By Kelly Vaughn Kramer | Photo by Steven Meckler
Sometimes, a scone is just the worst — better used as a blunt object than as a breakfast food. Put one in a pastry battle royale with a cinnamon roll and a Pop-Tart, and it’ll come in third place every time ... fourth if you throw a beignet into that culinary Thunderdome.
But the strawberry-basil scones at Tucson’s Prep & Pastry are very, very different. Soft and sweet with a drizzle of icing, they’re a decadent precursor to a healthy lunch or an as-satisfying-as-a-cupcake post-meal indulgence. What’s more, they’re proof that the people behind Prep & Pastry know what they’re doing when it comes to satisfying Tucson’s increasingly food-hip crowd.
Since the restaurant opened in a strip mall at Campbell Avenue and Fort Lowell Road in January 2013, its menu, according to Billy Kovacs, has been a modern twist on old classics.
“We use amazing ingredients and local products to enhance and highlight the food that we produce,” says Kovacs, one of the owners of the restaurant. “We looked at breakfast spots in San Diego, Denver, Portland, Seattle and Chicago to get inspiration. What we found was not so much dishes that we liked, but the experience that each one of these places had to offer their community. People enjoy our food, but they love our staff.”
Indeed, the servers are young and knowledgeable, and they pay such close attention to their patrons that it wouldn’t be a surprise to find them catching a dropped napkin before it hit the cement floor or sweeping crumbs off the upholstered banquette before you even realized they were there.
And while the food and the service are big draws at Prep & Pastry, so, too, is the space itself. Airy and rustic, the restaurant is bolstered by wooden beams and dressed with barn-wood tables, along with big blue walls that feature chalk sketches of herbs and this, a quote from Lewis Carroll: “Sometimes, I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Breakfast. Ask Kovacs to name his favorite dish on the breakfast menu, and he’ll be hard-pressed to give up just one.
“Honestly, it’s a tossup,” he says. “I think the pork-belly Benedict is such a showstopper, but we also have people who love the sweet-potato hash or the breakfast poutine. That was our goal at the beginning: We wanted to have a menu that could cater to someone who could keep coming back and have more than just one favorite dish.”
While breakfast is impossibly good, Prep & Pastry’s lunch offerings are nothing to scoff at. Think pork-belly BLTs and salads heaped with greens, fresh local produce, goat-cheese croutons and citrus-brined chicken.
Then, of course, there are the rich, buttery pastries. Cookies. Pies. Scones.
“Oh, the strawberry-and-basil scone,” Kovacs says. “It was one of the first creations we made. We love to come in and throw ideas to our team and see what they produce. It keeps things lively and fresh all the time.”
Prep & Pastry is located at 3073 N. Campbell Avenue in Tucson. For more information, call 520-326-7737 or visit www.prepandpastry.com.