Sweet! Breakfast Spots Pour Creativity Into Syrup

Since it opened its first outpost on Larimer Street almost a decade ago, Snooze has tried to take over the world, or at least the breakfast table, one pineapple-upside-down pancake at a time. But this homegrown chain isn't the only metro Denver restaurant that takes the morning meal seriously, crafting not only what's inside the batter but also what's poured on top.

See also: A Tale of Two Snoozes

At brunch recently, Beast + Bottle topped pumpkin waffles with pecan maple syrup. Comida Cantina finishes its lemon queso fresco pancakes with house-infused blueberry-jalapeno syrup, made with fresh fruit, jalapenos and 100 percent Grade A maple syrup.

And Syrup has built its brand around a rotation of thirty flavored syrups, poured over pancakes, waffles and French toast. Flavors range from perennial favorites such as maple vanilla to seasonal hits such as pumpkin pie, Bailey's and eggnog. Owner Tim Doherty, who got his start sauteeing syrups in the kitchen with "old recipes from my great-grandmother, grandmother and mother," now has two locations and is looking at expanding beyond Denver, as Snooze has.

Steve Dirks, founder of Sunrise Sunset, has been through the expansion process -- but he kept it to the metro area. He opened his first egg-slinging eatery in Lakewood in 1984 and later added two locations, one in Wheat Ridge and another in Lakewood, when his children were old enough to join the family business. At his restaurants, pancakes aren't topped with anything fancy, though -- just sweet, thick syrup with corn syrup and water as the first two ingredients.

Find out if that syrup makes Sunrise Sunset a less desirable way to jumpstart your day when my review of the Wheat Ridge location is posted here tomorrow.

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Gretchen Kurtz has worked as a writer for 25 years; during that time she's stomped grapes in Napa, eaten b'stilla in Fez, and baked with Buddy Valastro, aka the Cake Boss. Her work has appeared in publications including Boulevard (Paris), Diversion, the New York Times and Westword. Our restaurant critic since 2012, she loves helping you decide where to eat and drink tonight.
Contact: Gretchen Kurtz