Brunch of the Week: Boozy Shakes and Benedicts at Annie's Cafe

Here's looking at you, Annie's.EXPAND
Here's looking at you, Annie's.
Bridget Wood
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Annie’s Cafe & Bar on East Colfax Avenue is an institution for the folks of Denver who appreciate a cheap meal with quick service. Mary Meggitt has been running Annie’s for 38 years, while her sister Peggy owns the restaurant.

So if the eatery isn't named after Mary or Peggy, then who is Annie (and what do I have to do to get a restaurant named after me)? “To us, Annie was a name that represented good, home-cooked food in a friendly environment, and that is what we are all about,” Mary explains.

D's Delight combines a little of everything into a breakfast hash.EXPAND
D's Delight combines a little of everything into a breakfast hash.
Bridget Wood

The star of the show at Annie’s is the green chile, a spicy creation with chucks of tender pork that should be ladled liberally over every dish (although maybe not the French toast). Ramiro’s Burrito is a standard construction of eggs, potatoes and bacon wrapped in a flour tortilla, plated without ceremony or garnishes, but the green chile turns it into something special.

The breakfast/brunch menu is filled with egg-based dishes named after other people as mysterious as Annie herself. D’s Delight, for example, is your basic kitchen-sink dish: potatoes, mushrooms, onion, spinach and tomatoes all cooked up in a hash and topped with cheese and a fried egg. There's also the Peggy Sue and the T-Bird, which might recall the innocent days of the 1950s, especially while you sip a malted shake, but they're both fairly typical, if well-made, breakfast plates that can be found at many other diners (though a dollop of herbed cream cheese sets the Peggy Sue apart from other breakfast scrambles).

French toast.EXPAND
French toast.
Bridget Wood

Annie's also offers three kinds of eggs Benedict, with the house style differing from the original Benedict recipe by swapping in shaved ham for Canadian bacon. The best part, though, is the pair of black olive slices staring back at you from atop the poached eggs, making the plate resemble a smiley face.

Other options include a simple but properly executed French toast, with thick-cut French bread drenched in egg batter and fried until golden brown before being showered with a generous layer of cinnamon sugar. (Of course you wouldn't put green chile on that.) For a lighter breakfast, the house granola bowl satisfies with a topper of fresh fruit, and oatmeal is served appropriately with brown sugar, as well as a toasted English muffin. They're both the kind of thing you can get at just about any neighborhood joint, but so many neighborhoods lack a solid, nothing-fancy option for an inexpensive brunch.

Annie’s has a full bar, so there's a wide variety of options for a boozy brunch, as well, but a few specialty drinks, both hot and cold, caught my eye. For something served warm, choices include hot chocolate spiked with peppermint or butterscotch schnapps or Malibu rum, all topped with whipped cream and a corresponding syrup. On the frozen side, chocolate or vanilla milkshakes go adult with a shot of Kahlúa, Baileys, crème de menthe, Malibu, Jameson or Godiva. You'll feel like you're visiting Grandma's house — if Grandma packs a flask.

Annie’s is located at 3100 East Colfax Avenue. Breakfast is served all day, every day starting at 7 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on weekends. For more information, call 303-355-8197 or visit the restaurant's website. Hot tip: Shakes are also offered in a variety of ice cream flavors and are served in Instagram-worthy fountain glasses.

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