Best Power Breakfast (and Lunch and Dinner)

Racines

More than thirty years after it first opened on Bannock Street, Racines just keeps powering on. At breakfast any day of the week, you'll find newscasters, professors, politicians, developers, brokers and just about every other kind of suit in this town strategizing over Eggs Mazatlan, bacon pancakes and Farmers Breakfasts. The restaurant's spacious corner booths in its current home are perfect for negotiating, and if there are bumps in the discussion, Racines features a full bar with strong Bloody Marys, craft brews and a wonderful selection of original cocktail recipes to help smooth things over. Those liquid assets also appeal to folks who come in later in the day to power up, a crowd that ranges from eighty-year-olds who've been coming here for decades to disaffected eighteen-year-olds who think they just discovered the place. For all of Denver, Racines remains the place to get down to business...even if it's monkey business.

The duck confit Benedict at Lou's Food Bar is cozy comfort food that lands in just the right spot. A buttery biscuit holds a nest of crispy kale topped with the confit and a pair of poached eggs so delicate they could be mistaken for duck eggs, and the whole thing is lightly drizzled with citrus Hollandaise. And if bird is the word, the perfect pairing for this tasty dish is the fried chicken that just so happens to be a topping at the extravagant Bloody Mary bar.

Readers' choice: Snooze

Best Unrecognizable Eggs Benedict

Brazen

Brazen

The New American menu at Brazen lends itself to unique takes on the tried and true, which is a good thing for the diners who have turned this folksy spot into a Denver destination. Where innovation has really paid off, though, is in the non-traditional eggs Benedict served during the Saturday and Sunday brunch. Called a Peanut Butter & Fresno Benedict, the concoction marries — naturally — peanut butter and Fresno pepper jam with cheddar, bacon, poached eggs and Hollandaise, all served atop lightly toasted ciabatta. It's sort of reminiscent of Elvis's peanut butter sandwich, but made classier with the addition of cheese, and spicier because of the jam. It sounds weird, we know, but trust us: You'll start craving another order soon after you finish the first.

Breakfast on Broadway

Sometimes the mood strikes for bottomless mimosas on, say, Thursday at mid-day — but most places offer the deal only on weekends. Time to head to Breakfast on Broadway. You want bottomless mimosas at noon on Monday? Done. How about 9 a.m. on Friday? Yep. You get the picture: Whenever BOB is open (breakfast and lunch only, 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily), it features an $8.50 bottomless-mimosa deal. The drinks are nothing fancy — just J. Roget and regular OJ — but the proportions are generous, as are the portions, because this joint takes bottomless seriously. The staffers do ask that you eat something, but that's easy, because BOB cooks up some eggs-cellent dishes: pick-your-ingredients scrambles, French toast stuffed with Cointreau cream cheese, and a killer Reuben. No reservations at this popular diner, but you can call thirty minutes ahead to get on the list. Not a mimosa fan? The "nightshift" Bloody Mary is two-for-one from 7 to 9 a.m. weekdays.

Readers' choice: Root Down
The Curtis Club

The Curtis Club's bottomless mimosas aren't the cheapest in town ($13 per person), but we toast the presentation at this eclectic spot, which serves things like a fat, juicy wagyu burger on a brioche bun and caramel-apple French toast that tastes more like a decadent bread pudding during the restaurant's weekend brunch. The decor is funky but appealing, with cedar-lined walls surrounding a space filled with random old and new furniture and featuring a lake mural and a creepy deer bust. But there's nothing weird or wacky about the beakers of cranberry juice and fresh-squeezed orange and grapefruit juices that come on a tray with any mimosa order, and once they arrive, the staff does the best bubbly thing ever: They leave the bottle on the table for you to pour — and when it's empty, they bring another one. That means no stingy pours, no waiting to beg a server for another. You're in total control. Cheers!

Gaetano's Restaurant
Cassandra Kotnik

The sign on the outside of Gaetano's promises the "Biggest Bloody Mary Bar in Town," and we have yet to find one bigger. Or better. The longtime north Denver Italian eatery — once owned by a famous Mob family, then by the Wynkoop group and now an independent — puts out a Bloody Mary spread with so many options that you could make your drink a meal in itself for just $6 a glass. Bartender Caitlyn Smith is responsible for the selection, and she can be found early every Sunday slicing cheese into sticks to add to the vast array of veggies — including an extensive selection of pickled ones — as well as such ideal add-ons as olives, bacon and beef jerky. Three different tomato blends are offered for the base — a house mix that's heavy with Italian seasonings, a Clamato version, and one made using V8 — all of which can be spiced up even further with any of 75 hot sauces in a variety of strengths, and eight seasoning mixes. Be sure to try the homemade infused vodka with pickled cucumber and garlic for an extra kick.

Readers' choice: Lou's Food Bar
Table 6
Cassandra Kotnik

What's a restaurant to do when it's without a full liquor license but still wants to appease the thirsty brunch crowd? Fake it. Table 6 uses sake as a substitute for vodka in the house Bloody, resulting in a tasty morning pick-me-up that would have even the most seasoned imbiber fooled. An eclectic twist on the classic morning cocktail, the drink goes perfectly with the venue's fresh and unconventional aesthetic.

City Donuts
Linnea Covington

Specialty doughnuts, the kind that cost five bucks apiece and are as stylized as plated desserts, have taken the city by storm. We get the appeal; we're doughnut fans. But whether you're with your kid on a Sunday morning or taking a few dozen to work, sometimes you just want the classics. And when you do, look no farther than City Donuts, which got its start in Aurora and conveniently opened a second location on East Colfax this fall. These are doughnuts that will take you back to your childhood, with scores of cake, raised and so-called fancy offerings (think bear claws and cream-filled bars) to please everyone. Don't miss the old-fashioned or the chocolate with chocolate frosting.

Readers' choice: Voodoo Doughnut

We hesitate to share this winner, for fear that Beet Box Bakery & Cafe will sell out of our favorite doughnuts before we get there. But this vegan bakery's goodies are simply too good to keep to ourselves. And by ourselves, we don't mean folks who eschew the milk and eggs that typically go into these breakfast treats. We mean everyone with a soft spot for morning dessert. Baked, not fried, with coconut milk and applesauce for extra moistness, Beet Box's doughnuts are healthier than average. But trust us, you won't be thinking about what is and isn't in your doughnut when you order a dozen vanilla, chocolate, pumpkin and apple-cake creations, frosted and modestly topped with nuts or coconut. As a bonus, the bakery offers a solid selection of gluten-free options, too.

Brider
Danielle Lirette

Ah, the apple fritter. What a glorious creation, full of plump, sugary nubs concealing sweet nuggets of America's favorite fruit. But too many versions aren't worth ordering — so pale and soft you wish you'd just ordered a regular doughnut. At Brider, though, the fritters are always light and crisp, thanks to an extra-long stint in the fryer. Pastry chef Michael Conti finishes them off with an apple-cider glaze that drips over very whorl and ridge, making them mandatory a.m. eating. Move over, apple pie: There's a new kid in town.

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