Brunch at Jimmy's Urban Bar & Grill Satisfies Chicago Longings
While LoDo is known for late-night douche-baggery, Jimmy's Urban Bar & Grill, a family-run, neighborhood joint that just happens to be wedged into a stretch of blocks more known for last call than first cups of coffee, is a mid-morning reprieve from the bros and bro-ettes. On a quiet weekend morning only hours removed from the previous night's party scene, the staff are nice as can be, lending Jimmy's a true keep-it-in-the-family vibe and a Windy City theme owing to to the owners' Chicago roots. With free shots every time a Colorado or Chicago team scores, it's a great spot to start the day (or end it) while supporting your home team -- whether home is the Front Range or the shore of Lake Michigan.
Jimmy's is open for brunch Saturday and Sunday starting at 10 a.m.; my friends and I were able to walk right in and have the place almost all to ourselves. Although we stopped in on a holiday weekend, I have a feeling this place never gets too busy in the morning, being on the side of Blake Street generally doesn't get too rowdy, day or night (ahem, Rio Grande). It's a safe bet you'll be able to grab some grub with minimal wait, whether you're with just a couple of friends or have the entire crew in tow. With booths, tables and a bar adorned with Chicago memorabilia and even an artistic rendering of the El, I felt sufficiently nostalgic for my home town. It's a casual, low key spot with décor that doesn't detract from the company at hand, unless they decide to use the mirror specifically designed for selfie photos. Despite the intimidating chefs' knives mounted above the specials board (it's not called "killer cuisine" for nothin'), Jimmy's is welcoming to Denverites and Chicagoans alike.
Jimmy's recovery rolls.
While $10 bottomless mimosas or Man-mosas (made with Chicago's own Goose Island 312 wheat beer and triple sec) were certainly tempting, I opted for the chef-crafted, heirloom tomato Bloody Mary. As a huge fan of plain tomato juice, this was right up my alley. I loved the mild but crisp and fresh flavor but could see that spice lovers might be a bit disappointed at the lack of heat.
Jimmy's chicken and waffles.
House smoked meats are a specialty, but the menu is far more eclectic than that, with international touches in just about every dish. Creative touches highlight brunch options that include Southern specialties, a few Greek delights, and the ever-present Colorado staples: granola, green chile and burritos. If you're having trouble picking just one, the brunch plates run about $10 each, so you could go crazy and get two and have leftovers for the next day.
Rather than resorting to doubling up on main dishes, we started with the recovery rolls as an appetizer. These were wonton-wrapped breakfast egg rolls, fried and overstuffed with everything but the kitchen sink: scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, peppers, onions, potatoes, and cheddar cheese. The rolls are served with both sweet and savory dipping sauces -- whiskey syrup and creamy sausage gravy -- for the indecisive (i.e., me) to alternate between .
I was also completely indecisive about choosing between the Cajun "scrambowl" with crawfish and chicken sausage jambalaya and the green eggs & lamb, although the waitress strongly persuaded me to go the Dr. Seuss route. A breakfast sammy of fried eggs (not too fried because I was still able to coax some yolk out), pesto to fulfill the green part of the name, paper-thin slices of gyros, heirloom tomatoes, and goat cheese, it was an interesting spin on a Greek classic, with the goat cheese a much creamier and cohesive end note than feta would have been.Although it came on a bun rather than a croissant (as the menu stated), it was a fantastically unique pick-me-up, finished with crispy potatoes.
Jeff ordered chicken and waffles, which was actually what the kitchen calls "African chicken" topped with Crown Royal syrup and exceptionally well-executed scrambled eggs. While the chicken was definitely salty (intentionally, to balance the sweetness of the waffles and syrup), it was another interesting international twist on a classic brunch dish.
There was so much variety on the menu that I wanted to sample more, but by the end of brunch I was so full I couldn't possibly think of ordering a another plate. If you're looking to expand your palate without breaking the bank, Jimmy's is a full trip around the globe without venturing too far from your bed.
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