Denver’s weekend brunch crowd is a paradox with a palate. How does the same group of individuals who aggressively panic in traffic willingly participate in a two-hour wait for pancakes? Regardless of this conundrum, we certainly understand the appeal of a meal which transcends the boundaries of a basic breakfast by incorporating free-flowing beverages and rousing daytime variety. With this said — it is an excellent time to relish in the fact that a few foodie havens within the Mile High City are offering brunch menus to inspire the scene. Ready to break the mold from the traditional eggs benedict? Here is what you need to know.
Where: 3563 Wazee St., Denver
The Lowdown: Casual wine cocktails, crowd-pleasing plates and a fetching environment which welcomes your four-legged companions? These are just a few of the reasons Bigsby’s Folly is the ideal destination for your next brunch escapade. RiNo’s beautiful urban winery is offering a fabulous, accessible brunch menu — every Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Whether you are an aspiring sommelier or sunglass-dependent morning-after-indulger — any pairing with Bigsby’s artisanal wine is sure to satisfy. Chef Sarah Machado has created a comfort-inciting selection of dishes including freshly baked croissants ($7) with whipped vanilla butter and carrot cake jam — a sweet, serotonin-boosting starter. While The Baked Egg Thing ($16/$24) with crispy potatoes, onions, peppers, kale, cheese curds, baked eggs, brown gravy and a choice of bacon or ham is the ultimate savory powerhouse. Bisgby’s will also offer Chicken ’n Waffles ($16) with buttermilk bacon waffles, crispy chicken tenders, bourbon-butter pecan syrup and peach, along with several favorites from the regular menu.
Where: 2930 Umatilla St., Denver
The Lowdown: Two words: the view. Other words that come in pairs? Breakfast bocadillo ($14), bottomless mimosas ($21) and seafood Benedict ($17). By the way — did we mention the view? Soak in the sunshine while admiring the skyline on the fifth floor of this glorious LoHi gem. El Five possesses an unmatched ambiance accompanied by bold, Mediterranean flair. The Sausage Paella ($19) is an abundant option with chorizo, lamb sausage, manchego, bomba rice, sunny side egg, aioli and salsa verde. Tasting plates including the lamb merguez skewer ($12) or tabbouleh lettuce wrap ($12) are available as shareable mouthfuls. Also — let us not overlook the tres leches French toast ($7/$13) with caramelized milk, red currants, sesame hibiscus crumble and mint. Or, substitute your morning smoothie with the Apricot Frosé ($11) — a slushy concoction made with rosé, vodka, apricot puree and champagne acid. Elevate your brunch plans at El Five every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: 2601 Larimer St., Denver
The Lowdown: RiNo can’t seem to get enough of Il Posto. Il Posto can’t seem to get enough of RiNo. Consequently — the contemporary Italian restaurant has begun opening its doors for Primo Pranzo every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Primo Pranzo — or, Italian-style brunch — includes breakfast items such as Torta Calda — a basil pancake with burrata, blackberry, black pepper syrup and pork sausage; Casseruola — with over-easy eggs, chicken, pattypan squash, broccolini, carrot, and breakfast potatoes with Calabrian chili hot sauce and dill crema; Tartina — a ciabatta base with soft scrambled egg, anchovy, red onion, arugula, caper vinaigrette, oven-dried tomato and caciocavallo; or, the Involtini alla Cannella — an updated version of a cinnamon roll with peach, cinnamon, chili powder and chocolate chips with a ricotta frosting. Prices range from $7 – $19 for entrees. Boozy offerings include Aperol spritzes ($4) as well as discounted Bubbles + Blush.
Lola Coastal Mexican
Where: 1575 Boulder St., Denver
The Lowdown: It has been a few months since the beloved Lola Coastal Mexican reopened its doors with a stunning remodel, a new chef/partner — Javier Plascencia — and updated menus with fierce, fresh flavors. Subsequently, Lola’s brunch menu reflects the subtle shift in direction while maintaining the lure of this LoHi favorite. On Saturdays and Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., experience Lola’s revamped brunch lineup with a bright new take on Mexican morning fare. Enjoy a vegetable tostada ($10) with black lentil, barley, black beans, charred scallion, lime-sesame vinaigrette, avocado and a over-easy egg; short rib benedict ($18) with red chile hollandaise, crispy potatoes, charred cipollinis and jalapeños; a decadent doughnut sampler ($4); avocado toast ($9); or lobster enchiladas ($14) — a definitive coastal Mexican dish. Wash it all down with a Lola Bloody ($8) featuring vodka or tequila and a kick of spicy sangrita or some house-made horchata ($4).
