Metro Phoenix knows breakfast. We have a deliciously varied range of options for good morning eating. Diner. Mexican. Nomadic coffee. Farmhouse. Toast in an industrial-chic food hall. Given the alluring options of places to eat in the morning, one might say we have an embarrassment of sweet and eggy riches. But we're not embarrassed at all, only happy to have such good breakfasts. Here are five to look up stat.
Tea & Toast
(Desoto Central Market, 915 North Central Avenue)
Tea & Toast operates to the right of the broad staircase to the second level of DeSoto Market, the under-appreciated food hall at Central Avenue and Roosevelt Street in Phoenix. Here, tea comes loose-leaf, and toast uses Noble bread. There are hot tea options and a handful of iced teas that are infused with flavors like raspberry and mint. Tea & Toast also offers frothy tea-based creations that usually belong to coffee's domain. A green tea latte. A black tea cappuccino.Toast options are good for a quick breakfast. Yes, there's standard avocado toast, but also toast that features mashed banana, chocolate, and toasted hazelnut. Another, ricotta and melon. The most decadent toast is the slice spread with bacon jam and mounded with chopped bacon, a lacy fried egg quivering on top. This one is direct journey to the heart of umami and will bludgeon your appetite in a single piece. It's not a bad way to start a big day.
Luana’s Coffee Yard
(Mobile; find location through Instagram)
In an age of intricate restaurant branding, when posts feel carefully curated to siphon right from your wallet, Luana’s doesn’t give a shit about any of that stuff. Owner Aaron Schofield does his own thing, splashing his digital feed with huge personality. His turquoise trailer may be parked in Glendale one day, and downtown Phoenix the next. The whole operation hums to the rhythm of a tiny espresso machine. Luana's makes the full range of coffee drinks. Standard cappuccinos and double espressos are on the menu. Regular lattes include a salted caramel and white chocolate. On the more specialty side, things get weird. Schofield has already crafted a viral latte: the Voldemort. It features coconut, vanilla, Italian soda, chocolate, charcoal, and black whipped cream. He created the drink to recreate “unicorn blood,” which, apparently, the dark lord in Harry Potter drinks all the time. The anything-goes vibe of Luana’s is half of its appeal.
(1747 Grand Avenue)
Breakfast is served all day at Mel's Diner, a no-bullshit diner in a hardscrabble maze of back roads not far from Interstate 10 and Grand Avenue. (Back in the 1970s and '80s, Mel's was famously the fictional setting of the TV show Alice.) There are a few classic sweet breakfast dishes – short stack of pancakes, Belgian waffle, French toast – but the bulk of the morning menu is savory. Egg skillets are the item that stands out most from a classic menu of omelets, steak and eggs, and two-eggs-your-way combos. These egg skillets consist of two eggs served over a thicket of toppings so dense that you'll almost certainly be taking food home. The skillets come with toast, biscuits smothered in a smooth country gravy, or grits. The grits at Mel's are the diner's proudest offering. With a scoop of whipped butter stirred into the warm mass, you can see why Southerners are so into this humble grain porridge.
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(7014 East First Avenue, Scottsdale)
Arcadia Farms is a charming restaurant in Old Town Scottsdale that at times feels like a portal to a rural bed and breakfast. Tablecloths are white linen. Wine bottles are stowed away in wooden shelves. Baked goods include strawberry scones and no-frills pastries like coffee cakes, lemon-blueberry muffins, and rugelach. If you skip the pastries, a sweet breakfast main like berry crepes or baked French Toast could be the right call. Savory breakfast dishes have farm-like rusticity. Egg whites cooked with asparagus have simple flavor and the kind of no-frills nature that somebody ordering this dish would expect. A flaky crust contains the warm filling of a mush-room-and-leek tart, which flushes your mouth with the hot tang of goat cheese when you bite into one of the creamy white pockets. Come to Arcadia Farms when you want a low-key farm vibe, throwback pastries, or a hearty breakfast.
(906 North 15th Avenue)
At Irma's Kitchen, a modest nook on 15th Avenue, you can get a sizable Mexican breakfast for a reasonable price. Things start with chips and salsa, whether you've ordered them or not. They progress to the main event: chilaquiles, breakfast burros, huevos rancheros, taquitos with eggs, and so on. Menudo is offered daily and is often eaten for breakfast, so don't feel weird about eating it while still half asleep. The soup has mellow flavors and a thin, restorative broth that, together with steaming tortillas, will launch you feeling good into your day. Huevos rancheros provide an even heartier start. Two eggs smothered in red or green salsa and draped with avocado slices steam on corn tortillas. A mudslide of refried beans slops in one corner of the plate, warm and silky, the best component of the dish. When you're hankering for a simple breakfast, want to pop in and get out, and have zero trendy ambiance requirements, Irma's awaits you.