FEATURE

Rise and Shine

The all-you-can-eat guide to breakfast in the MidSouth

Brother Juniper’s
3519 Walker Ave., Memphis  
901.324.0144, brotherjunipers.com

College students are loath to get up before noon, so it says a lot that they’re willing to get up at the break of dawn to wait in line for Brother Juniper’s. Nestled in the University district of Memphis, this breakfast nook looks and smells just like grandma’s house, complete with well-worn table tops and freshly-baked bread. Even though the wait may be lengthy — sometimes up to an hour and a half — it takes about that long to figure out what to order. Their extensive menu offers simple dishes with appetizing eggs, Southern-style grits and toast, but if you’ve got a long day ahead, the best option is to dive right into one of their three-egg omelets. If you have a hard time choosing from their 23 tasty options, Rachel Ray’s favorite is their open-face San Diegan omelet with Portobello mushrooms, tomatoes, green onions, feta and cheddar cheese. The restaurant has earned “Best Breakfast in Memphis” by the Memphis Flyer every year since 1999 and was even proclaimed “Best Breakfast in the Nation” by Citysearch.com, but they don’t let it get to their heads; they just want to bring a scrumptious breakfast from their humble kitchen to their patient patrons.

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There’s nothing better than a plate full of buttery biscuits, crispy bacon and fluffy pancakes. A savory spread at sunrise is enough to make anyone a morning person. There are plenty of places this side of the Mighty Mississippi that know how to cook the standard breakfast fare but these restaurants are infamous for being the best at what they do — reminding Southerners of how breakfast should be: hot, hearty and delicious. Each one brings something unique to the table but they all serve up bodacious breakfasts (and they even do the dishes).

Big Bad Breakfast
719 N. Lamar Blvd., Oxford
662.236.2666, citygroceryonline.com

Big Bad Breakfast beefs up breakfast like no other. Their mouth-watering meals landed them on CNN’s list of the best breakfasts around the world and it’s completely understandable how they garnered international acclaim. The chefs have taken bacon, a staple long since perfected, and made it uniquely irresistible. They smoke their sausage and bacon on site in their Big Bad Smokehouse and cure it with a brown sugar rub and Tabasco pepper mash, which makes for a spicy treat sure to make meat lovers drool. Their cleverly-named cuisines aren’t all as mysterious as “The Secret History” omelet but each dish is intriguing in its own right. They boldly offer a dish simply titled “The Awesome,” where patrons can find anything they want on the menu and have it put into an omelet. Even more fascinating is their decision to include burgers on their breakfast menu, like the curious “Smonk Burger,” described as “the big nasty with everything on it.” For anyone looking for an adventurous morning meal, Big Bad Breakfast is certainly the way to go but be warned: they aren’t kidding when they say it’s big and bad.

Blue and White Restaurant
1355 U.S. 61, Tunica  662.363.1371,
blueandwhiterestaurant.com

The Blue and White Restaurant has been a Tunica institution along Highway 61since 1924. Although it was originally owned by the Pure Oil Company, it has since changed hands but their slogan reflects their rustic roots: “Provide the Ultimate Restaurant Experience.” They are fast-approaching their 90th birthday but they certainly don’t look it. They continue to make diners feel like family, whether they’re dropping by for a quick cup of black coffee or a savory, homemade breakfast special piled with sweet biscuits and crunchy bacon, just like they’ve always done. They know everyone operates on a different schedule, so they serve breakfast all day. They’ve been proclaimed the best family-style restaurant and best breakfast by the Tunica Times multiple times throughout the years, and their light, fluffy biscuits always rank high. They specialize in traditional breakfast staples like steak and eggs, fluffy omelets and country-fried steak biscuits. And like any diner worth their salt, they’ve got freshly-ground coffee that is hot, ready and bottomless for the next weary traveler to come through their wide-open door.

Owen Brennan’s
6150 Poplar Ave., Memphis    
901.761.0990, brennansmemphis.com

Owen Brennan’s jazzes up a Sunday brunch like no one else can. They specialize in Cajun and Creole cuisine, and their buffet-style brunch includes classic dishes like spicy crawfish étoufée and pasta jambalaya. They also have a “cooked to order” station where the kitchen comes to you. Guests can have an omelet crafted for their palette right in front of them. And while they’re waiting for the chef to cook up their delicious dish, they can groove to the live jazz band, The Lannie McMillian Trio. They bring the Big Easy sound to Bluff City the same way their top-notch chefs make sure Memphians can get a taste of New Orleans flavor.

