Descriptive Essay: A Kitchen for The King

Open since 1919, the Arcade restaurant in downtown Memphis is best known for the booth where Elvis Presley liked to eat lunch while recording at Sun Studios in the 1950s.

The seventh booth, The King’s booth, sits at the end of the restaurant near a rear exit that Presley would use, allowed by a deal with the owner at the time, Harry Zepatos Sr., after spotting fans and reporters at the entrance.

Known for feeding The King, the Arcade restaurant’s kitchen resembles a battlefield of vegetables, fruits and breads that transform into breakfast, lunch and dinner plates.

In the kitchen, baguettes are thrown into the deep-fryer, later to become french toast, while hash browns are being piled on top of a stove.

The walls drip with liquid, only seen by the naked eye when watching the pancakes carelessly being thrown into the air by spatulas.

Cooks and “preppers” yell to and at each other from the corners of the space, throwing biscuits at one another despite the orders on the screens above.

A man working the line, prepares an Elvis sandwich that is filled with peanut butter, bananas and, often times, bacon.

Despite the floors resembling a pool filled with oil and butter-n-a-can, the sandwich reaches the stovetop unscathed.

A plate is pushed out of a window connected to the kitchen onto a waiting area where The King’s sandwich is covered by fries that are later nudged into place.

A server, in the ninth hour of her shift, picks up the hot plate without flinching and places it on booth seven.

The sandwich is gone within minutes and the pleased customers depart from the restaurant through the back exit, the way The King would, leaving cash on the table.

The restaurant that opened in 1919 will remain the same for the next century to come with the help of 50s architecture, a peanut butter and banana sandwich and The King.