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We combed the Valley and ate our weight in waffles, Benedicts, bacon and biscuits to bring you the best places to brunch – or breakfast, if you’re one of those early risers we loathe/admire – right now.

But First, Brunch

Written by Leah LeMoine Category: Food & Drink Festivals Issue: March 2017
Group Free

We combed the Valley and ate our weight in waffles, Benedicts, bacon and biscuits to bring you the best places to brunch – or breakfast, if you’re one of those early risers we loathe/admire – right now.

A.M.anifesto
Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but brunch is the most important meal of the weekend. Once relegated to a special-occasion meal for WASPs (Easter, Mother’s Day, et al), the food world’s most delicious portmanteau has achieved glorious ubiquity in the last 10 years or so, fueled by sweet and savory food combos and bottomless mimosas. It’s rare now for a restaurant to not offer brunch, and, as the recipients of this bougie bounty, we offer our foodie gratitude – and this guide to Valley breakfasting and brunching.

Some are old stalwarts, some are trendy new kids on the block and some are downright surprising (nightlife hotspots “sun-lighting” as brunch havens, as it were). Gather your own brunch bunch and start noshing – and let us know what you discover.



The Classics
Beloved haunts in every region of the Valley.

Central Phoenix/Valleywide
Matt’s Big Breakfast

We’ve sung the praises of couple Matt and Erenia “Ernie” Pool’s tried and true breakfast joint since its hole-in-the-wall heyday at its original Downtown Phoenix location, and we continue to do so for the same reason: The food is simple, straightforward and made using the best local ingredients sourced by Matt himself, from Schreiner’s sausage to Roastery of Cave Creek coffee beans. You can’t go wrong with the Five Spot breakfast sandwich or the Belgian waffle with real maple syrup. Multiple locations, mattsbigbreakfast.com

Scottsdale
Perk Eatery

In a bright, airy diner (expanded in 2015 to include a bustling bar for the brunch crowd), Perk owners Pauline and Carmen Martinez sling greasy spoon favorites done Scottsdale-style: organic, cage-free eggs from Hickman’s Family Farms atop roasted pork and chipotle ricotta enchiladas; “Wine Country French Toast” with French Brie and rosemary-red wine syrup; and a “Fancy Pants Scramble” with garlicky spinach and fig compote. 6501 E. Greenway Pkwy., Scottsdale, 480-998-6026, perkeatery.com

North Valley
Original Breakfast House

California transplant John Stidham left restaurateur retirement to open OBH, a funky and colorful spot in a North Phoenix strip mall where you can get true throwback dishes – spam and eggs, biscuits and gravy, creamed chipped beef – and classics with yummy new twists, like lemon zest-infused pancakes, brioche cinnamon rolls and spicy Portuguese linguiça sausage and eggs. 13623 N. 32nd St., Phoenix, 602-482-2328, obhphx.com

East Valley
T.C. Eggington’s
Brunchery
Consistency – and tongue-in-cheek nomenclature – have been the key to success for this East Valley institution, founded by Thom and Kathy Coker in 1985, with Executive Chef Dean Delgado helming the kitchen for the last 27 years. Omelets, waffles and “girdle cakes” are perennial favorites, as are the smoothies and fresh-squeezed juices – not just orange, but grapefruit and apple, too – offered long before the fresh-pressed juice craze swept the Valley. 1660 S. Alma School Rd., Mesa, 480-345-9288, tcegg.com

West Valley
Kiss the Cook

Eating in Nancy Wallace’s kitschy Downtown Glendale restaurant (open since 1982) feels like dining at your kooky aunt’s house – huge portions, lots of love and kitschy, country-themed art (wicker baskets hang from the ceiling, mugs and stuffed cats hold court on shelves). Wallace’s omelets are extra cheesy, her pecan cinnamon rolls are extra sticky and her signature “baker’s basket” of assorted fresh mini muffins is extra comforting – definitely worth a kiss of gratitude. 4915 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale, 623-939-4663, kissthecookrestaurant.com

 

The Upstarts
These newbies are more than just flashes in the pan.

