The nominations relentlessly rolled in last week for Caliente’s upcoming Breakfast Madness competition.
More than 500 readers pitched their favorite breakfast spots in town, throwing more than 97 restaurants into the ring.
Of those, the 32 receiving the highest number of nominations will now face off against one another in a bracketed battle to see who serves the best breakfast.
The contenders come from all over the city — from Omar’s Hi-Way Chef at the Triple T Truck Stop on the far southeast side to the Crying Onion on West Orange Grove Road.
The Bisbee Breakfast Club, with two Southern Arizona locations — one in Bisbee and the other on West Ina Road — made the cut.
As did the upscale, dossant-dealing Prep & Pastry on North Campbell Avenue and the family-run Gus Balon’s diner on East 22nd Street.
Arizona-born chains Jerry Bob’s and The Good Egg are also in the running.
Taking the top seed with the most nominations was the long-running Bobo’s Restaurant on East Grant Road.
Bobo’s, a popular destination for University of Arizona students, has been slinging breakfast and lunch since 1975, and in recent years has added dinner service during the week.
Debra Gaudern, the fourth Bobo’s owner since it opened, started as a waitress there 23 years go. She’s owned Bobo’s for the last 13 years.
Gaudern said that there has always had a very loyal clientele. They come for a variety of dishes, including the banana pancakes, the home fries and biscuits and gravy, which Gaudern says “are the best in town.”
“We get students, lawyers, doctors,” she added. “There are customers who have been coming in since before I started working here.”
The second seed went to the young upstart Baja Café, which opened in March in the former Hummingbird Café on East Broadway.
Executive chef Gerard Meurer, previously a general manager at Barrio Brewing and Gentle Ben’s, launched the café with his fiancé, Kim Scanlan, almost on a whim.
“We were driving by and saw the vacancy,” he said. “ We put everything together in three weeks.”
Meurer said the restaurant offers traditional breakfast options, including a $3.75, two egg, hash browns, meat and toast meal.
But they also serve more innovative offerings, like gingerbread pancakes and tamale cakes with chorizo, and Hatch green chiles with a chipotle Hollandaise sauce.
Meurer said he tries to keep the menu edgy.
“One of our customers calls me a culinary madman,” he said. “I kind of like that title.”
Voting for Breakfast Madness begins July 24.
The Top 32
Alice’s Restaurant, 325-3151, 5416 E. Pima St.
Baja Cafe, 495-4772, 7002 E. Broadway.
Bisbee Breakfast Club, 579-7495, 4131 W. Ina Road.
Biscuits Country Cafe, 290-2556, 7026 E. Broadway.
Blue Willow, 327-7577, 2616 N. Campbell Ave.
Bobo’s Restaurant, 326-6163, 2938 E. Grant Road.
Brawley’s Restaurant, 722-5571, 6367 E. Broadway
Bread and Butter Cafe, 327-0004, 4231 E. 22nd St.
Chaco’s Cafe, 790-1828, 2027 S. Craycroft Road
Chaffins Diner, 882-7707, 902 E. Broadway.
Cindy Lou’s Cafe, 573-1915, 3329 E Benson Highway.
Crying Onion, 531-1330, 3684 W. Orange Grove Road.
Cup Cafe, 798-1618, 311 E. Congress St.
Egg Connection, 881-1009, 3114 E. Fort Lowell Road.
3843 E. Pima St.
Ghini’s French Caffe, 326-9095, 1803 E. Prince Road.
The Good Egg, 10565 N. Oracle Road (544-6115); 5055 N. Oracle Road (293-6139); 4775 E. Grant Road (795-7879); 7189 E. Speedway (885-4838); 5350 E. Broadway (512-0280) thegoodeggaz.com/southern-arizona
Gus Balons, 747-7788, 6027 E. 22nd St.
Hungry Fox, 326-2835,
4637 E. Broadway.
Jerry Bob’s, 7850 N. Silverbell Road, (579-0937) (myjerrybobs.com); 5028 E. Broadway (326-0301); 7699 E. Speedway (298-5030); 7545 S. Houghton Road (574-9060); 8300 N. Thornydale Road (579-7177); 2680 E. Valencia Road (807-5717); 7885 E. Golf Links Road (721-8888); 7939 N. Oracle Road (878-9360); 3601 N. Campbell Ave. (319-5642); 5121 S. Calle Santa Cruz, (889-3500).
Jethro’s Cafe, 722-1958, 8735 E. Broadway.
Joe’s Pancake House, 747-7536, 2532 S. Kolb Road.
Laverna’s Coffee Shop, 623-1389, 220 S. Plumer Ave.
Millie’s Pancake Haus, 298-4250, 6530 E. Tanque Verde Road.
Mother Hubbard’s Cafe, 623-7976, 14 W. Grant Road.
Omar’s Hi-Way Chef TTT Truck Stop, 574-0961, 5451 E. Benson Highway.
Poco and Mom’s, 325-7044, 1060 S. Kolb Road.
Prep and Pastry, 326-7737, 3073 N. Campbell Ave.
Robert’s, 795-1436, 3301 E. Grant Road, closed until Aug. 7
Sunny Side Up Cafe, 818-1083, 15800 N. Oracle Road.
The Happy Rooster Cafe, 298-1752, 1114 S. Sarnoff Drive.
Viv's Cafe, 760-8622, 8987 E. Tanque Verde Road.
A Great Location Cafe
Sam-Witches and Such
Cafe a la C’arte
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and Restaurant
Old Times Cafe
Sunny Daze Cafe
Teresa’s Mosaic Cafe
Todd’s Restaurant (Ryan Field)
5 Points Market and Restaurant
Le Buzz Caffe
Bentley’s House of Coffee & Tea
Old Chicago Deli
The Coronet Cafe
Country Kitchen Restaurant
Coyote Pause Cafe
El Sur Restaurant
Food for Ascension Cafe
Good Day Cafe
Hacienda del Sol
KG’s Westside Cafe
Little Anthony’s Diner
Little Cafe Poca Cosa
Lovin’ Spoonfuls Vegetarian
Planet of the Crepes
Quail Valley cafe
Skyline Country Club
Breakfast Club & Cafe
Tohono Chul Garden Bistro
Tucson Raquet and Fitness Club
Union Public House