Senor Burritos
Señor Burrito has the breakfast-burrito category all wrapped up. For starters, it serves breakfast burritos whenever it's open — a big consideration for those of us who keep strange hours. And no matter what time you get a breakfast burrito here, it's always well-made — big but not too big, with just the right blend of blandness and spice, and filled with cubed potatoes as opposed to sliced, as opposed to all manner of hash browns and home fries. This might seem like a small detail, but it makes a big difference in the texture of the final product. Señor Burrito's breakfast burritos are served either wet or dry; go with wet if you have time to eat at a table and enjoy the atmosphere as well as your breakfast, or dry — with the chile inside — for the ultimate portable meal. Either way, they're the perfect way to start, or end, a day.
Mercury Cafe
Marilyn Megenity has been working to save the world with food for more than three decades, and at the Mercury Cafe, it looks like she's winning. From wind-driven electrics and a fryer-oil-to-biodiesel recycling plan to a local, sustainable, green but not exclusively vegetarian weekend brunch menu featuring organic egg omelets with quinoa and whole-grain hotcakes, breakfast here is something even the most committed environmentalist can get behind. And true anarchists can enjoy making hard-core sprout enthusiasts squirm by ordering a bloody rare elk steak and eggs, which are also on offer. But the best thing about a meal at the Merc is that while this institution takes its tree-hugging seriously, it approaches cooking with just as much dedication.
City, O' City
Hunter Stevens
At City, O' City — the all-things-to-all-people coffeehouse/restaurant/hangout that Dan and Michelle Landes opened in the former home of their original WaterCourse Foods — everything is laptops and nose rings, hummus, leg hair, Lou Reed on the stereo and twig-and-berry ascetics swooning over fig pizzas and falafel. At night, the place draws big crowds. But we like it best in the morning, when the bulk of the square community is at work and the cool kids start coming in to salve their wounds with earth-friendly breakfast burritos and tempeh bacon. At these times, City, O' City is quiet, uncrowded and — provided the kitchen crew hasn't been too damaged by their own night's rigors — the perfect place to cool out and get right with your karma.
When hunger strikes on the 16th Street Mall, the mighty Waffle Brothers, John Power and Rod Dupen, are at your service. Starting with a warm, Liège-style Belgian waffle — caramelized around the edges thanks to the inclusion of imported nib sugar in the batter — as a base, the bros then pile on the toppings you request, everything from the basic cinnamon or powdered sugar and whipped cream to fresh fruit, cranberry compote and creamy marshmallow cream cheese. Don't waffle! It's what to eat when you're on the street.
Les Delices De Paris
The croissant at Les Delices are excellent — buttery, flaky, crisp and puffed just right so they collapse against the teeth almost before you bite into them. The brioche are delicious, the tartellet like tiny fruit jewel boxes. And owners Gerard and Christelle Donat certainly know their way around the big-ticket items — the cakes and display pieces. But for our money, the best way to celebrate the dawning of a new day is with one of the bakery's sugar-glazed, impossibly bittersweet citron tarts and a cream Napoleon, a completely impractical construct of flaky mille-feuille, pastry cream and sugar that's so good you'll be inspired to get up early just so you can get to Les Delices before they're all gone.
Bull & Bush Brewery
Hunter Stevens
The Bull & Bush, which is modeled after an old London pub with its low ceilings, dark wood and brass rails, didn't start out as a brewpub. But then, back when the Peterson brothers founded the B&B in 1971, there weren't any brewpubs in Colorado. Instead, it racked up another first when it hooked up to satellite dishes for sports programming, arguably becoming the country's original sports bar. That worked when Glendale was the swinging-singles center of Denver, but as the neighborhood changed, so did the Bull & Bush. The next generation of Petersons put the emphasis back on pub, adding a microbrew operation that turns out a small but impressive lineup of beers. Today the Bull & Bush remains small, friendly and very Cheers-like, a place where everyone may know your name, but they won't spill if you want to keep a low profile. And when the Petersons aren't brewing the stuff, they're likely to be behind the bar, pouring you your next beer.
Bull & Bush Brewery
Hunter Stevens
The Bull & Bush, which is modeled after an old London pub with its low ceilings, dark wood and brass rails, didn't start out as a brewpub. But then, back when the Peterson brothers founded the B&B in 1971, there weren't any brewpubs in Colorado. Instead, it racked up another first when it hooked up to satellite dishes for sports programming, arguably becoming the country's original sports bar. That worked when Glendale was the swinging-singles center of Denver, but as the neighborhood changed, so did the Bull & Bush. The next generation of Petersons put the emphasis back on pub, adding a microbrew operation that turns out a small but impressive lineup of beers. Today the Bull & Bush remains small, friendly and very Cheers-like, a place where everyone may know your name, but they won't spill if you want to keep a low profile. And when the Petersons aren't brewing the stuff, they're likely to be behind the bar, pouring you your next beer.
On Sunday morning, we worship at the church of Lola, which doubles as a coastal Mexican restaurant the rest of the week. Sliding into our pew (make that booth), we give thanks for the basket of homemade breads (occasionally even pseudo-Pop-Tarts!) with which you can start the meal, for a menu that includes not just pancake and egg offerings, but a truly miraculous chicken-fried steak and specials that would tempt even the most religious weight-watchers to stray. And then we wash away a week's worth of sins with offerings from the bar, including mimosas and excellent margs. Lola offers the same brunch fare on Saturdays, but on Sunday there's live music to accompany the afternoon service. Let us pray...and eat.
Having booze with breakfast, or even for breakfast, does not make you an alcoholic, no matter what your mother/significant other/parole officer says. At Dixons, drinks are a respectable way to start a new day. And in case your last day ended badly, Dixons even removes the stigma of hangover abatement by serving up wake-up cocktails in respectable portions. Usually reserved for baby showers, bridal showers and other occasions that scream for liquor but generally deliver it only in small, how-delightful-to-be-drinking-something-other-than-wine-on-my-birthday portions, the mimosa here comes over ice in a pint glass, which not only delivers volume but saves you the embarrassment of trying to look butch while drinking out of something called a flute. And the Cajun Bloody Mary is mixed with enough spice and vodka that you won't be able to remember whether you've had your V8 that day. Rise and (moon)shine!
Prima Ristorante
Unlimited prosecco: eight bucks. Getting smashed before noon on a Sunday morning: priceless. But while the drink-until-you're-done deal during brunch at Kevin Taylor's Prima Ristorante may be enough recommendation for fans of daylight misbehavior, this lovely little restaurant also puts out a killer brunch spread for those who actually want some food with their weekend pick-me-up. From shaved melon and prosciutto salads with mission fig and seafood agnolotti in lobster stock to poached eggs and prosciutto or Tuaca-spiked French toast, Prima's brunch lineup satisfies not just the cheapskate drinker, but the daylight gastronome as well.

Best Of Denver®

Best Of