Fàme Caffe
Fàme is the Euro-Southwestern bistro of our dreams. Channel your inner Frenchie with Chef Ivan O’Farrill’s daily quiche with mixed greens or croque-madame made with nine-grain Noble bread, or have a desayuno mexicano with huevos rancheros or veggie enchiladas. O’Farrill’s wife Maria runs the front of the house with genuine warmth and great drinks, from specialty coffee to a short but impressive wine list (including a beautiful Mexican Cab that we thought was impossible to find in the U.S.). 4700 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-314-4660, famephx.com

Duza’s Kitchen
The wait can be long and service can be spotty, but they’re worth enduring for Chef Mensur Duzic’s globe-trotting brunch creations. Our favorites: Venezuelan arepas with giant beans, chorizo and fried eggs; the Indian/Mediterranean fusion breakfast naan with hummus, tzatziki, eggs and dolmades; and the Italian shepherd’s biscuit, topped with house-made ricotta, brisket, bacon, Italian sausage, avocado and eggs. Great pastries and daily specials, too. 2243 N. 12th St., Phoenix, 480-252-3787, duzaskitchen.com

The Hash Kitchen
After opening and closing a string of eateries at The Shops Gainey Village, co-owner/Executive Chef Joey Maggiore struck gold with this buzzy spot with a show-stopping DIY Bloody Mary bar (see Day Drinking, page 124). Weekend DJs lend a clubby vibe but, blissfully, never overshadow the food. The hash is obviously stellar, as are the French toast, breakfast lasagna (a traditional Italian lasagna stuffed with bacon, hash potatoes and eggs), and chicken and waffles, winningly topped with a nest of fried leeks. Bonus: An Arcadia location is brewing. 8777 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 480-947-3214, hashkitchen.com

Vovomeena
It’s not the newest on this list, but it may be our overall brunch favorite. DJ Fernandes’ and Jessica Ruiz’s stylish breakfast/brunch counter is intimate and hip without being pretentious. The food is hearty but never basic: The Mexican Benedict is served on sopes (thick masa cakes) and the biscuits and gravy put all other iterations to shame. Mostly, we love the Japanese cold brew coffee, served plain or in flavored flights. 1515 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix, 602-252-2541, vovomeena.com

The Coronado
Bacon, shmacon. Liam Murtagh’s and Emily Spetrino’s vegetarian eatery proves that a brunch can be plenty decadent and delicious without meat. To wit: the ultimate veg brunch spread. 2201 N. Seventh St., Phoenix, 602-252-1322, thecoronadophx.com

 







Brunch Bunches
The best places for every occasion, group and budget.

 

Swanky Brunch

 

Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn
Old Arizona charm with one of the best patios in the Valley.
Must order: Durum flour pancakes with Arizona honeycomb
5532 N. Palo Cristi Rd., Paradise Valley, 602-955-7878, hermosainn.com/lons/

Wandering Horse Buffet at Talking Stick Resort & Casino
A bacchanalian Champagne brunch on Sundays for $34.95 per person.
Must order: Alaskan king crab legs at the seafood station
9800 Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale, 480-850-7777, talkingstick.com

Artizen at The Camby
Decadent dishes at the Biltmore area’s new chic and sleek boutique hotel.
Must order: Smoked salmon tower, beignet with espresso anglaise
2401 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 602-522-6655, artizenaz.com

MATCH Cuisine & Cocktails at FOUND:RE Phoenix
Global bites in Downtown Phoenix’s coolest new artsy hotel.
Must order: Filipino chile relleno
1100 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-875-8080, matchphx.com

Geordie’s at the Wrigley Mansion
Brunch selections change with the chef’s whims at the $49 Sunday Champagne brunch at this Arizona landmark.
Must order: Seasonal quiche
2501 E. Telawa Trl., Phoenix, 602-955-4079, wrigleymansion.com/food-drink/

 

Greasy Spoon Brunch

 

Mel’s Diner
Classic dishes at the diner made famous by the TV show Alice.
Must order: Chicken fried steak and eggs, grits (to kiss, of course)
1747 Grand Ave., Phoenix, 602-252-8283

5th Avenue Café
Huge menu of American staples near the historical Willo neighborhood.
Must order: 5th Avenue Ranchero
501 W. Thomas Rd., Phoenix, 602-274-0963, 5thavenuecafephoenix.com

Sunny’s Diner
Affordable mom-and-pop shop near ASU.
Must order: Piglet skillet
1825 E. University Dr., Tempe, 480-966-2761, sunnysdinertempe.com

Wimpy’s Paradise
Retro hamburger and hot dog shack that serves breakfast on Sundays.
Must order: 7UP biscuits and gravy
48 S. San Marcos Pl., Chandler, 480-821-3197

Joe’s Diner
Breakfast favorites in the vintage shop nirvana of the Melrose District.
Must order: Buttermilk pancakes
4515 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix, 602-535-4999, joesdineraz.com

 

Ladies’ Brunch

 

Ocotillo
Gorgeous food served in a gorgeous building with a gorgeous patio.
Must order: Breakfast chimichanga
3243 N. Third St., Phoenix, 602-687-9080, ocotillophx.com

The Herb Box
Bright, clean and cute, with a menu developed by James Beard Award winner Alex Stratta.
Must order: Baby kale, Brie and green apple omelet
Multiple locations, theherbbox.com

