The Spot: Berdena's
7051 East Fifth Avenue, #1; 480-256-1403.
The Scene: On a busy street in Old Town, Scottsdale, Berdena's plates photogenic waffles and pours lavender-perfumed lattes for the in-crowd. The interior colors are Kinfolk-white. The aesthetic is lean, modern. You feel like reality has glitched and you've walked into a blogger's Instagram.
To many, this may sound like hell. If so, hell has some solid eating and drinking. The line at Berdena's usually winds out the door for a reason, and it's not the blond wood or bar tiles.
Once you've ordered, take a seat outside if you can. Tables give you a view back into the cafe, or out into the Old Town crowds. Berdena's biggest drawback is its popularity relative to its modest size. This is also the source of its charm. The place is a nook. It casts the illusion of space with large plate-glass windows fronting the street. If the lack of actual space gets to you, negate it by sitting in the sun.
Just be sure to listen for when your food is ready.
Avocado toast and a waffle anchor the menu.
The avocado toast scooped a Best of Phoenix award last year, and for good reason. It's an A+ take on the new-age breakfast staple. Mashed avocados rise in a thick mound. The green is so hearty and dense that it dwarfs the bread. The cooks magnify the avocado's spirit by using lemon, olive oil, and chile flakes.
A yeast-risen waffle has an unusual, eye-catching rectangular shape. There's a scoop of butter in the middle and berries on one side. This waffle has a huge shatter. The crust is lacy and crisp, and the warm dough inside is airy and light. You can have chocolate drizzled on if you want.
Other than avocado toast, the real reason to check out Berdena's is coffee and tea. Brooklyn's Bellocq Tea Atelier provides the dry leaves. Look for an Afghani chai with rooty, loamy depths you'd more expect from rooibos. Coffee creations are standard with surprises. That lavender-flavored latte is a keeper.
Hours: Monday to Friday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; closed Sunday
Wifi: You'll have a hard time focusing given the crowd.
Coffee Options: Cold brew and a standard range of basic coffee-based drinks, together with more elaborate riffs on the simple stuff.
Juice: Fresh-squeezed OJ
Drinking Before Noon: Nope