Creative Cravings

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

Brunch Café brings fun entrees to Scottsdale foodies

Kevin Rasmus knows a good thing when he sees it. When he heard Chicago-based Brunch Café was coming to Scottsdale, he needed to be a part of it.

The restaurant on North Scottsdale Road, just north of North Greenway Hayden Loop, has been a hit since it opened March 9, thanks to its creative menu. The store is the first in Arizona and the 10th overall.

“I would say our most popular item is the avocado toast,” says Rasmus, the general manager. “Our breakfast French toast creations and pancakes are decadent. People come back for them.”

The avocado toast ($11) sees fresh avocado, heirloom tomatoes, arugula and balsamic glaze piled on rustic whole grain bread.

Among the French toast “creations” are Texas French toast ($9); apple bread with pecans and vanilla bean glaze; banana bread with pecans; stuffed French toast with strawberry brunch cream, strawberries and whipped cream; cinnamon roll with vanilla bean glaze; and the signature French toast made with baked custard French bread, kiwi, strawberries, strawberry and vanilla glaze. All the specialty French toasts are $11.

Pancakes, under the playful “Hey Batter Batter” menu, have a variety of flavors as well. Buttermilk ($8) are anything but standard. Add strawberries, blueberries or raspberries for $1.50 each. Blueberry Bliss has brunch cream, blueberries and blueberry and vanilla glaze ($11). Chocolate pancakes have a bit of a twist with diced bacon added along with chocolate chips and chocolate drizzle ($11). Blue corn has sautéed bananas, caramel drizzle and whipped cream ($10). For a slightly healthier option, there is the carrot multigrain pancakes with pecans, brunch cream and vanilla bean glaze ($11). Plain multigrain ($8) and gluten-free pancakes are also available.

Brunch Café isn’t just about breakfast, though. Burgers and gourmet sandwiches (try the apple gouda melt) are served. Entrée salads, paninis and wraps fill out the menu. Highlights include the Baja steak wrap with skirt steak, corn, black beans, cheddar, lettuce, tomato and chipotle ranch ($12) and the Thai chicken wrap with Thai glazed chicken, super veggie blend, avocado, arcadian lettuce and sesame ginger dressing ($12).

What’s brunch without a little liquor? The three-part cocktail menu features loaded bloody mary ($10), mimosa ($8) and strawberry mimosa ($9). Cocktail specials are offered.

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” Rasmus says. “We like to say we’re creating something special from scratch. We’re doing things from scratch as much as possible.”

It’s also local. Dishes like Brunch Bennies ($10-$13.50), the omelets ($10-$12), scramblers ($12-$13) and crepes ($7-$12) are created with eggs from Arizona. Sausage is local as well.

“We try to buy as much local as we can,” Rasmus says. “All of our vendors are local and they’re sourcing those products for us. When we can, we also do all-natural, organic. We want to maintain that quality.”

There’s more to Brunch Café than the food. The elegant décor is the perfect spot to host private events like birthday parties or baby showers. Corporate lunch catering and special event catering are available. The large outdoor patio is open to dogs.

The location was a natural choice, according to Rasmus.

“We chose this location because of the business in the area, all the new homes going up, the condos, etc.,” he says. “It mimics where we like to put units in the Chicagoland area.”

If Rasmus could share anything with potential guests, it’s the work ethic of him and his staff.

“We’re Midwest homegrown,” he says. “We’re trying to be the best in the area and trying to bring our Midwest speed, work ethic and desire to take care of our customers in Scottsdale.”