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Sensi Magazine

Got the Brunchies?

Sep 07, 2016 10:38AM ● By John Lehndorff


Just saying the word “brunch” makes some of us sigh. At its best, weekend brunch is an elevating experience, a balm that recharges the batteries of folks who have been too damn busy all week. It’s not simply going out for food that’s a little bit breakfast and a little bit lunch. We give ourselves permission to indulge a little, to have a cocktail before noon. The week’s best meal demands you order Benedicts rather than egg white sandwiches, or huevos rancheros and menudo instead of dollar burritos.

Apparently, weekend brunch is not that big a deal in other cities, where people actually settle for IHOP. How unfortunate for the folks who live elsewhere! People in Denver and across Colorado are serious about their brunch, judging by the multitude of restaurants, bars, and tasting rooms dishing Saturday and Sunday fare.

As a certified brunch lover, I could have listed a hundred destinations worthy of a visit for various reasons. Instead, I’ve compiled some of my favorites that offer a range of only-in-Colorado experiences.

{ 1 } DazzleJazz:

Brunching on sun-splashed rooftops or street-side patios has its appeal, but when Sunday morning comes around, some of us crave a place that’s a little cooler, a tad darker, and a little easier on the ears. That refuge in Denver is DAZZLE, the famous Golden Triangle club that loosens its belt for a hugely popular Sunday jazz brunch buffet. In the main room, a good combo plays tunes perfect for the lively crowd—louder than just background music. This brunch is a sneaky way to plant the jazz bug in kids while they visit a station that has chocolate ganache to pour over their pancakes. The main brunch spread includes omelet and roast-carving stations, all the breakfast favorites, plus pirogies, Dazzle’s stellar fried chicken, and mac and cheese. You’ll find the appetizers, the desserts, and the all-important bottomless mimosa and Bloody Mary station in the bar. It’s worth noting: you’ll be encouraged to depart if you space out and hog a table more than 90 minutes.


{ 2 } Carbon Beverage Café:

In the Ballpark neighborhood, the hipster-friendly Carbon Beverage Café occupies a unique dual space with the well-named Habit Doughnut Dispensary. The former supplies a mouth-boggling brunch/lunch lineup featuring a huge sandwich stacked with three eggs, bacon, white cheddar, and truffle aioli on house brioche—plus pork street tacos and gluten-free fried chicken and waffles with honey butter. However, it’s worth coming just for the bacon- or pepperoni-infused Wu Tang potato tots with Shaolin barbecue sauce. Wash it down with a taste from wall taps that pour cold-brewed coffee, wine, beer, and housemade sodas and aged cocktails.

Next door, Habit offers stellar brioche doughnuts middled with pastry cream and frosted, iced, and crowned with everything from peanut butter icing and clove-flavored glaze to potato chip streusel. Naturally, Habit also sells candy, cigarettes, and Tylenol.


{3} Lucile’s Creole Café:

For 30 years, I’ve found myself awakening with a Louisiana accent at Lucile’s. I’ve stood in line forever at the tiny original Boulder location in an old Victorian house, and I’ve powdered my nose with sugar from a hot beignet at the Denver locations. The menu is a bon temps rouler stronghold of gumbo, etouffée, grits, red beans and rice, sausage gravy, and Lucile’s famous praline waffles. I love the feel of the place, the good coffee, and the biscuit-friendly housemade apple butter and strawberry-rhubarb jam that’s on every table.

2124 14TH STREET, BOULDER // 303-442-4743 //WWW.LUCILES.COM


{4 } Snooze Eatery:

Snooze was born in 2006 in Denver with a Jetsons-design spirit, a full bar, and a simple premise: why can’t you have brunch all day, every day? Dishes such as the pineapple upside down buttermilk pancakes with vanilla crème anglaise and cinnamon butter and the chilaquiles Benedict with roasted poblano hollandaise have allowed Snooze to spread to multiple locations throughout the metro region and beyond—and they all have long lines on weekends. And on most weekdays, too. The coolest Snooze of all is at Denver’s renovated Union Station, where it boasts a floor-to-ceiling mural and, on Saturdays, an excellent weekly farmers market right out front.


{5} Greenbriar Inn:

Sometimes you just want to dress up a little, take a drive in the country, and get classy. The Greenbriar Inn is the destination to suggest when relatives visit and want a comfortable feast ranging from oysters on the half shell to carved beef to eggs Benedict, with lots of sparkling wine and mimosas to wash it all down. The flower-decked grounds and gardens are ideal for strolling off that final plate of chocolate-dipped berries, pastries, and bread pudding. Reservations are recommended.


{ 6} Star Kitchen:

Bring the whole family and a few friends when you descend on this dim sum temple on a noisy Saturday or Sunday morning, when stainless steel carts careen from table to table. That way, you can taste multiple plates of tasty turnip cake with sausage, fried sesame balls, beef short ribs, congee with preserved duck egg, cold chicken feet, Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce, baked BBQ pork buns, and dozens of other more challenging preparations. It’s easy to order: Just point, but choose well. Once it’s on the table, it’s yours.


JOHN LEHNDORFF is the former Dining Critic at the Rocky Mountain News. He hosts Radio Nibbles at 8:25 a.m. Thursdays on KGNU (88.5 FM, 1390 AM, WWW.KGNU.ORG).