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Chef Justin Brunson’s Perfect Food Day

The Old Major chef dishes on his favorite places to eat in Denver

 (Photo by Marc Piscotty / © 2013)

(Photo by Marc Piscotty © 2013)

Chef Justin Brunson, Owner and Executive Chef of Old Major {3316 Tejon Street, Denver; 720.420.0622}, is passionate about heritage-raised meat. He draws in crowds night after night to enjoy the fruits of his nose-to-tail butchery program and in-house charcuterie room. But even a chef as busy as Brunson–who also owns Denver Bacon Company and Masterpiece Deli–needs a break to enjoy local offerings. We asked him to put together his perfect day of eating and he shared this itinerary with us. We suggest you try them all.

Rosenberg's Bagels

Breakfast: Rosenberg’s Bagels {725 East 26th Avenue, Denver; 720.440.9880}
Almost a year ago Joshua Pollack succeeded in his quest to bring a true New York City deli to Denver. His soft and chewy fresh-from-the oven bagels, smoked fish, and sandwiches are enough to satiate even the most die-hard New Yorker. Brunson orders the Everything Bagel with plain cream cheese. Why? “Because it’s the bomb!”

 Novo Coffee Shop

Coffee: Novo Coffee Highland {3617 West 32nd Avenue, Denver; 303.749.0100}

“For me, it’s a Double Espresso of one of their amazing single origin coffees. I really enjoy Herb and his team’s knowledge of coffee. Plus, they have a great atmosphere and it’s by my house.”

Lao Wang Noodle House - Soup Dumplings 

Lunch: Lao Wang Noodle House {945 South Federal, Denver; 303.975.2497}
Brunson is not alone in his love for this tiny hole-in-the-wall noodle house, owned and run by Chung-Ming and his wife Tse-Ming Wang–Work & Class Chef Dana Rodriguez cited this hidden gem as one of her favorites, too. For Brunson, “a dozen soup dumplings and a dozen potstickers–it’s my favorite lunch in Denver.”

 Jax Fish House - Oysters

Happy Hour: Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar {1539 17th Street, Denver; 303.292.5767}
Denver seafood-lovers have been packing the bar at Jax since 1996 to enjoy the beautiful prepared, sustainable seafood creations. For Brunson, the perfect happy hour is “a dozen oysters and a couple of ice cold beers.”

Fruition Restaurant - Oyster Rockefeller

Dinner: Fruition Restaurant {1313 East 6th Avenue, Denver; 303.831.1962}
It’s not surprising that Fruition is Brunson’s go-to spot for dinner. In 2008, Brunson helped Chef Alex Seidel open this Capital Hill gem and his favorite dishes have been on the menu ever since. “The Oysters Rockefeller and Pork Belly Carbonara are two of my favorite dishes and some of the best dishes Alex makes.”

 sweet action ice cream

Dessert: Sweet Action Ice Cream {52 Broadway, Denver; 303.282.4645}
For a little something sweet, you will find Brunson–who claims to be addicted to ice cream–joining the line at Sweet Action, where he always orders the Mint Chocolate Chip.

Cart Driver 2

Late Night Snack:  Cart Driver {2500 Larimer Street, Denver; 303.293.3553}
For the last stop of the night, Brunson would hit up Chef Kelly Whitaker’s matchbox-sized shipping container wood-fired pizzeria and order a clam pizza. Why? “Because clams is good.”

Falling Rock Tap House

Late Night Drinks: Falling Rock Tap House {1919 Blake Street, Denver; 303.293.8338} 

Late night is “a chance to catch up with industry folks, because that’s where everyone goes after work, and enjoy a Basil Hayden on the rocks.”

By Elizabeth Woessner | Online Editor