Best of Tucson 95

Best Working-Man's Breakfast

STAFF PICK: Laverna's Coffee Shop, 220 S. Plumer Ave., is in a brick building with one, small, north-facing window in the industrial-office-warehouse district on Plumer Avenue, a block south of Broadway. It doesn't seem a likely candidate for a successful eatery. But the smiles of the staff light up the place like a torch. No window or fancy light fixtures could do the same. Many of the same folks come in each morning, barely speaking, looking for that cup of hot coffee. And after a breakfast of Laverna's over-sized griddle cakes or fresh hash browns made to order with a scramble of eggs and a couple of hand-formed sausage patties and toast, they're ready to face the day. But they've already cracked a smile or two, coaxed into the world by the irrepressible service demeanor of Laverna's owner Coleen Henley, her sister Rebecca, or any of the other bright-faced servers. Laverna's offers American diner classics with the simple, wholesome grace that should please even the sternest Midwestern palate. Those oversized hot cakes, come with a bit of the filling from the cherry cobbler and warm syrup. With the grilled sausage patties, flavored with just a bit of sage, the cakes make for a great breakfast sandwich. That is, unless you count fresh biscuits and pan sausage gravy as a sandwich. Those come as a side or as a choice with toast on any of the egg or omelet dishes. The biscuits are fresh, flaky and huge. The gravy is a classic milk-pan-sausage gravy, flavored with sausage and a bit of black pepper. Not a hint of the pasty stuff you might get elsewhere. There's Tabasco on the table. And the only other bit of hot spice on the menu is in the chorizo with scrambled eggs, served with home-cooked refried beans, warm tortilla and a whole grilled green chile over the eggs. It's a satisfying weekend brunch plate.

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