A quick glance at Ivy on 7th’s menu would indicate a fairly ordinary spread of breakfast and lunch options — simple cafe food built to accommodate palates of all kinds. A closer inspection, however, would reveal chef Rebecca Weitzman — the mastermind behind neighboring Logan Street — crafting sophisticated French country cuisine under the guise of more conventional breakfast and lunch fare. American staples are refurbished, with all the food reminiscing more humble continental origins. As with Logan, the restaurant is part of the Carboy Winery umbrella — the small empire from Craig Jones and Eric Hyatt that includes two Angelo’s Tavernas, multiple Carboy locations and Breckenridge’s Gold Pan Saloon. Situated in the space that formerly held Lala’s Wine Bar, Ivy flanks Carboy’s third taproom, with Logan conjoined to the bar’s other side. The trio has been breathing new life through most of the Governor’s Park block in the relatively short time since each opened across 2019.
Ivy opened in April, with Logan Street hot on its heels, debuting just a few months later in September. Weitzman returned from a long and decorated career in New York kitchens to work with Jones and Hyatt, her two concepts developing organically to complement the winery. “I didn’t initially plan to open a breakfast restaurant,” mused the chef. “There weren’t really any other brunch spots in the neighborhood,” she continued. While Weitzman says she spends a little more time in the kitchen at Logan, both locations are clear extensions of her culinary acumen.
A stint at the now-closed SoHo favorite Chalk Point Kitchen helped to inspire the menu’s direction. A concise but diverse selection of toasts, salads, sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches and plates, snacks, sides and specials all fit on one page. The food is affordable and the dishes are deceptively simple. The lemon-ricotta pancakes ($13.50) come topped with blueberries and a fast-melting slab of salted cultured butter. As an added bonus the morsels are gluten-free, inviting extravagance even to those with more selective regimens.
While even the more decadent options seem to be relatively nutritious, a fair bit of the menu is dedicated to health-conscious dining. The baby black Tuscan kale salad ($11) comes with toasted quinoa, herbed goat cheese and lemon vinaigrette. The vegan reuben ($13.50) does the classic justice with pastrami-spiced eggplant, house-made red cabbage kraut, vegan special and pressed rye.
The crispy potato waffle ($4.50) neatly repackages the latke and comes served with a side of Elevation Ketchup. Even when Weitzman isn’t reinventing the wheel, the food feels fresh and endearingly imaginative. The burrata and heirloom tomato toast ($11.50) with fig jam and crispy prosciutto took home best bite at the 2019 Denver Brunch Fest. As with many of the dishes, the toast has a great deal of visual appeal, relying on deft composition rather than elaborate plating. The Italian benedict ($12) with griddled tomato, rosemary-olive oil hollandaise and City Bakery focaccia is one of only four items that are available exclusively during weekend brunch. With Carboy wines on tap and a Bloody Mary ($11) with juice from house-pickled Fresno chilis, there is no shortage of options for washing it all down.
Weitzman’s brilliance lies in her ability to craft cuisine that is almost generous in its lack of pretension. It would seem the chef is hiding upscale trade secrets camouflaged by plain fare — much of it acting as a palpable Trojan Horse of culinary excellence. The use of mostly organic, often local ingredients helps — but there is more to it. Ivy sits at a curious junction where health, flavor, history and comfort all graciously coexist.
Ivy on 7th is located at 410 East 7th Ave., Denver. It is open Tuesday – Friday 7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
All photography by Alden Bonecutter.