in Washington Park was named Best Brunch in Westword's 2014 Best of Denver edition, so I thought it deserved a taste, especially on my birthday weekend. And while the nice, if flustered, service and long wait times indicated a tiny kitchen a little overwhelmed by its own popularity, the food came through for my friends and me.
Branded as a corner store and café, the grocery section lives up to its name as a cute grab-and-go spot for fresh produce and sweet treats meant to entice you at the register, while the cafe side serves breakfast and lunch every day from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. On the Saturday we visited, there was a 30 to 45 minute wait at 10:30 a.m. No problem, it was a nice day -- plenty of ways to pass the time so close to the park.
If you're looking for a family-friendly joint, this is the place; it's appropriate for all the young parents in the area, with a wheelbarrow full of toys to borrow and a mural that looks more fit for an elementary school playground than fine dining. You can hear the clamor of children blocks away, which is not my cup of tea, but is perfect for anyone looking for good restaurants where the kids will feel at home too. The patio is on a quiet, residential corner, but often has a long wait for seating. With limited seating indoors and out, it's not uncommon to see a four-top occupied by two people while the line for a table continues to grow. Let's just say nothing here happens fast.
Alcohol service is indoors-only since the patio doesn't have a liquor license, which important to note if you're itching for a fix. We didn't realize this until after we were seated outside, so we made our beverage choices from a selection of Coda coffees, teas, juices and Oogave sodas. The Hazelnut iced coffee came in a mason jar and was a great deal, considering that it included free refills (Who else does that with coffee drinks?). The waitress mentioned that she had never made an iced coffee before -- a weird thing to tell customers, although she did a great job. Needless to say, after a couple of refills, we were a little wired and probably more antsy than usual for our dishes.
Our food arrived just when we were beginning to wonder if they had forgotten about us. I devoured my vegetarian frittata, which came with two crostini and a delicious homemade berry jam. The frittata was basically a hash-brown pancake with a scrambled egg crust topped with goat cheese, arugula and a balsamic reduction. Caramelized onions and roasted red peppers were also buried inside, like a variation of a quiche. It was one of those dishes where you really have to work to assemble the perfect bite to balance the sweetness of the balsamic reduction with the savory ingredients.
Roomie ordered the house's version of eggs Benedict, which veered from the standard with prosciutto instead of Canadian bacon and Hollandaise sauce kicked up with a cranberry-chipotle blend. She commented that runny eggs were the most delicious way to mask gluten-free bread, so mark that in the win column (they were able to substitute a number of things, so she had plenty of choices). Our other friend got the pesto scrambler, which I immediately regretted not ordering. The mix of veggies, potatoes, and scrambled eggs was served with a large spoonful of pesto on the side for dipping, which wasn't nearly enough -- considering how good it was.
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Settling up was a chore; all the guest checks were in a pile in the grocery section, not sorted by table (we just wanted to pay, how difficult can it be?), which added more time to our stay. But if you're suited to dealing with the chaos of rug rats running amok and don't mind a leisurely pace, Fooducopia offers a good, local and organic value.