St. Francis
Freshly baked bread and other delights from Chef Aaron Chamberlin’s wood-fired oven.
Must order: Pork chile verde with cornbread
111 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 602-200-8111, stfrancisaz.com

DeSoto Central Market
Multiple food stalls mean even your pickiest friend is satisfied.
Must order: Oysters at Walrus & The Pearl
915 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-680-7747, desotocentralmarket.com

Chelsea’s Kitchen
Sophisticated yet comfy standby from La Grande Orange Hospitality.
Must order: Chelsea’s eggs Benedict on LGO English muffin
5040 N. 40th St., Phoenix, 602-957-2555, chelseaskitchenaz.com

 

Hangover Brunch

 

Dick’s Hideaway
Rustic, masculine vibe and spicy, New Mexican-inflected dishes to wake you up.
Must order: Carne adovada and eggs
6008 N. 16th St., Phoenix, 602-241-1881, richardsonsnm.com/dicks-hideaway/

Pig & Pickle
Pork is king here, but hair-of-the-dog brunch cocktails are a close second.
Must order: Biscuits and tasso ham gravy
2922 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale, 480-990-1407, pigandpickle.com

Butterfield’s Pancake House & Restaurant/Butters Pancakes & Café
Same restaurant family, similar menus of homestyle favorites.
Must order: Pancakes, of course
Multiple locations, butterfieldsrestaurant.com, butterscafe.com

Southern Rail
Soak up last night’s debauchery with fried food and carbs.
Must order: Fried green tomato and pimento cheese po’ boy
300 W. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 602-200-0085, southernrailaz.com

Welcome Chicken + Donuts
Satisfy several cravings at once with salty chicken, sweet doughnuts and umami-rich ramen.
Must order: South by Southwest doughnut sandwich
1535 E. Buckeye Rd., Phoenix, 602-258-1655, welcomechickenanddonuts.com

 

Unexpected Brunch

 

The Mission
Scottsdale’s sexiest Mexican joint brings the heat at brunch. A North Scottsdale location is also in the works.
Must order: Corn and crab pancakes with smoked Oaxacan pasilla crema
3815 N. Brown Ave., Scottsdale, 480-636-5005, themissionaz.com

Postino WineCafe
The Valley’s signature wine bar got in on the brunch game? You’d better believe it.
Must order: B.E.L.T. breakfast panini
Multiple locations, postinowinecafe.com

Joe’s Midnight Run
Former drive-thru liquor store turned hip, late-night cocktail spot that offers a solid gold brunch.
Must order: Notorious BIG Burger, monkey bread
6101 N. Seventh St., Phoenix, 480-459-4467, joesmidnightrun.com

Palette at Phoenix Art Museum
Elevating brunch to a fine art on Sundays from noon to 3:30 p.m.
Must order: Beet and goat cheese salad
1625 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-257-2191, phxart.org/palette

Nami
Green’s sister restaurant slings super creative vegan specials – at press time, we were gaga for a mac and cheese and hashbrown burrito.
Must order: Tres leches French toast
2014 N. Seventh St., Phoenix, 602-258-6264, tsoynami.com

 

Day Drinking
Bottoms up, beverage lovers.

Bubbly
Splurge: Bevvy’s $250 Champagne breakfast
Brunch like royalty – at least like Scottsdale royalty – with a bottle of Dom Pérignon and two applewood smoked bacon-wrapped corn dogs.
4420 N. Saddlebag Trl., Scottsdale, 480-525-9300, bevvyaz.com

Save: Hob Nobs’ $6.99 bottomless mimosas
Bottomless mimosas are a dime a dozen these days, but we haven’t seen them cheaper than at this quirky coffee shop/restaurant.
149 W. McDowell Rd., Phoenix, 602-253-9220, hob-nobs.com

Bloody
Long the most socially acceptable way to get day-drunk, the Bloody Mary has enjoyed a DIY makeover in recent years – literally: personal customization is de rigueur for these acidic sips.

Bar: BYOB (Build Your Own Bloody) bars stocked with all manner of garnishes – salami, cheese, jerky, olives and pickles, to name a few – are popping up all over the Valley. For our money, the greatest quantity, diversity and quality of add-ons can be found at The Hash Kitchen (8777 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 480-947-3214, hashkitchen.com), Windsor (5223 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-279-1111,
windsoraz.com) and TapHouse Kitchen (6137 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 480-656-0012, taphousekitchen.com).

Cart: Servers at The Henry (4455 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 602-429-8020, foxrc.com/restaurants/the-henry) wheel around a Bloody cart stacked with enough infused vodkas (bacon vodka, anyone?) to get a Russian tipsy.


