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Gus Balon's

6027 E. 22nd St., Tucson, AZ - (520) 747-7788
Posted By Michael Stern on 4/10/2006 5:51:00 AM
Gus Balon’s sweet roll is a scenic wonder. HUGE! It is the size of half a six-pack. There is always a pan of them on the shelf of the kitchen pass-through, but you don’t really realize just how big it is until one is presented to you on a plate, with a schmear of butter on the side. Utensils seem puny for attacking it; it makes more sense to use your hands. It is swirled with veins of sweet cinnamon sugar and frosted on top. Enormous as it is, the roll is surprisingly gentle-textured, easy to tear … and to eat.

Everything baked is good at Gus’s. The toast that comes with egg orders is made from Gus’s own white bread that is rugged and delicious. (And those eggs, by the way are something special, particularly if you like them sunny-side up or over easy: glistening in an abundance of butter.) The pie repertoire is staggering. One day’s list of available pies was: banana, chocolate banana, chocolate peanut butter banana, chocolate peanut butter, chocolate, coconut, lemon, butterscotch, blueberry, peach, raspberry, peanut butter, pineapple, apple, cherry, raspberry, peach, and raisin. Plus the crumb-topped pies: apple-cranberry, peach, raspberry, apple, apple-raisin, cherry, and pumpkin!

Aside from exemplary baked goods and inexpensive lunches served in a bare-bones coffee-shop setting (counter and booths), Gus’s is notable for its glorious waitstaff, a team of girls who serve the food and coffee almost faster than you can speak the words to order it, and who refer to newcomers as well as friends as hon’, sweetheart, and doll. “You into pictures, hon’?” asked Pat, our waitress, when she caught me snapping a photo of the giant cinnamon roll. I showed her the digital image and she agreed that it was indeed a thing of beauty.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Sweet Roll
Breakfast Burger
toast
Pancakes
pie
Coarse Ground Round Breakfast
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Not a trick photo. This is one Gus Balon cinnamon roll, about the size of a half-loaf of bread.  It is presented warm with butter, and it is a meal unto itself.
"Not a trick photo. This is one Gus Balon cinnamon roll, about the size of a half-loaf of bread. It is presented warm with butter, and it is a meal unto itself."
Michael Stern





Kelli Fling, Gus Balon's granddaughter, told us that the Breakfast Burger was added to the menu just last year. The sausage, egg, cheese and bacon all are fine, but it's the substantial homemade bun that puts this morning sandwich over the top. And, by the way, those 'American fries' in the background are delicious: gentle-flavored with just a few crunchy bits from the griddle.
"Kelli Fling, Gus Balon's granddaughter, told us that the Breakfast Burger was added to the menu just last year. The sausage, egg, cheese and bacon all are fine, but it's the substantial homemade bun that puts this morning sandwich over the top. And, by the way, those 'American fries' in the background are delicious: gentle-flavored with just a few crunchy bits from the griddle."
Michael Stern


Many butterscotch pies taste like melted candy in a crust. This one is so much more authoritative, the butterscotch dense and substantial -- serious dessert.
"Many butterscotch pies taste like melted candy in a crust. This one is so much more authoritative, the butterscotch dense and substantial -- serious dessert."
Michael Stern


Pat, who has been a waitress at Gus Balon's for ten years, shows off a pan of the famous sweet rolls.
"Pat, who has been a waitress at Gus Balon's for ten years, shows off a pan of the famous sweet rolls. "
Michael Stern


Since 1966, Tucson's favorite breakfast house
"Since 1966, Tucson's favorite breakfast house"
Michael Stern


Gus Balon's pies are just one reason this excellent cafe is an essential eat-stop in Tucson.
"Gus Balon's pies are just one reason this excellent cafe is an essential eat-stop in Tucson."
Michael Stern


The toast that comes with eggs is homemade.  It has real texture and flavor, and is a joy to eat.  Note all the butter on that egg:  mmmm-good!
"The toast that comes with eggs is homemade. It has real texture and flavor, and is a joy to eat. Note all the butter on that egg: mmmm-good!"
Michael Stern


The meat part of this 'Coarse Ground Round' breakfast is perfectly good, but while I left some of that on the plate, along with run-off of the egg yolks, I completely devoured the rich fried potatoes and toast in the background. This whole meal was the day's breakfast special, going for $6.10 including coffee.
"The meat part of this 'Coarse Ground Round' breakfast is perfectly good, but while I left some of that on the plate, along with run-off of the egg yolks, I completely devoured the rich fried potatoes and toast in the background. This whole meal was the day's breakfast special, going for $6.10 including coffee."
Michael Stern


Raspberry pie.
"Raspberry pie."
BSamuelson


Raisin pie.
"Raisin pie."
BSamuelson


After breakfast we obviously had to get dessert. Here is coconut and caramel pie.
"After breakfast we obviously had to get dessert. Here is coconut and caramel pie. "
daniel


The knife that arrives, plunged into the heart of Gus Balon's cinnamon roll, is essential. The roll has too much substance to yield easily to a fork and it is too ooey-gooey-sticky for fingers alone.
"The knife that arrives, plunged into the heart of Gus Balon's cinnamon roll, is essential. The roll has too much substance to yield easily to a fork and it is too ooey-gooey-sticky for fingers alone."
Michael Stern


Meals are securely in the single-digit price range.  The check is presented with the food. Our waitress, Pat, has a unique way of signing her name.
"Meals are securely in the single-digit price range. The check is presented with the food. Our waitress, Pat, has a unique way of signing her name."
Michael Stern


For us, no visit to Tucson is complete without at least one breakfast at this fine place.
"For us, no visit to Tucson is complete without at least one breakfast at this fine place."
Michael Stern


Clear, bright signage.
"Clear, bright signage."
BSamuelson


The ingredients in this breakfast 'burger' are high quality and make this sandwich a winner.
"The ingredients in this breakfast 'burger' are high quality and make this sandwich a winner."
BSamuelson



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