Perfect poached eggs and squeal-inducing sweets make Denver’s hip brunch spot worth the wait.
Dining shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all experience: Just ask Jon Schlegel, founder of Denver-based Snooze. The trendy breakfast joint opened in the Mile High City in 2006, preaching a doctrine of scratch recipes, eco-friendly practices and customizable plates – a formula so popular it spawned seven more locations.
Phoenix is the latest city to hit the Snooze button. Town & Country’s former Souper! Salad! underwent a facelift in the process, transforming into a retro-modern diner with circular lounging booths, atomic-era starbursts and a ‘70s bowling alley palette.
Waits at this hipster hive can be upwards of two hours on weekends, which is where Schlegel’s hospitality comes in handy. Robust Guatemalan coffee is gratis and diners are free to roam while awaiting a breakfast buzz. The eatery also welcomes custom orders. It’s a little like the choose-your-own-adventure books I devoured as a child – except at Snooze, there’s always a happy ending.
Snooze’s poached eggs looked fairytale perfect on each of the six Benedicts I sampled. Mexican shredded beef and sauce-soaked tortillas ferry chilaquiles Benedict ($11.50) over the taste border, while velvety Swiss cheese bread pudding turns the Havana benny ($11.50) into a decadent departure from the classic Cuban sandwich. The latter’s slow-roasted pork is lean and moist, with a tangy brisket flavor that stands up to pungent Dijon hollandaise and sour pickles. Sadly, the Upstream Benny ($11.50) sinks due to pungent salmon and dry, mealy “spoonbread” that tastes like a stale corn muffin.
The flaky phyllo islands of Snooze’s breakfast pot pie ($9), on the other hand, are delicate and crisp. Spicy sausage chunks and lip-smacking rosemary gravy ground the airy pastry, which softens into a gooey crust when submerged. Snooze’s eponymous breakfast burrito ($9) gets a refreshing boost from tangy green chile, and flavorful Niman Ranch ham makes the spinach-studded green eggs and hamwich ($9) one breakfast sammy Dr. Seuss’ Sam would appreciate.
Lunchtime sandwiches are equally appealing. Crisp bacon, fresh mozzarella and finger-licking pesto mayo elevate Snooze’s Mmmm.B.L.T. ($11) above the banal brunch staple, and even kraut haters can’t resist the wheaty pretzel roll and tender, flavorful corned beef of the Peter Paul Rubens ($10).
Snooze offering a dessert menu is akin to the proverbial “selling ice to Eskimos.” The aptly named OMG! French toast ($9.50) is a squeal-inducing sundae of buttery brioche smothered in rich vanilla crème, agave-soaked strawberries, salted caramel and coconut. Some equally sassy expletives were elicited over indulgent pancakes served in full and side orders ($7.50/$4.50), or as a customizable flight of three ($8.50).
Blueberry Danish pancakes are dead ringers for the pastry, down to the subtle lemony undertone I remember from the Danishes at my hometown bakery. Pineapple upside-down flapjacks taste like the love child of cake and a cinnamon roll, while the sweet potato pancakes are dense and savory.
Schlegel was smart in recognizing that breakfast can be comforting without being confining. With pancake flights, half-and-half options and tweaked basics like the breakfast pot pie, Snooze makes it easy to resist hitting the snooze button one more time.
Snooze, an A.M. Eatery
Contact: Town & Country Shopping Center, 2045 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 480-725-8000, snoozeeatery.com
Hours: 6:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
Highlights: Chilaquiles Benedict ($11.50); Havana Benedict ($11.50); breakfast pot pie ($9); green eggs and hamwich ($9); Peter Paul Rubens ($10); OMG! French toast ($9.50); blueberry Danish pancakes ($7.50)
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