Sunday, February 2, boasts two long-running traditions this year: the 133rd emergence of groundhog Punxsutawney Phil from his burrow and onto the grounds of Gobbler's Knob (and the inspiration for the 1993 Bill Murray comedy, Groundhog Day), and the 54th battle royal of NFL teams known as the Super Bowl. Since we can't decide which one we're more excited about — Bill Murray is a timeless delight, and we're beside ourselves that the snooze-inducing New England Patriots aren't playing this February — we've compiled a list of five restaurants where you can re-create Phil Connors's never-ending Groundhog Day as well as five joints for great grub or drink deals during the match-up between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Breakfast King1100 South Santa Fe Drive
There are as many styles of restaurant service as there are ways to cook an egg: hovering sanctimoniousness (as indicated by servers answering questions you never asked); faux-casual (whoever is waiting on you is wearing a $100 denim apron); team service (especially egregious if staff doesn't wear uniforms); the Suburban Special (high school students wearing headsets and setting down your meal with the admonition "The plate is very hot."). But for old-school diner service — the place where Doris is a waitress, not a server; her brother-in-law Carl owns the diner; and more than anything else in her life, she wants to see Paris before she dies — go to this 24-hour operation where the booths are bright-orange vinyl, the food is cheap and the portions large, and the ladies who wait on you aren't afraid to give you a snappy answer if you ask a stupid question. We suggest pancakes with a milkshake.
Charlie Brown's Bar & Grill980 Grant Street
Think there's no place in town where, like Bill Murray, you can take a drag off a cigarette while you preside over a table laden with pancakes, cupcakes, doughnuts and Danishes? Think again, because on the enclosed patio at the legendary Cap Hill joint, you can both light up and load up from the exceedingly long menu at any time of day. The food is filling, the servers don't dilly-dally, and the vibe is old-school — just don't ash into your coffee.
The Cookery at Myrtle Hill1020 South Gaylord Street
This cozy (very cozy, because it's always packed) breakfast-and-lunch cafe was formerly known as Devil's Food Cookery in reference to the nearby Devil's Food Bakery — but whatever name the enterprise goes by, it still retains the look and feel of a small-town gathering place, with old-timey wainscoting and collections of bric-a-brac (decorative plates, old cheese graters and shabby-looking sideboards) lining the walls and old light fixtures that make up decor akin to the Tip Top Cafe. Our recommendation: Get there early (doors open at 7 a.m.!), or else you'll be in for a long wait that can seem like an endless loop of inquiring about the wait, shoving a small child off the bench in the waiting area so you can sit down, reading the paper, checking your phone, inquiring about the wait, shoving a small child off the bench...
Fork & Spoon341 East Colfax Avenue
The special today (and every day!) is blueberry waffles at this cute diner, where you can get the dish in two forms: liquid and sold. Start with the blueberry waffle sandwich that (while it stretches the definition of a sandwich in the sense that it doesn't involve two waffles stacked atop one another) blends sweet and savory with blueberry compote, scrambled eggs and sausage atop half a waffle; then finish with the blueberry pancake shot, a combo of butterscotch schnapps and blueberry vodka. As a bonus, prices here are much more in line with a small-town mom-and-pop shop in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, than a downtown Denver brunch destination; you can nab both of the above for a total of just $16.99, less than a coffee cocktail in some swankier spots.
Hearth & Dram1801 Wewatta Street
The sleek restaurant and bar behind Union Station might not be the first place you'd think of to watch the game; you'd bankrupt yourself by the second quarter. But it's a great option for takeout on Sunday, with the consistently excellent kitchen offering chicken wings doused in your choice of Buffalo or Korean barbecue sauce (fifty for $60) and from-scratch pretzels served with beer cheese (twelve for $30). Place your order no later than Tuesday, January 28, by emailing email@example.com or calling the restaurant, then pick up the goods on game day. Bonus: Take a seat at the bar and knock back a mimosa or four ($15 for the bottomless brunch cocktail) while your food is being packaged — because 8 a.m. isn't too early to pre-game, right?
Lodo's Bar & Grill1946 Market Street
The downtown bar is gearing up for the game with an all-you-can-eat-and-drink special that sounds merely ominous to anyone who wants to actually recall any part of Super Bowl LIV after the fact, and frankly terrifying to everyone else, including the poor Lyft driver who will have to ferry you home after the final buzzer sounds. For $50, the bar and buffet are bottomless from noon through the end of the game. Just keep in mind that kickoff's at 4:30 p.m., so while you'll want to drink enough to drown out the moronic pre-game commentary, pace yourself lest you black out in the bathroom before the coin toss. Get in on the orgy by obtaining tickets on Eventbrite.
Maggie & Molly's Sweet Life2908 East Sixth Avenue
If you're looking to stuff an entire piece of angel food cake into your gob in one go, our recommendation is to go whole (ground)hog and order a full-sized cake from this Cherry Creek bakery. You can get the airy gateau in two varieties, glazed ($30) and iced with buttercream ($35). Naturally, we recommend the buttercream frosting (for verisimilitude, of course). Lest you think it's excessive to bring home a dessert designed to serve six to eight adult humans for just yourself, keep in mind that you only need take a few more bites before the evidence has vanished entirely. Make sure you call in the order by noon on Thursday, January 30, for pickup on Saturday, February 1, since the sweet shop isn't open on Sundays.
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Romero's K9 Club & Tap House985 South Public Road, Lafayette
If you're part of an inter-recreational relationship (football fan vs. mutt maniac), you know the fight over the remote on Super Bowl Sunday: Do you watch the game (and the inevitably disappointing commercials) or tune in to the Puppy Bowl (its kinder, cuter, non-concussion-causing counterpart)? At Romero's pooch-positive taproom, you can do both. From noon to 3 p.m., Mamco Rescue will be on site with adoptable puppies and nursing moms (and will be accepting donations for its canine charges), so you can actually fill out paperwork to adopt that adorable floofer who just went ass over tea kettle chasing a ball. Then at 3 p.m., the taproom hosts a potluck watch party, with guests encouraged to bring their favorite game foods to share (as well as their four-legged friends to re-create the puppy bowl in the joint's enclosed, heated play area). If you plan on bringing Fido along for the fun, make sure you pre-register your pup on Romero's website.
Quality Italian241 Columbine Street
You can take home one of the Italian steakhouse's most recognizable dishes — the chicken parm pizza — on Super Bowl Sunday, and for just one day, it will come in two flavors: classic (a disc of fried chicken topped with tomato sauce and four cheeses) and Buffalo chicken (the same circular base with Buffalo in lieu of tomato sauce, four cheeses, shaved carrots, celery leaves and a Gorgonzola-buttermilk drizzle). Call the restaurant no later than Friday, January 31, to order the oh-so-Instagrammable pie and pick it up between 3 and 10 p.m. on game day. And while at $62 it's not cheap, the fourteen-inch slab of fried meat and cheese is bound to serve however many hungry fans you can fit in the red (sauce) zone.
Spanky's Roadhouse1800 East Evans Avenue
This DU establishment knows you're going to go through more than a few pints and plates during the game, so it's cutting down on the number of times its servers have to stop by your rambunctious table by offering real discounts on its mondo pitchers — a whopping 128 ounces (also known as a gallon) of draft beer. Normally, the outsized vessels go for $25 to $43, but on February 2, you can buy pitchers of Coors and Coors Light for just $20, with all other beer options (including Odd 13 Codename: Superfan and Oskar Blues Mama's Little Yella Pils) priced at $35. Further specials include a half-dozen wings for $4 and a platter of chorizo nachos for $8.