Arcade Restaurant, Memphis, TN

As a young child, maybe 7 or so, there was a convenience store near a babysitter’s house that I frequented with another kid my age. Inside was a Street Fighter II multiplayer arcade game. With maybe three dollars in quarters between the two of us, we were entranced by the video game.

With the price of admission being paid through rose colored coin slots came a selection of developed characters, seemingly with their own stories, strengths and weaknesses. There may have only been fewer than 20 playable characters, but from the perspective of a kid looking up at the screen, the options felt endless.

For the same reasons, do I enjoy a great diner. The diner concept is one that has more recently been exchanged for fast casual, but hands down brings up a nostalgia from many an early origin. Diners provide an extensive menu of options, including many comfort foods that home preparation might not be the most economical for when cooking for a small family.

The Arcade in Memphis, TN holds the title of being the oldest Cafe in Memphis, but don’t confuse that for slowing any. Instead, the restaurant boasts a steady crowd of patrons who have enjoyed the diner fare since 1919 at it’s inception.

There is a lively feel of movement constantly as southern dishes pour out of the kitchen, carried by eager waitstaff. There is an art to waiting tables that the seasoned staff has readily prepared for, even on a weekend breakfast rushes.

The track this week is Chuck Mangione’s “Fun and Games”, from an album of the same name. The Flugelhorn, Trumpet player and producer comes to mind mostly to me for a cartoon characature in the Mike Judge created “King of The Hill”. When I saw the album, I laughed and thought it was a quirky addition to my collection as a fan of the Texas themed series. But, as one does when logging records, I actually really enjoyed playing this one less out of coincidence and more in trying to find out something from it. Fun and Games’ introduction was precisely the jazzy start to a day that I think of when I remember eggs over medium on a plate with bacon and toast arranged so that it smiles at you. Quintessential diner fare.

Order’s up.

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