PHOENIX, AZ: Matt's Big Breakfast

While in Phoenix for a series of meetings, I walked the six blocks from my hotel to Matt's Big Breakfast, primarily because I'd seen it on the Food Network's "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives."

It's not completely clear which of these categories applies to Matt's Big Breakfast. It is clearly NOT a drive-in and I don’t consider it a dive, but it's not a diner, either. It's just a small, local place with really good breakfasts.

It's a few blocks north of Arizona State University's downtown campus, so there are lots of students among the staff and the regulars, but many others seek it out as well. As a result, be prepared to wait, either for a table or seat at one of the counters.

Then, because the kitchen is far too small for the place, be prepared to wait for your food, too.

The staff kept my coffee cup filled while I waited and, though they were busy, stopped to chat a bit. To the staff’s additional credit, it wasn’t just "my" waitperson; pretty much everyone on staff looked after anyone who needed anything. VERY high marks there.

When the food came, it was delicious! I chose basic scrambled eggs with turkey sausage patties, home fries, and toast. The scrambled eggs clearly came from fresh eggs that had been beaten to order - not from the prescrambled "beaters" made from older eggs that many restaurants ladle on to the flattop. The home fried potatoes came out hot and were nicely spiced, and the sausages from a local purveyor were clearly not from a package. They were cooked perfectly - crispy on the outside but still moist on the inside -- and had a nice spice kick.

When it came time to leave and get to my meetings, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Matt's accepts all major credit cards. Given the atmosphere (or more accurately, LACK of it), I anticipated it being a "cash only" establishment. Despite this lack of atmosphere, the food makes it worth the trip.

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