Denver's Best Breakfast Joints
If you haven't seen the sun rise in a while, you might be slightly fuzzy on the fundamentals of breakfast: Basically, it's brunch, but earlier and with less booze. Don't like the sound of that at all? Then follow some top local chefs to their favorite brunch spots here instead. Otherwise, read on for a taste of the 14 best breakfasts in town right now.
Miraculous as the human brain may be, it's got nothing on the works of genius that are the loaded biscuits from the Atomic Cowboy's resident breakfast kitchen. In addition to the Franklin, try the Schooner with catfish fried in beer batter, then smothered in coleslaw and tartar sauce, or the Dahlia with house-made sausage plus a fried egg, apple butter, and maple syrup.
This here's the Mexican equivalent of an old-school roadside diner: snug, jam-packed, and full of color, chatter, clatter, and warmth, with an enormous menu and portions to match. Order its take on the classic comfort dish known as enfrijoladas and you basically get to eat enchiladas for breakfast -- filled with scrambled eggs and chorizo, smothered in creamy bean sauce, accompanied by totally gratuitous hash browns and bacon, and optionally washed down with what must be a quart-sized glass of horchata.
We're about to fully endorse a little booze with your morning sugar rush. Seriously, what could perk up your morning faster than a frosting-coated brioche donut infused with a shot of Jameson? Habit's flavors include French toast, peanut butter & chocolate, and bruleed "blazed," meaning the hardest part of your morning will be picking which sweet treat to pair with the boozy addition.
Lots of bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches in the world. Not so many made by a chef who also makes the bacon. If you want one of the best in Denver, head here and ask for The No. 1.
Given that Mary Nguyen's sunny neighborhood hangout is one of Denver's best spots for sandwiches, a brilliant handheld breakfast goes without saying here. But the Milano -- a cast-iron pan full of prosciutto, mozzarella, spinach, potatoes, pesto, and more beneath two fried eggs -- is so luscious you'll wish you had the privacy to eat it with your hands, too. And now you can score this crave-worthy breakfast at the new Cherry Creek location.
Offering seasonal topping combos like peaches, walnuts, brown sugar, and fresh cream, or mango, coconut, ginger, and apricot honey, owner Jenna Berrios makes the sexiest oatmeal ever (you can also build your own bowl with 40-plus add-ons, from hemp seeds to toffee bits). Equally aphrodisiacal are smoothies like the bananacado-lime with dates, spinach, and coconut milk, as well as coffee drinks flavored with salted caramel or chocolate and chili syrup. Bonus: It's an ideal post-workout pick-up joint.
If you walk into Rosenberg's and find a line stretching to -- and often outside -- the door, do not, we repeat, do not let that stop you. There is a reason the people of Denver are obsessed with this bagel joint, so if you haven't been there yet, go. Now. Order your choice of bagel (duh) still warm from the oven and definitely spring for the lox cream cheese for an NYC-worthy breakfast with a Rocky Mountain view.
From flapjacks inspired by Sicilian cannoli to eggs Benedict made with Rhode Island-style johnnycakes, chef-partner Ryan Turano’s influences skew super eclectic. But the Good Night, a sandwich of fried eggs, house-made chorizo, avocado, tomato, and Boursin layered between two more sandwiches -- each a whole grilled-cheese -- could only spring from the mind of a madman. Its name tells you everything you need to know about the nap in store if you order it.
Though it’s best known for its bánh mì, this sit-down offshoot of a nearby Viet-Chinese bakery opens mid-morning to serve coffee drinks alongside several of the goodies you know and love from dim sum, including steamed pork buns, you tiao (crullers), and the biggest sesame balls you’ll ever see outside of a Hong Kong mafia bathhouse.
Technically, the face-meltingly sour and spicy little glass of cayenne-spiked lime juice (aka jugo de limón y chile) served at this popular outpost of a Kentucky franchise comes only with the chilaquiles. But you can ask for it with anything. And then you can ask for another. And then you can ask for a take-home jug. It’s the mother’s milk of metabolic boosts.
At this mecca for all things fried in duck fat, the bacon fried rice stands above all. Duck fat-fried eggs sit atop a mound of crisped rice mixed with tender belly bacon and are drizzled with soy sauce and chili oil. The whole meal is so good it begs to be shoveled in bite after oh-so-tasty bite, but it deserves to be savored. So slow down while you eat and ponder why pancakes and waffles get so much attention when rice can be this good.
A one-stop shop for all things local and delicious, this addition to North Denver is already a destination for the hungry masses. Most of the vendors open at 8am daily so do yourself a favor and make a breakfast-focused stop here. Not only can you find some of the best coffee in town along with breakfast sandwiches made on Rosenberg's bagels, you can also pick up provisions for the rest of the day while you're here -- including a handcrafted truffle or two to get you through that afternoon slump.
John Hinman's bakeables are the stuff dreams are made of. Previously a wholesale-only operation, Hinman's bakes bake pies for popular restaurants like The Post, but now the bakery is open to the public and offers a daily selection of baked goods, plus breakfast and lunch sandwiches. If you're OK with eating pie for breakfast, go that route. If not, grab a slice for later along with whatever savory pastry is available that day, like a flaky, buttery ham and cheese croissant or bacon and Cheddar danish with an egg baked on top.
In early 2016, Huckleberry Roasters added a small food menu and rebranded itself as Port Side. And though you'll find snaps of the avocado toast here all over Instagram, we say skip that trendy open-faced sandwich and opt for kimchee. The UT, an egg sandwich made with kale kimchee, sesame soy slaw, and Sriracha mayo is an ideal way to kick up your breakfast routine.
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Molly Martin is a freelance writer in Denver, Colorado who like her eggs over-easy. Follow her Mile High dining adventures on Twitter and Instagram.