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Owen Brennan’s
6150 Poplar Ave., Memphis    
901.761.0990, brennansmemphis.com

Owen Brennan’s jazzes up a Sunday brunch like no one else can. They specialize in Cajun and Creole cuisine, and their buffet-style brunch includes classic dishes like spicy crawfish étoufée and pasta jambalaya. They also have a “cooked to order” station where the kitchen comes to you. Guests can have an omelet crafted for their palette right in front of them. And while they’re waiting for the chef to cook up their delicious dish, they can groove to the live jazz band, The Lannie McMillian Trio. They bring the Big Easy sound to Bluff City the same way their top-notch chefs make sure Memphians can get a taste of New Orleans flavor.

Local Gastropub
95 S Main St., Memphis  
2109 Madison Ave., Memphis 
901.761.3333, localgastropub.com

The Local Gastropub on Overton Square is a newcomer to Madison Avenue, and their brunch brings fresh flavor to visitors. The menu leads with their libations, including the Midtown Mimosa, a delicious mix of champagne, vodka, St. Germain, and orange juice. Their dishes pay homage to American icons like the “John Hughes Breakfast Club,” served on toasted brioche with a fried egg, tomato jam, and chipotle aioli, and the “Eggs Robert Johnson,” a crispy pork tenderloin and poached egg on an English muffin with tasso cream. They make a bold statement with their brunch offerings, perfectly reflecting the tastes of Midtown Memphis.

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The Pancake Shop
4838 Summer Ave., Memphis

901.767.0206

The Pancake Shop, as its name denotes, deals mainly in fluffy, homemade pancakes. Although they also serve lunch and dinner, their kitchen cooks breakfast 24 hours a day. They only accept cash but that may be a blessing in disguise, considering the wide variety of delicious dishes on their menu. They have specials galore, including the Dixie Pride breakfast, a plate crammed with Tennessee country ham steak, farm fresh eggs, hash browns or grits, and two toothsome biscuits covered with red-eye gravy. It is the only place in Memphis that offers an “all-you-can-eat-pancakes” plate that comes with as many pancakes as a belly can handle, along with two eggs and bacon or sausage, so there’s no chance of leaving unsatisfied. The Pancake Shop is also the home of the infamous bacon chip pancakes — a stack of pancakes with crispy bacon bits sprinkled on top. The mix of sweet and salty is sure to slake anyone’s breakfast cravings. Their generous portions and reasonable prices bring plenty of regulars but there’s room for anyone with a hankering for flapjacks of every flavor.

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YAZOO PASS
207 Yazoo Ave., Clarksdale
662.627.8686, yazoopass.com

The recent addition to downtown Clarksdale is quickly developing a reputation for its cozy, welcoming atmosphere; elegant breakfasts; and chic espresso bar. They are a perfect representation of first-class Southern hospitality. With hearty but healthy options like their Quiche Lorraine and customizable breakfast sandwiches, it’s easy to feel right at home amongst the cozy couches. Their espresso bar outshines any coffee chain on the block with rich lattes and scrumptious frozen frappes. The beans are freshly ground for each drink, so customers never have to worry about getting stale or burnt coffee. Unlike other breakfast places, however, Yazoo Pass offers something extra—a frozen yogurt bar. Visitors can personally prepare a healthy breakfast parfait with fresh fruit toppings and maybe just a little bit of crushed-up chocolate to start the day off right. This café offers the ideal blend of Southern comfort and sophisticated taste, showing that it’s completely possible to have your pancake and eat it, too.

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B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery
301 N. Main St., Water Valley 
662.473.4323, btcgrocery.com

It’s true that no one should go grocery shopping hungry, so B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery is here to kill two birds with one stone. Their quaint, country atmosphere is sure to set anyone at ease. The well-worn storefront has seen many Mississippi mornings but the B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery is a relatively new addition to downtown Water Valley. “B.T.C.” stands for “Be the change,” a nod to Gandhi’s famous quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” and this home-grown shop has taken it to heart by bringing fresh, organic produce within easy reach. In the short time they have been open, a tight-knit community has been cultivated. They are first and foremost a farmer’s market, but their small kitchen started cooking up tasty plates with local ingredients delivered throughout the week, including freshly-cut bacon and sausage, eggs straight from the roost and homegrown fruits and vegetables. The breakfast menu boasts simple Southern favorites like sausage biscuits and grits. Cora’s Mississippi Mudd Bakery proffers up freshly baked muffins, cakes and pies. They constantly ask for community feedback through their Facebook page to let regulars know what specials are coming up and when new items have been delivered, so keep an eye out for this small-town breakfast venue.

