Each week, we review a different breakfast spot in town, highlighting culinary offerings, brunchability, and the overall vibe as you sip your morning joe. Whether the restaurant in question is grab-and-go or stay-and-play, each offers a unique breakfast buzz that might be just what you need for the most important meal of the day.
The Spot: Soul Café
7615 East Pinnacle Peak Road, Scottsdale
The Scene: Don’t let the restaurant’s name fool you – Soul Café is not so much Southern as Southwestern. Chef Sheila Bryson moved here from Chicago years ago, and – like so many Midwesterners – fell in love with the desert and never looked back. Her passion is reflected in the décor (which features work by local artists and a decidedly desert color palette), but also in the floor-to-ceiling windows that frame the palo verdes, saguaro, and nearby mountains. The casual vibe makes Soul a perfect place for all types of patrons, and plenty of the families, couples, and boozy brunchers around you are regulars.
The Goods: The menu at Soul is creative and satisfying. Traditionalists will appreciate the long list of omelet options, as well as a catalog of pancakes that include a couple of completely unique savory options (like the “Some Like it Hot,” two savory cakes made with corn, zucchini, red peppers, jalapeño, and onions, served with eggs and jalapeño-infused bacon). Make sure you don’t miss the house favorites, though. The “eggs Jared,” the restaurant’s version of an eggs Benedict, is made with bacon, tomato, and a jalapeño cheese sauce that is both light and creamy. The dish comes with the restaurant’s signature roasted tricolor potatoes, which you’ll happily pop in your mouth like M&Ms. A daily specials page should be attached to your menu, too; look for the “Chicken and Toast” made with cinnamon swirl French toast, buttermilk fried chicken, and local honey.
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The Bottom Line: This spot rocks for natives and out-of-towners. Chef Bryson goes local where she can and uses those ingredients to great effect, and in a neighborhood where “casual dining” means Tomaso’s instead of Mastro’s, she has managed to create a comfortable, friendly space without sacrificing the quality of her menu.
Special Something: The Bacon Blue pancakes, made with bacon and blueberries and served with two eggs any style. Also, make sure to pop into Bryson’s shop, Lost Soul, next door to the eatery. It's filled with cool finds like high-end cowboy boots and things made out of horseshoes.
Hours: Soul Café is open from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day except Sunday and Monday, when it closes at 2 p.m.
Coffee Options: No espresso, but great cold brew and lots of creativity in weekly specials.
Fresh-squeezed juice: When you see the list of breakfast cocktails, you might not care about juice.
Wi-Fi? Yep. And lots of seating options (at the bar, tucked in a corner, out on the patio), if you want to put your head down and work.
Drinking Before Noon: Definitely – the spot offers a “famous” Bloody Mary, with (get this) house-made, jalapeño-infused bacon vodka, plus a couple of more fancy-shmancy takes on mimosas or coffee martinis.