Battle of the Brunches

BY Claire Duncombe


Battle of the Brunches

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Ah, the ubiquitous brunch. Somewhere between breakfast, lunch, and happy hour, the meal has something for everyone. Do you go for traditional eggs and bacon or for decked-out waffles and pancakes? Do you seek out regional favorites such as smothered burritos or crowd pleasers like fried-chicken sandwiches? Are you a bottomless mimosa, Bloody Mary, or coffee drinker?

With so many ways to celebrate the luxury of a lazy weekend day under the bright midday sun, it’s no wonder brunch lines snake out of popular destinations all around Denver. But where is the best brunch in Denver, really? You probably can’t go very wrong, but if you want to ensure a great experience, just try one of these restaurants recommended by Denver industry pros.

Cattivella’s speck pizza already gets an A+, but you can always opt for egg-stra credit. 
CREDIT: Marla Keown

Award-winning chef Elise Wiggins has done her research. Not only has she been cooking in Denver for over a decade, but she’s launching brunch service at her restaurant, Cattivella, on April 16. As part of her research, she sampled many of Denver’s midday meals. Cattivella’s own brunch will lean into the Italian cuisine the restaurant’s patrons have grown to love, but with a morning twist. Its poached eggs come with gnocchi, and those who like wood-fired pizza for breakfast (no judgment!) can order eggs on top. 

Wiggins’ picks for best brunch when she’s off the clock? Keep reading.

Four Friends’ crispy huevos rancheros draws inspo from way, way south. 
CREDIT: Katie Neumann

Four Friends Kitchen (Denver)

“I love my fellow Southerners when it comes to food! They always provide well-executed breakfast dishes. I love to get her kickin’ sausage and grits. I’m a huge grits fan. So their naughty combo of grits, sausage, hollandaise, and serrano-buttermilk aioli is over the top, but great after a night out.”

Stowaway Kitchen (Denver)

“The first time I dined here I was blown away by the fresh flavor approach to their dishes. Oh, my god, the scram sandwich…Lord…I love this so much! Ham, avocado, sriracha mayo, scrambled eggs, arugula, and tomato chutney sandwiched between a brioche bun. I’ve died and gone to heaven with the combination!”

The Bindery is a Highland staple for brunch (or any meal of the day)—and is worth the wait. 
CREDIT: Lucy Beaugard

The Bindery (Denver)

“I love Linda [Hampsten Fox, chef and owner’s] place. I know whatever meal period I visit, it’s going to be the freshest and cleanest flavors that are perfectly executed. I have a passion for a good Reuben and hers is one of the best, so this is what I get each time I go in!”

Lucile’s Creole Cafe (Denver and Boulder locations)

“I’m a Southern gal from Louisiana. I’ve been in love with Lucile’s since the original location in Boulder. I love those big, hot biscuits that you get—reminds me of home and my grandmother.”

Onefold’s breakfast tacos and bacon fried rice are both prepared with luxurious duck fat. 
CREDIT: Stacey McMahan

Onefold (Denver)

“I love going to the original location [1420 E. 18th Ave.]. It’s small, but you get to watch the cooks prepare your food. I love that they have Chinese dishes for breakfast and Mexican-style breakfast items. They make their own flour tortillas in house, and I love to order the breakfast burrito. Most people don’t know that in Asia, they eat what we think of as later-day dishes for breakfast. Pop an egg on top and you just added another layer of deliciousness.”

We also spoke with Meg Batizy from well-known Denver brunch spot the Lobby. Restaurant by day and event space by night, the Lobby boasts not only a menu of Southern-inspired brunch favorites (built on the principle of “playful eats and serious drinks,” says Batizy), but also a historic courtyard patio where guests can lounge under the trees, sipping bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys. 

Batizy has been running the restaurant since 2012, and admits she spends way more time at the Lobby than anywhere else, but she’s still racked up a list of her best brunch spots for when she has the time.

We couldn’t get enough of Denver’s doughnuts…so here’s more!

Baked N’ Denver (Denver)

“Best doughnuts on South Broadway. This company is locally owned and they really do an amazing job. The frosting isn’t too sweet, so you can eat more than one without your teeth hurting…a major plus in my book!”

Rupert’s decadent southwest Benedict: pulled pork and green chile Hollandaise top a corn-green chile fritter.
CREDIT: Alex Stephensen

Rupert’s on the Edge (Edgewater)

“We very rarely brunch downtown anymore because of parking and just overall madness, so Rupert’s always hits the spot and is close to home. Plus, their patio looks out over Sloan’s Lake, which is a great view! Their specials are creative and always yummy.”

The Hornet (Denver)

“I’ve been going to the Hornet since I was a freshman in college…so for a very long time. It is always consistent, amazing, and never disappoints.”

Get the full bluegrass brunch experience—minus the booze—at Awake. 
CREDIT: Jaclyn Church

Awake (Denver)

“I don’t drink, so Awake has been an amazing find! It’s Denver’s first completely alcohol-free bar, and on Sundays they do bloodies and bluegrass with Scottie Bolin from Morsel. Scottie is an amazing musician—and as a non-drinker, it is so nice to enjoy a Sunday morning with good music a little bit removed from the drunken masses.”

Talk to us! Email your experiences (and thoughts, opinions, and questions—anything, really) to

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Claire Duncombe