Editor's note: This story was originally published on February 15, 2016. It was updated on March 7, 2019.
The most important meal of the day can't be squandered on just any old restaurant. No, around Phoenixland, we take our breakfast very seriously. That means we hunted down the best places in the Valley for everything from pancakes, bacon, and eggs, to more nontraditional morning fare like pork chops and doughnuts smothered in syrup and authentic New York bagels loaded with pastrami and eggs.
Start your day off right with a meal at one of these best breakfast spots in greater Phoenix.
Matt's Big Breakfast
We'll start with Phoenix's most famous breakfast spot, Matt's Big Breakfast. It serves homestyle breakfast, including the Hog & Chick, a classic combination of two eggs, bacon or sausage, toast, and potatoes. Known as much for its long lines as for its excellent food, Matt's had to expand from its original 800-square-foot restaurant to a larger spot downtown, plus branches in the Biltmore area and Tempe. Just about everything on the restaurant's short but satisfying menu is worth a try, but for your first visit, don't miss the thick-cut peppered bacon, buttery hash browns, and homemade strawberry preserves.
4700 North Central Avenue
This sun-soaked central Phoenix cafe, located south of Camelback Road on Central Avenue, serves healthy morning fare in a setting that's guaranteed to make you feel good. You won't find anything overly complicated on the menu, but the selection of omelets, French toast, and other dishes is always consistent and made from scratch with local ingredients including vegetables from Maya’s Farm, cheese from Crow's Dairy, and, of course, meats from Schreiner's sausages. With a near-perfect cup of Passport Coffee and free Wi-Fi, you'll be armed to settle in for a leisurely meal.
The Farmhouse Restaurant
228 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert
You won't find any breakfast innovations at this Gilbert eatery, but you will find hot coffee, friendly servers, two dozen varieties of omelets (in addition to the choice to design your own), and some of the best cinnamon rolls in town. Hidden in plain site just next door to newer, trendier spots like Liberty Market and Postino, The Farmhouse transports you far away from the burgeoning streets of downtown Gilbert and into a picture-perfect rural setting, where breakfast is always hearty and served with a smile. Ham steak and ground chuck patties come served with eggs your way — but whatever you do, save room to share one of the Farmhouse Famous Cinnamon Rolls.
Snooze: an AM Eatery
Breakfast doesn't get more fun than at Snooze, a Denver-based breakfast and brunch chain with several locations in metro Phoenix (and growing to seems). Diners can look forward to a retro-modern design and perks like free coffee and games while you wait for a table — which you almost always will do on weekend mornings. Once you're settled into your signature round booth, select from options including an extensive menu of pancakes, seasonal varieties of eggs Benedict, and a whole section dedicated to hollandaise sauce. There's also an impressive lineup of breakfast cocktails — Snooze offers not one, but four types of Bloody Marys and seven kinds of mimosas.
Original Breakfast House
13623 North 32nd Street
In many ways, Original Breakfast House is the quintessential neighborhood diner. There's the pot of coffee your server leaves on the table so you can refill your mug at your leisure, the eclectic décor (which includes both a Bob Marley poster and a white board of daily specials), and the casual chatter of regular diners as they're greeted by staff. But take a closer look at the restaurant's menu and you'll find a few unexpected entrées listed alongside plates of "San Francisco-style" French toast, omelets, and biscuits and gravy. We love the linguica and cheddar scramble, which features spicy Portuguese sausage, and the Spam and eggs, served over cilantro-lime rice and a side of mango salsa. The restaurant's pancakes also are worth a try. Kissed with a hint of lemon, they're just the right amount of sweet even before you dip them in Mrs. Butterworth's syrup.
1526 East McDowell Road
Lindsey Magee's bakery and sandwich shop on McDowell Road might just be one of the better breakfast spots in the Valley. For $8, you can snag a made-to-order breakfast sandwich served on a house-made biscuit or croissant and loaded with eggs and your choice of meat, cheese, and vegetables. And while the sandwich makes a great breakfast on the go, we also love options like the pork chile verde, a succulent mound of shredded pork served over a biscuit and topped with a fried egg, and ricotta pancakes, a triple stack that comes topped with fruit compote and butter.
Restaurateur Eliot Wexler's Tempe restaurant Nocawich promises "fine food fast," but that sentiment doesn't quite capture his penchant for turning normal breakfast foods like burritos and sandwiches into decadent dishes. Wexler goes the extra mile to bring in high-quality ingredients, resulting in come creative breakfast burritos. Consider the Chilaquile Burrito with chorizo, guajillo chilaquiles, beans, onions, cheddar, crema, cilantro. And more often than not, aside from chorizo, the burritos are filled with french fries.
1515 North Seventh Avenue, #170
Located on Seventh Avenue and McDowell Road, this breakfast spot comes from local restaurateur DJ Fernandez and offers an eclectic menu of morning fare ranging from eggs Benedict and French toast to Portuguese doughnuts and savory crepes. One of the restaurant's most interesting — and decadent — options is the B.M.O.C., a morning meal that includes a smoked pork chop, waffle, two eggs cooked your way, and a Portuguese doughnut, all of which then gets smothered in an apple-maple syrup. The sweet-savory combination is near impossible to resist, just be sure to grab a cup of the restaurant's excellent Japanese cold-brew coffee to go along or you may end up back in bed in a severe food coma after you finish your meal.
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Butters Pancakes & Cafe
Everything from the fresh-squeezed orange juice to the fluffy buttermilk pancakes at Butters Pancakes & Cafe never fails to impress. These clean-cut Scottsdale breakfast spots might not look like much from the exterior, but sit down for a meal and you'll be won over by the courteous and quick service and exceptionally well-executed fare. Scrambled eggs come out light as air, hash browns grilled to deliver a perfect crunch, and the pancakes, well, they're some of the best in town. Though the dining room offers a nice enough atmosphere, opt for a seat on the back patio if you can. You'll be happy to linger over your never-empty coffee cup while soaking up some sunshine.
Ranch House Grille
5618 East Thomas Road
For the Arizona experience, you'll want Ranch House Grille. With hearty dishes, huge portions, and old-fashioned prices, this place maintains the small-town feel on the fringes of Arcadia (especially with the old classifieds-adorned table tops). And it's no surprise, considering its roots in Page, Arizona, where the Cline family opened the first Ranch House Grille in 1999. Think Southwestern country fried steak and smothered in spicy pork chile verde — clearly the star dish here. But anything with the chile is good, from burritos to omelets. The kitchen also does a fine job with straightforward breakfast food and sides. And if they offer you salsa, do say yes.