Where: 2005 W 33rd Ave., Denver
The Lowdown: Hummus for breakfast? Right on! This is what should be said about the “unorthodox cuisine” being dished out for Sunday brunch at Ash’Kara. Not to mention — “right on!” or “totally!” — is essentially the Hebrew street-slang translation of Ash’Kara — chef Daniel Asher’s globally inspired concept which opened in the lower Highlands earlier this year. Wake up to a unique take on Israeli cuisine and sip a Peace-Full ($12) featuring Spring 44 gin, greek yogurt, pomegranate and orange flower, or a detox retox ($9), with Spring 44 vodka and kombucha. Tastebuds tingling, yet? Savor a variety of Mediterranean staples with the Kibbutz breakfast plate ($14) featuring babaganoush, labneh, dill tabouleh and smashed avocado — or, surrender to the brunch saganaki ($16) with duck prosciutto, sous vide egg, ouzo and lemon— flamed to perfection. Alas, let us not forget the smoked sable ($16), with capers, pickled onion and labneh on Ash’Kara’s “everything spice” wood-fired pita.
Stoic & Genuine
Where: 1701 Wynkoop St., Denver
The Lowdown: Before developing a biased opinion about starting your day with a seafood-focused brunch — consider the credibility of this Union Station spot. The sustainable, multi-coastal concept from Denver’s first James Beard award winner, Jennifer Jasinski, has a satisfying brunch menu starting at 10 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. While any morning-friendly restaurant may offer a medley of egg preparations — the deviled egg trio ($9) makes for a unique escape from the usual sunny-side-up situation. Enjoy The Classic with crispy speck, The Lobster with lobster salad and celery heart, or The Caviar with Royal Oscietra. The crab cake benedict ($19.50) or the house-smoked salmon and potato latke ($14.50) with a Yukon gold potato latke, salmon salad and a poached egg provide a fresh break from traditional benedicts. For a tasty spin on a breakfast cocktail, try It’s So Pretty ($10) with Family Jones gin, chamomile, Cocchi Rosso, Combier and Crooked Stave sour rose. Sea for yourself this weekend or treat yourself to a selection from S&G’s lunch menu after a proper sleep-in.
Where: 1808 Blake St., Denver
The Lowdown: Pony Up is a place for serious, unadulterated fun. Fernet Branca flows from a tap, French dips are served until 1 a.m. and clever decor promotes particularly blissful feelings. In other words — this year-old LoDo watering hole clearly understands the Denver drinking scene. It only makes sense for Pony Up to cater to the playful brunch brigade as well. A small rotation of brunch plates will encourage edible enthusiasm on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the stellar champagne selection is available for half-price (by the bottle) all day on Sundays. Enjoy a breakfast dip ($12) with breakfast sausage, soft scrambled egg, American cheese, griddled Ciabatta and sage sausage gravy dip or a breakfast burrito ($11) with Polidori sausage, crispy potatoes, soft scrambled egg, cheddar, salsa and guacamole. Classic brunch cocktails and specials like karaage style fried chicken and waffles will keep the good times coming.
Where: 3330 Brighton Blvd., Denver
The Lowdown: In case the undeniably flavorful spectrum of Israeli cuisine hasn’t received its much-deserved spotlight in Denver recently — pay close attention to Safta, the brilliant concept by James Beard award-winner, Alon Shaya, which opened in The Source Hotel + Market Hall last fall. Every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Safta is providing a homey, all-you-can-eat brunch buffet for ($45) with an impressive array of mouthwatering Middle Eastern dishes. Enjoy a selection of pastries, bagels, cured fish, fresh cheeses, shakshouka, breakfast hash and succulent, carved lamb shoulder to please the especially carnivorous crowd. Tableside Campari, Contratto and Averna spritzes are available at an additional cost. Of course — the rightfully famous hummus and surprisingly fluffy, unparalleled pita bread are also available.