Brunch Restaurant Wilde Is Now Open in Denver's Berkeley Neighborhood | Westword

First Look: Chicken Rebel Goes Wilde With New Brunch Spot

Lydie Lovett transforms her Chicken Rebel shop in Sunnyside into Wilde, a sit-down brunch place with a Baja California vibe.
Inside Wilde in Berkeley.
Inside Wilde in Berkeley. Linnea Covington
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What: Wilde

Where: 3618 Tejon Street

When: Open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Monday

For more info: Follow @wilderestaurant on Instagram 
click to enlarge blue bar with worker and pink chairs at tables
The only television is right over the bar.
Linnea Covington

What we saw: It's clear that Lydie Lovett's Wilde will become an Instagram-selfie haven — the gorgeous blue and pink sunrise wall sees to that. The rest of the space is just as bright, with a California surfer vibe mixed with boho chic. On a recent visit, there was even a woman's surfing show playing on the lone television set, serving as the perfect background for indulging in a blood orange champagne cocktail and a plate of Baja fish tacos.

The easygoing vibe flows throughout the space. A long community table runs along the colorful wall; it's a superb setting for large groups or those looking for a quick solo meal. There's also the bar, with a view of the eight beer taps and bartenders whipping up Bloody Marys with bacon and grilled shrimp, seasonal bourbon smashes and rose sangria, which is served by the carafe.

One side of the restaurant is made up of windows, ensuring the ideal light for brunch and lunch photo snaps. Part of the window wall even opens up, garage door style, onto a small patio along Tejon Street. Other seating options include stand-alone tables and a banquet that also acts as a barrier dividing the entrance from the dining room.
click to enlarge fries and burger on plate with pink background
The mushroom burger at Wilde is a filling brunch option.
Linnea Covington

What surprised us: Lovett got her start in the Denver scene by making fried chicken sandwiches under the moniker Chicken Rebel. From 2017 to 2022, she expanded the business. It started with a pop-up inside a brewery, then moved to a stall in Avanti before she began opening brick-and-mortar spots of her own, the first of which launched in 2019 in the same spot where Wilde has now opened.

When we spoke to Lovett ahead of the debut of her Westminster shop in early 2022, the plan was to continue the rebellious fast-casual concept. Now, only that Westminster location remains, at 10448 Town Center Drive, and Wilde is a whole new ride. Luckily for fans of Chicken Rebel, the coastal California fare works just as well as the fried chicken and tot menu.

Of course, fried chicken still graces the menu in the form of chicken and waffles and a Nashville hot chicken sandwich, so those craving a crunch can still be satisfied. But there's so much more. For example, the Fancy Breakfast Pizza, which is built on housemade dough and topped with two kinds of cheese and pancetta. It's served drizzled with a flavorful lemon-basil sauce and crowned with two sunnyside-up eggs and arugula. 
click to enlarge wood table with white bowl with grits and shrimp
Try the shrimp and grits, which uses wild-caught shrimp.
Linnea Covington
Wilde Shrimp and Grits is a Baja-inspired version of the Southern staple. It comes with perfectly cooked wild-caught shrimp over a cheesy bowl of grits topped with roasted tomatoes and a bacon-chardonnay cream sauce. Another nod to California comes in the form of the Baja Breakfast Burrito, a delightful hand-held dish stuffed with carne asada, fluffy eggs, guacamole and cheese, and served with salsa on the side. Also look for a succulent mushroom burger, smoked salmon salad, crab cake Benedict, and cream cheese-stuffed churros, among other playful dishes.

Overall, the food on Wilde's menu speaks to Lovett's background: She was born in England, grew up in California, and has traveled around the world for work and fun.
click to enlarge drink on wooden table with plant and pink wall
The bourbon smash features peaches for the fall.
Linnea Covington

The self-taught chef made her way to Denver on a quest to make Chicken Rebel mobile. Before landing here in 2017, she was peddling her fried chicken sandwiches in San Diego. She came to Denver with $300 to buy a food truck, which later turned out to a lemon and a scam. But her Chicken Rebel fare proved popular, so she decided to stay, and now she's ready to grow in a different way.

Having a sit-down restaurant was always the path Lovett wanted to follow, and with Wilde, she finally gets to do that. Breakfast is the chef's favorite meal to make, and while the eatery is focused on daytime fare right now, Lovett plans to open for dinner service eventually. Until then, enjoy the bounty of Southern California and Colorado combined, all in brunch form.
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