Just about anyone who needs a reminder of when to wake up these days relies on a smartphone or a smart speaker for their morning reveille. It wasn’t that long ago, however, that clock radios were ubiquitous on nightstands, and one of their chief features was the snooze button, designed to be used when just a few more minutes of sleep were desired. Even with the concept of a snooze now a tap on a phone screen instead of a press of a button, the concept persists, and a Denver-based breakfast restaurant chain celebrates the idea in its name.
Snooze has established multiple sites in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, and two of them are urban locations near rail. In Phoenix, Snooze occupies a space in the ground floor of the Stewart apartment tower that was until recently a separate vintage building. With construction of the high-rise, the former Stewart Motor Company building, more recently home to Circles Records, was absorbed into the residential tower as a ground floor retail space facing the corner of McKinley and Central, two blocks south of the Roosevelt/Central light rail station.
In Tempe, Snooze is a tenant in the old Annex Building at Arizona State University, splitting the structure with its neighbor Postino. This Snooze location is a block-and-a-half south of the Veterans Way / College Avenue light rail station and the Tempe Transportation Center. Unlike the Phoenix location, which has tall ceilings and mezzanine overflow seating, the Tempe site is more horizontal. What it gains over the Phoenix restaurant is more extensive outdoor seating with generous shade for year-round enjoyment. Bike racks are found outside both locations.
Despite their architectural differences, what both locations share is a common menu and decorative theme. The former is all about breakfast, without the separate lunch menu of sandwiches and salads that so many morning restaurants offer. Instead, the approach is eggs, pancakes, French toast, and the like from opening time at 6:30 am until closing eight hours later at 2:30 in the afternoon. The latter is all about the color orange, perhaps based on juice or the rising sun. The hue is seen throughout both spaces in tabletops, counters, and patio umbrellas.
At seemingly all Snooze locations, there can be a long wait for a seat, especially at peak hours on weekends. Arrive earlier or on a weekday, however, and tables are usually available immediately with no crowd hovering outside the door waiting for them to turn over. In both Phoenix and Tempe, there are also bar counters where solo customers or pairs of diners may also be accommodated. The all-day menu, offered via QR code with print provided only on request, is consistent at both locations with seasonal specials routinely rotated each month.
The menu begins with a savory section of variations on eggs Benedict, also known here as “Bennies” with components as classic as ham or a bit more fiery like habanero pork belly. The Bella Benedict has a Mediterranean theme with its use of prosciutto, balsamic glaze, and arugula on top of ciabatta. Other choices veer in a more Southwestern direction with pork chili verde or barbacoa. A meatless option involves smashed avocado, and any two Benedict styles can be combined in a duo in which both preparations are served side-by-side in half sizes.
Eggs are also prevalent in the form of omelets, scrambles, and even sunny side up on top of a bowl of shrimp and grits or a breakfast pot pie consisting of a flaky pastry crust topped with rosemary sausage gravy. A tofu scramble provides a vegan alternative to the endless eggs, and most egg entrees come with a disc-shaped side serving of hash browns. Additional sides offered a la carte include sausage links and patties, chorizo, and bacon, both plain and a “Bacon but Different” version with brown sugar, cayenne, chili flakes and Sriracha maple syrup.
Snooze indulges in myriad manifestations of pancakes and French toast. Blueberry Danish and pineapple upside down pancakes both use fruit toppings to emulate various desserts and pastry in a pancake format. A slightly less sugary approach is found in the sweet potato pancakes topped with caramel and pecans. The OMG French toast contains mascarpone cheese that essentially melds with the brioche bread it is made from, and the Funky Monkey variety involving banana bread is inventive but also so sweet and dense as to be nearly overwhelming.
Pancakes are among the items most often featured in seasonal variations such as strawberry shortcake or Pride with rainbow sprinkles and white chocolate chips. One way to sample multiple flavors is to order a pancake flight involving one disc of three varieties on a single plate. If all this sounds rather heavy, one light alternative is Goldilocks Porridge. Despite the cutesy fairy tale name, this bowl of grain and fruit is actually quite restrained in its sweetness, allowing some of the intrinsic earthy and nutty flavors of the oats, quinoa, and millet to be perceptible.
Drinks include Evolution juice blends with watermelon and orange as featured flavors. Both locations have a full bar with a specialization in breakfast cocktails like mimosas and a beer-oriented counterpart know as a “brewmosa.” With its trendy menu and slick graphics, Snooze can sometimes feel like the multi-state chain that it is. On the other hand, the restaurant’s adaptive reuse of vintage buildings in the downtowns of both Phoenix and Tempe gives it a local feeling that makes it worth not pressing the snooze button too many times.
800 N. Central Ave., Phoenix AZ 85004
615 S. College Ave., Tempe AZ 85281