For the perfect start to your day, where should you head for breakfast during your Phoenix stay? It depends. If you're craving a healthy, wholesome breakfast crafted from only the finest organic ingredients, you'll want to check out the morning delicacies offered at the Pomegranate Cafe, a Chandler-area eatery that has elevated the French Toast to new heights. Biscuits and gravy more your speed this morning? Check out Biscuits, a neighborhood cafe dishing out big, buttery stacks of pancakes and some of the best chicken fried steak platters in the city. More homespun goodness abounds at Joe's Diner, where the freshly made cinnamon rolls and coffee make a perfect morning pair. If you want to eat like the locals, congregate outside the tiny house in central Phoenix where Matt's Big Breakfast dishes out made-from-scratch Belgian waffles and specialty plates like The Chop & Chick, two eggs served with a skillet-seared Iowa pork chop. Over at La Grande Orange Grocery in Phoenix's leafy Arcadia neighborhood, locals gather to enjoy the gourmet coffee and rise and shine menu, featuring eggs to order, veggie breakfast burritos, freshly griddled English muffins, and local organic fresh fruit. If enjoying your first meal al fresco sounds divine, you'll want to enjoy your breakfast at The Farm at South Mountain, where seasonal breakfast and brunch dishes are hand-crafted and served at the Morning Glory Cafe, one of the city's prettiest breakfast spots.
10 Dick's Hideaway
Rustic yet casually upscale, Dick's Hideaway is the kind of place locals take out-of-towners for an authentic taste of traditional Southwest flavors. Lunch, breakfast and dinner is served at this small local gem, where the smell of slow-roasted pork greets the steady stream of diners at all hours of day. The Southwest-inspired botanas (appetizers) menu makes a great starting point . Try the roasted garlic plate, served with roasted peppers and green chiles bubbling over with flavor, or the tomatillo toast, grilled chicken and ham served over toast and smothered in green chile peppers, tomatillo salsa and cheddar cheese. Although you can get great burgers, salads and past at Dick's, the Santa Fe Trail menu is the real star of the show. For a little taste of everything, try the New Mexican Platter, featuring a red chile pork tamale, cheese relleno, chicken burro, rice and beans�all simmered in your choice of green or red sauce. But if you want to eat like a local, try the Carne Adovada, a house favorite featuring smoked pork roast simmered in red chile and served with rice, beans and a tortilla. Not to be missed for a true taste of the southwest. ((602) 265-5886)
"The most important meal of the day!" reads the breakfast menu at Biscuits, a popular mom-and-pop diner dishing out hot, delicious breakfast platters for a steady cadre of regulars. Old-fashioned breakfasts are the specialty here, including huge omelet platters, pancakes, and a large selection of house specialties. Dishes are prepared with fresh, local ingredients whenever possible, adding to the charm of this local diner. If you enjoy the heartiness of a giant chicken fried steak platter in the morning, you won't want to leave Biscuit's without trying this house specialty. And if you're watching the waistline, Biscuit's also offers a low fast breakfast menu. (480-209-1850)
8 Joe's Diner
This friendly breakfast and lunch diner harks back to the days when the waitress always knew your name and you could buy a cup of coffee with the spare change in your pocket. Joe's Diner is definitely a blast from the past, featuring down-home classics like buttery pancakes made from scratch, cinnamon rolls, and the delectable homemade chorizo gravy and biscuits. Biscuits and gravy is a staple of Joe's, and you won't want to leave without trying the coffee. Joe's Diner prides itself on its Arbuckles' Ariosa Coffee, roasted daily in Tucson. Settle into a booth and prepare to be delighted by your first meal of the day. ((602) 535-4999)
This quick casual restaurant grabbed the spotlight a few years ago, earning a reputation as one of the most popular breakfast spots around town, and even appearing on several cable television programs. In hindsight, it's plain to see what all the fuss was about: classic breakfast dishes served with contemporary panache and made using only the freshest ingredients around. For an inventive take on breakfast, try one of their Brizzas--breakfast pizzas. Quick and casual service makes this breakfast joint a perfect choice for a busy morning. All dishes are created using local ingredients from Arizona farmers and vendors whenever possible. ((602) 374-2294)
