Breakfast and Brunch

Brunch of the Week: Make the Rounds at Milk Market

Lou's does skillets as well as fried chicken.
Lou's does skillets as well as fried chicken. Bridget Wood
Denver Milk Market at the Dairy Block downtown opened on June 1 and recently launched Sunday brunch. Whatever you're looking for, I guarantee there's something for you, between the three concepts that open at 7 a.m., and the remaining dozen that begin serving at 11 a.m.

Brunch is offered until 2 p.m., and you can try a dangerous amount of food in that time. Since the genius behind this sprawling market, Frank Bonanno, runs all fifteen food and booze counters, you're free to carry your brunch orders and adult beverages anywhere within the space or onto the patio facing Wazee Street.

The three early-opening vendors serve all day, but with breakfast-focused items in the a.m. Morning Jones dishes up pastries, Captain Crunch cereal bars and vegan protein balls, all of which make for a good handheld snack while touring the the market for the rest of your brunch. Next up is FEM, short for flour, eggs and milk — the ingredients needed to make a crepe. If you're a crepe lover, you'll be delighted to see how many beautiful and enormous versions FEM produces, from the savory bacon, egg and cheddar to the sweet strawberries with Nutella, and even a build-your-own option. Round the corner and you'll find Lou’s Hot and Naked. Known for fried chicken (on the bone or in sandwiches), Lou’s also serves sizzling skillets with hashes and other morning-friendly options.

click to enlarge Crepes come sweet or savory at FEM. - BRIDGET WOOD
Crepes come sweet or savory at FEM.
Bridget Wood
Brunch wouldn’t be complete without adult beverages, and MOO! is the place to get your morning hair of the dog. MOO! is a full-service bar in the center of the market with plenty of stools and menus where you can order from any of the food stalls (and Milk Market staff will bring your food over for you). Bartenders are ready to take your order and mix you a beautifully crafted cocktail or pour a tall beer — or a nitro bourbon cider.

Speaking of beer, if that’s your thing, wait until 11 a.m. and stroll to the Stranded Pilgrim at the back of the market, where you'll find twenty taps — two each from ten Denver breweries. One of the two taps will be the specific brewery’s most popular beer and the second will be something that's only sold in the brewery’s taproom (and here, of course). If you’re a wine freak, Cellar is right next door to the beer bar. Sample a wine flight of four tastes for $15, stick with reds or whites by the glass, or find one you love and buy a bottle off the wall display. Note that food cannot be ordered from the Stranded Pilgrim or Cellar, but you can bring in anything you've already ordered at one of the other counters.

click to enlarge A sight for tired eyes. - BRIDGET WOOD
A sight for tired eyes.
Bridget Wood
AGM Ben Vaughn pointed out the wide variety that Milk Market has to offer beginning at 11 a.m., when you can augment breakfast options with grilled fish, salads, poke, handmade pasta, gelato, a butcher-counter burger, pizza or bao buns. “Working in a non-traditional restaurant is great, because I think there is a little something for everyone,” he notes.

The market has high-top tables or lower, family-friendly tables where groups can receive table service. “Anyone can feel free to pick up what they want from the market and seat themselves, and a waiter will come over to check in and get them a drink if they want. Conversely, a party can seat themselves, and they will be welcomed by full-service waitstaff,” Vaughn explains. Most of the market closes at 9 p.m., but the wine, beer and cocktail bars are open until 11 p.m., if you plan on extending your brunch visit to a full day of drinking. Just outside of Milk Market in the alley is Engine Room, a by-the-slice, New York-style pizza window (with a few seats inside), which word has it is open until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Denver Milk Market is located at 1800 Wazee Street and serves brunch on Sundays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, visit the market's website. Hot tip: order online for pickup orders, and Market staff will pack up food from any of the vendors to go; you can even order from multiple vendors.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Bridget Wood is a contributor to Westword’s Food & Drink section. She can be found wandering Denver, mimosa in hand, searching for the best brunch spots the city has to offer. She spends her weekends shopping for obscure records and working on the Sunday crossword puzzle. Despite her Boston roots, she is learning to love green chile.