Second Helpings

Wild Eggs packs in families for its twist on breakfast and brunch

If starting a weekend morning fighting hordes of hipsters while you wait for a breakfast table sounds like your idea of hell, you'll want to avoid Jelly, a Capitol Hill spot with a fun menu that I review this week. But there are many other breakfast and brunch places in this city that put their own creative spin on the most important meal of the day.

One of those is Wild Eggs, an outpost of a Louisville, Kentucky-based mini-chain that opened four months ago near Washington Park. And while the weekend waits there can certainly try your patience, you'll find more families in the crowd than fixie-riding twenty-somethings nursing hangover cures.

Wild Eggs, which anchors a strip mall off Alameda, is brightly hued and sunny, with photos of breakfast foods hanging above the booths. The staff is bright and sunny, too -- which is great when you're feeling chipper yourself, but a little grating when you're feeling hung over.

Still, you'll find plenty of ways to kill the effects of last night's bad decisions, starting with freshly squeezed orange juice or a Bloody Mary, and following with items off a breakfast menu that includes Benedicts, chilaquiles, pancakes, waffles with ice cream, French toast and a Kentucky hot brown. (Some dishes are labeled with names you might feel a little silly saying.)

I couldn't bring myself to order pancakes called "The King Would Eat These" or "Raspberries and Lemons Oh My!" (What would the server say back -- "Sure, one order of the 'Oh My,' coming right up"?), so instead I asked for the Kelsey's "KY" hot brown and a side of sweet home apple bourbon crepes.

My chirpy server was also incredibly efficient, and it wasn't long before my meal was on the table. The hot brown had a predictable artery-clogging level of richness and was, therefore, delicious. Thick slices of sourdough had been toasted, then stacked with roasted turkey and tomato and doused with a white-cheddar Mornay sauce studded with bits of bacon. Topped with a runny fried egg and dusted with paprika, it was recovery food effective enough to make me forget the chattering children at the next table.

I polished that plate off and turned to the crepes, which were more like dessert than breakfast. Thin pancakes had been filled with sweet-tart cream cheese and a spiced apple bourbon compote, then rolled, topped with candied pecans, a vanilla bourbon drizzle and powdered sugar, and sided with dollops of whipped cream from a can. Were I the elementary-school version of myself, I probably would have been delighted at the over-the-top sweetness of the dish. But bourbon or no, it was a little much for the current me.

I polished off my coffee, paid my check and darted through a gaggle of kids to get out the door.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk