Salt & Grinder Officially Opens With Killer Breakfast

By Ruth Tobias  |  June 18, 2014
Credit: Christopher Cina

For the 11th time, Frank Bonanno’s a proud papa. Since soft-opening last week, his Highlands Square deli has been serving close to 250 customers a day, he says — "and we haven’t even started breakfast yet.” But they’re oh-so-close. Following the official grand opening today at 11 AM, when the crew is giving away $50 gift cards to the first 100 folks in line, Salt & Grinder will be and up and running at 7 AM tomorrow with nine rise-and-shine plates that range from a green-chile-smothered burrito to peanut-butter-and-jam-stuffed French toast to, of course, sandwiches loaded with meats, eggs and cheese. They’re major mouthfuls, just like the ones on the lunch and dinner menu — which are soon to be supplemented by daily specials like knishes and maybe even the occasional bowl of matzo-ball soup.

Yet Bonanno’s equally tickled by the reception for some of his lighter offerings. “I had no idea the egg salad would be such a big seller. It’s just mustard, mayo and tarragon from my garden!” he laughs. Same goes for the cucumber side salad in lime vinaigrette, which “people are eating with these big meatball subs.” If that sounds like the old joke about the dieter who skips the cherry on top of her ice cream sundae, it's all part of the fun for Bonanno, who marvels at “how embracing the neighborhood has been.” In the same spirit, we tested out a couple of relatively healthy sandwiches on top of the breakfast bombs. Have a good look in the slide show below. 3609 W. 32nd Ave.; 303-945-4200

  • Credit: Christopher Cina

    The Philly
    The cold cut known to some East Coasters as a pork roll stars in this marvelously messy monster ($5.50), supported on a Kaiser roll by a fried egg, Swiss cheese and ketchup. Cut the thing with a knife first, unless yolk is a key part of your ensemble.

  • Credit: Christopher Cina

    The Jersey
    For the Jersey ($5.50) — named for Bonanno's home state — the kitchen replaces the Philly’s pork roll with ham and the Swiss with good old American cheese, and we have to confess to a soft spot for its sunny simplicity.

  • The Tuscan
    The pesto that tops this vegetarian combo of housemade mozzarella with tomato, roasted red peppers, pickled red onions and arugula is slightly coarser than most, adding some texture to the mix ($6.50). So does the proprietary Grateful Bread grinder roll, of course, thanks to a months-long process of recipe testing that Bonanno almost convinced us involved an experiment with exhaust fumes for that extra Jersey-style oomph. (In all seriousness, baker Jeff Cleary did end up purchasing special cast-iron pans that “keep the shape perfect.”)

  • The Italian
    That fresh mozzarella also pops up at breakfast on a sandwich with prosciutto, arugula and, yes, the all-important fried egg ($6).

  • The Yard Bird
    More basil paste, tomato and arugula, plus a pile of sprouts, add crunch and punch to classic turkey and Swiss ($8). Of course, jarred cocktails like the vodka and pineapple lemonade add punch to just about anything. 

  • Sweet Treats
    And for dessert, homesick New Yorkers have finally got a steady supply of black-and-white cookies, while Denverites devoted to Hellimae's salt caramels will get their fill from the blondies.