with sweet potatoes instead of regular white potatoes. It’s one of my favorite things to make at home, so I guess if we are taking the liberty to make suggestions to the Arcade, I would be quite excited to see if they would add this as a menu item – sweet potato hash browns. Maybe, on the next tour, as Mat said, “when we do become huge rock stars and can spend TWO days in Memphis”, they will find the sweet potato hash browns on the menu.
Thanks Mat, Louis, Luke, Ashley, and Rory for the great company. Thanks for visiting me in Memphis. The show was awesome. (I also remembered the musician that I listened on last.fm to discover you guys. It was Blair. I’m sure you’re relieved to know that.)
The Arcade Restaurant
540 S Main St
Memphis, TN 38103
Photos by Sophorn. / *Listen to the song that was used in the Target commercial here.