Breakfast Beat

Breakfast Beat: Surprising Almost-Vegan Food From The Uprooted Kitchen

French toast made with Proof Bread
French toast made with Proof Bread 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: The Uprooted Kitchen
3000 East Ray Road, Gilbert

The Scene: The Uprooted Kitchen serves "plant-based" food at the northwest end of Barnone, the complex of eateries and vendor stalls near Gilbert's Agritopia. Barnone's indoor-outdoor spread of high-end artisans — food and non-food — is a space that brings joy to people into design, craft products, or the small-and-local trend.

These digs are much better than the mobile space Erin and Chad Romanoff cooked in before. Yes, they started Uprooted Kitchen as a food truck. That was back in 2012. The husband-and-wife team just celebrated one year in Barnone. Their restaurant's inside seating has a lofty ceiling and chic lights over a communal table. On the patio tables rest buckets of napkins and forks. Inside or out, the eatery looks good.

click to enlarge The Uprooted Kitchen's exterior - CHRIS MALLOY
The Uprooted Kitchen's exterior
Chris Malloy
The Goods: Uprooted Kitchen's food is almost vegan. The miss accounting for "almost" is honey, a calculated sacrifice. Chad believes honey is too amazing to live without. Some vegans don't eat honey; some do. The breakfast menu is loaded with plant-based creations. And, browsing the menu, they sound pretty compelling.

You can order breakfast sandwiches with tempeh instead of meat, black bean burgers, or a quinoa breakfast bowl. A buckwheat crepe comes with a litany of fillings including hummus, cauliflower, various vegetables and nuts, and dates from Agritopia.

A fascinating dish is one that approximates an egg scramble using plants. You won't be 100 percent fooled, and that doesn't matter. A mixture of cauliflower, chickpeas, and chickpea flour stands in for eggs, "eggs" nicely flecked with kale, carrots, and onions. Roasted potatoes are the ideal sidekick, especially with the house-made ketchup. A warm biscuit rounds out the hearty plate.

If you're into French toast, Uprooted Kitchen's take is a must. Uprooted transforms Proof Bread sourdough into French toast using a bake rather than a sizzle. This creates lightness, and all the other ingredients keep to this baseline. Blueberry preserves flood down the slices. Granola comes thickly. Coconut yogurt and fruit heap on the bowl's sides. The parts are great, and so is their sum.

click to enlarge CHRIS MALLOY
Chris Malloy

The Bottom Line: The Uprooted kitchen offers a genuinely surprising plant-based breakfast. It's a great spot for people into this kind of thing, people who are not but who keep open minds, and people who like thoughtful food that tastes food. Checking out Barnone's vendors post-meal is dairy-free icing on the eggless cake.

Special Something: Grab a loaf of Proof Bread to go
Hours: Tuesday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m.; Thursday through Sunday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; closed Monday
Price: $$
Caffeine Options: Standard or cold brew (the milk that comes with is cashew)
Other Beverages: Fresh lemonade, coconut water, a ginger brew, and other funky concococtions
Drinking Before Noon: Nope, but 12 West and Garage East are across the hall.
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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