Breakfast Beat

Breakfast Beat: A Hidden Nook With Baked Goods and Nice Omelets

A vegetable omelet from Sugar Jam.
A vegetable omelet from Sugar Jam. Chris Malloy
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: Sugar Jam Bake Shop & Bistro
7950 East Redfield Road #100, Scottsdale

click to enlarge CHRIS MALLOY
Chris Malloy
The Scene: Sugar Jam is buried in the maze of indistinct streets around Scottsdale Airport. You may turn the wrong way once or twice on the way there, but, don't worry, the place often has a sign twirler plying his curious trade on the right corner.

The bakery-slash-cafe is a placid space, with sunlight slanting in during the morning hours. Booths feel homey, diner-like. Utensils are sheathed in metal containers on tables, right next to hot and barbecue sauces. Music is low-key. Staff are friendly and cheerful. If you go close to opening, a meditative quiet spreads through the shop. The aura of baked goods is potent.

A nice section of outdoor seats awaits. The courtyard gets some sun in the morning.
click to enlarge One section of baked goods available at the long counter. - CHRIS MALLOY
One section of baked goods available at the long counter.
Chris Malloy
The Goods: A vast array of coffee cakes, cookies, and the like might swivel your head as you walk through the entrance bottleneck and toward your seat. The selection of baked goods ranges from cupcakes (like red velvet and triple vanilla bean) to brownies and bars (like peanut putter and caramel toffee), from cakes to all kinds of sugar cookies.

Sugar Jam, as the name implies, delivers on the sweet a.m. eats. Highlights include a brioche French toast and buttermilk Belgian waffle. Muffins and massive scones come in standard and seasonal versions.

More surprising is Sugar Jam's savory selection. A croissant split in half and loaded with scrambled eggs and bacon makes a hearty morning meal. Leaf-thin omelets have way more finesse than you'd expect. The veggie omelet contains peppers, onion, spinach, and Monterey Jack. Tomato slices on top are laced with a nice smoky chipotle remoulade, which provides an on-key accompaniment, also, to the side of crisped potatoes.

Jam that comes with toast is made in house. On a recent visit, the jam was apricot. Holy shit, this is a tasty jam, fragrant with fall spices, spotted with chunks of apricot exploding with tang and the essence of summer.
click to enlarge An egg sandwich on a croissant solves the problem of Arizona bagels. - CHRIS MALLOY
An egg sandwich on a croissant solves the problem of Arizona bagels.
Chris Malloy
The Bottom Line: Sugar Jam has rare sweet-to-savory breakfast range, and a menu that breaks the mold just enough to make the spot worth coming to on the reg.

Special Something: This eatery veers a little Southern, with biscuits and smoked meat on the menu. Sugar Jam smokes meat off-site but is looking to bring a smoker into the shop. Also, if you want to glimpse some beauty, check out the pie menu.
Note: Some menu items are only available during the weekend brunch (Saturday and Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.). To find out which, check out Sugar Jam's website.
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; closed Monday
Price: $$
Coffee Options: Drip
Drinking Before Noon: Nope
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Chris Malloy, former food editor and current food critic at Phoenix New Times, has written for various local and national outlets. He has scrubbed pots in a restaurant kitchen, earned graduate credit for a class about cheese, harvested garlic in Le Marche, and rolled pastas like cappellacci stuffed with chicken liver. He writes reviews but also narrative stories on the food world's margins.
Contact: Chris Malloy