Our food writers have been on the breakfast beat for a few months now. We've been scoping out the scene of a.m. eats here in the Valley, dishing on non-obvious places where you can start the day right. We've been to a few vegan spots, a coffee shop that benefits refugees, a European cafe, and other tasty spots. Here, we share five standout breakfast options, bound to satisfy no matter what you crave in the morning.
Alo Cafe in Downtown Scottsdale
Alo Cafe, located in downtown Scottsdale, has the European cafe vibe you’d find on the streets of Madrid or Amsterdam. The standout dish on the menu is a Kringel—-a decadent Estonian bread with cinnamon, raisins, almonds, and hints of saffron. For those who are fans of eggs, omelets, and carbs (not in any particular order), Tortilla Esapana is the dish to try. A signature dish of Spain, Tortilla Espana is pretty much a potato-stuffed omelet. And Alo Cafe’s Belgian waffles—fluffy, warm, and doused in powdered sugar—would make Belgians themselves proud. If you’re longing for a budget-friendly, low-key brunch without boozy patrons and loud music but with cool Euro ambiance, Alo Cafe is the spot.
The Uprooted Kitchen in Gilbert
The Uprooted kitchen in Gilbert offers a genuinely surprising plant-based breakfast. You can order breakfast sandwiches with tempeh instead of meat, black bean burgers, or a quinoa breakfast bowl. A buckwheat crepe comes with a litany of fillings including hummus, cauliflower, various vegetables and nuts, and dates from Agritopia. If you're into French toast, Uprooted Kitchen's take is a must. Uprooted transforms Proof Bread sourdough into French toast using a bake rather than a sizzle. This creates lightness, and all the other ingredients, including blueberry preserves, granola, and coconut yogurt, keep to this baseline. The Uprooted Kitchen is a great spot for people into plant-based foods, and people who keep open minds.
Mission Grille at Tempe Mission Palms
You wouldn't really think to enjoy breakfast at a hotel unless you stayed there. However, a walk through Tempe Mission Palms’ buffet line will leave you considering continental breakfasts regularly. Located just east of Mill Avenue, Tempe Mission Palms has been around for over 30 years and its restaurant, Mission Grille, is the place to set up your own ideal breakfast — just the way you like it. At the omelet bar, you can customize your egg breakfast with toppings of your choice, including onions, mushrooms, cheeses, tomato, ham, bacon, and spinach. Looking beyond the egg, there's mixed fruit, yogurt, cereal options, oatmeal, and all kinds of pastries. You can grab muffins, waffles, bacon, and sausage. You can even get hot crepes. Tempe Mission Palms won’t let you leave hungry.
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Treehouse Bakery in Phoenix
Treehouse Bakery, on the corner of Roosevelt and Grand Avenue, is a local business serving vegan pastries, cookies, brownies, and customized cakes and cupcakes. It doubles as a standout breakfast spot. At Treehouse, it's all about the brownies. Made with cashew cream cheese, they are the best item on the menu—deeply chocolaty with bursts of chocolate chunks and subtle hints of saltiness. Homemade pop tarts are another smart grab: the successful simplicity of the strawberry or fig pop tarts make for a modest morning treat with a kick of jam and rainbow sprinkles on top. If you have a sweet tooth, dietary restrictions, or want to cut dairy, Treehouse is a beloved sanctuary for health-conscious delectables.
The Refuge Café in Phoenix
The setting is plain: unremarkable furniture, a digital board menu, and windows that look out on a chaotic Phoenix street. But what goes on between the four walls of The Refuge on Seventh Avenue is truly special, and has made the café more than just a low-key breakfast spot. Catholic Charities owns and operates The Refuge, and in addition to selling items by local refugees, like handmade colorful purses and funky jewelry, the restaurant’s profits fund programs that help veterans, sex-traffic survivors, abused women, and foster care children. General manager John Strawn has found a way to marry his restaurant and entrepreneurial skills with the mission of Catholic Charities, to protect and promote the city’s most vulnerable citizens. And he makes a mean grilled cheese and whips up a veggie breakfast burrito that would rival any café's in town.