The three eggs that go into each of Original Breakfast House’s omelets are chosen with care. They’re cage-free and hormone-free, complementing the eatery’s organic, local produce and locally roasted, fair-trade coffee. These carefully curated ingredients go into classic diner plates that brim with thoughtful touches. The Angus beef burger patties, for example, are shaped by hand, rather than by the nearest hula-hoop; the pancakes, meanwhile, come smothered in blackberries, bananas and pecans, or raspberries and chocolate chips.
It’s hard to imagine now, but once upon a time, people actually had to go to the photo lab and wait days to see how their pictures turned out. One such lab sat at the corner of 32nd Street and Shea Boulevard in Phoenix, but with the dawn of digital photography, its days were numbered. The lab finally closed down in the early '90s, and city culture soon took over—it first became a coffee house and neighborhood hangout, and later a hip urban café and espresso bar. This latest incarnation is called 32 Shea, and some of its defining characteristics are as old-school as monochrome photography. Take the coffee, for example: the beans are roasted locally and the flavor syrups are homemade with seasonal ingredients. When night falls and the café transforms into a trendy restaurant, flickering candles lend an air of timeless romance to meals of creative bruschetta, toasted-ciabatta sandwiches, and crispy lavash pizzas. Of course, there are plenty of ultra-modern touches designed to attract Phoenix’s hipster set. Among the most notable are a sleek bar made from 100-year-old reclaimed wood and a drive-through window that lets car-bound diners can take the café's gourmet cuisine to go.
No matter the time of day, servers at Country Boys Restaurant fill their pads of paper with scribbled orders for breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. From the kitchen window, they grab plates brimming with chicken strips and chili cheese fries. For breakfast, fluffy pieces of french toast arrive piled with strawberries and whipped cream, and later in the day, burgers and sandwiches bring happiness between two pillowy buns or slices of bread.
Benedict's Catering and Cafe’s owner draws from more than 20 years of experience planning events for Estée Lauder. She leads a team of servers, bartenders, chefs, and baristas during catering services for events large and small. At her intimate French bistro, she turns the reins over to an American Culinary Federation–certified pastry chef, who bakes sweet pastries full of chocolate and pecans, and crafts a range of savory brunch and lunch dishes made from locally sourced eggs, dairy, and vegetables. Diners can complement their meals with mugs of custom-blended dark roast coffee and glasses of mango iced tea. The pasty chef also showcases her techniques in small-size cooking classes, which cover culinary styles such as Greek, Italian, and Spanish and cooking methods such as grilling and poaching. Once done with a class or two, students are ready to host their own dinner parties or test whether a grilled steak can really be thrown further than a raw one.
You won’t find many light, barely filling breakfast items on the menu at Perk Eatery. That’s because the chefs use recipes perfected by three generations of Midwestern restaurateurs to create stick-to-your-ribs meals just like the ones their mothers made for them. But recipes aren't everything—the plates of steak 'n' eggs, western omelets, and banana-nut pancakes go one step further in their quest for a homemade taste. They incorporate local and organic ingredients. The staff uses hormone- and antibiotic-free meats, cage-free eggs, and certified organic coffee roasted especially for the eatery so that diners can know what they’re putting into their bodies without installing metal detectors in their molars. Lunchtime brings the same careful ingredients in classic sandwiches and grass-fed burgers, which emerge fresh from the grill until they close at 3 p.m.
It might seem as if the owners of Zinc Bistro didn’t bother to consult a map when devising the concept for their new restaurant: a Parisian bistro by way of New York. But though Phoenix isn’t the likeliest home for such a place, you won’t hear any locals complaining. They’re too enamored with the round marble tables and wicker chairs that line the bistro’s sidewalk. Such overtly French accents seem right at home beside the burbling fountain on the garden patio, where guests share romantic dinners and afternoon cocktails. Though it certainly stands out in the parched Sonoran Desert, the patio isn’t the most notable aspect of Zinc Bistro. That honor belongs to chef Matt Carter’s contemporary bistro cuisine. The Phoenix native shows an uncommon understanding of classic French cooking techniques, whether he’s crafting crepes with Dungeness crab and lobster cream or finding the perfect balance of flavors in his foie gras risotto. As if that weren’t enough, there’s also an oyster bar where staff serve fresh seafood and hold shells to guests’ ears so they can hear the ocean while they eat.