As far as food fads are concerned, bacon already had its day in the spotlight. “Bacon-mania” hit its peak in 2009, when it was named the food of the year because bacon consumption had increased by more than 40% in the United States. But seven years later, many still reach for that salty snack. I’m certainly not immune—I even named my bulldog Bacon. In his honor—and that of National Bacon Lovers Day—we’re breaking down Denver’s best porky picks to get your bacon fix, any time of day.
For Breakfast and Brunch: Jelly and Bar Dough
Bacon and pancakes are a natural combo, but Jelly kicks it up a notch with their bacon pancakes. They crumble bacon, mix it into the buttermilk batter and griddle it inside the pancakes. It’s the perfect amount of bacon in every bite. Grab yourself a single for $1, three-stack for $2 and five-stack for $3.50. If you fancy a lunch-ier brunch, head to Bar Dough for their tempura-fried avocado BLT ($13), only available during brunch. The sandwich is piled high with heirloom tomato, spiced bacon, Little Gem lettuces and green goddess dressing on a sesame bun. It’s a nice alternative to the Benedicts and French toasts that are standards across all brunch menus. The green goddess dressing gives a brightened kick to each bite.
Multiple locations. Eatmorejelly.com.
2227 West 32nd Ave., Denver. bardoughdenver.com
For Lunch & Dinner: Comida & Acorn
You don’t even have to leave The Source to get your lunch or dinner bacon fix. Pop into Acorn for lunch and order their oak-grilled BLT ($13), a massive sandwich on sourdough with strips of honey-cured, applewood bacon, a slathering of house-made aioli, avocado, heirloom tomato, red pepper jam. If you want to bulk up this monster meal, add a fried egg for $1 more. For dinner, cross the hall to Comida for their bacon-jalapeño taco ($4), a griddled soft corn taco loaded with Tender Belly bacon, Cotija, smoked Gouda and asadero and topped with salsa verde. The trio of cheeses gives it the bite of a quesadilla with the added smoky tang of the bacon.
The Source. 3350 Brighton Blvd., Denver. denveracorn.com. eatcomida.com.
For a Snack: Interstate Kitchen & Bar or Voodoo Doughnuts
For a snack, it comes down to your preference—sweet or salty. Salty lovers, head to Interstate happy hour for their bacon popcorn with spicy peanuts ($3). The kernels are popped in a carbon steel French pan with the fat reserved from frying applewood bacon all day. Top that with unsalted peanuts dusted with smoked paprika, red chile flakes, brown sugar and salt, and you’ll never touch the microwaved stuff again. If you prefer to nosh on a sweeter bite of bacon, don’t miss Voodoo Doughnut’s iconic bacon maple bar doughnut ($3.25).
1001 Santa Fe Dr., Denver. Interstaterestaurant.com.
1520 E Colfax Ave., Denver. voodoodoughnut.com.
For Bacon-Wrapped Bites: Buenos Aires Pizzeria or Charcoal
My dad always called bacon “the duct tape of food,” and I couldn’t agree more. You can wrap just about anything in bacon to give it an unexpected, salty twist—and many restaurants have taken note. Our favorites? The Higos Envueltos ($6) from Buenos Aires Pizzeria—bacon-wrapped sweet figs with the tang of a house barbecue sauce. If you’re looking for something to enjoy with a glass of wine, the bacon-wrapped dates ($8) from Charcoal are exactly what you’ll want. They’re stuffed with with Humboldt Fog goat cheese and smothered in a Concord grape reduction.
1319 22nd St., Denver. bapizza.com.
43 W. 9th Ave., Denver. charcoaldining.com
For Variety: The Berkshire or Bacon Social House
When you want all things bacon, I’ll point you to the bacon flights at The Berkshire or Bacon Social House. The bacon flight ($14) at The Berkshire is a customer favorite, with strips of premium Heritage breed bacon smoked and cured four ways: garlic, pesto, balsamic and candied maple. The candied maple with a Dijon glaze is the fan favorite. Or, try the flight at Bacon Social House. It has six different kinds of bacon from four different farms (Nueske’s, Daily’s, Tender Belly and Niman Ranch, $9). Flavors include applewood, house barbecue, candied, habanero, hickory and paleo. The restaurant claims the house barbecue is not to be missed. It’s made with a house-mixed rub inspired by the executive chef’s trips to North Carolina.
7352 E. 29th Ave., Denver. theberkshirerestaurant.com
2434 W 44th Ave., Denver. Baconsocialhouse.com
Best Non-Bacon Bacon: Devils on Unicorns at Vital Root
If you don’t eat bacon, there’s no need to get the bacon blues. Places like Vital Root are turning out their own vegetarian renditions, like their Devils on Unicorns ($9)—a vegetarian take on the popular Devil’s on Horseback. While Devils on Horseback traditionally features bacon-wrapped dates with a derivative of blue cheese, these meatless marvels are packed with goat cheese, Medjool dates, smoked almonds, coconut “bacon” and walnut-chili oil. Coconut flakes are seasoned and sizzled to resemble the real deal.
3915 Tennyson St., Denver. vitalrootdenver.com