A hugely popular destination for early morning meals, Bryant’s puts you elbow to elbow with a crowd of Memphians who come for traditional southern-style breakfast. Before you get a seat at a booth or one of the long communal tables, you will likely wait in line to place your order. The bustle of the line, the high spirits of conversations that bounce around the room, and the warm aroma of bacon, ham, and hot biscuits make this a really nice place to start the day.
Many house specialties, like the cinnamon roll or ham biscuit, are presented in line, as you pay the bill. Those that take some time to cook – such a bacon pancakes or omelets – are brought to the table by a member of the staff.
Biscuits are mid-South beauties, large and substantial, and unctuous enough to leave fingers glistening when you pick one up. They may be ordered plain or stuffed with country ham or city ham, with smoked sausage, bologna, bacon, chicken, steak, or pork tenderloin. To go whole hog, the meat inside can be amended with eggs or cheese. It also is possible to get a breakfast sandwich on toast, but with biscuits this good, why bother?
Bacon pancakes are less impressive: a stack of ordinary pancakes with fistfuls of crumbled bacon that, although abundant, is not abundantly flavored. Likewise, sausage gravy, while thick and hearty, is timid in taste.
While breakfast is the house specialty, lunch also is served: burgers, ham sandwiches, and such square-meal anchors as chicken fried chicken, grilled pork tenderloin, meatloaf and, on Friday, catfish. With any of these items, you choose from a long list of classic Southern sides, including mac ‘n’ cheese, fried okra, squash casserole, and turnip greens. Biscuits and cornbread round it out.