What's better than one great patio? Two! This week's featured patio brings a double dose of outdoor seating, plus an indoor space that offers the perfect bridge between summer patio time and warmer seating to escape autumn's chill. The Source, if you don't already know, is an artisan collective on Brighton Boulevard that includes, among other things: a bakery, butcher, produce stand, gallery space, coffee roaster, liquor store and brewery. It's the fancy urban version of a grocery store, with the bonus of two restaurants: Acorn and Comida Cantina.
Acorn is the younger sibling of Boulder's Oak at Fourteenth; the latter's signature oak-fired oven and grill is replicated at Acorn, only with a smaller menu more focused on small plates. I walked passed Acorn this time, but I love anything wood-fired and intend to try it soon.
My destination instead was Comida and its patio, where a standard brunch menu meets street-style tacos. The patio seating consists of uncomfortable-looking backless stools but was surrounded by greenery, with additional shade provided by patio umbrellas. With the parking lot so close, the trees and a stone border -- constructed from rocks wrapped into blocks with webs of wire fencing -- separated the patio from the cars just enough to be cozy.
We didn't actually sit on the patio, but parked ourselves at a table with better chairs right on the brink of the outdoor space. Just out of the sun, this section -- a second patio, really -- made me think how nice this nearly-outside seating would be this autumn, when Denver's usually unpredictable weather gets a bit more erratic, or at least takes a turn for the colder.
I brunched on Comida's breakfast torta, which included nearly every one of my favorite foods: a fried egg, bacon, cured salmon and avocado on a roll, with a side of potatoes. My companion had fried chicken (yes, for breakfast) and enjoyed it so much that he didn't share. I didn't order Comida's signature brunch item, the eggs Benedict (with choice of butter-poached lobster, Tender Belly spiral baked ham, fresh avocado or house cured tequila salmon), but I did note that they are served the only way Benedicts should be: built on biscuits rather than English muffins. A small but perfect michelada was served in a diminutive jar -- how farmy-hipster of Comida's bar.
As days start out chillier and early sunsets mean cooler evenings, patio time gets trimmed, so it's great find a spot that protects from the weather and offers a breeze. Granted, garage doors on restaurants are pretty common in Denver, offering nearly-outside seating throughout the year, but there's another reason I chose the Source.
The center of the Source is a hodgepodge of seating that, with high ceilings and cement flooring, creates an outdoor space without all that pesky weather. Acorn's dining room is self-contained, but Comida's seating spills out into the spacious center of the towering former factory. And if you decide not to dine at either restaurant, you can still grab food and coffee from the little shops and sit in the center area. On a Sunday, there were people meeting, chatting and doing work, giving it a coffee-shop vibe.
As Denver's fickle autumn weather rolls in, the Source's options keep you from having to tote that winter jacket and scarf everywhere you go.
Best Deal: Comida's Happy Hour (starting at 3 p.m. every day), with $2 beers, $4 snacks and $5 margaritas!
Best Feature: It's a double feature!
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