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For many, January means juice cleanses, clean eating, and laying off the booze. For us, well, hear us out: It’s the dead of winter, the weather’s cold, and after all those kale smoothies, grain salads, and early morning workouts, you really do deserve a cheat day. No, you deserve better than a cheat day—you deserve brunch. Round up a group of friends and start your weekend off right with one of these eight A.M. destinations.
Give One Year of 5280 for just $16.
—Photo courtesy of Chad Chisholm
Brunch Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Price Range: $9–$14.50
Vibe: Sophisticated French fare in relaxing, elegant setting
Tucked away from the hustle of Larimer Square, Bistro Vendôme offers the perfect Parisian respite for a leisurely brunch. Sit at one of the window side tables (or, in the warmer months, on the flower-lined patio), order a French press for two, and start with the $10 selection of mini pastries (the rotating selection often includes chocolate croissants, cinnamon rolls, or vanilla Danish). Whatever you do, don’t miss Vendôme’s croque monsieur. That classic sandwich of ham, Gruyère cheese, and black-pepper thyme bèchamel on brioche only gets better when you add the optional runny-yolked egg to make it a madame. 1420 Larimer St., 303-825-3232
Snooze’s breakfast tacos
Brunch Hours: Open Daily from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Price Range: $7–$11.50
Vibe: Bustling retro-inspired cafe with cheeky breakfast eats
With seven locations in Colorado, several more in California and Arizona—and a guaranteed wait for a table almost every day of the week—it’s clear that Snooze is doing something right. There’s a lot to love at the cozy Union Station outpost, from the storied pancake flights (don’t miss the sweet potato or pineapple upside-down versions) to the snazzed up eggs Benedicts (go for the Late Harvest’s seasonal combo of roasted cauliflower, squash, and kale while it’s still there). Recovering from a late night? A gazpacho Bloody Mary and an order of the breakfast tacos (flour tortillas, please) stuffed with scrambled eggs, pico de gallo, hash browns, and green chile hollandaise should set you straight. 1701 Wynkoop St., 303-825-3536
Biscuits n’ Gravy at Southern Hospitality
Brunch Hours: Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Price Range: $8–$19
Vibe: Barbecue for brunch in an off-the-beaten path spot
If you’re the sort of person who would happily dig into a platter of fresh-from-the-smoker barbecue at any hour, then Southern Hospitality is your spot. The menu offers plenty of Southern-inflected a.m. options, like biscuits with andouille sausage gravy and bananas Foster French toast, but the best bet is the $19 Sunrise Sampler. The massive platter includes Southern Hospitality’s spare ribs, brisket, and hot link sausage alongside two eggs any style and home-fried potatoes. If you’re feeling really ambitious, pair it with the over-the-top Memphis BBQ Bloody Mary, a spicy concoction garnished with celery, bacon, a pickle, a spare rib, and a deviled egg and served with a chaser of beer. 1433 17th St., 303-298-5398
Lemon ricotta buttermilk pancakes at Edge; photo by Adam Larkey
Brunch Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Breakfast is served Monday through Friday, 6:30 to 10:30 a.m.)
Price Range: $13–$50
Vibe: Over-the-top indulgences with Southwestern flair and (surprise!) seriously cheap local beer
With its location inside the tony Four Seasons Hotel, elegant Edge restaurant might be the last place you’d expect to find a brewery brunch replete with discounted craft beers. But this is Denver, after all. Once you’ve taken a seat in the grand dining room (be sure to admire the sweeping glass installations and tableaus of glinting knives), order a seasonal pint from Fort Collins Brewery for just $4 (on a recent visit, a bottle of the Red Banshee ale was on special for $2). Then, dig into indulgent plates like huevos rancheros, smoked pulled pork Benedict with ancho hollandaise, and one of the city’s best versions of chicken and waffles with smoky, spicy chipotle butter. Lighter options are no less sublime—the lemon ricotta pancakes are cloud-like and not overly sweet. 1111 14th St., 303-389-3343
Mercantile’s pastrami hash
Brunch Hours: Breakfast Daily from 7 to 11 a.m.
Price Range: $6–$10
Vibe: Approachable farm-to-table in a fast-casual format
While you could plausibly make a morning meal of the Mercantile’s flaky ham and cheese croissants alone, you’d miss out on the kitchen’s other delicious offerings. True to chef Alex Seidel’s form, even straightforward dishes receive elegant touches, like the preserved lemon hollandaise gracing the (house-made) pastrami hash or the buttery cherry pistachio granola atop the Fruition Farms sheep’s milk yogurt. For a sophisticated start to the day, we like the salmon rillette, artfully plated in a jar alongside brioche, capers, red onion, preserved lemon marmalade, and crème fraîche. Bonus: The pay-at-the-counter structure makes this an easy place to dine with a big group of friends, as you can avoid the headache of having to split the check afterward. 1701 Wynkoop St., #155, 720-460-3733
The Nickel’s French toast; image courtesy of the Nickel
Brunch Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Breakfast is served Monday through Friday, 6:30 to 11 a.m.)
Price Range: $9–$18
Vibe: A classy setting for locavore eats and house-cured meats
Located inside the historic Hotel Teatro, the Nickel restaurant serves a brunch worthy of special occasion. Diners can expect top-notch ingredients like house-made ricotta in the blueberry pancakes and local 7X wagyu beef in the burger, not to mention espresso drinks prepared with local Method Roasters’ beans. For a real treat, order the perfectly caramelized French toast, with espresso caramel and chocolate streusel topping. But whatever you do, don’t miss the house-made bacon. Lightly smoky with just the right amount of melt-in-your-mouth fat, it practically merits a visit on its own. 1100 14th St., 720-889-2128
Kennebec hash at the Squeaky Bean; image courtesy of Daniel Luke Holton
Brunch Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Bingo from 12:30 to 2 p.m.)
Price Range: $11–$18
Vibe: Eclectic, upscale fare in a unpretentious setting. Plus: bingo!
At this LoDo hotspot, brunch comes with a side of interactive entertainment. Every weekend, local comedian Sam Tallent hosts a raucous game of mimosa-fueled bingo complete with prizes (everything from gag gifts to Squeaky Bean gift cards). It’s impossible not to get swept up in the fun, and the farm-fresh brunch fare only adds to the draw. Try the quirky new Olsen sandwich: cinnamon raisin bread, cream cheese, ham, and fried eggs. Or, stick with the Bean’s Hatch green chile-topped Kennebec hash. The rotating seasonal veggies in the dish come straight from the restaurant’s Bean Acre farm. 1500 Wynkoop St., Ste. 101, 303-623-2665
—Image courtesy of Panzano
Brunch Hours: Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Plus breakfast is served Monday through Friday, 6:30 to 10 a.m.)
Price Range: $8–$24
Vibe: An urban oasis of home-spun Italian-inflected breakfasts
For those looking for hearty a.m. fare in the Central Business District, Panzano has got you covered. The sheer breadth of savory options on the brunch menu is a little daunting—everything from an Italian-inspired eggs Benedict (layered with polenta cakes, prosciutto, and smoked mozzarella) to an eggplant Parmesan pizza to a stacked charcuterie platter. Big appetites should opt for the breakfast strata, egg-soaked baked layers of Pugliese bread, spinach, scallion, prosciutto, and feta and Fontina cheese, while sweet lovers can find solace in the candied walnut-topped banana bread French toast. Bonus: Be sure to check out the newly remodeled bar area. 909 17th St., 303-296-3525