The Arcade Restaurant in Memphis, Shelby County, United States | A la Carte Restaurants

The Arcade Restaurant has the honor of being Memphis' oldest restaurant.   My grandfather, Speros Zepatos, established it in 1919, and it has been a familiar downtown fixture ever since. My dad, Harry, took over The Arcade Restaurant in the 1950's after he returned from the Korean War. He ran this landmark until the 1990's. Their portraits hang in the main dining room today.

The South Main Area has had its share of ups and downs. In the 1920's, 30's, and 40's, this intersection was among Memphis' busiest. Train passengers, soldiers, and Memphians crowded these wide sidewalks twenty-four hours a day.  In fact, The Arcade Restaurant didn't even have locks on the doors. In the 60's and 70's, with the decline of the railroad and exodus of downtown commerce, The Arcade Restaurant entered a down time. The death of Martin Luther King caused The Arcade Restaurant to share a sad and integral part in Memphis history in the United States. Locked were added to the doors and the adjacent store fronts were boarded up.

In spite of the trials and tough times, The Arcade Restaurant survived and emerged in the 1980's and a landmark feature of the South Main district.  As you walk out the door, locate the marker that lists it as a historic landmark. The Arcade Restaurant has created a place of special value for Memphians of the past and the present. Many famous and distinguished people have eaten here. We have served Cybill Shepherd, Robert Duvall, Dennis Quaid, Susan Sarandon, Rufus Thomas, Elvis and his buddies, and many others, as well.

Hollywood has even used the restaurant in many videos and movies. There was Mystery Train, Great Balls of Fire, The Client, Elvis: The Early Years, Memphis, A Family Thing, and 21 Grams, just to name a few. This exposure has not only helped to boost business, but also for The Arcade Restaurant to become a tourist destination. Now, just look at all the renovations. Commerce is once again thriving and you can see people walking, running, and living all over this historic South Main area. From the 1919 construction, the 40's and 50's neon signs, and the whistle of the trolley, it doesn't get any more Memphis than this.

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Location Info


540 S. Main Street
United States
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