 

Breakfast Cocktails
Suffering from mimosa and Bloody Mary fatigue? Imbibe more innovative brunch libations at these three hot spots.

The Coronado
Pair your toast with the orange marmalade in The Cypress, which balances the citrusy sweetness with Lillet blanc, Commerce gin and lemon juice.
2201 N. Seventh St., Phoenix, 602-252-1322, thecoronadophx.com

The Gladly
Order from the stellar everyday cocktail list or slurp the Sunday brunch-only blood orange sorbet mimosa.
2201 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 602-759-8132, thegladly.com

Liberty Market
Like your coffee strong? Try the caffè coretto, an eye-opening mix of espresso, raw sugar and grappa or sambucca.
230 N. Gilbert Rd., Gilbert, 480-892-1900, libertymarket.com

 



Hot Dishes
The biggest brunch trends of 2017 – and our picks for the best versions.

 

Chilaquiles

 

Otro Café
Chef Doug Robson’s chilaquiles (corn tortilla chips smothered in salsa or mole) rojos are baked rather than fried, with zippy ranchero sauce and cooling Oaxacan cheese.
6035 N. Seventh St., Phoenix, 602-266-0831, otrocafe.com

The MARKET by Jennifer’s RESTAURANT + BAR
The addition of Go Lb Salt sriracha and lime crème gives Chef Jennifer Russo’s chilaquiles extra pep.
3603 E. Indian School Rd., Ste A, Phoenix, 602-626-5050, themarketphx.com

Habanero’s Mexican Grill
Ask for “Christmas style” chilaquiles to get a lattice of green and red chile sauces under a zigzag of crema.
Multiple locations, habaneros.mx

 

Biscuits and Gravy with a Twist

 

The Joy Bus Diner
Buttery biscuits with crispy tops stand up to cheesy, saffron yellow sausage gravy.
3375 E. Shea Blvd., Phoenix, 602-595-5884, thejoybusdiner.com


Phoenix Public Market Café
Chorizo adds a fiery note to the gravy, creating a spicy/creamy effect that strangely but deliciously evokes a Southwestern tikka masala.
14 E. Pierce St., Phoenix, 602-253-2700, phxpublicmarket.com/cafe/

Vovomeena
Chipotle, huge hunks of sausage and a sprinkling of fresh parsley make this gravy particularly addictive.
1515 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix, 602-252-2541, vovomeena.com

 

Fun French Toast

 

The Hash Kitchen
French toast to satisfy every sweet tooth: banana split brioche, coconut- and almond-encrusted, Nutella and banana. Here’s to hoping the Lucky Charms version returns to the menu soon.
8777 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 480-947-3214, hashkitchen.com

Original Breakfast House
“San Francisco style” means deep-fried sourdough slabs perfect for drenching in maple syrup.
13623 N. 32nd St., Phoenix, 602-482-2328, obhphx.com

Yoli’s Café
Yoli’s Hawaiian French toast is light, eggy and served with spicy orange marmalade.
241 S. Oregon St., Chandler, 480-726-9654, yoliscafe.com

 

Savory Crêpes

 

Crêpe Bar
CB finally got a liquor license, so now you can order a brunch ‘tail with your Papa K crêpe, full of Hassayampa ham, eggs, roasted mushrooms and chile Jack cheese.
7520 S. Rural Rd., Tempe, 480-247-8012, crepe-bar.com

The Village Coffee & Crêperie
The breakfast crêpe is stuffed with scrambled eggs, spinach, tomatoes, red bell peppers, mushrooms and cheese.
7100 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, 480-488-3835, thevillagecoffeeshop.com

Colados Coffee and Crêpes
Colados’ chipotle crêpe bulges with ham and cheese and is topped with chipotle dressing, more melted cheese and fresh lettuce and tomato.
10685 W. Indian School Rd., Avondale, 623-215-3826, coladoscoffee.com

 

Full-Service Bakeries/Cafes

 

Downtown Chandler Café and Bakery
Pastry chef Hector Velazquez and his wife Lupe offer a full menu of breakfast faves plus fresh ciabatta, cheesecake and tarts.
40 S. San Marcos Pl., Chandler, 480-855-3212, downtownchandlercafe.com

Jewel’s Bakery & Café
Everything is gluten-free at Jewel’s, from the waffles to the rocky road brownies. The bakery now offers mail delivery of delicious celiac-friendly bread, muffins, cookies and more.
4041 E. Thomas Rd., Phoenix, 602-714-5243, jewelsbakeryandcafe.com

Sassy’s Café & Bakery
“Dessert served ALL DAY” Sassy’s boasts. Thank goodness – its cupcakes, cookies and pies should not be limited by the clock.
4210 E. Main St., Mesa, 480-649-3067, sassyscafeandbakery.com

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