Blue Plate Cafe to close Jan 23: breakfast restaurant in Memphis

The Blue Plate Cafe will close on January 23.

The restaurant at 5469 Poplar Ave. has been a popular breakfast spot in East Memphis for over two decades. The Blue Plate Cafe is known for its southern breakfast and hot options. Dishes like cookies and sawmill sauce, warm fluffy pancakes, buttery oatmeal, and perfectly cooked omelets have made this small, family-run restaurant a breakfast destination.

The late Mike Richmond didn’t open the restaurant, but he’s the one who made it a breakfast and lunch destination.

“I don’t remember the exact date, but my dad bought the Blue Plate Cafe in 2000 or 2001,” said Richmond’s daughter Shelley Arthur.

Since Richmond’s death in October, Arthur has run the business for his family.

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The decision to close was a business decision that Arthur said was difficult to make.

“We don’t own the building, and the next person to sign the lease has over $ 200,000 worth of repairs to make the building ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant,” Arthur said. “I don’t want to put that kind of money into a building that we don’t own.”

General Manager Shelley Arthur at the Blue Plate Cafe on Tuesday October 6, 2020. The restaurant will close on January 23.

The current lease for the Blue Plate Cafe ends on January 31.

Arthur said she was sad about the closure, adding that she will miss the staff and repeat customers.

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“Most of the staff have been here every day for almost 30 years,” she said. “They are like family.”

Jennifer Chandler is the Food & Dining reporter at The Commercial Appeal. She can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cookwjennifer.


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