On our way back and forth from our hotel on the east side of Memphis, we kept passing a small place on Poplar Ave. called the Blue Plate Cafe. It looked interesting enough that on our last day in Memphis we decided to stop in to have some breakfast before we hit the road.
The Blue Plate Cafe is situated in what was once a house that was built in the early 50's by Kemmons Wilson, who just happened to be the founder of the Holiday Inn hotel chain. Wilson rented the house to Reeves Hughes and his wife, Elisabeth, soon after it was built in 1954. The house was truly in suburban Memphis as at the time it was more in the country than in Memphis.
Kemmons Wilson eventually sold the house to William and Rosetta Miner in the mid-60's who held on to the house until the early 90's. Mike Richmond and Mark Maxwell bought the place after that and with a little bit of expansion for a kitchen area, they opened the Blue Plate Cafe in 1994. The two opened a second location in suburban Bartlett in 2002, but they closed that location six years later. In 2004, Richmond and Maxwell teamed with two other investors to open a downtown Blue Plate Cafe.
It's tough to miss the Blue Plate Cafe on the south side of Poplar Ave. (see map). The house is painted a bright yellow with royal blue trim. It looks like Grandma could still be living there.
Going into the restaurant, the floor plan suggested that it truly was someone's home at one point. The dining rooms were sort of a mish-mash in layout with tables squeezed into corners. It was cozy, but sort of confining, too.
We were seated in a dining room in the back of the restaurant. Blue and white checkerboarded vinyl table cloths were on the tables. The room we were in appeared to be the largest of the dining areas in the small restaurant.
Our server, a young lady dressed in jeans and a light sweatshirt, came to greet us. She was pretty low-key and appeared to be somewhat disinterested in her job. She gave us a few moments to look over the menu.
Breakfast is served anytime at the Blue Plate Cafe and they have all the regular Southern-style items to choose from. I thought about getting pancakes, but I ended up getting the French toast with blueberries. I got six half-slices of French toast topped with a three dollops of whipped cream and sprinkled with powered sugar. The disappointment was that I was given a blueberry compote which was nothing more than pie filling and a small tub of what appeared to be margarine instead of butter. The French toast was fine, but pretty basic.
Cindy got scrambled egg whites with pancakes and a side of bacon. There wasn't much to the breakfast - the pancakes were big and fluffy, not the kind that we usually care for. But they were good enough. And anywhere you go to get scrambled egg whites, they're all the same. It's tough to doll up scrambled egg whites. The bacon, however, was very good. Cindy gave me a piece of her bacon and it was thick, crispy and very tasty.
Our waitress, however, sort of forgot about us. As I said, she had a pretty indifferent attitude, hardly greeting us when she first came to our table. She hardly acknowledged what we were ordering. She wordlessly set down our plates in front of us and threw down the ticket with a monotonic "enjoy". Cindy was looking to get a bit more coffee and we had to flag down another waitress to get some. I put my credit card on the bill and our waitress came by and grabbed it at some point. She brought it back with the receipt and said, "Thanks, folks." That was the extent of our interaction with our waitress.
Looking past the limp rag disposition of our waitress, our breakfast at the Blue Plate Cafe was fine enough. It wasn't great, but it was far from bad. It was a good basic breakfast at a pretty good value. The place was clean and somewhat cozy. I can't say anything bad about the Blue Plate Cafe, save for our server's attitude, but I can't give it glowing praises, either. It was simply a good place for breakfast.