Breakfast at Harlow's Cafe in Tempe

There's nothing fancy about Harlow's. Or wait, maybe there is. On a recent visit, we noticed chandeliers hanging from the ceiling -- not so unusual for a restaurant, except that this longtime wood-paneled Tempe breakfast spot also sports a prominent sign warning patrons to leave their guns outside, and other signs of the hand-carved variety, offering menu items like biscuits and gravy. Then there's the assorted, randomly placed stained glass, which -- along with portraits of Jean Harlow and Marilyn Monroe -- is our favorite part of a visit to this quirky place.

The food's good, too.

Breakfast is refreshingly straightforward. The bacon's just bacon -- not dipped in chocolate or raised on a special farm. The coffee's just coffee.  

The clientele was almost entirely men of a certain (read: AARP-qualified) the Tuesday morning we stopped by. But if you're a hipster sick of the lack of breakfast selections around town, you'd do well to try Harlow's. We ordered a couple of eggs and a side of cottage cheese, and were pleased with the results: a heaping plate of protein, with fresh sliced tomatoes on the side.  

Nothing fancy. Except for the decor. Sort of.

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Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at