Low Country Kitchen is situated right at the start of LoHi, just above the bridge from the Platte Valley. Do yourself a favor and walk to the restaurant, because you need to burn off as many calories as you can before you consume this brunch.
Chef Brian Vaughn and his wife, Katy, opened the first Low Country Kitchen in Steamboat Springs a half-dozen years ago; they opened their Denver spot two years ago in the former home of Vita, just down the street from Lola Coastal Mexican. Katy designed the homey interior, while Brian focused on a menu inspired by his childhood in New Orleans. Almost everything is made in-house, and most grains are sourced from Charleston, South Carolina; the meats come from local Colorado farms.
Most of the brunch menu comprises hearty items that are sure to keep you full through dinner.
Low is known for its fried chicken, and once you taste it, you’ll understand why. The bird takes a very long journey before it hits your plate. The "48 hour" chicken soaks in brine for 24 hours, then takes a buttermilk and hot-sauce bath for 24 hours. Finally, it's seasoned, fried and delivered to you, hot and very juicy.
You can order three or six pieces of fried chicken or choose my favorite option: the bucket of chicken and bubbles. You get your choice of a classic Southern side; I chose the mac and cheese, but diners around me seemed to be enjoying the cheesy grits and collard greens with bacon. Low also serves a version of chicken and waffles, with French toast subbing for the waffles. The kitchen then loads the dish with whipped butter, a side of green-tomato jam and smoked maple syrup.
Cocktails are an art form at Low Country Kitchen. Most of the featured brunch drinks, such as the Blueberry-Basil Spritz, are light and fruity. If you are looking for something a bit stronger, though, the regular drink menu has some classics, including a strong Old Fashioned. But this is a Southern spot, and the mint julep is refreshingly kitschy. The drink comes in a tin cup, with a scoop of shaved ice on top and a sprig of mint. If you value your liver, push the ice down to the bottom of the drink before you take a sip. It’s the cutest adult snow-cone you've ever seen.
Low Country Kitchen offers other Southern specialties. If you're craving home-style crawfish boils, head there on Wednesdays for the crawfish boil of your dreams. And Brian is already making plans for canning season, which kicks off next month. "For now, we mostly have fruit preserves and pickled veggies," he says, adding that he hopes to add more options soon.
But now or later, there's always fried chicken.
Low Country is at 1575 Boulder Street; brunch is served with Southern charm from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, call 720-512-4168 or go to lowrestaurant.com. Hot tip: Stick around after brunch; Low Country Kitchen offers half-priced bottles of wine on Sunday nights.