Best Bet: BLTs

Best Bet: BLT

The BLT&A Panini served at Cafe Eclectic updates the classic bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich with the addition of creamy avocado, and it’s served on crusty Italian-style ciabatta. Photos by Michael Donahue/The Commercial Appeal

Photo by Michael Donahue // Buy this photo

The BLT&A Panini served at Cafe Eclectic updates the classic bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich with the addition of creamy avocado, and it’s served on crusty Italian-style ciabatta. Photos by Michael Donahue/The Commercial Appeal

The BLT&A Panini served at Cafe Eclectic updates the classic bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich with the addition of creamy avocado, and it’s served on crusty Italian-style ciabatta. Photos by Michael Donahue/The Commercial Appeal

Photo by Michael Donahue

The BLT&A Panini served at Cafe Eclectic updates the classic bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich with the addition of creamy avocado, and it’s served on crusty Italian-style ciabatta. Photos by Michael Donahue/The Commercial Appeal

Bryant’s Breakfast serves the BLT in the classic style, with iceberg lettuce, toasted white bread and pickle slices.

Photo by Michael Donahue

Bryant’s Breakfast serves the BLT in the classic style, with iceberg lettuce, toasted white bread and pickle slices.

The Fried Green Tomato BLT at Sweet Grass Next Door.

Photo by Michael Donahue

The Fried Green Tomato BLT at Sweet Grass Next Door.

April is National BLT month, so it’s time to get a jump-start on finding that great bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich.

My mom made them with white bread, lettuce, bacon and mayonnaise. The closest I found to her sandwich was at Bryant’s Breakfast. This classic BLT is served on toasted white bread with bacon, iceberg lettuce, mayonnaise and a dill pickle stuck into the top of each half of the sandwich with a toothpick. I ate every crumb. It brought back

memories of childhood summer lunches followed by comic book reading and PayDay candy bar eating.

“We’ve had the BLT as long as we’ve had the restaurant,” said Kerrie Bryant Burton, one of the owners. “It’s very popular. People get it for breakfast. And they’ll get it on white bread, not toasted. Get it on wheat. A lot of customers want an egg on it.”

Then there are those “who want cheese and mustard, all that stuff. Just ’cause you have a menu, that doesn’t mean anything these days. People create their own things.”

If you want a BLT that’s nothing like the one your mom made, try the BLT & A Panini at Cafe Eclectic. It has bacon, lettuce and tomato, but it also comes with avocado and is served on sliced ciabatta, Italian bread with a slightly crispy crust. For an additional fee, you can add grilled chicken and rémoulade.

Cafe Eclectic has served the BLT&A since it opened, said Cathy Boulden. She wanted a BLT on the menu. “It just seemed like a basic warm puppy,” she said.

Avocado? “Everything’s better with avocado.”

The sandwich is a customer favorite, Boulden said. “Most months it’s the No. 1 seller. Sometimes, for a special, we’ll do the salmon BLT&A. That sells out every time.”

Another delicious take on the BLT is the Fried Green Tomato BLT at Sweet Grass Next Door. It consists of bacon, green leaf lettuce and fried green tomatoes with sweet pepper relish and ranch dressing on milk bread.

The tomatoes are breaded in red pepper flake corn meal batter, said Ryan Trimm, owner and chef.

And those tomatoes are plump. The sandwich came open-faced, so the plate was covered with the tomatoes drizzled with sweet pepper relish, bread, lettuce and bacon. Instead of trying to put the whole thing together, I just ate it with a fork.

“A good sandwich is kind of messy, I think,” said bartender Drew Wooten.

Since April is BLT Month, Trimm said he might offer one of the restaurant’s past specials: a BLT using pork belly instead of bacon, and arugula instead of lettuce.

Bryant’s Breakfast, 3965 Summer; 901-324-7494.

Cafe Eclectic’s locations include 603 N. McLean; 901-725-1718.

Sweet Grass Next Door, 937 S. Cooper; 901-278-0278.

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