Chow Bella

Clove-Scented Ham and Baked Pancakes at Wy-Knot Cafe

Welcome to Brunched, where Chow Bella samples local restaurants' offerings for our favorite meal. Hey, you get to sleep in and eat breakfast -- what's not to like?

See also: Frescas and Pozole at Distrito

What: Wy-Knot Cafe Where: 2325 N. Seventh Street, Phoenix, 602-218-6646 When: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Breakfast served all day Saturday and Sunday. How Much: $4-$10.

Mood: Parked at the southern end of the strip mall that houses Humble Pie, this cute breakfast, brunch, and lunch spot in Coronado was once home to Drip and Perc Up Coffee Cafe. And like its predecessors, Wy-Knot evokes a quirky, artsy vibe, thanks to a mash-up of design elements and furniture styles, including brick walls, local art, high and low cafe tables with mismatched chairs, a couch and an antique, magazine-strewn coffee table that invites curling up with a cup of coffee. Aiming to be a come-one-come-all neighborhood hangout, Wy-Knot (named for owner Jackie Percival's English Springer Spaniel Wyatt) caters to children, dogs, and vegans by way of special vegan-centric and kid-size menu items, healthy doggie treats and high chairs.

Food: The breakfast menu focuses on four categories -- frittatas, burritos, breakfast sandwiches, and French toast/pancakes -- as well as offering a basic bagel and cream cheese, seasonal fruit salad and yogurt parfait. Sides of bacon, breakfast sausage, clove-scented ham (big thumbs up for that) and tofu or tempeh are also available.

A tender tomato, basil and roasted garlic fritatta, overlapped with melted strips of triple cream Brie, comes sided with crunchy fried potato cubes and sliced cantaloupe. Percival created her own bread recipe (which Chompie's executes), using rye, flax, millet and other grains to get an interesting bread that makes healthy, textural toast.

I'm not sure if it's the goat cheese, the prosciutto or the combination of the two that makes the prosciutto and roasted roma breakfast sandwich -- served on a toasted, less-than-wonderful ciabatta roll -- seem salty, but salty it is. It's a decent sandwich but next time, I'll stick to the basics -- maybe ham, Swiss and spinach or bacon, cheddar and tomato.

Baked pancakes are Wy-Knot's signature breakfast dish and I can see why. They put the cake in pancake, smelling and tasting as if there might be a bit of store-bought cake mix in the batter. That would explain the rise and why everyone makes such a fuss over them. Call me a weirdo but I'll take a regular old savory pancake -- nicely browned on a griddle -- over this sweet, cake-like version any old day.

Stuffed Cinnamon Swirl French Toast -- an over-the-top assemblage of Cinnamon Swirl bread, stuffed with vanilla cream cheese and topped with caramelized bananas and toasted walnuts -- is another story. So rich and sweet a side of warm maple syrup isn't even necessary, it's a big, toothache-y indulgence you'll probably love.

Drink: If you're in need of a post-Saturday-night hair-of-the-dog headache helper, you'll have to look elsewhere. Wy-Knot doesn't serve liquor. But you can make do nicely with fresh fruit juices and caffeine blasts of Mexican Coke or coffee.

Bottom Line: This sweet, welcoming neighborhood hangout seems just right for what it is -- a neighborhood hangout. The food (which looks and tastes as if it were cooked by a better-than-average home cook) is more than decent and the prices are right. I wouldn't call this a destination restaurant, but if you happen to live nearby, I'm guessing you'll ask yourself "Wy-Knot?" pretty often.

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Nikki Buchanan