The 10 Best Brunch Dishes and Drinks in Denver

A citywide guide to weekend sips and bites
April 25, 2016
by Lori Midson

In the Mile High City, weekenders take brunch as seriously as green chile and craft beer. And while we're obsessed with the ritual, we're also overwhelmed with choices. So, to help you navigate the brunch traffic jam, we've compiled an indispensable Denver guide to help you wade through the labyrinth of pancakes, Bloody Marys and Benedicts.

Best après-hangover Bloody Mary to banish a beastly headache: Beast + Bottle

After a rough night, there's this thing called a Bloody Mary, aka the cure-all to what ails you. Much like mending a broken heart with a vat of chocolate, the Bloody Mary (in theory, anyway) soothes the queasiness of a still-sloshing stomach. And this is when the "beastly" Bloodies at Beast + Bottle become your spiritual guidance toward redemption. The biggest issue is deciding which one best suits your brain wreckage: the original Bloody with vodka; the potent potable with green onions and habanero vodka; the cucumber gin Bloody; or a long swig of the Bloody made with mesquite wood bourbon. They're all concocted with a house mix and garnished with a baby carrot and lime wedges. Photo: Beast + Bottle

Runners-up: Real Dill Bloody from Blackbird Public House jazzed up with candied bacon; the Bangkok Bloody Mary with Absolut Cilantro vodka, lime, red chile sauce, housemade Bloody Mary mix and lemongrass from Racines

Beast + Bottle: 719 E. 17th Ave., 303-623-3223; Blackbird Public House: 305 S. Downing St., 303-733-3923; Racines: 650 Sherman St.; 303-595-0418

Best eggs Benedict that you can't make at home: Bar Dough

I despise eggs Benedict. Said no one, ever. In fact, the beloved brunch dish has the kind of cult following that's normally reserved for Hollywood A-listers. There's just something inherently perfect about the union of voluptuous eggs, carbs and golden yolk. At Bar Dough, it's a match made even better with the rich and buttery addition of red wine hollandaise. Straying from tradition, the poached eggs are specked with Aleppo chile flakes, served on jalapeno-cheddar bread from Grateful Bread and smeared with tomato jam. Order it as it comes — wreathed with arugula leaves — or add pancetta or lox for $3 more. Photo: Bar Dough

Runners-up: The goat cheese biscuit Benedict topped with goat cheese, bacon, spinach, tomato, poached eggs and Parmesan sauce from Rioja (pictured up top); quinoa cake Benedict with Iberico cheese and sun-dried tomato hollandaise at Root Down

Bar Dough: 2227 W. 32nd Ave., 720-668-8506; Rioja: 1431 Larimer St., 303-820-2282; Root Down: 1600 W. 33rd Ave.

Best brunch (and bangers) for the craft beer crowd: Bull & Bush Brewery

When you're in the mood for a beer-fueled brunch, nothing tops the Bull & Bush. Nowhere but here do you have access to an ever-changing syllabus of excellent brews (house and guest taps) and a brunch menu that ballyhoos the best bangers this side of Ireland. They're served on a cast-iron skillet and paired with two eggs or mashed tubers and a liberal scoop of green chile. No wonder the dish is called Extra Special Bangers and Mash. Photo: Lori Midson

Runners-up: Hit up the Bluegrass brunch at Station 26 Brewing (the second Sunday of each month) and the brunch buffet (an a la carte brunch menu is available, too) at Farm House at Breckenridge Brewery

Bull & Bush Brewery: 4700 Cherry Creek Dr. South, 303-759-0333; Station 26 Brewing: 7045 E. 38th Ave., 303-333-1825; Farm House at Breckenridge Brewery: 2990 Brewery Ln., Littleton; 303-803-1380

Best chicken-and-waffles: Pop's Place

Trust us: The chicken-and-waffles at Pop's Place, a collaboration between Jim Pittenger (Biker Jim's Gourmet Dogs) and veteran chef Stephen Kleinman, rules the roost. The kitchen sous-vides the chicken, resulting in tender, juicy flesh and a crisp crust; the fluffy sour cream-and-cardamom waffles are tinged the color of honey. They're topped with textbook-perfect eggs poached in port and a lemon-kissed hollandaise sauce. The menu squawks that it's the "best ever chicken and waffles" — a declaration that's not cock and bull. Photo: Lori Midson

Runners-up: Fried chicken and waffles with tasso ham gravy from Revelry Kitchen and the buttermilk-fried chicken and waffles from Steuben's.

Pop's Place: 2020 Lawrence St., 720-949-1235; Revelry Kitchen: 4140 W. 38th Ave., 303-455-3132; Steuben's: 523 E. 17th Ave., 303-830-1001

Best southern-inspired brunch sandwich that's a mile high: Denver Biscuit Co.