6 Acacia Cafe
This charming neighborhood cafe is a favorite with the ladies who lunch set. However, Acacia Cafe is also a popular and top-notch breakfast cafe. The menu features a full breakfast and lunch menu featuring breakfast burritos, scrambles, omelets, fresh-baked pastries, veggie paninis, nicoise salads, and iced coffees. Locally owned and operated cafe, Acacia Cafe is situated in the popular Arcadia neighborhood and prides itself on using local ingredients and products whenever possible. Come here for a freshly prepared breakfast in one of the most picturesque settings in town. This is a great place to bring a friend and enjoy the lovely outdoor patio. ((602) 956-0908)
5 32 Shea
Located on 32nd Street and Shea, this dog-friendly cafe has become a coveted gathering spot for early morning risers. The small breakfast menu features egg sandwiches, breakfast burritos, and other assorted breakfast items. For a hearty start, try the New Mexico burrito, made with potatoes, egg, cheese, bacon and homemade green salsa. A large gourmet coffee-espresso bar makes this a great place to charge your batteries before starting your day. A cozy, comfortable cafe with friendly morning service, 32 Shea is a neighborhood gem for morning people in the know. ((602) 867-7432)
4 La Grande Orange Grocery
In a neighborhood increasingly known for the quality of its restaurant offerings, La Grande Orange is helping bump up the options. Small and friendly, it limits its menu in order to focus on superb ingredients, and the deliberate formula has elicited great response. Essentially, you can order only a pizza, salad, hamburger, or dessert, but gourmet food combinations and perfect preparation more than compensate for the brevity. Salads feature golden beets, grilled figs, and asparagus while pizzas with thin, crisp, sourdough crusts are loaded with rock shrimp, exotic mushrooms, goat cheese, and herbs. Burgers are sumptuous too. A communal table amid individual ones promotes camaraderie in the small space. For early risers, LGO offers one of the most popular breakfast menus in town, featuring omelets, breakfast burritos, and other assorted breakfast items. (602-840-7777)
3 Pomegranate Cafe
Delicious meets nutritious at this Chandler-area gem. Healthy, wholesome, yet still delectable, brunch and lunch selections are artfully created and served using only the highest quality ingredients. Try the Breakfast Burrito, made with your choice egg or tofu, seasonal veggies, harvest hash, anasazi beans, vegan or cheddar cheese and then wrapped in a spinach tortilla and served with the house salsa. French toast is an art here, and the a selection of fresh baked goods is available for you to take home. If greasy breakfasts are not your thing, head to the Pomegranate Cafe, where flavor and quality combine for a perfect first meal. ((480) 706-7472)
2 Matt's Big Breakfast
If you don't know where Matt's Big Breakfast is, no problem. Simply look for the long trail of chatting, slightly restless men and women lined up outside a modest brick house on First Street. This is Matt's Big Breakfast, one of the city's most popular breakfast destinations, especially on the weekends. Try the Hog and Chick, two eggs with your choice of thick-cut bacon, country sausage, or off-the-bone ham. Lunch, featuring a short menu of sandwich classics such as The Classic Reuben and BLT, is served starting at 11am. ((602) 254-1074)
1 The Farm at South Mountain
This combination kitchen, cafe, artist studio, and working farm is also one of Phoenix's most popular morning spots for the discerning breakfast set. The Farm's Morning Glory Cafe, open seasonally, is a signature breakfast spot serving house-baked muffins and pastries, seasonal omelets, locally-made sausages, and other delights hand-picked from the farm garden. The weekend homestyle breakfast and brunch menu includes hearty, Southwestern-inspired plates such as the Cowboy Chili & Eggs and the Huevos Rancheros, made here with refried Arizona tepary beans, corn tortilla, grated cheese, Ranchero Sauce, fresh avocado, and two over easy eggs. Enjoy a stroll under the pecan groves after your meal. (602-276-6360)
About Patricia Escarcega
Patricia Escarcega has lived in the Arizona desert since she was a teenager. She works as a writer and editor in Phoenix with her four dogs and two cats.
She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona and is working on a novel about growing up in the 1990s.
Read more about Patricia Escarcega here.