In a vintage brick warehouse that once housed a rock-drilling company in Denver's early days, Marla and Chad Yetka followed their folly and opened an urban winery and restaurant. Above the door, they mounted a portrait of their first golden retriever, Bigsby, regally appointed with top hat, pipe and coat, and named the place Bigsby’s Folly in his honor, evoking the Roaring ’20s in style and spirit.
The Yetkas swapped their suburban life and steady jobs to become wine producers; their RiNo stamping ground also serves up some pretty good grub to go with the grape. Sunday brunch at Bigsby’s is relaxed and comfortable; you can pull up a stool at the expansive bar, grab a table or sink into a couch that matches the art-deco decor.
Since you’ll be drinking a lot of wine, you’re going to want to start with the Big Sexy, a pecan sticky bun guaranteed to absorb some of the booze. The name is no lie: The bun is a monster paved with a generous amount of pecans and dripping with caramel sauce that the menu describes as "extra goo."
Marla notes that all wines except the riesling are grown in Napa, so if you want a truly Colorado experience, give the riesling a try with your sticky bun.
The Breakfast Sammie follows the bigger-is-better motif. What could be a simple breakfast sandwich with some breakfast meat (ham, chorizo or bacon) and eggs on toast becomes far more if you take the kitchen's suggestion to "add all the meats with sausage gravy" for $3 more — then you'll see how big this sandwich can really be. Toasted brioche comes layered with a chorizo patty, criss-crossed bacon and Black Forest ham. Next comes the sunny-side egg, caramelized onion, paprika aioli and American cheese. A ladleful of sausage gravy drowns everything, making it a knife-and-fork dish.
Eight or nine other breakfasty menu items, ranging from a light parfait to a hearty "Baked Egg Thing" are balance with several lunch-style offerings, such as ropa vieja tacos topped with Cuban-style braised beef, pickled red onions, cotija cheese and avocado crema. An order comes with three tacos, so plan accordingly if you're sharing; the beef is so tender and well marinated you won't want to give a single bite away.
For a bigger brunch dish, try the thin and crispy chakalaka flatbread, topped with South African spiced flank steak, charmoula (a North African version of pesto), cotija cheese, serrano chiles and cilantro. The pizza-like dish is loaded with plenty of beef and cheese, and packs a bit of a kick from the charmoula and chiles.
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Dessert comes in the form of a warm chocolate chip cookie — paired with a tasting-sized glass of merlot. Dunking is recommended, and it's a great combo, especially since the cookie comes with a light sprinkle of sea salt. If you're like me, you'll dunk first (it's messy but so worth it), finish your cookie, then down the remaining wine — crumbs and all.
You can limit yourself to one style of wine, but better to choose a wine flight to go with your various brunch bites; my flight included sauvignon blanc, rosé, pinot noir, zinfandel, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Once you find one you like, you can always order more by the glass or bottle. Keep in mind that frosé is also an option and comes in handy if you want to spend some time on the dog-friendly patio on a warm Sunday. Bigsby's provides a basket of dog toys so your four-legged friend will stay entertained.
Bigsby’s Folly is located at 3563 Wazee Street in RiNo and serves Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 720-485-3158 or visit the winery's website. Hot tip: Help with the harvest in the fall and get your feet in some grapes!