Breakfast and Brunch

Ten Old-School Diners Serving Up The Best Cheap Breakfast in Denver

Pete's Kitchen is the top spot for after-hours pancakes and French toast.
Pete's Kitchen is the top spot for after-hours pancakes and French toast. Danielle Lirette
Avocado toast, chia bowls and pressed juice are what's hot in Denver's breakfast eateries these days, but sometimes we crave something simple and comforting. Take a step back to the time when getting the most for your money and filling up before a long day of work were the most important parts of the most important meal of the day. Smothered in green chile or doused in syrup, breakfast at these ten great Denver diners is the real, old-school, hash-slinging thing.

Breakfast Inn
6135 East Evans Avenue
303-757-7491

Touting a philosophy of “simple, old-fashioned American hospitality and ethics,” the Breakfast Inn is an American-Mexican hybrid that started in the early 1980s and hasn’t skimped on portion size since. Starting at 5:30 a.m., customers are privy to a full, brightly hued menu stocked with “wow-that’s-cheap” classics and specialties, ranging from “The Usual” (two eggs, hash browns, bacon and sides galore) to huevos rancheros (eggs, beans and hash browns smothered in green chile and served with tortillas).

click to enlarge It always feels like sunrise (or sunset) at Breakfast King. - MARK ANTONATION
It always feels like sunrise (or sunset) at Breakfast King.
Mark Antonation
Breakfast King
1100 South Santa Fe Drive
303-733-0795

One of Denver's top breakfast institutions, Breakfast King has ruled benevolently over the early-morning eggs and bacon and 3 a.m. French toast piles of locals and long-haul truckers for decades. Customers continue to frequent this staple for both the generously portioned home fries and the refreshingly no-frills atmosphere (complete with orange vinyl booths and regulars named Lou). Order the burrito supreme, chicken and waffles or the infamous “pancake sandwich,” and then wonder if you should return for dinner (you should).

click to enlarge The Butcher Block kind of looks like Grandma's kitchen. - MARK ANTONATION
The Butcher Block kind of looks like Grandma's kitchen.
Mark Antonation
The Butcher Block Cafe
1701 38th Street, 303-295-2915
4605 East 74th Avenue, 303-289-2055
5002 Washington Street, 303-295-0687

“Leave your pretentious bullshit at the door,” demands one loyal Butcher Block customer. “These are cafes to enjoy as they are." We’re inclined to agree. Drenched in the humble-food-and-strong-coffee ethos of its Midwestern roots (the founders hail from North Dakota), Butcher Block is the definition of a quintessential Denver breakfast joint, drawing an intensely loyal following comprising students, construction workers, farmers and business types. Translation? RiNo may be changing quickly, but it seems that everyone’s yearning for steak ’n eggs and homemade cinnamon rolls isn’t going anywhere.

Davies Chuck Wagon Diner, 9495 West Colfax Avenue. - BRANDON MARSHALL
Davies Chuck Wagon Diner, 9495 West Colfax Avenue.
Brandon Marshall
Davies' Chuck Wagon
9495 West Colfax Avenue
303-237-5252

Built in what we’re going to call “the golden age of the griddle” (aka the traditional American diner heyday), Davies' Chuck Wagon is a 1957 gem on West Colfax that was shipped by rail from New Jersey and has aged gracefully (and grease-fully) into a Denver classic. Meat lovers of the Ron Swanson variety can rejoice in the protein-packed menu, including favorites like the Chuckwagon Breakfast (sirloin and eggs) and the Bull Rider (chicken-fried steak and eggs).

Home Cafe
2640 West Hampden Avenue, Englewood
303-762-8862

An early-morning favorite in Englewood, Home Cafe’s cheery blue-and-orange walls set the stage for equally colorful plates, notoriously friendly service and a diverse lineup of hot sauces. This charming little family-owned spot has all the trappings of a classic (tin roof, wood paneling and walls crowded with old license plates) along with foodie-approved housemade sausage and melt-in-your-mouth pancakes.

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Kelsey Yandura is a local freelance and fiction writer whose highest professional aspiration is to one day share a pizza with Neil Gaiman.
Contact: Kelsey Yandura