“PEOPLE WHO LOVE TO EAT ARE ALWAYS THE BEST PEOPLE.” So says a sign outside this bustling breakfast-and-lunch hipster haunt located next door to Tuck Shop in the Coronado Historic District – formerly the home of Astor House barbecue. The quote is attributed to Julia Child, and if she’s right, then Duza’s, with its small but comfortable dining room hung with intriguing local art, may well make you a better person. Their breakfast menu, offered from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. (lunch starts at 11 a.m.) ranges from the Mexican breakfast torte ($10.99) – a sandwich of sausage, chorizo, cheese and avocado with zesty, tongue-awakening poblano and pico de gallo – to tasty locally-sourced baked treats like sweet tea breads ($2.75).
Must try: If your morning tastes run to the not-so-spicy, the pumpkin quinoa porridge ($9.99), blending the grain with sweet potato purée, almond milk, cinnamon, nuts and other goodies, will wake you up sweetly.
2243 N. 12th St., Phoenix, 480-252-3787, duzaskitchen.com
Alma WxSW Cuisine
Walls lined with rusty squares of metal and booths upholstered in cowhide give this newish Scottsdale joint the feel of an upscale avant-garde bunkhouse. As the “WxSW” in the name suggests, the fare is likewise regional in approach, including the extensive breakfast options. Both “West” and “Southwest” get separate menus; from the former I chose the “Over-Worked Cowboy” ($14), a chicken-fried steak over pork green chile and under two eggs. For an over-worked food critic, it was a superlative way to start the day. From the “Southwest” side, the green chile also figures in the Tres Locos ($13), along with red chipotle beef chile and beans served on three tortillas with eggs. (It’s great, too, but watch out for the searing red chile.) This isn’t just a great breakfast place – serving lunch and dinner, it’s also one of the Valley’s best new restaurants, period.
Must try: Hard to say whether the lemon-ricotta pancakes ($12) are “West” or “Southwest,” but they’re the best flapjacks I’ve had in years. The zing of the lemon and creaminess of the ricotta make a great team.
8989 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 480-621-5254, almascottsdale.com
Lone Spur Cafe
This Peoria location of the Prescott favorite – additional locations are planned for Gilbert and for Durango, Colorado – offers a more conventional take on the cowboy breakfast than that of Alma WxSW, but no less hearty and satisfying. The vaquero classic huevos rancheros ($10.79) features eggs on a tortilla with salsa, beans and cheese, with sour cream, bacon and Lone Spur’s festive fried taters on the side. It’s a daunting plate, no doubt, but if you’ve just ridden into Peoria from the long and dusty trail, it won’t leave you hungry. Nor will the Wagon Wheel Pancake ($8.99), a stack’s worth of batter in one big circle, served with eggs and bacon or sausage.
Must try: From several promising Benedicts, the Cowboy Benedict ($11.39) doesn’t disappoint – biscuits replace the muffin, and the ham and eggs are topped with delectably meaty gravy.
9780 W. Northern Ave., Peoria, 623-236-8025, lonespurcafe.com
The Perch Pub & Brewery
Do you like a nice, quiet breakfast? Then maybe the Perch Pub shouldn’t be your first choice for a.m. dining. Same if you’re one of the many people who feel phobic about birds. The craft brewery in downtown Chandler doubles as a haven for rescued macaws, parakeets, cockatoos and other brilliantly-plumed exotic species, so your meal, especially if you eat al fresco, will be accompanied by their squawks and screeches – and, sometimes, clearly enunciated words. Non-ornithophobes will be happy to know Perch serves a scrumptious breakfast from 9 to 11 a.m. The basic two eggs ($7) features a flawlessly-staged, Instagram-worthy pair of huevos alongside thick bacon and potatoes, while the beer-braised pork belly ($14) offers three thick, gloriously fatty slabs of pig paunch blanketed with cheesy hollandaise.
Must try: The heavenly cinnamon-raisin French toast ($11), with each piece of brioche topped with a strawberry slice, renders syrup gratuitous.
232 S. Wall St., Chandler, 480-773-7688, perchpubbrewery.com
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