Breakfast and Brunch

Boozy Cereal and Goldfish Mac and Cheese at FNG's Brunch

Tots, cheese, eggs and chicken: Bet you can't eat the whole thing yourself.
Tots, cheese, eggs and chicken: Bet you can't eat the whole thing yourself. Bridget Wood
FNG is your hometown diner, hit with a little rock-and-roll attitude. From the large, cozy booths to the classic record covers framed on the wall, Troy Guard's West Highland eatery gets diner style right, even with a few upscale embellishments in the dining room and on the menu — and that goes for brunch, too.

A sure sign of a classic diner? There's cereal on the menu. But FNG makes your Saturday morning bowl an adult occasion with the addition of Bailey’s Irish Cream or peach schnapps. The menu calls the combo the Cereal Killer, and I thought Froot Loops with peach schnapps was a killer pairing, thanks to the science — and possibly magic — that results in a flavor almost exactly like strawberry milk.

click to enlarge Froot Loops, milk and peach schnapps make a killer combo. - BRIDGET WOOD
Froot Loops, milk and peach schnapps make a killer combo.
Bridget Wood
Pancakes are another diner staple, and FNG makes a great flapjack, going well beyond the ordinary. The Griddler is a knockoff of — or rather an improvement on — the McDonald’s McGriddle. Two giant pancakes are the bread of your sandwich, and in between is a fried egg, cheese and bacon — enough that it forms an almost solid lattice. There's a little maple syrup in the batter, so the the final product is a lightly candied pancake that doesn’t even need its side of additional syrup — a win in my book, since trying to dip the big sandwich into the small cup could get a little messy (especially because the Griddler is served on a board, not a plate).

click to enlarge Griddle me this. - BRIDGET WOOD
Griddle me this.
Bridget Wood
Mac and cheese gets a trashy twist at FNG. Instead of breadcrumbs, this mac is topped with something nostalgic: Goldfish crackers. You get layers of melty cheese around spiral pasta with more cheesy crunch on top.

If it's fried chicken you want, FNG has it in sandwich form, with a buttermilk-brined chicken breast with housemade pickles and a cabbage slaw. The chicken is crunchy but not too heavy, but if you want to save room for other brunch options, you can also order the sandwich in slider size.
click to enlarge Brunch sliders. - BRIDGET WOOD
Brunch sliders.
Bridget Wood
The Mexi-tot bowl is where FNG’s originality really shines through. Housemade tots are topped with shredded rotisserie chicken, tons of cheese, two eggs and a pico-and-citrus slaw. The dish is so big that FNG should be giving out T-shirts to anyone who can finish it.

The brunch cocktail menu reads like an homage to Guard's rock idols (just like those framed album covers). The Almost Famous is vodka-based, with coconut milk, citrus, ginger and a mint leaf, while the Bramble On combines mezcal with blackberry, salt and mint.

click to enlarge Mac and cheese with Goldfish crackers. - BRIDGET WOOD
Mac and cheese with Goldfish crackers.
Bridget Wood
“We believe in elevated comfort food and bringing back the basics of home-cooked meals,” says general manager Sam Haupt.

“We’re excited to offer brunch on Tuesdays through Sundays because industry folks don’t usually have those times off,” Haupt explains. To give a little back to the service industry, FNG offers restaurant workers 20 percent off their bill with proof of employment.

FNG is located at 3940 West 32nd Street and serves brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. For more information, call 720-667-3727 or visit the restaurant's website. Hot tip: FNG is hosting a Super Bowl party with a $25 all-you-can-eat mac and cheese station and a taco bar, along with game-day drink specials.
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Bridget Wood is a contributor to Westword’s Food & Drink section. She can be found wandering Denver, mimosa in hand, searching for the best brunch spots the city has to offer. She spends her weekends shopping for obscure records and working on the Sunday crossword puzzle. Despite her Boston roots, she is learning to love green chile.