If you’re a sucker for a classic diner vibe, The Hornet needs to be at the top of your list. As at the best old-school joints, you'll find a checkerboard tile floor, big portions and laid-back staff. But the Hornet rises above greasy-spoon status with comfortable booths, upscale fare and, most important, a standout brunch that has built a loyal following. Despite some of the creative items on the menu, I decided to stick with a few time-honored brunch favorites to see how they've held up.
Bar manager Kat Erickson has been working brunch for the past three years; she says she loves that she can always count on the consistency of the food and the crowds. She points out that the front patio facing Broadway is perfect for a Saturday morning, but there's also a hidden back patio if you'd rather have a more secluded brunch.
Start your morning with French toast that the Hornet makes from its famous bread pudding, which comes cut into slices and grilled until the edges are crunchy. The toast is moist and flavorful, but the bourbon-banana syrup really makes the dish shine; it’s sweet and sticky, and you will need a twelve-step program to quit.
A breakfast burrito may not seem like a culinary feat, but one look at the Hornet's breakfast beast and you’ll understand why its called the Gigunda. Made with what seems like a twenty-inch tortilla, it's stuffed with eggs, pecanwood-smoked bacon, potatoes and cheese, then topped with pork green chile, lettuce, pico de gallo and guacamole. This dish is not for the faint of heart, and is roughly the size of a newborn baby.
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Classic brunch beverages include $2 Bloody Marys with all the fixings, classic mimosas for $3 and double mimosas for $5. Other specialty drinks include the Dirty Chai, a rum-based drink made with Novo cold brew coffee, milk and cinnamon. And the Mulemosa is a fun combination of the traditional Moscow mule ingredients — vodka, lime and ginger beer — and champagne and orange juice.
Sugar Bakeshop turns out sweet treats just up Broadway, and luckily for you, the Hornet carries the bakery's blueberry pop tarts for brunchtime dessert. They're flaky on the outside and full of sweet blueberries on the inside, making for a sweet end to a delicious meal.
The Hornet is located at 76 Broadway and serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit the restaurant's website or call 303-777-7676. Hot tip: The Hornet is also open for brunch on most Monday holidays; check the website for the schedule.