Vine Street Pub & Brewery

When calling it quits on a romance, it's best to do so in a casual spot — and the convivial atmosphere at Vine Street Pub, which has the feel of an ongoing college house party, is exactly right. After a rousing round of Cornhole, a couple of small-batch tap brews and an order of nachos, your about-to-be-dumped former darling might even buy your "it's not you, it's me" pitch. In fact, Vine Street's feel-good vibe is so infectious that you may find you're willing to share one last beer before going your separate ways. And if not, the bar is usually crowded enough that your now-insignificant other can't do anything too crazy in revenge.

La Fuente

It's worth skulking into the office late in order to snag one of the plump breakfast burritos that La Fuente, a groovy, low-rent Mexican joint, cooks up in a tiny kitchen that turns out big flavors. There are nearly a dozen manifestations of the breakfast burritos, all of which feature soft scrambled eggs and shards of crisp-edged potatoes, as well as your choice of bacon, chorizo, steak, sausage, beans or beef. But the crowning glory is the fiery, pork-punctuated green chile, either tucked into the tortilla or poured over it. Seething with intensity, these gut bombs weigh only slightly less than a newborn, and in the event you can't sink your teeth into one before the time clock calls you tardy, they're available all day, every day.

Taco Wagon
Lori Midson

The Taco Wagon, crouching in the parking lot of El Mercado, a Mexican grocery in Lafayette, commands eye-rollingly long waits, but it's worth missing whatever commitment you've got lined up — school, court, hell, even your nuptials — to first profess your love for the breakfast burritos. They're delivered through a sliding glass window, behind which resides a couple with a no-nonsense sense of purpose: He takes your money; she creates Mexican magic. Her breakfast burritos, blazing hot green-chile-intensive packages bursting with scrambled eggs, nubs of spicy chorizo and slightly charred potatoes, are assembled by callused hands that take the morning ritual more seriously than most people take their marriage. The Taco Wagon takes its salsas seriously, too, offering two housemade creations: one green, the other red, both of which are worthy of their own ode to greatness.

The crew at Masterpiece Deli has really mastered the art of the sandwich, and this skill extends to breakfast, when the place turns out ten renditions of a morning meal that all involve gooey cheese, a runny-yolked egg and a toasted roll of some sort (as well it should). At Masterpiece, it doesn't matter if the kitchen's using cheddar or pepper Jack, thick strips of smoked bacon, slices of pastrami, sautéed mushrooms or a disk of spicy Taylor Pork Roll, and whether that's going on an English muffin or an everything bagel. Because every breakfast sandwich comes stacked high and messily, satisfactorily salty and just a little greasy, ready to be paired with a cup of coffee — and inhaled.

Gordo Loco

The intersection of Federal Boulevard and West 26th Avenue was already ground zero in the breakfast burrito wars, with Jack-n-Grill and an outpost of Santiago's launching their two-buck breakfast burritos from opposite sides of Federal, and Araujo around the corner firing back with a smaller, 99-cent breakfast burrito. But now Gordo Loco, which occupies the historic bungalow that was the original home of La Loma, has rolled out the heavy artillery. The really heavy artillery: a hefty, eight-inch breakfast burrito to go that's packed with scrambled eggs, soft cubes of potato and green-chile cheese (the secret weapon, available either hot or mild) for just 98 cents. This burrito is such a bargain that you can even afford a side of guac, sour cream...or more green-chile cheese. Fire when ready!

Bull & Bush Brewery
Hunter Stevens

Celebrating forty years of independent family ownership this year, the Bull & Bush keeps getting better, whether it's with award-winning beers like Man Beer and the Legend of the Liquid Brain Imperial Stout, its cellar parties that pull together vintage bottles of rare and hard-to-find brews from other breweries, or the layered atmosphere that mixes old-school Glendale regulars, families and downtowners looking for a night away from the madness. There's an extensive menu of comfort food and a burgeoning beer list, so if you can't hang out, you can at least grab a growler to go.

My Brother's Bar
Westword

Accept no substitute: My Brother's Bar is the real thing. An eclectic crowd haunts the tables and bar here, and it's a crowd that represents a cross-section of this city's population. Families and downtown professionals eat burgers and fries on the back patio during the day; Highland neighbors stop in for a tap Tetley's pretty much anytime; and industry folks come in after their restaurants close, mingling with the old-time regulars, crusty waitstaff, quirky bartenders and unlucky kitchen guy charged with grilling burgers on the flat-top until one in the morning. Brother's is signless but famous thanks to its burgers, year-round Girl Scout cookie stock and history that ties the building, if not the Karagas siblings who bought the bar over forty years ago, to Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac. But this spot's story goes back much further: It's been a saloon since at least the 1880s. My Brother's is an integral part of our heritage, and it will remain a Denver institution no matter how many other brothers butt in.

JaJa Bistro

There's nothing pompous about this French bistro, where the informal, come-as-you-are ambience makes it all too easy to become a regular. And by the looks of it, especially on Sunday mornings, when Littleton residents sashay in for brunch, there are plenty of regulars who crave JaJa's dazzling crepes, filled with everything from smoked ham and Swiss to scrambled eggs and bacon, to sunny-side-up eggs and sausage, to Nutella and sugar-kissed bananas. The unfussy elegance, coupled with the camaraderie of the ardent habitués who linger over Bloody Marys and bottomless mimosas, makes JaJa's Bistro a must-stop for both wistful Francophiles and card-carrying foodophiles who want a little joie de vivre with their morning pick-me-up.

Tarbell's SouthGlenn
Mark Manger

Tarbell's is certainly not the first restaurant to elevate the burger to lofty, beasty, Herculean status, but while size is in the shoe of the beholder, Tarbell's double-decker burger — all six, maybe even seven inches of it — is, buns down, the best burger in the city. The freshly ground beef, loose and hand-formed into two impossibly thick patties, is judiciously salted and peppered, drooling with juices that blush scarlet, grilled to a perfect mid-rare and shoved between a soft, slightly sweet bun that's slathered with a secret sauce and platformed with lettuce, tomato slices and squares of American cheese that melt into the depths of your fluttering heart.

If you're certain to save more than a few bucks off your total check by ordering the bottle, then why would you ever choose to order wine by the glass? A few possible reasons: a) You're afflicted with a rare, intense case of Wine Attention Deficit Disorder; b) You're dining alone, and therefore only capable of consuming three glasses of wine in a single sitting (God forbid you waste the fourth); or c) You're at a restaurant with so many tempting by-the-glass selections that you simply can't resist snatching sips from all over the list. If you chose C, there's a good chance you've been drinking (and eating) at Lou's Food Bar, which is exactly where you should go when you're searching for that elusive perfect glass of vino. Wine director Lynn Whittum did more than just pick good juice that goes with the restaurant's eclectic fare; she made sure the pricing was right, too: The average glass runs just $9. Pinkies up!

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