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American Elm’s French toast. Photo by Lucy Beaugard

The Best Brunches in Denver Right Now

New Mile High City restaurants, menus, and chefs have made this weekend ritual more fun—and delicious—than ever before. From an hip vegan cafe to DJ-fueled feasts, here are our picks for Denver’s best new brunches.

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Acova | Highland 

The fried chicken and biscuits at Acova. Photo by Jon Phillips

This Highland neighborhood haunt’s commitment to gluten-free fare gives all gluten-averse Denverites—and those who love them—reason to celebrate. Just short of the entire menu is safe for their consumption, and carby offerings abound. Acova’s breakfast BLT comes on chewy slices of G-F white bread, for example, with chipotle aïoli, crisp bacon, tomato, avocado, and scrambled eggs to complete the construction. House-baked biscuits, made every day with whole grain rice and tapioca flours, are mighty fine on a platter of buttermilk-battered fried chicken with sausage gravy, honey-cayenne sauce, and potatoes—all of which is, you guessed it, free of gluten. 

American Elm | West Highland 

The beloved deviled egg toast at American Elm. Photo by Denise Mickelsen

An after-brunch nap is always a welcome weekend highlight, but when we don’t have the luxury, American Elm’s espresso martini is there to keep us lively. The silky-smooth cocktail has more edge than your standard mimosa with its shots of espresso and local Family Jones vodka, espresso liqueur, and hint of lemon. Savor it alongside chef Brent Turnipseede’s French toast, which rises above its area counterparts thanks to a strawberry-mascarpone filling and rosé-infused maple syrup. If a post-meal food coma isn’t out of the question, Am Elm’s flaky brown butter biscuits and River Bear American Meats sausage gravy will knock you out in the best possible way. 

Beast & Bottle | Uptown Area

Beast & Bottle’s apple brown Betty waffle and Pig Ears and Popcorn. Photo courtesy of Beast & Bottle

The solution to your palate’s inner conflict between sweet and savory is solved at this relaxed bistro on 17th Avenue, where two new brunch dishes strike a divine balance. Roasted pumpkin polenta marries chile-braised collard greens and a sunny side-up egg with a welcome drizzle of maple gastrique. Any tendency toward cloying is averted in the apple brown Betty waffle because the cinnamon-brown-sugar-sautéed Granny Smith apples and crumbly streusel is offset by a nutty, salt-laced caramel sauce and tangy dollop of crème fraîche. Sexy cocktails, meanwhile, run the gamut from coffee-based to spicy to tart, like in the Crazy Aperol These Years, which combines gin and Aperol with fresh lime and grapefruit juices.

The Feedery | Englewood 

The Colorado Benedict at the Feedery (inside Grow & Gather) includes goat cheese-potato fritters, greens, crispy bacon, poached eggs, and hot sauce hollandaise. Photo courtesy of Grow & Gather

For those craving a locavore spin on brunch, head to this cheery three-month-old spot inside Grow & Gather’s urban farm/market/restaurant hybrid. The Feedery’s concise a.m. menu features on-site-grown goodies like arugula and chive flowers, and other locally-grown greens, in four thoughtful dishes. For sweet cravings, there’s a chef’s selection of pastries or brioche French toast with house-made apple butter. For something a bit more savory, try the Colorado Benedict with a poached egg, a rich goat cheese potato fritter, and chewy bacon with either braised collard or beet greens depending on the farm’s daily harvest. 

Ivy on 7th | Capitol Hill 

Fluffy lemon-ricotta pancakes at Ivy on 7th. Photo by Denise Mickelsen

At this all-day breakfast joint, which opened its doors last April, Chopped champion and executive chef Rebecca Weitzman revamps the classics. Served in a fluffy stack of three, her tender lemon pancakes (which are gluten-free!) rely on ricotta instead of flour for their marvelous fluffiness; poached eggs are served Mediterranean-style with niçoise olives and spicy merguez sausage; and the Ivy Cristo, built on sourdough French toast, is filled with apricot jam, ham, and brie. Wash it all down with bloody Marys spiced with house-pickled Fresno chile juice or neighboring Carboy Winery vino on tap. 

Le Bilboquet | Cherry Creek 

The main dining room at Le Bilboquet in Cherry Creek. Photo by Denise Mickelsen

If you expect brunch at a restaurant housing vintage chandeliers from Milan, Italy, to be a fancy affair, you’d be correct. On Saturdays, though, six-month-old Manhattan import Le Bilboquet and its mostly tony diners let loose with a Champagne-fueled brunch. Between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., a special selection of off-the-menu bubbly flows (think: Veuve Clicquot), while DJs from Denver’s the Get Down collective spin hits from across the decades (12–3 p.m.). The real pièce de résistance is Le Bilboquet’s ultra-gooey croque monsieur, worth upgrading to madame status with a fried egg. Between bites, luxuriate in high-end people watching and the restaurant’s sumptuous decor. 

