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Squash Blossom vs. Joe's Diner: Biscuits and Gravy Beatdown

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Biscuits and gravy, a simple, yet popular breakfast dish, can be made with many variations of sausage gravy--pork, turkey or even chorizo here in the Valley. Smother two homemade buttermilk biscuits with gravy and it's the ultimate comfort food for chilly winter mornings. We took a look at two restaurants, Joe's Diner and Squash Blossom, both of which prepare their homemade gravy and put their own twist on the traditional recipe.

See also: Liberty's Biscuits: Bringing Comfort Food to the Streets

In This Corner: Squash Blossom

The Setup: Squash Blossom is located a block and a half north of ASU's Downtown Campus. Brian and Carrie Lester originally started Squash Blossom as a catering company, but have since expanded to primarily a brunch style restaurant in the summer of 2012. Breakfast hours are from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. daily, and the menu features several homemade options such as pumpkin pie pancakes, french toast, eggs, and homemade biscuits and gravy. All breakfast items are priced under $7. The restaurant is split into two dining areas--one dining room with a bar and another open and inviting room near the patio with large windows and photographs on the wall.

The Good: The buttery and flaky biscuits were served open-faced with two savory house-made turkey sausage patties, which had a dash of spice to them. The gravy was piping hot. The biscuits and gravy plate was filling and only $6.

The Bad: No complaints about the biscuits and gravy; however, the restaurant has two separate entrances--one adjacent to the restaurant's parking lot off of Second Street and McKinley and the other entryway is located on First Street between The Turf Restaurant and Pub and Pomo Pizzeria. The two entryways can be a little confusing if you haven't visited the restaurant before.

In The Other Corner: Joe's Diner

The Setup: Joe's Diner, owned by Joe and Joan Seriale, recently moved to a new location twelve weeks ago near the intersection of Campbell and Seventh Avenues. Although the new location doesn't have the same 1950's diner-style checkerboard floor and atmosphere like the prior location, it still offers the same homemade traditional brunch meals. The restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

The Good: The restaurant offers three variations of biscuits and gravy--traditional, chorizo and a combination of both. We went with the homemade chorizo gravy and we are glad that we did. The plate came out with two buttermilk biscuits and rich chorizo gravy, which tastes similar to chipotle sauce, but thicker and not as spicy. Although the biscuits and gravy here were very simple and didn't look like anything spectacular presentation-wise, they were delicious and only $3.49. Service here was friendly. Joe (the owner) was working at the cash register, and asked each customer how their food was.

The Bad: The gravy could have been a little warmer, but it wasn't too noticeable and didn't take away from the flavor.

And The Winner Is...Joe's Diner! The chorizo gravy is unique, flavorful and makes us want to come back for breakfast every morning. Although we did enjoy Squash Blossom's biscuits and gravy with turkey patties, Joe's offers the better deal: $3.49 for biscuits and chorizo gravy is hard to beat.

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