In honor of Denver Biscuit Company’s new outpost on Tennyson Street, we decided to brave the craziness and hit up the original location on Colfax Avenue. Just as hopping as ever with crowds spilling out all the way into the street, DBC has solidified itself as a Denver brunch staple, proving time and time again you don’t have to go south of the Mason-Dixon line to get a proper biscuit. The breakfast joint inside Atomic Cowboy was made famous by Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives despite not really fitting into any of the Triple-D categories; we can only estimate they earned their way on the show for their early days as a true whiskey and PBR bar. These days, DBC is a little too hip to be a true diner or dive and the only window is a walk-up for Fat Sully's Pizza, the third leg of the Atomic Cowboy tripod. No one in Denver seems to mind the upgrade, although in my mind Man vs. Food would probably have been a more appropriate home to celebrate biscuit and pizza mania.
Open for breakfast from 8 a.m to 2 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends, the Denver Biscuit Company can be a little tricky to find for newbies as the sign out front is for A/C (Atomic Cowboy) and Fat Sully’s. Prepare to wait at least 45 minutes during prime time and up to two hours if you hit it right around noon when the crowds really roll in. If your tummy is rumbling, a little-known secret is that you can order breakfast sandwiches from the pizza walk-up window to-go or to hang out on one of the four seats on the tiny Fat Sully's patio, but that side of the joint isn’t sanctioned with a liquor license so if you want a breakfast cocktail, you have to suck it up and wait. Once seated, the ambiance is like a cross between modern art museum with hip fixtures and exposed bulbs and a backwoods cabin (complete with pool table and mounted animal heads), but despite the cool setting, you’ll soon forget to look around, quickly distracted by the towering trays of biscuits.
Speaking of drinks, their breakfast beverages certainly offer a jump-start to your day. The Atomic Bloody includes a shot of Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout, house-made thick and sweet pickles, green olives and a celery stalk amidst Deep Eddy Vodka, while the Supermosa features champagne, fresh-squeezed OJ and a shot of clementine vodka. “Adult” coffees, whiskey for breakfast and a tart strawberry-rhubarb mule round out the cocktail menu.
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After that first bite into a flaky buttermilk biscuit, you'll remember why you waited an hour for a table as you feel your arteries beginning to clog. For DBC newbies, bring your appetite because both the biscuit sandwiches and the biscuit platters are meant to be eaten (destroyed) with a fork and knife. A thick skewer holds each sandwich together and it’s a bit of an Operation act to remove it without piles of condiments toppling over. You’ll have a tough time deciding since many of the sandwiches offer just slight variations of ingredients, like subbing bacon for sausage or honey for gravy, BBQ sauce or chipotle ranch. We shared the DBC Club which includes the signature buttermilk fried chicken (melt in your mouth moist), Tender Belly bacon, a thin slice of cheddar, lettuce, tomato and ranch. For an extra buck, the kitchen will cut the glorious sandwich in half, which is almost still too much for one person, but closer to a normal portion size.
I almost always stick with a sandwich, but the platters were tempting and the shrimp and grits had intrigued me before. This time it was a go; the dish arrived in soupy form, almost like gumbo, with a biscuit submerged beneath grits and a thin, spicy tomato sauce, providing an interesting contrast of textures as rock shrimp and pancetta sloshed around in the bowl, which we supplemented with a fried egg. It was hearty and filling, but not as satiating as the biscuit sandwiches.
Needing a sweet treat for dessert, four of us share a monstrous biscuit cinnamon roll, which was gloriously lathered in icing, so much so that it was oozing from all sides with no piece of dough left behind (Cinnabon, take note). Given the option to add bacon as a topping, we asked the server if it was worth it, to which he responded that it took it up a solid five notches on the taste scale. We took his word for it and were not disappointed: Flakes of Tender Belly decorated the top like sprinkles and we left in a bacony, buttery daze.