The Denver outpost of Oskar Blues Grill & Brew is just off the touristy 16th street mall, but it’s definitely a place for locals. The LoDo location has been open since January, drawing in customers who recognize the Oskar Blues brand from the brewery's other bars and restaurants in Boulder County and from the distinctive canned beers that dominate local liquor store shelves.
The Southern-inspired menu makes for a hearty brunch, including the traditional chicken and waffles, biscuits and gravy, and several eggs Benedict variations dressed in Southern finery. The build-your-own skillet is an irresistible deal that lets you choose three traditional omelet fixings (and non-traditional, like brisket) to mix in with your eggs, along with a biscuit and home fries. This huge scrambled breakfast is somehow only $10, and will keep you full through dinner.
The brunch slate also offers wings, truffle fries and nachos, if you prefer the lunch side of brunch. The sandwiches are tempting too, especially a number called "There’s a Hippie in My House," which layers mozzarella, roasted red peppers, hummus, pesto, arugula, tomato and avocado on a sub roll for a light but satisfying meatless brunch. “We like to have fun, and it shows through in our menu," explains general manager Kyle Renfro.
The bottomless passionfruit or orange juice mimosas are a little more expensive ($15) than at some other brunch spots, but the champagne is a step above screw-top standards. Bloody Marys range from the classic to the Phuket (made with Sriracha and a cocktail shrimp) to the Buzzard Jerky, which comes with house-infused bacon Jim Beam and candied bacon. For a real hangover chaser though, the Bloody Shooter really caught my attention. It’s a shot of Bloody Mary mix with green chile vodka, a salted rim and an oyster hiding at the bottom. "We try to incorporate seafood whenever possible," Renfro notes.
“Music is such a big part of our success; we like to perform on the table and on the stage,” he adds. While brunch is a quieter affair than live music nights at the Black Buzzard downstairs (which won our Best New Venue award this year), the food definitely rocks.
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SHOW ME HOW
Oskar Blues is famous for being the first craft brewery to can beer, but here you can get ten of its beers on tap. There are 48 taps at the upstairs and downstairs bars, most of which are Colorado brews. The main bar is decorated with shadow boxes filled with old Oskar Blues memorabilia, and downstairs the bar top is inlaid with 2,200 guitar picks.
Oskar Blues also runs Chuburger and Hotbox Roasters Cafe on Larimer Street and has launched a number of bars, eateries and other businesses around the Front Range, including even a bicycle company called REEB Cycles (launced after founder Dale Katechis had his bike stolen several times). The bicycle theme carries through this newest Oskar Blues location too; old wheels decorated with tap handles adorn the walls of the bar.
If you'e craving grits, fried green tomatoes, crawfish and other Southern specialties, Oskar Blues has just what you need for brunch. The bar and grill is located at 630 Market Street, and brunch is served Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 720-502-3535 or visit the restaurant's website for more information.