When I attended the University of Denver, weekend breakfast (it still counts as breakfast at 11 a.m., right?) options were mostly limited to Pete’s University Park Cafe or a breakfast sandwich from Einstein Bros. Bagels or Bruegger’s Bagels. But over the past decade, the choices have greatly expanded with the addition of restaurants such as Jelly U and Asbury Provisions. And now, students, faculty, and neighborhood residents have yet another a.m. option: Four Friends Kitchen.
The always-busy breakfast and lunch restaurant, which first opened in Stapleton in March 2015, started slinging its Southern-inspired comfort eats on University Boulevard on September 18. Owners Genefer and Tim Thornton and Sarah and Kurt Pletcher (four friends, get it?) had been searching for a second location for about a year when they came across the space near DU. (The space was formerly home to Redford’s Tavern and South Philly Cheesesteaks before that.) “We thought it would be a good fit for our concept,” Tim says. “I think what we sought to do in Stapleton has been a success because our take on food is truly unique. We wanted to do the same thing somewhere else because a lot of breakfast and lunch crowds tend to be pretty local.”
The University menu—including a full bar—is almost identical to the original, but guests can enjoy two new items: Cajun pork belly poutine (fries tossed in Cajun spices, smothered in green chili, and topped with a decadent four-cheese blend, fried pork belly, and cheese curds) and the DU veggie sandwich, which combines grilled portobello mushroom, seared beets, avocado, heirloom tomatoes, red onions, mixed greens, and horseradish-garlic aïoli on a toasted brioche bun.
The bright color scheme and reclaimed wood design touches are carry-overs from Stapleton. The new eatery has a smaller footprint than the original, but Tim says it can actually seat more guests inside (the Stapleton location has a rooftop patio). And while Four Friends isn’t catering only to the student crowd, some fun touches will definitely appeal to a more youthful audience, including an eye-catching mural (pictured, above) from Denver artist Anna Charney and exterior swing sets where hungry patrons can snag a seat when the garage door is raised.
All I can say is: Where was Four Friends when I was a student?
Four Friends Kitchen is open every day from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.