All three Denver Biscuit Co. destinations (you'll find them lurking inside the confines of Atomic Cowboy) are brunch magnets for those who like their Southern-style biscuits as high as Denver's altitude. And the Franklin, whose centerpiece is buttermilk fried chicken dusted with Cajun spices, is the kingpin of hen. The expertly fried bird — served on on a flaky, buttery, house-baked biscuit — is crowned with bacon, cheddar and sausage gravy. It gives those homesick Southerners the ultimate place to flock. Photo: Adam Larkey

Runners-up: Breakfast po'boy at Sassafras American Eatery and spicy royal rooster sandwich at Old Major and Masterpiece Kitchen

Denver Biscuit Co.: 3237 E. Colfax Ave., 303-377-7900, 4275 Tennyson St., 303-377-7900, 141 S. Broadway, 303-377-7900; Sassafrass American Eatery: 2637 W. 26th Ave., 303-433-0080 and 320 E. Colfax Ave., 303-831-6233; Old Major: 3316 Tejon St., 720-420-0622; Masterpiece Kitchen: 84 Rampart Way, 720-324-8873

Best bagel to fill the hole in your soul: Rosenberg's Bagels & Delicatessen

Nothing jump-starts a sunny Mile High City weekend morning like a jaunt to this local New York-style bagel deli that bakes the freshest rolls-with-a-hole in town, cures and smokes it own fish and offers a seemingly endless scroll of add-ons. We're wild about the whitefish salad and chicken salad, but our go-to at brunch is the Standard, a plump, chewy and crunchy-on-the-outside bagel (we suggest the everything bagel) smeared with cream cheese and crowned with slices of lustrous gravlax, rings of ripe tomato, capers and slivers of red onion. Photo: Rosenberg's Bagels & Delicatessen

Runners-up: The pastrami-and-latke Benedict from the Bagel Deli & Restaurant and the New Yorker lox sandwich from Moe's Broadway Bagel

Rosenberg's Bagels & Delicatessen: 725 E. 26th Ave., 720-440-9880; Bagel Deli & Restaurant: 6439 E. Hampden Ave., 303-756-6667; Moe's Broadway Bagel: 550 Grant St., 303-733-7331

Best hangover buster: Double cheeseburger from The Squeaky Bean Farm & Table

Much has been made of the mind-altering cheeseburger at the Squeaky Bean Farm & Table, Johnny Ballen’s convivial spot in LoDo. And when you've got a pounding hangover that refuses to pipe down, that burger is a godsend. Stacked with two patties, American cheese, caramelized onions, special sauce and tart pickles (add a fried egg or sweet chile bacon for an extra charge), it's the ultimate hangover helper. And if that's not enough, it's served with a side of shoestring fries. Bonus: On Saturdays and Sundays from 12:30 – 2 PM, the Bean hosts Bingo games (with prizes for the winners) emceed by a local comedian. Photo: Christopher Cina

Runners-up: The Shroom Luva's burger from Highland Tap and Burger; the white cheddar and bacon burger at Elway's Cherry Creek and Elway's Downtown

The Squeaky Bean Farm & Table: 1500 Wynkoop St., 303-623-2665; Highland Tap and Burger: 2219 W. 32nd Ave., 720-287-4493; Elway's Cherry Creek: 2500 E. 1st Ave., 303-399-5353; Elway's Downtown: 1881 Curtis St., 303-312-3107

Best brunch when you're feeling dim (and then some): Star Kitchen

Dim sum is a ritual in Denver, especially on the weekends. And at Star Kitchen, a cavernous dining room bustling with careening dim sum carts, patrons arrive in droves to feast on pliant dumplings (pictured), chicken feet, shrimp-stuffed rice crêpes, excellent turnip cakes and salt-and-pepper-crusted head-on shrimp. There's plenty more to choose from, including lobsters and crabs, which are plucked from aquariums that take up space along the restaurant's back wall. Photo: Star Kitchen

Runners-up: The dim sum feasts at Super Star Asian and JJ Chinese, both of which feature everything from shrimp balls to sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves.

Star Kitchen: 2917 W. Mississippi Ave., 303-936-0089; Super Star Asian: 2200 W. Alameda Ave., 303-936-0089; JJ Chinese: 2500 W. Alameda Ave., 303-934-8888

Best brunch tacos: Onefold

Denver's reputation for plying hungry masses with tacos is well deserved, but the most bewitching morning tacos don't come from a designated taco emporium. Instead, they're found at this funky Uptown cafe that features a global menu. Handmade flour tortillas are the vessel for the fillings, which include crumbles of Tender Belly bacon, soft-scrambled eggs, crisped hash browns, griddled slabs of bronzed mozzarella cheese and a swipe of homemade tomatillo salsa. Photo: Onefold

Runners-up: Hash tacos with carnitas, smashed potatoes, caramelized onions, scrambled eggs and roasted green chile hollandaise from Pinche; eggs, chorizo and cheese tacos with green chiles (No. 3) at Torchy's Tacos

Onefold: 1420 E. 18th Ave., 303-954-0877; Pinche: 1514 York St., 720-475-1337 and 3300 W. 32nd Ave., 720-502-4608; Torchy's Tacos: 1085 Broadway, 303-436-1704

Best Bloody Mary that doubles as brunch: Stoic & Genuine

Denver is a bona fide Bloody Mary town. And while you'll find the classic pick-me-up on just about every menu in the city, you won't find anything similar to the seafood-centric brunch-in-a-Bloody poured at Stoic & Genuine. Here, the jazzy housemade mix (a blend of V8, aggressive spices, Cholula and sambal), horseradish and Worcestershire sauce is embellished with house-brined pickles, a stick of Castelvetrano olives and, for its crowning glory, a tower of seasoned Mexican shrimp and a crab claw. A tiny bottle of Tabasco seals the deal. Photo: Stoic & Genuine

Runners-up: The build-your-own Bloody Marys (think everything from bacon to french fries) at the Corner Office and Highland Tap and Burger

Stoic & Genuine: 1701 Wynkoop St., 303-640-3474; Corner Office: 1401 Curtis St., 303-825-6500; Highland Tap and Burger: 2219 W. 32nd Ave., 720-287-4493

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