Arcade, Memphis

5 out of 5 stars 5 Reviews

540 South Main Street 901.526.5757

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  • Inside the city's oldest cafe
    Inside the city's oldest cafe
    by Jefie
  • The Arcade Restaurant in Memphis
    The Arcade Restaurant in Memphis
    by Jefie
  • Lunch with my sister Pascale at the Arcade
    Lunch with my sister Pascale at the...
    by Jefie
  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    The Arcade Restaurant: The oldest cafe in Memphis

    by Jefie Updated Aug 19, 2015

    I picked this restaurant mostly based on its atmosphere and history, and I was rewarded with an excellent meal! The cafe first opened up as a family-owned Greek restaurant way back in 1919, which makes it the city's oldest restaurant. The son of the original owner turned it into a diner in the 1950s and, being located close to the train station, it enjoyed a fair bit of popularity (and before you ask, yes, Elvis Presley was among its patrons, and it's still possible to sit in the King's favourite booth and order his favourite meal: a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich!). The Arcade somehow made it through the downtown area's dark years that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, when most of the buildings were abandoned, probably due to the quality of its meals. It has retained its lovely 1950s decor and atmosphere, but the menu is definitely up to date: my sister and I both ordered the half sandwich/half salad special. I had the "21 Grams" sandwich (roasted eggplant & red peppers with feta cheese) and summer salad (grilled chicken, berries and walnuts), and both were absolutely delicious! And by the way, my sandwich was named after the movie 21 Grams, one of several films shot in Memphis over the past few years that includes a scene shot at the Arcade. The place always seems to be busy so service might be a bit slow, but our swamped waitress made up for it by being super friendly and the food came quickly once we had a chance to put in our order. So set some time aside and don't miss this chance to taste a slice of Memphis history along with a great meal!

    Lunch with my sister Pascale at the Arcade The Arcade Restaurant in Memphis Inside the city's oldest cafe
    Related to:
    • Food and Dining

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  • Toughluck's Profile Photo

    Arcade Restaurant: A Real 50's Restaurant

    by Toughluck Written Oct 27, 2010

    Located in South Memphis, across from the Central Railroad Station and at the southern most turn of the Main Street Trolley, is the Arcade Restaurant. True to it's heritage from the 50's, it's retains the flavor of south Memphis from that period. Good Food, and a setting that has been used in Hollywood movies. Once the busiest part of town as people embarked and disembarked from the railroad., today, it's a sleepy section of town, with a growing art district and daily service by Amtrak.

    Favorite Dish: It's not a 50's drive-in, it's a 50's restaurant. There's a difference. Mostly, it was a wealthier clientèle than the drive-ins. Traffic was by bus, street car and train. Therefore, it doesn't cater to cars. You'll find a more extended menu. Traditional breakfast items, full lunch menu and a dinner menu.

    Main Street Interior
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

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  • eddieboy726's Profile Photo

    Arcade !!!: Oldest Cafe !!!

    by eddieboy726 Written Oct 20, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Arcade Restaurant is the oldest cafe in memphis, since 1919. It's located at 540 S. Main and open for buisness from 7.00 a.m.-3.00 p.m. in the afternoon. This is another mom & pop cafe. They shot some movies at the cafe that included, mystery train-great balls of fire & 21 grams.

    Favorite Dish: country fried steak & biscuit & gravy for breakfast.

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  • Hopkid's Profile Photo

    Arcade: A Memphis Institution

    by Hopkid Written Jun 23, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Arcade has been on the corner of Main and Patterson for so long that it has become the oldest operating restaurant in the city. A true southern diner, the Arcade serves up traditional fare such as country fried steak, baked chicken, and homemade biscuits. After landing in Memphis we got our car, picked up our friends downtown, and headed straight for the Arcade for a southern breakfast. We liked it so much we came back the next morning for more! The food is good and definitely homey. Ambiance is pure diner with blue vinyl booths, boomerang pattern formica table tops, and a counter with round stools. Service is good and questions were answered politely and amiably. A great place for all foodies!

    Movie Trivia! Recent movies filmed here include 21 Grams, The Client, and Mystery Train. If you haven't seen Jim Jamusch's quirky Mystery Train, I highly recommend it!

    Favorite Dish: Sweet potato pancakes, "Pert" sandwich (egg with bacon, ham, or sausage on wheat or white), country fried steak and eggs

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  • JacquelineRenee's Profile Photo

    The Arcade: Memphis’s oldest restaurant

    by JacquelineRenee Written May 2, 2005

    The place has been used in the movies The Client and Great Balls of Fire. Walking into this diner takes you back in time, the perfect spot for one milkshake and 2 straws. Friendly waitstaff, its that Southern hospitality, serve yummy burger and fries.

    Favorite Dish: I would highly recommend a chocolate milkshake.

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