There's now another way to enjoy one of northwest Denver's best breakfast eateries: The Universal is open for dinner.
"We've always wanted to do dinner, and this seemed like the right time," says Kourtnie Harris, who runs the Universal at 2911 West 38th Avenue with her husband, Steven Sharp.
Harris explains that she and her husband have been planning to add comfort food entrees and dinner hours for quite some time, but the plan was moved up a few months because of the pandemic, since adding more sales at dinner will help offset decreased capacity during the winter.
"We've been at about 85 percent of normal [sales], and we couldn't ask for anything better," the restaurant owner adds, "but the patio closing for winter takes away 24 seats."
So the couple started serving dinner four nights a week in mid-September, staying open until 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. They also added a happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. on those days to promote their new cocktails designed by Jamie Cain, beverage director at the Family Jones Spirit House. "Our space has a really good feel at night," Harris continues, "and we also offer takeout food and cocktails."
The Universal has been known for its hearty breakfast and brunch specials, including cornbread rancheros, wild-boar scramble and custardy baked French toast. Some of those a.m. dishes can now be ordered for dinner, along with new entrees such as a smoked Angus beef au jus sandwich, corned beef tacos, and bison stroganoff, which has been a customer favorite so far.
"The price point is important to us," Harris notes. "We didn't want to have anything over $20 on the menu." That stroganoff, for example, rings in at $18.50, the most expensive item. There are also lighter dishes, such as the Green and Grain Bowl, made with black barley, brown rice, kale, smoked sweet potatoes, pickled beets and gochujang sauce (to which chicken or Korean-style hanger steak can be added).
While patio brunches will disappear for the winter, the Universal is there for its Highland, Sunnyside and Berkeley neighbors for dinner, along with its usual breakfast and lunch starting at 8 a.m. every weekday and 7:30 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Call 303-955-0815 or visit the restaurant's website for more details.