Budget Breakfasts

Tucson is home to a bevy of well-priced morning eateries

By Valerie Vinyard

The most important meal of the day doesn’t have to be the most expensive.

In fact, even though portions tend to be large, breakfast could be the least pricey meal to enjoy in a restaurant.

We’re featuring a handful of places around Tucson that offer budget prices for great breakfasts. Save for a few exceptions, all of the menu items are priced less than $10 a meal.

And most meals epitomize the word “hearty.” Besides the main dish, most come with one or two sides, usually toast and anything from grits to fruit cups. Many of the dishes we saw would be enough to stuff an average person.

So, next time you have a hankering for breakfast, here are eight tasty places that won’t break the bank.

Brawley’s Restaurant

7848 E. Wrightstown Road, 722-5571

5 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays; 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays

People rave about this inexpensively priced eatery, which is located in a strip mall on the city’s East Side. This restaurant doesn’t even need a daily special, because the menu is so inexpensive to begin with. For example, a breakfast of two eggs, hash browns and toast, biscuit and gravy or four small pancakes costs $3.80. An order of two slices of French toast, one egg and two slices of bacon, two links of sausage or one sausage patty was $5.55—and delicious.

Breakfast Stop

6135 E. 22nd Street, 207-3250

5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays; 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays

This 4-year-old eatery was bustling on a recent Sunday morning. The half-American, half-Mexican food menu offers many breakfast standards, from omelets to huevos rancheros. The restaurant offers a few daily specials, including two eggs, hash browns and toast for $4.01. On Mondays to Fridays, you can create your own “stop” for $6.21, which is a choice of four items from a list of 16. Those items include two eggs, French toast, biscuits and gravy and sausage links or a patty. Our TMC omelet ($9.11) came with Another plus? All of the lunch entrees also clock in at less than $10.

Crying Onion Cafe

3684 W. Orange Grove Road, #156, 742-7278, theoniontucson.com

6:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Mondays

to Thursdays; 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Fridays to Sundays

Open since 1987, the Crying Onion Café has friendly, efficient service. Morning folks can take advantage of the early bird special, where $4.49 will get you two eggs, home fries and toast or a half-biscuit and gravy, two bacon slices or one sausage patty and one egg. The Classic Breakfast Standard category includes a ($6.59) two-egg breakfast, which comes with a side and white, wheat, rye, sourdough toast, a slice of cinnamon streusel coffee cake or a fresh baked biscuit.

Egg Connection

3114 E. Fort Lowell Road, 881-1009, theeggconnection.com

6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Mondays to Fridays; 6 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays

Yes, “egg” is in the name, but this restaurant offers much more than just eggs—from many types of pancakes to smoked salmon benedict. From 6 to 11 a.m. weekdays, the Egg Connection offers a complete breakfast, which has two slices of bacon, small OJ and another drink of your choice, two eggs and choice of home fries, French toast or pancakes for $5. Besides the many specialty omelets, the restaurant offers a build-your-own version, which includes a choice of seven cheeses; eight specialty meats (besides the traditional sausage, bacon and ham); and sauces that include hollandaise, enchilada, marinara or gravy.


3843 E. Pima Street, 881-2710

6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays to Fridays;

7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays; 8 a.m. to

2 p.m. Sundays

A sign that states “Elegant dining elsewhere” should be a hint as this restaurant’s casual vibe, but it doesn’t convey the tasty food located within the unassuming place. Located in Midtown Tucson, Frank’s is a greasy spoon by day, a Mexican restaurant called Francisco’s by night (5 to 10 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays). The best deal at Frank’s is the $5.40 breakfast special until 9 a.m. weekdays includes two eggs, choice of home fries or hash browns and a tortilla, biscuit or toast. The restaurant is BYOB, meaning you could bring that bottle of champagne to make some mimosas for Sunday brunch. Breakfast features a combination of standbys, including omelets and Depending on the weather, diners are welcome to sit at one of the outdoor tables.


220 S. Plumer Avenue, 623-1389

5:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays; 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays; 5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays;

7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays)

This restaurant is larger than it looks from the outside, but it’s a busy early-morning haunt for many. Laverna’s is known for its gut-busting pancakes, of which there are eight varieties, including apple pecan, mango and sweet potato (one for $5.99; two for $9.99). The restaurant also features specialty coffees ($3.99 for 20 ounces) and teas ($2.99 for 20 ounces). For the price-conscious, choose one from the Old Standbys menu, such as two eggs and a choice of home fries, hash browns, sliced tomatoes or fruit and choice of toast or biscuits and gravy ($4.99).

4 Seasons Restaurant

1423 W. Miracle Mile, 882-4212

(8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays to Fridays; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Closed Mondays)

This narrow restaurant, which offers counter stools and tables/booths, serves a combination of Thai, Chinese and American dishes, but focuses on the American side for breakfast. The $5.99 breakfast special is available from 8 to 10 a.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and features eggs, potatoes, toast and a choice of Jimmy Dean sausage, applewood-smoked bacon or smoked ham. Other menu items include Homemade Corned Beef Hash ($7.99), where corned beef brisket is roasted for hours and comes with two eggs, potatoes and toast. The Hillbilly Fried Rice ($9.49) is a mix of chopped ham, sausage and bacon prepared with fried rice for an Asian-American breakfast.

Viv’s Café

8987 E. Tanque Verde Road, 760-8622

6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays; 6 a.m. to noon Sundays

Viv’s Café attracts its fair share of people who want to fill up before making the trip up to Mount Lemmon. Outdoor seating is available. There’s a “Joe’s Special” ($7.99) on the menu (an egg, hamburger, spinach, mushroom and onion scramble). On Mondays through Fridays, a $7 breakfast special is comprised of two eggs, bacon or sausage, hash browns and toast. If that’s too high, there’s always the stack of pancakes for $4.49.