breakfast in tucson: bobo's restaurant

A good friend of mine, knowing how much we love breakfast diners, recommended Bobo's to us awhile ago. We finally got around to going this past weekend.

It's in a low-traffic area of midtown, in a white brick building that's seen better days. When we arrived at 1:20 in the afternoon, the place was still packed, which seemed to us like a good sign.

The serving area is tiny, with the griddles immediately behind the counter and fully visible. A couple of taped up articles on the wall - along with the reviews online - had mentioned the pancakes, so that's what I was planning on trying.

Our waiter showed up, asking if we wanted coffee, with two beat-up mugs and the pot in his hand - another good sign. One of Colin's and my requirements for a breakfast place is the immediate availability of coffee and swift refills; Bobo's was right on the money the entire time we were there, and the coffee was strong without being overpowering.

The menu was typical diner food, except for the multiple varieties of pancakes: banana, apple, blueberry. I asked our waiter (who looked vaguely like Dave Chapelle, without acting at all like him) what his favorite was, and he said "apple" so cheerfully and with such certainty that I wouldn't have ordered anything else (though I did add eggs over medium, bacon, and sausage). Colin got the pork chop and eggs, and J had the kid's eggs, home fries, and sausage.

This is what arrived a few minutes later:

the ugliest, most delicious pancake you'll ever meet.

There were fresh apple rounds embedded in the top. The pancake was just sweet enough that I could eat it without syrup, though a little bit was a nice touch. There were places where the sugar had caramelized, and though it was wonderful, Colin and I didn't even finish it off - I had to ask for a take-home box (and it was still delicious the next day).

The eggs were cooked just right (some places have difficulty with over medium, I guess because it's ordered less often), and the sausage was a hand-formed patty of goodness.

The place won't earn any points for prettiness - the vents run visibly along the ceiling, and the cheesy window scenes painted on the wall don't add much - but the food was great and the prices quite reasonable. The crowd was everything from old people to homies to college kids, and even more remarkably, every single employee we talked to was in a genuinely good mood, though it was the end of what had to have been a long, busy day.

Even though it's a bit of a drive for us, Bobo's has definitely earned a spot on the breakfast rotation.

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