But…before we left Tupelo, we did have to at least drive by a local tourist spot…and for many…a national shrine of major importance!
It was a little early…too early for the tour. This little 2 room shotgun style home was where Elvis Aaron Presley was born. His parents were Vernon and Gladys Love Presley. This critical occurrence in both music and cultural history took place on January 8, 1935. Elvis had a twin brother, Jesse Garon Presley, who was stillborn. Vernon was only 18 and Gladys was 22 at the time. Vernon built the house, only to lose it after ‘altering’ a check during tough times in 1938. Gladys was the strong one in the household...
Elvis lived in Tupelo for the first 13 years of his life. A local hardware store sold Elvis’s mother his first guitar when he was 10 years old. That store is also the place where he strummed his first few cords. Did you know that Elvis performed live on-air in Tupelo at the age of 12? It was on Mississippi Slim’s radio show…station WELO.
That Hardware Store is still in business…now being operated by the same family as an ACE Hardware. It’s in an old 3-story building in downtown Tupelo. In addition to Elvis’s home, there is an Elvis Driving Tour which takes you by several other local Elvis related landmarks. The Tupelo Auto Museum…with over 100 classic automobiles…has a 1976 Lincoln Mk IV on display that belonged to Elvis. (After seeing what I missed at the Auto Museum, I know that I’ll stop through Tupelo at least one more time)
For what to see and do in Tupelo…with its Elvis attractions…just go to http://www.tupelo.net/things/elvis_in_tupelo/default.aspx. For the Tupelo Auto Museum, go to www.tupeloautomuseum.com. For the Elvis birthplace/home, you can go to www.elvispresleybirthplace.com but when I checked it, the site was ‘under construction’. Their phone number is 662-841-1245.
We drove east for quite a while…bypassing the fast food joints…searching for someplace local to grab a bit of breakfast. Eventually, in downtown Hamilton Alabama, we came across Leonelli’s Coffee Buzz. It didn’t say breakfast on the outside but we figured that coffee and baked goods would suffice…
The interior was very coffee shop casual…with snacks and bakery items on display, pots of coffee at the ready, and best of all, a breakfast offering on the menu! It turns out that the expanded name of this restaurant is "Leonelli’s Coffee Buzz – Coffee House and Lunch Counter".
Here’s another interior shot of Leonelli’s. It shows the whimsical nature of the décor… As regards coffee, Laurie had a nice Espresso Latte. ($2.00) Along with other drinks and coffees, Leonelli’s offered espresso shots with your cup of house blend, a Café au Lait, Cappuccino, Hot Chocolate and a Chai Tea Latte.
The breakfast menu focused on Breakfast Sandwiches on an English Muffin, Wheat or White Toast. They ranged in price from $2.00 to $3.00. This Good Morning ‘Platter’, Laurie’s choice for breakfast, included 2 strips of bacon, 2 eggs and 2 slices of toast. ($3.00)
The lunch menu included a soup of the day; 4 different salads ranging from $3.50 to $5.50 with the addition of smoked chicken; and 8 different sandwiches. A grilled cheese sandwich with a tomato slice was $2.25 and a grilled pimento cheese sandwich cost $2.50. At the ‘high end’ of the price range, there was the Club Sandwich and the Philly Cheese Steak, either one for $3.50. Homemade desserts are served daily…but it was breakfast and we still had a lot of driving to do.
My breakfast was just like Laurie’s…except that I had a sausage patty instead of the bacon strips. It was $3.00. Beyond the ‘platters’, one could also order bacon or sausage with 2 pancakes for $3.50 or an Omelette with 3 ingredients for $3.75. Breakfast sides ranged from $.50 for grits to $2.00 for a Cinnamon Roll.
This is a very casual little place… The pricing is definitely a positive! Even the price of a cup of coffee was reasonable...$1.16 for a large cup. While it wasn’t the biggest breakfast we’ve ever had, it was perfect for me on a day when I had to do a lot of driving. (I have been known to doze off while driving…especially after a big meal)
Leonelli’s Coffee Buzz is only open from 7 am to 2 pm Monday through Friday. Two local ladies own and operate this business. It’s located on the west side of the Courthouse Square in Hamilton Alabama. Phone: 205-495-3500.
Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Thanks for stopping by and sharing another portion of our Tennessee - Arkansas road trip!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave