Baird’s Better Brunch – Fox and the Hen Opens in the Highlands

It’s well known that pretty much all good meals are made with love. But there’s just something uniquely intimate about breakfast. Large portions fit for shared hangovers, bright and bushy-tailed business meetings or bleary-eyed reminiscences of previous nights now speeding into the rearview are the cornerstone of any morning’s proper beginning.

The Fox and The Hen, which recently debuted in the highlands, is a good place for just such a start. It’s less than a block up the street from Bar Dough, one of Denver’s leading eateries and another member of The Culinary Creative Group — the same crew that’s responsible for this latest and greatest temple of all things a.m.

“No one in our group has ever done breakfast full-time,” said Chef Carrie Baird, the Top Chef alumni who now acts as Culinary Director for the group’s American Wing.

The project is a collaboration between Baird and Michael Fox — a restaurant lifer who spent the last 12 years of his career in financial services before opening Dis Burrito during Covid. “He’s the top fox, and I’m the head hen,” said Baird with a grin. Fox says his culinary career began at the age of eight when he concocted a batch of barbecue sauce cookies. Despite the shaky debut, Fox says he’s gone on to work across every station restaurants have to offer aside from serving and got his culinary degree from Johnson and Wales here in Denver.

“It was a childhood dream to open a restaurant. And I’ve been wanting to do breakfast for 25 years,” said Fox. “But I didn’t want to do a brick-and-mortar for Dis Burrito,” he continued, noting that the project he started in a ghost kitchen in the building that now houses A5 Steakhouse has gone from selling 120 burritos a week to 11,000 in the same time. The burritos are available in markets and cafes across Colorado.

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So when Culinary Creative head honcho Juan Padro introduced Baird and Fox with the suggestion of getting a concept in motion, the chemistry was immediate. “We vobed,” laughed the duo in near unison.

The pair clearly still vibe, with Fox zipping across the front-of-house, shaking hands, kissing babies and making sure people are comfortable down to the detail, and Baird fashioning the kind of inspired dishes that leave little room for wonder as to why she’s a celebrity.

There’s, of course, a section for the fancy toast, which has appeared in one form or another on Baird’s menus since Top Chef. The tuna melt ($15) — which sees albacore conserva, crunchy veggies and sharp cheddar piled high atop griddled sourdough — has been one of the most popular, and for good reason. Then there’s the Dat Burrito ($16) which follows a similar format to its Dis predecessors, though it is roughly three times the size of the average grab-and-go variation. The hashbrowns ($9) are available Animal Style for $2 cheaper “cuz you’re dope and you order good.”

Clearly, this is fun food. But the talent and care that sit behind the whimsy make Fox and the Hen a real destination for serious diners who like starting their day with a smile.

Fox and The Hen is located at 257 West 32nd Ave., Denver. It is open every day from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.

All photography courtesy of Colleen O’Toole.

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