The Italians are famous for many things: pasta, pizza, wine, coffee. But brunch? Not so much.

“Italians don’t do brunch,” says chef Max MacKissock of Bar Dough.

But Denverites do, and the almost-year-old Highland eatery recognized the demand for the popular weekend meal. Still, for its new brunch program, Bar Dough didn’t want to roll out the same old tired spins on chicken and waffles and eggs Benedict seen elsewhere.

So MacKissock and chef Blake Edmunds devised a brunch menu (it launched in mid-August) which pulls plenty of inspiration from both Italy and the U.S. Yes, there’s the requisite take on eggs Benedict—but this version features a creamy, pink-tinted red wine hollandaise, arugula, and rosy shavings of speck. In lieu of chicken and waffles, you’ll find crunchy pieces of fried chicken topped with runny eggs and drizzles of fiery red Calabrian chile honey.

Perhaps the most compelling dishes on the menu, however, are the most homespun—the sorts of things you might associate with humble, home-cooked breakfasts rather than indulgent restaurant brunches. The frittata is a shining example: The baked eggs are bolstered with heirloom tomato, leeks, and miticrema cheese (a mild Spanish sheep’s milk variety), then garnished with a tangle of Warren Tech farm greens. It’s easily the most custardy, delicious version of the dish I’ve sampled. Then there’s the wood-oven baked Dutch baby pancake, which arrives tender and warm in a powdered sugar-dusted mini cast-iron skillet. The piped swirl of whipped mascarpone and quenelle of raspberry compote on top quickly melt into a tasty puddle so there’s no need for maple syrup.

Add a light and better-than-a-mimosa Aperol spritz, and you’ll agree that this Italian-inspired brunch is a winner.

2227 W. 32nd Ave., 720-668-8506

—Photo by Rachel Adams

Callie Sumlin
Callie Sumlin
Callie Sumlin is a writer living in Westminster, and has been covering food and sustainability in the Centennial State for more than five years.