In an odd section of the Golden Triangle that's easily overlooked, with parking lots, a police station, and plenty of bail bond services, Dozens is the kind of charming old house you describe as having character when what really you mean is it's a little rundown. But the breakfast spot has clung to its location, just beyond the touristy scope of the Denver Art Museum, since the 1980s, making a name for itself in Denver for 29 years as breakfast and brunch options in the city have become a dime a dozen. An often overlooked gem, Dozens provides friendly service and straightforward, good food that guests come back for time and time again, developing a loyal following of regulars over the years.
Dozens has two outposts, (the other is in Aurora), that are both open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The downtown location is everything you'd want from a family-owned diner. The ambiance is warm and welcoming and service is efficient: we waited just ten minutes to be seated, even on a busy Sunday. There's isn't much room to wait, but you can pass the time chatting with the owner, who still mans the counter. The register is old and slow, so don't expect to pay quickly, but otherwise things move along at a good pace.
The dining room has a distinct ski-lodge feel, with faded old photos of Colorado scenes and breakfast dishes, mainly tributes to the beloved egg. The first non-smoking restaurant in the city, Dozens celebrates Colorado's history with entertaining entree names and bad puns as descriptions, commemorating the various ski towns, Denver neighborhoods and geographical features, going well above and beyond the standard Denver omelette.
You know you're at a diner when someone brings you coffee before you even sit down, and when your cup never goes empty. Beverages include French Press coffee as well as other breakfast standards, but I opted for the Smooth Froothy (try saying that ten times fast), a yogurt-based smoothie with bananas, berries, and fresh squeezed OJ that was much cheaper than you'd find at Jamba Juice. Dozens also serves alcohol; three exclamation points on the menu cheerily punctuate a list of $3.50 Bloody Marys, Mimosas and Screwdrivers, a few beer options and even a couple of wines (if you count Cook's, which they do). The mimosas were made with a very heavy pour -- exactly how I like them; my brunch partner Evan even got a free one when he presented his ID and the server saw that it was his birthday.
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While the claim to fame at Dozens is supposedly the fifteen variations on omelettes, including the "notanomelet" and "anothernotanomelet" under that header, Lindsay and I shared the Steamboat scramble, which featured fluffy eggs, bacon, cheddar, gobs of sour cream (so necessary), along with and a sausage, biscuit and gravy concoction called How the West was Won. Both were simple, no-frills, good food -- exactly what you want from a diner. Even the sides received attention from the kitchen, including smashed potatoes with onions (excellent for sopping up gravy) and homemade apple butter for my English muffin (be sure to request extra; it comes in a very small container). The birthday boy went with Le Toast Francais (obviously a fancy dish because of its French name) although he opted to simplify it without the strawberries or banana toppers. There's also a stuffed version filled with cream cheese and strawberry preserves -- a dish worth returning for, as well as the gigantic muffins near the register and the cinnamon rolls, which Dozens offers as its most beloved bakery item. I guess we'll just have to try all three.