Old Major | LoHi 

Old Major’s pastrami eggs Benedict. Photo by Chloe Barrett

Burgers get most of the buzz at this carnivore’s paradise—and it’s well-earned praise. But the Old Major dish we’re currently smitten with is chef Sarah Khosravani’s pastrami Benny. In it, the routine ham is replaced with a generous stack of owner Justin Brunson’s River Bear American Meats’ decadently fatty, thinly shaved, well, pastrami. Pair it with a Brunson Bellini, which amps up prosecco, lemon juice, and a quince purée with Buffalo Trace bourbon for optimum hair-of-the-dog relief. Then again, a pork breakfast burger, complete with bacon and a fried egg, does sound tasty…

Safta | RiNo

A small selection from Safta’s Sunday brunch buffet. Photo courtesy of @werkcreative

Already proven as a killer destination for lunch and dinner, modern Israeli Safta, located inside the Source Hotel & Market Hall, delivers the Sunday brunch buffet of our dreams. Every week, chef-owner Alon Shaya and his team lay out a gorgeous spread of Shaya’s most beloved dishes, alongside an array of breakfast specialties. Load your plate with crispy latkes; fluffy, wood-oven pita; silky hummus with jammy boiled egg, pickles, harissa, and red onion; and shakshuka, in which eggs are poached in a thick, cilantro-laced tomato sauce. Then, build your own best Rosenberg’s bagel combo with the likes of lox cream cheese, house-smoked salmon and whitefish, pickled herring, and all of the pickled and fresh veggie toppings you can comprehend. But that’s not all: The extravagant display of pastries and desserts by talented pastry chef Liliana Myers (don’t miss the apricot turmeric scones) is worth the $45 cost of admission all on its own.

Somebody People | Overland 

“Mushies on Toast” with almond ricotta, sage, and hazelnuts at Somebody People. Photo by Denise Mickelsen

Looking to get out of that avocado toast rut? Look no further than this hip vegan cafe, which opened last September. There, you’ll find two excellent riffs on the Millennial favorite: Built on hearty Reunion Bread Co toast, the pesto and kale combination is delicious, but it’s the “Mushies on Toast,” made with plump wild mushrooms, silky almond-based ricotta, and toasted hazelnuts, that has us bidding adieu to the avocado OG. Somebody People’s sweeter plates are also enticing, especially its chia cocoa crispies featuring granola, chocolate crisps, and dried slices of Granny Smith apple. It puts a virtuous spin on the kiddie cereal without sacrificing an ounce of chocolatey goodness.

There… | LoHi 

Waltz into this eclectic joint on a Sunday morning and you’ll think you’re crashing a special occasion—the kind that merits rogue hula hoops, live DJs, and prosecco by the bottle. But all are invited to this recurring party. Some revelers come for the bottomless sangria and mimosas, others for the hip-hop and R&B tunes, but we come for the decadent breakfast buns, which graced the brunch menu last month. There’s also miso-seasoned scrambled eggs with Sriracha and scallions, and white cheddar scrambled eggs with ham, sautéed peppers, and onions tucked inside three steamed Chinese bao. Saturdays are equally celebratory, with There hosting brunch time stand-up comedy showcases every second Saturday, including March 14.

BONUS: Coperta’s Sweet Moon Pancake & Maple Syrup Brunch // March 21, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.

If you were lucky enough to attend Coperta’s first Sweet Moon pancake-and-syrup pop-up last September, you know that this month’s redux will be brunch at its most delicious. Sous chef Russ Fox is a pancake whisperer (even though his true obsession is the pure maple syrup on top) who transforms everyday pancake ingredients into buttery, fluffy, crispy-edged masterpieces. His secret? Treat the super-thick, vanilla-infused batter like cake batter, cooking it in individual skillets on top of the stove and in the oven. (Check out our Instagram (@5280Magazine) for a story featuring food editor Denise Mickelsen learning how to make Fox’s pancake recipe.) 

Coperta sous chef Russ Fox. Photo by Denise Mickelsen

At the March Sweet Moon brunch, Fox’s pancakes will take inspiration from sandwiches—think: Cubans, pastrami ‘wiches, and kimchi grilled cheese—and there will be extraordinary maple syrups from Vermont, Washington, and Canada to go with each version. See the full menu below, and call 720-749-4666 to reserve your seats. 

Pancakes:

Sides:

 Cocktails:

BONUS BONUS: 5280 is throwing a brunch party! 

On March 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Kimpton Hotel Born, we are bringing our favorite brunch restaurants together under one roof for an event that is sure to delight. Enjoy tasty brunch bites; a dedicated mimosa station and bloody Mary bar, plus craft cocktails at the many open bars; and all the photo booths your heart desires. See you there! $55 per person or $50 per person for groups of four or more; ticket purchase includes a free one-year subscription to 5280 magazine.

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