What’s Shakin’ Bacon?
Top Brunch Spots in the Valley
Text by Kathryn Brooks and Tyler Phillips
Arguably the most important meal of the day, breakfast jumpstarts your metabolism. But on Monday through Friday we “break the fast” at record speed, taking shortcuts with our food choices. Come Saturday or Sunday, breakfast takes on a whole new dimension. Reinvented as brunch, a combination of breakfast and lunch, the hours often extend to mid-afternoon, the selections are a bit more elaborate and the pace is leisurely. It’s a time to catch up with friends, linger over a cocktail and disregard the clock. With endless restaurant possibilities, here are eight of our favorite Valley brunch spots.
VIRTÙ HONEST CRAFT
Chef Gio Osso’s award-winning, Old Town Scottsdale restaurant is a gem. Having been recognized by the James Beard Foundation, the food is both delicious and innovative. The simple, yet stylish interior is welcoming and, weather permitting, patio seating will transport you to the trattoria you discovered on a side street in Milan some years back. The brunch selections change frequently, but you can expect to see favorites like Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with grape marmalade, pistachios and whipped cream and Pork Ragu with a mascarpone polenta, fried eggs, green salsa and toast. A lighter option is a Vanilla Yogurt Parfait with hazelnut praline, Marsala figs and spiced honey. The restaurant serves brunch weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday starting at 9 a.m. www.virtuscottsdale.com/
This hip, hot spot, located in the historic namesake Phoenix neighborhood, serves the perfect libations including pitchers of beer, wines and cocktails for just $5 during brunch. Windsor even offers a Bloody Mary bar cart stocked with spices, salts and pickles, allowing guests to create their desired ingredients in this classic brunch-time cocktail. The menu has something for everyone’s morning and midday palate, from hearty Southern-Style Sausage and Gravy to the more delicate and Sweet Homemade Beignets, served warm with strawberry jam and caramel sauce. Brunch runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. www.windsoraz.com/
Located in Central Phoenix, Fàme (in Italian, “hungry”) Caffee is the creation of a husband-and-wife team. Classically trained chef Ivan prepares carefully sourced food with passion while his wife Maria, who grew up in the hospitality industry, creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere in which to enjoy it. Not a brunch menu per se, but it’s a swell choice for breakfast, available all day, everyday, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Croque Madame, a French invention, is a grilled sandwich with smoked ham and gruyère cheese and béchamel sauce on nine-grain bread topped with a sunny-side up egg and served with mixed greens. If you’re wanting something sweet , the French Toast, made with rustic country bread and topped with powdered sugar, cinnamon and fresh berries, will satisfy. Lunch selections also are served all day. There are plenty of cocktails to choose from including mimosas, Bloody Marys, greyhounds, sangria, and the very special raspberry peach Bellini. famephx.com
MORNING GLORY CAFÉ
For a true farm-to-table experience, head to Morning Glory Café, the casual restaurant serving breakfast and brunch at The Farm at South Mountain. You can meander through the pecan groves and pass by the organic garden on your way up the lane to the outdoor patio. Enjoy a breakfast and brunch menu that has everything from light and fluffy Brioche French Toast with sautéed bananas, candied home-grown pecans and syrup to the Farm Burrito filled with scrambled eggs, refried Arizona tepary beans, potatoes, cheddar cheese and pico de gallo wrapped in a flour tortilla with a dollop of sour cream and house-made salsa on the side. The restaurant serves breakfast/brunch from 8 to 11 a.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. https://www.thefarmatsouthmountain.com/morning-glory-patio/
Sunday brunch at The Gladly, which runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., is a great setting to kick back, relax and enjoy excellent food. Chef Bernie Kantak’s brunch menu reflects his skill in turning familiar American classics into something elevated and unique. Take the Eggs Bernie-dict as an example: Kantak upgrades this brunch staple with a toasted pretzel roll, smoked sausage and cheese fondue. Or there’s the Grits & Eggs, which takes a luxurious turn thanks to the addition of shaved Pecorino Romano and just a hint of truffle oil. For those who like to start their Sunday with a little spice, the Spiced Bloody Mary is a must. Made with Absolut Peppar vodka and house-made mix, it’s got just the right amount of kick. https://www.thegladly.com/
SNOOZE: AN A.M. EATERY
Some restaurants are worth the wait. Snooze, an A.M. Eatery, is one. At all four locations (Town & Country, Tempe, Gilbert, and Kierland), the atmosphere is fun and the staff friendly, but be prepared to wait as long as one hour before being seated. The menu features many twists on traditional dishes, including the Breakfast Pot Pie – think of a puff pastry filled with sausage gravy and topped with an egg (made your way) and served with hash browns and Pineapple Upside-Down Buttermilk Pancakes with caramelized pineapple chunks, house-made vanilla crème anglaise and cinnamon butter. Snooze’s mimosa, a blend of champagne, orange juice and Pama pomegranate liqueur is a perfect follow-up to the complementary cups of coffee you can enjoy while waiting for a table. Each location is open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. https://snoozeeatery.com/
Brunch at chef Matt Carter’s The Mission manages to be both sophisticated yet casual, thanks to a menu that highlights Carter’s refined take on modern Latin cuisine. Reflecting culinary influences from Spain, Mexico and Central and South America, the dishes are unique, using ingredients that you won’t find elsewhere. The brunch offerings, which are available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, include everything from Green Chilaquiles to Tecate-marinated Skirt Steak to Corn, Crab and Shrimp Pancakes that feature smoked Oaxacan pasilla crema and a sprinkling of cilantro. The sweet selections are Banana Blueberry Pancakes and Cinnamon Pecan Waffles. https://www.themissionaz.com/
The Bottomless Brunch at SumoMaya, the stylish Mex-Asian fusion parlor set in Scottsdale, offers a diverse spread of about 15 small plates. Dishes range from a basket of locally made, sweet Mexican breads to rib eye guacamole, coconut pancakes, tenderloin Benedict and a Cuban breakfast sandwich. Sides include black beans and Chinese sausage fried rice, and dessert is a family-style serving of buñuelos or a liquid cheesecake brulée. You can definitely get seconds here, if not more. The endless brunch is $29 per diner, and it’s an extra $10 for bottomless mimosas, Bloody Marys, and margaritas. Brunch hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. https://www.sumomaya.com