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 hit, “Right on Track.” Three 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 abundant shade. Otherwise, the dining room is serviceable if not particularly distinctive. The decor is muted earth tones — clean, comfortable, and spacious. There’s also a large 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 three to a standard order, or a la carte in any number desired. The pancakes are light, airy, and nicely textured. French toast made from challah is best 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. The waffles are served in two varieties, one plain with a familiar golden hue and another in a mocha variation based on a chocolate coffee batter and toppings of candied walnuts, bananas foster, and whipped cream.
Breakfast meats include the obvious front-runner, bacon, and mild pork sausage patties. 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. Breakfast 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. Beyond toast, tortillas, and bagels, starchy sides include a spicy chipotle cornbread and rich jalapeno cheddar biscuits.
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 Southwest salad is hearty mix of greens with tortilla strips, black beans, pico de gallo, and shredded cheese in a creamy dressing.
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.
A surprisingly good Veggie Press meatless sandwich is prepared on the griddle and filled with a satisfying blend of portabello mushroom, mozzarella, arugula, pesto, and roasted tomato. Wraps are available in chicken Caesar and turkey club varieties. All sandwiches come with a choice of a side dish. Lunch sides include basics such as cottage cheese and black beans and richer choices like sweet potato fries, the default choice 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, coffee, tea, and espresso drinks, and fresh squeezed or extracted juices: orange, grapefruit, pineapple, carrot, 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 over three decades. Downtown diners can hope Breakfast Club the restaurant stays “right on track..”
2 E. Jefferson St., Phoenix AZ 85004