Best Neighborhood Breakfast, West Valley

New York Flavor

New York Flavor

The breakfast sandwich might be one of life's most simple yet satisfying creations. And ex-Gothamite Bill Olear makes a fine one — in the form of the classic New York egg sandwich — at his cozy New York-style eatery in Surprise. He packs it into a pillowy Kaiser roll, and you'll want to add bacon and a slice of American cheese (that's how Olear likes 'em). And for those who want to wake up on the sweet side, thick, golden slices of challah bread French toast, kissed with cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla, may have you setting your alarm clock early.

Best Neighborhood Breakfast, North Valley

Perk Eatery

Perk Eatery

Perk's classic pancakes — hot, fluffy, and sweetly kissed with vanilla — are a breakfast treat good enough to keep you thinking about them the rest of the day. Of course, there also are caramelized banana nut pancakes, crispy potato pancakes, and the lemon ricotta pancake special that sells out on a regular basis. And just when you think you might have your breakfast pick down pat, consider the homemade corned beef country-style hash, Fancy Pants Scramble, and rotating specials like the Porky Pig breakfast sandwich and biscuits and gravy. It's a morning conundrum of the comfort food kind.

Best Neighborhood Breakfast, Scottsdale

ZuZu

ZuZu at Hotel Valley Ho
Courtesy of ZuZu

If you're the morning sort who imagines plates of thick French toast stuffed with lemon cream cheese and tender short rib hash with sweet potatoes and caramelized onions served up in a scene of mid-century swank, then ZuZu might be the breakfast place of your fantasies. Inside the Hotel Valley Ho, Scottsdale's onetime Hollywood hideaway built in 1956, ZuZu's updated American breakfast eats can be had in a sprawling, stylish room of Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired columns, floor-to-ceiling windows, and secluded circular booths — which, by the way, prove perfect when packing away an extra complimentary fresh-baked scone.

Essence Bakery Cafe
Courtesy of Essence Bakery

If we could get away with having a few of chef Eugenia Theodosopoulous' heavenly macarons for breakfast every day, we would. But until then, we'll settle for the holy trinity of local, organic, and seasonal sunrise eats served up at her (and husband Gilles Combes') always-bustling counter-service café. On the sweet side, we're partial to the brioche French toast featuring a sinfully good hazelnut-topped banana-caramel sauce. For savory, we like the seasonal, veggie-filled French crepes topped with a crazy-creamy béchamel. And when it comes to specialty pastries, the croissants here are divine. Amen.

Best Neighborhood Breakfast, Southeast Valley

Yoli's Cafe

Yoli's is a kind of breakfast-at-a-friend's place. On a side street in downtown Chandler, the cozy little converted home serves up affordable ante meridian fare like skillets, burritos, omelets, and the Mornin' Monte, a comforting sandwich featuring egg whites, turkey, bacon, and Havarti cheese served on signature Hawaiian French toast with spicy and sweet marmalade. And its easygoing nature makes lingering over a cup of coffee feel as natural as the sound of frying bacon or the sight of the sun peeking over the still-dark desert mountains.

The Mission
Jackie Mercandetti

Whatever brunch spot you're thinking about at the moment probably isn't quite like The Mission. With its chandeliers, ornate mirrors, and backlit wall of salt blocks, the low-lit room takes on the kind of seductiveness usually reserved for moonlit evenings. And the modern Latin temptations from chef Matt Carter — comfortably spiced red chilaquiles with meltingly tender pork; delicate corn pancakes topped with Dungeness crab and heady smoked Oaxacan pasilla crema; and spicy Peruvian chicken with pecan-kissed waffles and bacon-studded maple syrup — are as apt to get you out of bed as back into it. Not such a bad thing for a relaxing weekend, especially with a fresh mimosa to help in the decision-making.

Duck And Decanter
Jamie Peachey

Ask Phoenicians about the sandwiches at any location of the 40-year-old Duck and Decanter and they're likely to say the fresh and hearty hoagies (second lunch, anyone?) are as delectable now as the first time they had them. There are the classic customizable creations (think white albacore tuna on marble rye, seasoned roast beef with horseradish, and smoky braunschweiger with a slice of specialty cheese), as well as signature sandwiches like the Duckling, made with smoked duck and turkey breast, cream cheese, and cranberry relish on cranberry walnut bread. For a downtown "nooner" of the dependable sort, this Duck's no quack-up.

Welcome Diner
Jackie Mercandetti Photo

Former food truck owners Michael Babcock and Jenn Robinson have taken over this iconic, nine-seat diner at 10th and Roosevelt streets and turned it into a kind of roadside stop by way of the South. The best dish on the menu is the fried chicken buttermilk biscuit sandwich, featuring crispy chunks of buttermilk-battered meat (with a seasoning that would make the Colonel blush), melted cheddar, bacon, and thick, white, peppery sausage gravy between moist, tinged-brown biscuits. Then there's the killer red beans and rice and the country-style poutine slathered in cheddar cheese and sausage gravy. Southern comfort never felt so compact — or so cozy.

Pomeroy's
Lauren Cusimano

This Central Phoenix drinkery has been around long enough to understand the finer points of bar cuisine: no-fuss, greasy-spoon fare that perfectly complements whatever cheap domestic draft swill is poisoning your liver on any given sitting. A well-worn griddle is key, and a bedraggled short-order cook who takes great pride in the comestibles he sets forth is essential. It's all here at this windowless saloon, where daylight is anathema to the dining experience: a neighborhood-renowned grilled cheese, a patty melt that puts gourmet burgers three times its price to shame, and a turkey green chile melt that is just pleasantly greasy enough that you'll want extra napkins on hand. Oh, and one more thing: chili cheese fries. See you there.

Citizen Public House

At Citizen Public House, tables are almost an afterthought. This place takes its cocktails as seriously as its food, and while no one's inviting you into the kitchen, you can watch head bartender Richie Moe put the craft in craft cocktail as you relax at the beautiful bar. Chef Bernie Kantak's food takes no backseat, however. From his infamous chopped salad to the to-die-for (we hope not literally!) fried chicken, Kantak knows what we want and we keep coming back.

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