Confit Me!

Prep & Pastry opens with a punch of flavor.

May 1, 2014

GleaningsIssue 6: May/June 2014

If you’re looking for a boring eggs-and-toast breakfast, don’t come sniffing around Prep & Pastry. The new breakfast and brunch spot at Campbell and Fort Lowell specializes in modern comfort fare that’s brimming over with flavor, creativity, and a serious sense of indulgence. Fries for breakfast? Totally O.K. here. And there’s gravy and pork belly to spare.

For the adventurous diner, the greatest dilemma is choosing what to order. Oh, man. How can you pass up fried chicken with rosemary brioche French toast with blueberry reduction? But, on the other hand, the duck confit hash with cherries and goat cheese mousse is calling your name out seductively. The splurge-worthy breakfast poutine beckons with its perfectly cooked pork belly, duck fat gravy, house-made fries, local cheese curds, and over easy eggs. Yep, you’re in a bit of a pickle—and it isn’t just the pickled veggies topping the craft Bloody Marys that will soon be served here (liquor license is pending).


Prep & Pastry’s beni (eggs benedict), piled high on a flaky herb biscuit.

Nate Ares, who co-owns Prep & Pastry with several of his best friends, says the secret to the hypercreative menu is a free-flowing brainstorming process. “We just turn on some loud music, start coming up with crazy ideas, and throw them at our chef,” he says. “We’re just a bunch of restaurant geeks.” Chef Donovan Hale cooked at Penca briefly before coming to Prep & Pastry, and Ares is a long-time student of the Metzger restaurants, having worked at both Jax Kitchen and The Abbey.

Whatever the process, it seems to be working. On any given day, Prep & Pastry’s pretty French-country dining room and pleasant outdoor patio are both buzzing with happy patrons. A bearded customer is overheard raving about the pistachio pesto tucked inside his ooey-gooey grilled cheese. Another wordlessly dives into his corned beef hash with fried gnocchi and Brussels sprouts—the St. Patty’s week special. The beni—Prep & Pastry’s name for eggs benedict—is also a favorite. The pork belly beni comes perched on a perfectly flaky herb biscuit, and the veggie beni is a stack of lightly fried seasonal veggies (eggplant, most recently), with roast cherry tomatoes, poached egg, and an Easter-egg pink beet hollandaise sauce.

It is clear that Ares takes pride in his restaurant and is meticulous in its operation. Commenting on a picturesque breakfast poblano stuffed with eggs and piled high with tortilla strips and queso fresco, he says, “We have all the dishes photographed, and if it doesn’t look just like the photo, I don’t put it out there.”

Ares and his partners also value staying connected to the local food community, and take pains to incorporate as many local goods as possible. The eggs come from Zamudio Farms, the peppers in the delicious mole come from Native Seeds/SEARCH, located just next door, and most seasonal veggies come from local farms.

The final challenge at Prep & Pastry will be saving room for dessert. The pastry case is packed with tempting scones, cookies, and doughnuts. Ares suggests taking a maple-glazed candied-bacon doughnut to go. Twist my arm, why don’t you? ✜

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