The daily grind will seem a little less stressful once you’re eating fried chicken at Grind Kitchen + Watering Hole in Cherry Creek. Chef Preston Phillips does something rare in the Denver restaurant business these days: He owns his own restaurant, where he works with his family every day. His younger brother, Conner, is his second chef; dad Bob helps in the kitchen, and mom Jeneen stops by on the weekends to help with the brunch rush.
Preston and Connor grew up cooking in the kitchen with their grandmother in Alabama, and while Preston went off to culinary school, Connor learned enough from Grandma to work professionally in restaurants. Jeneen and Bob owned their own restaurant, so the Phillips boys grew up in the industry. With that kind of upbringing, starting his own restaurant was the next logical step for Preston.
Grind has been singled out in our Best of Denver awards for best fried chicken, and if anything, it has only gotten better. The chicken is crunchy, moist and golden brown, and can be ordered by the piece or on a roll or biscuit. My choice is the chicken biscuit because of the delightful honey butter, which melts quickly into the chicken breading — so eat quickly (which shouldn't be a problem) before the sandwich gets messy. The piece of boneless fried chicken itself is about twice the size of the biscuit, so you can nibble away at the edges before sinking your teeth into the biscuit.
Grind's French toast sticks are more than just egg-dipped bread cut into long pieces. Phillips makes bread pudding first, then slices it into rectangular logs and fries them until the exterior is crisp and brown. If that's not decadent enough, the sticks come topped with crème anglaise and fresh fruit.
Despite his Southern roots, Phillips has adopted pork green chile as more than just a side; at Grind, the deep brownish-green stew with chunks of pork hiding at the bottom is a spicy staple. Order a bowl with a soft tortilla to rip and dip or with housemade tortilla chips.
Since brunch requires drinks, Grind offers beer-and-shot combos. The Captain America is a lager or IPA with a shot of Old Forrester whiskey, and the Wolverine is a wheat beer with a shot of Altos blanco tequila. If that's too much for breakfast, Grind has a $15 bottomless trio of mix-and-match Bloody Marys, sangrias and mimosas — so you can sample all three to find the perfect pairing for that delicious chicken biscuit.
Grind is located at 300 Fillmore Street and serves brunch Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 720-749-4158 or visit Grind's website. Hot tip: Ask for extra crème anglaise on the side when you order the French toast sticks — dipping makes them even better.