Nearly everyone has seen the Breakfast Club, the classic John Hughes movie, but who remembers Breakfast Club the band? Besides Madonna’s brief tenure as the group’s drummer, that Breakfast Club is best known for its one big single “Right on Track.” Two decades later, there’s a restaurant called Breakfast Club (no “the”) at CityScape and just like the 1987 hit song, it’s right on track — light rail track, that is. This particular Breakfast Club is just two blocks from the Central / Washington (westbound) and First Avenue / Jefferson (eastbound) light stations.
The CityScape Breakfast Club is a second location for a restaurant that originated in Scottsdale. Like most establishments at CityScape, it’s difficult to locate. Although the address says Jefferson Street, the restaurant is most easily reached via Central Avenue or First Street. From either one, take the stairs or escalator up to the second story outdoor plaza. A small triangular building serves as a grab-and-go store, but the full service restaurant is on the south side of the plaza. Bike racks are found along First Street and also outside the entrance to Gold’s Gym.
If the weather is at all pleasant, it’s often best to request to eat outdoors on the patio, which sits in the elevated heart of the eastern parcel of CityScape. There’s no canopy or mist cooling, but trees and the tall buildings on both sides of the patio provide some shade. Otherwise, the dining room is serviceable if not particularly distinctive. The decor is muted earth tones — clean and comfortable without much flair. There’s also a semi-circular counter that’s perfect for solo diners and small groups without the time to wait for a table during peak hours.
As its name implies, Breakfast Club is all about morning dining: eggs, pancakes, waffles, French toast and the like dominate the menu. The “Quick Start” meals are at the top of the menu and emphasize approachable breakfast sandwiches, burritos, and simple combinations such as eggs, toast, bacon, and fruit. There are half a dozen omelettes and eggs benedicts, including an indulgent filet mignon Benedict, a Southwestern section of the menu with pork chili verde, pico de gallo, and chorizo as regional touches accentuating hearty egg-based breakfast dishes.
Among the less egg-centric dishes, pancakes come in standard or buckwheat varieties — three to an order, or ordered al a carte in any number desired. The pancakes are light, airy, and nicely textured. By themselves, they’re a good value, but be careful about toppings. At a few dollars each, add-ons such as banana or berries can quickly bring the breakfast bill into $20 territory. French toast made from challah may be the best value when ordered in its “BC Signature” form, which includes not only three slices but also a generous layer of fruit and nuts above it all.
This a la carte approach also means that breakfast meats and potatoes are often an additional cost as well. The upside is that the quality of the breakfast sides is generally quite good. Pork sausage patties are mildly flavored indulgences. Surprisingly, the links of turkey sausage, a reduced guilt item that can sometimes be low in both flavor and fat, are moist and spicy at Breakfast Club. Potatoes are available as hash browns, julienned and served in a criss-cross fashion with just a slight bit of grease, and potatoes O’Brien, essentially home fries with peppers.
Since Breakfast Club’s hours extend into the early afternoon, there’s a sizeable lunch menu available with soups, sandwiches, salads, and sides. A mild tomato soup is offered every day, along with rotating special soups like broccoli cheese. The salads are big, entree-sized bowls. The Mediterranean salad is a lot of mesclun, a little arugula, and sharp tastes on top from crumbled feta, sliced red onion, and black olives. The Spring Berry salad is a gentler bowl of greens with mixed berries, goat cheese, and candied walnut over a bed of spring mix.
Sandwiches at Breakfast Club begin with basics like grilled cheese on sourdough bread with the option to add turkey or bacon. The turkey reuben builds on this base but substitutes rye bread and adds the usual sauerkraut and 1000 island dressing. A grilled chicken sandwich places a typical boneless breast between bagel halves with melted cheese, chipotle mayo, and lettuce and tomato. The BC Dip is an indulgent lunch with roast beef and peppers served in ciabatta with a side of au jus for dipping. It’s even better with an add-on of melted cheese.
In addition to the traditional sandwiches, there’s also a smaller selection of wraps, including a turkey club, a chicken Caesar, and a surprisingly good veggie wrap that forgoes the hackneyed mix of sprouts and avocado in favor of a more satisfying blend of portabello mushroom, spinach, and roasted tomato. Lunch sides include basics such as cottage cheese and black beans and richer choices like sweet potato fries, the default side if nothing else is specified. Many of the breakfast sides, including the potato dishes, carry over from morning to midday.
Beverages include a tart house-made lemonade, sometimes offered with raspberry; coffee, tea, and espresso drinks, and fresh squeezed juices: orange, grapefruit, pineapple, and apple. The restaurant also has a liquor license and pours mimosas, bloody marys, and other morning cocktails — more for leisurely weekend diners than weekday customers returning to their offices. The band Breakfast Club broke up long ago, but the Breakfast Club movie has endured for three decades. Downtown diners can hope Breakfast Club the restaurant stays “right on track..”
2 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix AZ 85004
Jefferson / 1st Avenue or Jefferson / 3rd Street stations (eastbound)
Washington / 3rd Street or Washington / Central stations (westbound)