When: 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday; 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday
Dish: Spanish omelet
Price: $11.98 (including tax and tip)
The Setting: Located at 3401 South 43rd Avenue in South Phoenix, Kay's Kafe is tucked away in what feels like an industrial park. We initially drove right past the driveway to the restaurant, and even upon pulling in, we weren't sure we were at the right place. The interior is sparsely decorated and has plenty of seating, including tables in a back room that gets opened during busy times. The cafeteria-like kitchen is visible from the dining area, and the hum of commercial-grade refrigerators and fluorescent lights served as the backdrop for our breakfast meal.
The Food: Kay's Kafe's breakfast menu includes standard breakfast fare like biscuits and gravy and pancakes, and a selection of Mexican breakfast options, like the Chorizo Special ($8) and menudo on Saturdays ($6.50 for a large bowl and $5 for a small). On this visit, we chose the Spanish omelet with green chiles, fresh tomatoes, onions, and cheese served with hash browns and toast ($8.75).
The Good: The omelet at Kay's Kafe was light and fluffy, with the vegetables mixed into the egg and the cheese folded into the center. The chiles were mild, adding just a hint of flavor, though it seemed they may have been canned. The onions and the tomatoes were both very fresh and perfectly cooked. The eggs were moist but not runny, with the exception of a spot or two. We got our meal with raisin toast, which was was moist and dense. The toast on the bread was perfect — deep brown without being bitter or burned, and there were plenty of raisins.
What really stood out from our experience, however, was the service, which was simply outstanding. We were greeted warmly upon entering, and our server was exceptionally friendly. She came over to chat after we had ordered and asked our names, which she later used to see if we had everything we needed. While we were waiting for our food, she introduced us to her father (who owns the restaurant) and her son who were sitting at a nearby table.
The Bad: Kay's Kafe was hard to find, but now that we've been once, we won't have trouble again. Overall, the meal was good, and though the omelet could have used a bit more cheese, the flavor of the eggs and vegetables made up for it.
All In All: Our first experience at Kay's Kafe definitely merits a repeat visit. The food wasn't gourmet, but it was great diner fare and even better service. Supporting this family owned and run business is worth the drive to South Phoenix — we will most certainly be making the trek again soon.
3401 S. 43rd Ave.