Buntyn Corner Cafe has returned to Memphis, and it’s just as wonderful as you may remember. The old red-and-white sign is the backdrop for new Facebook photos of customers, pictures of all the presidents are back up on the wall, and Buntyn’s former owner Betty Wiggins greets customers from her place of honor at the front of the restaurant. The café’s new location in White Station Tower in East Memphis allows patrons to travel back in time and enjoy old-school Southern cooking.
Bill Tull, uncle of current owner Mike Wiggins, opened Tull’s Buntyn Cafe on Southern Avenue in 1946, and the restaurant has been a family business ever since. Now, after past moves to Park Avenue and Appling, Buntyn Corner Cafe continues to be one of those Memphis spots where everyone who ventures in becomes a friend. “We built up our business by being nice to people,” Wiggins says.
The café opens at 7 a.m. for breakfast, with options including cereal, oatmeal, BLTs, biscuit sandwiches with egg, cheese, bacon, sausage, ham, or gravy, and house-made cinnamon rolls. Lunch is served on weekdays until 2 p.m. One busy Friday afternoon, half of our group opted for vegetable soup, pimento cheese, and toasted cheese sandwiches on wheat, and sides of northern beans and baked tater tots. The others ordered beef tips and chicken and dressing with side vegetables and, blessedly, those killer Bunytn yeast rolls. For dessert, we sampled peach cobbler, key lime pie, and a salted caramel brownie. The food was straightforward and hearty, and it’s served casually on disposable plates. It truly is the real deal: classic Southern dishes made with generations of expertise.
Memphis is fortunate to have its beloved Buntyn Cafe return. The Wiggins family remains an excellent example of the city’s restaurant owners who put a premium on serving the community with friendliness and grace foremost in mind.
5050 Poplar, Suite 107 (901-424-3286). Open Monday to Friday, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. $