Weekend Brunch: Let That Morning Party Get Wilde

BY Linnea Covington

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It’s no secret Denver loves brunch. Each Friday we’ll divulge the newest and best brunches around. Not only do we highlight our favorite spots for all your brunching needs, but also add lists of things you crave. So pour a mimosa, grab a cup of coffee, and get ready to eat.

The first time I stepped into Lydie Lovett’s Wilde, I knew it would be a hot spot for brunch. Not only does the chef create craveable breakfast and lunch dishes, but the restaurant has a brightness accentuated by a striking sunrise-like paint job on one of the walls and living plants dotted about the space. 

The setting fits in well with the menu, which leans toward Southern California cuisine with a local twist. Lovett, who opened the fast-casual, fried-chicken-focused Chicken Rebel in the same spot in 2019, revamped the space as Wilde in 2023. The idea behind the change, she said, was due to two reasons. One, she really wanted to do a more sit-down, neighborhood spot to get to know customers better. Two, more chicken sandwich joints had opened up, so where once Chicken Rebel was a destination, the demand now dwindled. 

Fans of Chicken Rebel can still get some of the chef’s fried chicken. Only now you have to fight the crowd on the weekend. Pro tip, the same great fare is available during the week. So go into work late, book a business breakfast, or grab the weekday special, it’s just $14.50 for any lunch entree and a drink.

Eat the Menu

wilde baja burrito
The Baja burrito at Wilde has been on the menu since the beginning. | Photo by Linnea Covington

Lovett moved from San Diego to Denver pre-pandemic after her Mile High success with Chicken Rebel. But while she loved making her signature fried chicken, she longed to create cuisine based on her childhood. Hence, the menu at Wilde features California coastal fare with an emphasis on fresh, filling, and bright flavors. The best dish to showcase this is the Baja Breakfast Burrito ($16). Stuffed to the brim with carne asada, eggs, guacamole, cheddar, fries, and jalapeño crema, it’s a huge order, but you’ll want to eat every bite. Order a side of the decedent Elote Bites ($11) and cream cheese-stuffed churros ($10) and go over the top the next time you brunch.

Wild-caught crabs made into crab cakes also dominate. Find the ingredient in the coastal-style Benedict ($18), served on a buttermilk biscuit and topped with creamy hollandaise. The Wilde Crab Cake Egg Sandwich ($17) features this delight too, as well as house-made mayo, peppery arugula, and a fried egg. Both get served with crispy potatoes on the side. With Tecate-battered code, the Baja Fish Tacos ($14) hit the mark too. Each order comes with two, and includes curtido (a lightly fermented cabbage relish), and corn tortillas, with a side of tortilla chips. 

Drink Up

pink wall with plant and cocktail on wood table
The brunch cocktails at Wilde are refreshing and pretty. | Photo by Linnea Covington

Like the food menu, the drink list has a coastal vibe. Start with a zero-proof Mocking Bird ($11), a zesty ginger beer, peach, mint and lime mocktail. To stay on the light side, continue with an Afternoon Delight ($13), the Wilde take on a spritz with pamplemousse (aka grapefruit) liqueur and prosecco. For a heavier brunch punch, the Endless Summer ($12) packs in gin, orange liqueur and lemon juice.

On the heavy side, if you want an appetizer with that drink, the Wilde Bloody ($13) features dill pickle vodka infused in house, made spicy with Tajin and topped with bacon, celery and a shrimp skewer. Of course large format is the way to go with a group, and the Rose Sangria Carafe ($23) is a bright, fresh, and bubbly drink with fresh fruit, brandy, orange liqueur, and rose. Wilde also offers a bottomless mimosa for $24 per person. 

Don’t Miss

blue chairs with sunrise wall
No matter what you order, Wilde is a beautiful place to eat. | Photo by Linnea Covington

Lovett made sure to put chicken on the menu since so many of her fans asked for it. So, if you crave the fried chicken from Chicken Rebel like I do, you won’t want to skip the Nashville Hot Chicken Sammie ($17), Hot Honey Chicken Biscuit ($17), or the Chicken and Waffles ($18). The latter comes with the chef’s signature sous-vide fried chicken, coated in a maple-bourbon glaze. It’s placed on a savory cornbread-scallion waffle and topped with whipped chile honey butter. The chicken on the biscuit gets glazed in hot honey. The sandwich also features bacon, a fried egg and honey butter.

Finally the Nashville-style sandwich, a spicy dish cooled by lettuce, pickles, and a burnt onion ranch. Both the sandwiches come with fries on the side. It might not be the same as Chicken Rebel, but it’s the Wilde side of Lovett we can get behind.

Visit Wilde Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 3618 Tejon St., Denver, wilderestaurantdenver.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Linnea Covington

Linnea Covington is the managing editor of DiningOut. She comes to us with a long background in food, restaurant and drinks journalism. Over the last two decades she’s written for tons of publications including Denver Post, Washington Post, Forbes Travel Guide, 5280 Magazine, New York Magazine, New York Times, Time Out New York and more.

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