Best of Denver

The Best Brunch in Denver in 2018 — and Through the Decade

Brunch is a Universal need.
Brunch is a Universal need. Facebook/The Universal
Denverites are way ahead of national trends when it comes to brunch; we were standing in lines for the weekend mid-morning meal long before other cities starting catching on. And we've been doing it on Saturdays as well as Sundays, at mom-and-pop eateries as well as hotel restaurants, and all day long instead of just in the a.m. hours. Bacon, eggs and booze, it turns out, are some of Denver's biggest obsessions.

Here are all the Best Brunch winners in our Best of Denver editions over the past ten years — including the 2018 champ — along with our praise in prose from each year (and a few updates).

click to enlarge Beatrice & Woodsley is a charming escape from the city for wine lovers. - KRISTA KAFER
Beatrice & Woodsley is a charming escape from the city for wine lovers.
Krista Kafer
Beatrice & Woodsley
38 South Broadway

Brunch at Beatrice & Woodsley is like waking up in a dream — and it's not just because of the fantasy interior of this new restaurant, designed to resemble a turn-of-the-last century Colorado cabin. It's also because of the fantastic food. Chef Pete List and his crew of culinary hooligans serve turtle soup, beautiful frog's legs, pear clafouti, pork belly, pimento-cheese grits, curried lamb and flapjacks all off the same menu — their brunch menu. And they do it to a consistently packed house of Denverites who, convinced only by the expertise and brilliant execution of List and company, now realize that there's nothing at all strange about eating turtle, frog and pancakes for the middle of an aspen grove. In fact, it makes for the best brunch in town.

click to enlarge Colt & Gray is still a great brunch choice on Platte Street. - WESTWORD
Colt & Gray is still a great brunch choice on Platte Street.
Colt & Gray
1553 Platte Street

At brunch at Colt & Gray, the lovely restaurant that made its long-awaited debut on Platte Street last August, the French-press coffee is woody and rich and strong. It has to be, in order to prepare you for the duck confit hash, served with the most beautifully poached eggs you've ever seen, the streams of yolk brighter than a yellow cab. Or for the heavenly, egg-crowned croque madame coupled with an unexpectedly vibrant tomato soup; if you're a heathen, you dunk the former into the latter and thank the kitchen for robbing you of any gram of refinement. That same kitchen also slyly seduces you with luscious potatoes, sliced the thinness of a silver dollar, edged crisp and rendered in foie gras and duck fat. When you've popped the last one through your lips and let out a long groan, your server nods in empathy. Few dishes in the galaxy are as wicked good as those potatoes. After brunch at Colt & Gray, you'll be ready for a long nap — but you'll wake up eager to return for dinner. Colt & Gray no longer serves brunch.

click to enlarge Jaja Bistro served brunch with French flair. - WESTWORD
Jaja Bistro served brunch with French flair.
Jaja Bistro
5641 South Nevada Street, Littleton

There's nothing pompous about this French bistro, where the informal, come-as-you-are ambience makes it all too easy to become a regular. And by the looks of it, especially on Sunday mornings, when Littleton residents sashay in for brunch, there are plenty of regulars who crave JaJa's dazzling crepes, filled with everything from smoked ham and Swiss to scrambled eggs and bacon, to sunny-side-up eggs and sausage, to Nutella and sugar-kissed bananas. The unfussy elegance, coupled with the camaraderie of the ardent habitués who linger over Bloody Marys and bottomless mimosas, makes JaJa's Bistro a must-stop for both wistful Francophiles and card-carrying foodophiles who want a little joie de vivre with their morning pick-me-up. Jaja Bistro closed in 2016.

2550 East Colfax Avenue

We've never found a better reason to lift our head off the pillow than brunch at Encore. Start the day off right with a plate of ethereal ricotta-filled beignets and a bloody Mary to soothe the debauchery from the night before, then move on to one of the other marvels created by chef Paul Reilly. Our favorite is his magnificent lamb posole, sidekicked with all the necessary accoutrements — sliced radishes, onions, cilantro and lime wedges — and capped by creamy scrambled eggs. Encore closed later in 2012, but Reilly went on to open Beast + Bottle, which won Best Brunch in 2017.

click to enlarge Butter and bread in the kitchen at Table 6. - DANIELLE LIRETTE
Butter and bread in the kitchen at Table 6.
Danielle Lirette
Table 6
609 Corona Street., Denver

Table Six is the consummate neighborhood hang, the kind of place where, at least on Sunday, you can wear your mismatched PJs and fit right in with the rest of the smitten disciples — many of them local chefs — who converge in droves for dashing dishes that stretch far beyond pancakes and eggs Benedict. Chef Scott Parker's eccentric menu is a fanciful blast of morning treats, beginning with the tater tots dipped into blood-orange ketchup and moving on to the "haute pocket" filled with Tasso ham, steak, silky scrambled eggs, grilled onions and cheddar. DJ Ginger Perry keeps things hip with energetic spins, and the intriguing cocktails — stiff and sexy — will make you want to linger long after the 2:30 p.m. closing time. Parker has moved on from Table Six, but it's still a reliable brunch destination five years later.

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