Our Critics' Picks


The Universal

2911 W. 38th Ave.
Denver, CO 80211
Best Of


  • Daily 7am-2:30pm
  • $
  • Kid Friendly, Takeout
  • Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch
  • Parking Lot Available
"Fryers still bring me nightmares," says Steven Sharp, who opened the Universal in Sunnyside in the summer of 2012 with his wife, Kourtnie Harris. Sharp’s first job was frying chicken at a fast-food restaurant in California, and while the experience wasn’t so bad that it scared him away from the food industry, it scarred him enough that decades later, when he opened his own spot, he did so without a fryer. No fryer means no fried chicken, which would seem a natural for the Universal, a cozy, comfort-food spot that emphasizes breakfast and lunch (and happens to be open at brunch). But it also means that the food is a lot less greasy than you might expect, given the strong Southern bent of the menu. The pulled-pork sandwich is pure Tarheel, with meat smoked out back and tossed in a vinegary North Carolina-style barbecue sauce, as are the grits, which can be ordered as a side, with two eggs and meat, or as the daily grits special. And the biscuits would do pre-scandal Paula Deen proud. The butter-laden delights can be ordered with sausage gravy or as a side with raspberry jam; coupled with a cup of Denver-based Coda coffee, they’re a great way to start a meal.

Related Stories (9)

Load More Articles


View All

More Brunch Restaurants in Northwest Denver

  • Root Down
    Critics' Pick

    "Root down" is a jazz term, and at his new restaurant, chef/owner Justin Cucci riffs on all thing...

View All

More Brunch Restaurants in Denver