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Café Eclectic
603 N. McLean Blvd., Memphis
901.725.1718, cafeeclectic.net

This bistro has strived to bring fresh, local ingredients to urbanites on the go. Big Eclectic, the Midtown location, has seen plenty of foot traffic since it opened its doors in 2008. Their culinary creations are made to order, so there’s not a soggy egg in sight. Akin to European cafes, multiculturalism is a main focus. Spanish and French omelets, Mediterranean yogurt, and Uncle Andy’s Scottish Porridge reflect their flair for diversity. It is also the only place in Memphis that serves illycaffè, a brand of coffee produced in Trieste, Italy and well-known for its distinct, delicious flavor. But no worries, they could never forget their Southern roots; biscuits and gravy, applewood smoked bacon and Delta Stone Ground grits have their place in the “rebel sides” section of the menu. For anyone on the go, their homemade donuts, scones and muffins are the perfect way to fuel up before a manic Monday. They’ve even got a “Wacky Kids Menu” with mini-breakfast plates perfect for little hands, like their silver-dollar sized buckwheat pancakes. They have something for everyone, so make it a point to pop into this casual café for a morning meal and peace of mind.

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Beauty Shop
966 S Cooper St., Memphis
901.272.7111, thebeautyshoprestaurant.com

This Midtown attraction originally was a full-functioning beauty shop, but now it operates as a restaurant and lounge for anyone aiming to grab brunch in a trendy hotspot. Take a seat in one of their refurbished hair-dryer chairs and order a round of their handmade Bad Boy Bloody Marys served with fresh dill. Their brunch offerings are the most modern part of the eclectic establishment with dishes like their Lemon Ricotta pancakes and the Egg Pizzette, a personal pizza piled with scrambled egg, Mexican cheese, chile, smashed avocado and salsa. The vintage décor and the enticingly decadent cuisine accurately reflect the Beauty Shop’s slogan: “Look good. Eat good.”

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Blue Plate Café
5469 Poplar Ave., Memphis

901.761.9696

The Blue Plate Café echoes a time when breakfast was still the most important meal of the day and calories didn’t matter much. They offer a kitschy, comfortable place to feast with friends and family. Their menus are printed newspaper style—just another small way the café reminds patrons of days gone by. For those with a sweet tooth, their pancakes and waffles are sure to curb those cravings. They’re made from scratch and served with whipped butter and hot maple syrup, just the way they’re supposed to be. For bigger appetites, the country-fried steak with two eggs, biscuits and gravy, and a choice of grits, hash browns or three buttermilk pancakes, is one of the most Southern, satisfying meals available. If that still isn’t enough to fill you up, there’s a long list of extra sides, including hot oatmeal, thick country ham and crispy bacon. While busy-as-ever Poplar Avenue is buzzing with activity, diners at Blue Plate Café know there’s still a place where they can get take a break from busy city life to enjoy a good breakfast.

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Taco Felix
390 E. Commerce St., Hernando  
662.449.1800

Mexican may not be the first thing that leaps to mind in the morning but Taco Felix is ready to change that. With every dish made to order, it’s not hard to see why it’s a local favorite. They have traditional American dishes like hearty biscuits, eggs and bacon, but their main attraction is their breakfast burritos, stuffed with meat, eggs and vegetables. Their portions are generous, so it might take two people to tackle one of their omelets. With warm weather fast approaching, their outdoor seating is a great place to enjoy both a filling meal and a beautiful day.

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Honey Bee Bakery
2305 Jackson Ave. W. #202, Oxford    662.236.2491, thehoneybeebakery.com

“Nestled in a shopping center on the far west side of Oxford lies one of the most comfortable brunch experiences in a town where breakfast and lunch are almost an art form. For a great experience get a French press full of coffee and enjoy their delectable take on the classic BLT sandwich, topped off with an avocado.”

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Blue Daze Bristro
221 E. Commerce St., Hernando, MS      662.469.9304, bluedazebistro.com

This quaint little restaurant located in Hernando, MS, known to many as the “Little Blue House”, Blue Daze Bistro has much to offer. Blue Daze bistro features an eclectic inspired menu with popular brunch items that include French Toast Casserole and a Steak and Egg Sandwich. All food is made in house with fresh ingredients daily. The restaurant hosts laid back dining on the bistro side which has high top tables, a TV, and a view of the open kitchen as well as al fresco dining on the wrap around patio. Blue Daze is open for brunch on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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