6 Great Brunches in Denver
Denver locals share their favorite brunch spots around the city.
When you visit the Mile High City don't forget to try one of Denver's many midday dining options.(Getty Images)
Denver's dining scene has come a long way since the creation of its namesake omelet (originally served as a breakfast sandwich that became famous in the early 1900s), but one thing remains the same: In the Mile High City, it's brunch or bust.
Denver and brunch go together like New Orleans and gumbo, and Philadelphia and cheesesteaks. From casual eateries to reservation-only hot spots, Denver has a myriad midday dining options. To help you decide where to brunch on your next trip to Denver, U.S. News asked local travel experts to spill the (coffee) beans about some of their favorite brunch spots.
Snooze Eatery(Debbie Wolvos Photography)
Self-described as "an A.M. eatery," this longtime brunch haven is easy to spot – crowds of diners mill around outside Snooze while waiting for their chance to dig a fork into a Breakfast Pot Pie or catch a buzz with a Morning Marg well into the afternoon.
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Is it worth the wait? According to Rob Sembrat, concierge at The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa, it is if you're craving something sweet. "The gourmet pancakes are absolutely fantastic," he says. Get your fix with the Pancake Flight, which allows you to mix and match three pancake flavors.
This retro-inspired spot, open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., recently unveiled a third location at Denver's Union Station in Lower Downtown.
Ophelia's Electric Soapbox
Ophelia’s Electric Soapboax(Courtesy of Ophelia’s Electric Soapboax)
Ashley Taufen, communications manager with the Visit Denver tourism board, names this funky brothel-turned-restaurant and music venue in Denver's Five Points neighborhood as one of her favorites for having "very local-focused food and some great vegetarian options."
Ophelia's also serves up live music alongside an eclectic brunch menu on weekends from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Creative menu items like Arepas Benedict and a Smoked Salmon Flatbread with "everything bagel" pine nuts keep patrons entertained almost as much as the band on stage.
"Ophelia's is super fun for brunch," Taufen says. "Sometimes they show movies or have DJs – it's a blast!"
Lucile's Creole Cafe
Originating in the neighboring city of Boulder, Colorado, and now with six locations statewide, Lucile's is a family-owned, Southern-style restaurant with a focus on biscuits – a noticeable trend in Denver's brunch scene that has been growing the past few years.
"Those biscuits are crazy good," says George Maresh, concierge at the JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek.
Patrons also flock to Lucile's for the hot, fluffy beignets sprinkled with powdered sugar, and other Southern specialties like shrimp 'n' grits and eggs Sardou.
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The Washington Park location serves brunch daily until 2 p.m. and is also popular for its large front patio where guests sip spicy Cajun-style bloody marys (garnished with a shrimp skewer) around an outdoor fire pit while waiting for their table.
Located in the heart of Lower Downtown on Larimer Square, this charming French bistro was one of the first Denver restaurants founded by award-winning chef Jennifer Jasinski and remains a local favorite for its romantic atmosphere, beautiful outdoor patio and consistently delicious food – aspects which are as enjoyable from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends as they are during dinnertime.
"It's a great downtown brunch," says Callie Sumlin, assistant food editor at 5280 Magazine. "They do a great French press coffee for two, which is nice."
Sumlin also recommends the croque-monsieur, an "over-the-top French version of grilled cheese with a fried egg on top."
Also located on Larimer Square and created by an award-winning chef, Tamayo may have a lot in common with its French neighbor, but this long-standing Mexican restaurant offers a much different dining experience.
Tamayo is an all-time favorite way to start the day for Jordan Chavez, concierge at the nearby Hotel Teatro, for its mouth-watering menu of south-of-the-border specialties like huevos rancheros and pan dulce, a Mexican-style French toast. Chavez is also a fan of the large rooftop patio flaunting uninterrupted mountain views, a coveted amenity for city dwellers.
Go with a group to the Bottomless Margarita Brunch featuring a variety of shareable plates and unlimited drinks for $39 per person. Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Taking pride in its sustainability practices and veggie-focused dishes – similar to its sister restaurant Ophelia's, mentioned above – Root Down pleases the palate of the health-conscious with items like quinoa-cake Benedicts and tofu scrambles, while also satiating stronger appetites with classics like a hearty breakfast burrito and banana bread French toast.
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Root Down has been a hot spot on Denver's brunch scene for several years, and although there is usually a hefty waitlist, a spacious bar area provides open seating on a first-come, first-served basis, which can accelerate things considerably. And if you still can't snag a seat in the bar, at least you can order a bottomless blood orange mimosa to sip while you wait. Brunch is served Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
To experience more of what Denver has to offer, check out the U.S. News Travel guide.
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