Snooze is Irvine’s new wake-up call
Irvine has plenty of great places to have lunch. Whether it’s a business deal-sealing meal at Bistango, Prego, or Il Fornaio, or a kid-friendly play date at Ruby’s, Urban Seoul 2.0, or First Class Pizza, there’s a lot to choose from. Breakfast, on the other hand… well, not so much.
Whether it’s a quick and convenient coffee meeting at 7 a.m., a boozy Sunday Fun Day gathering, or a celebratory family get together on one of the big breakfast holidays, Irvine lags behind. Most of us, admit it, meet at our nearest Starbucks during the week, and head to the coast on the weekend.
For a few years, the best breakfast-for-business spot was Café Panini, which was part of the Ten Sushi/Tentation complex near the airport. It fulfilled our “musts” for an a.m. meeting spot: it opened early enough, was reasonably sedate and had a variety of dishes one could easily eat several times per week. Plus, being near the freeway, the airport, IBC and Newport Beach made it a great place to meet people coming from, or to, various offices. But Bosscat Kitchen is where it once was, and they only do Sunday brunch.
Many of us have resorted to working and meeting at Starbucks, or if we’re going healthy, grabbing a juice or smoothie at Juice it Up, Avocado Cafe, and other convenient spots.
But Irvine has been upping its a.m. game recently. Stacks Pancake House is a hit, though the lines and fast-casual ordering take it out of the running for business meetings, in our opinion, and no alcohol limits its fun factor on weekends. Eats Kitchen at Hotel Irvine is business friendly, near the 405 and IBC, and free valet makes it convenient, though it’s currently short a head chef. And FLOE Lounge at Irvine Marriott is the most aesthetically pleasing place to have a breakfast meeting in Irvine, though the hotel prices are steep for everyday dining.
It’s hard to find a breakfast place that has it all, but a strong contender is Snooze, an A.M. Eatery, that opened recently at the Marketplace on Jamboree. First, yes we realize it’s technically on the Tustin side of the boulevard. But when it comes to breakfast, we’re willing to break through the Irvine boundary by a few hundred yards.
The place is packed on weekends, which supports our thesis that the area suffers from a breakfast destination deficiency. It’s something we’re sure the major landlord is aware of, but experts tell us the rents make it difficult for morning and lunch-only operations to succeed.
We love the cool, Googie architecture-inspired interior of the place. It has a hipster-friendly vintage feel, with big, round booths and an ample bar. That’s not just for the boozers: some of us still like to dine solo in the morning, with enough room to spread out our Irvine City News newspaper. Or “like” something on our smart phone.
Snooze is known for its Benedicts and pancakes, with numerous flavors of each and the option to get flights and half-order duos if you can’t decide. There’s a long list of mimosas and Bloody Mary varieties, and the kid’s menu is fairly priced: both priorities for parents, at least on the weekends. Plus, there are five or six Mexican breakfast options on the menu, which is a must for many of us recovering from a long week, or a long night.
While we saw a few tables full of suits on a Tuesday morning at 7:30, Snooze is probably a bit too far from the office action and the food a tad too fresh (the order-to-eating time is a bit long, though that may be opening-month jitters) to make the go-to list for Irvine’s airport or Spectrum-area business community.
But for cool creatives, those who want a break from their 5-freeway commute, and those who can take the time to enjoy a longish morning meal, you can’t lose with Snooze.