Cafe Society

First look: Maddie's, a new breakfast and lunch restaurant, opens Friday near the DU campus

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His chef, Ali Baca, who has a corporate and personal chef background, is also turning out pancake flights; challah French toast with macerated berries and crème Anglaise; a terrific breakfast quesadilla sandwiched with soft scrambled eggs, cheddar, potatoes and a choice of turkey sausage, ham or bacon; frittatas; bagels and lox; eggs Benedict; and housemade chicken schnitzel with country gravy. There's a lunch board, too, stamped with sandwiches and salads. "Ali is a great cook, and while this is kind of his coming-out party, when he cooked for me for his interview, he absolutely killed it," says Geller.

And Maddie's is just the beginning of Geller's plans for an enclave that he calls the "last big little strip in the neighborhood." He and his family also own the former autobody garage directly next door to Maddie's, and they have sweeping plans to turn the garage into a restaurant that Geller hopes to have completed by the end of the year. "We're working toward southern Mediterranean fare, so fresh grilled veggies, fish, quick-fired meats, flatbreads, salads, some seasonal changers and a fresh, clean presentation of foods from the south of France, Italy, Greece and Israel," Geller reveals, adding that he hasn't settled on a name yet.

"We're taking our time to make this a wonderful restaurant that's a great infill construction project with flying garage doors and visible kitchen," he adds. "We want to make a unique space in our neighborhood that everyone can be proud of and would enjoy -- amazing food, a beautiful outdoor atmosphere, and even a little music on the huge patio."

In the meantime, Maddie's opens on Friday to the public, and for every meal that Geller sells between then and Sunday, he'll donate a meal to the Denver Rescue Mission. Maddie's regular hours will be from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday though Sunday. "Monday is a family day, so we're taking that day off," he says.

I had the opportunity to sample a slew of dishes at Maddie's last week, and if what I ate is any indication of what the 'hood can expect when Maddie's opens, it'll be a big hit. A taste of what's on the menu, along with photos of the space, are on the following pages.

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Lori Midson
Contact: Lori Midson