Sweet or savory, early morning or early afternoon, family-style or fancy: however you like it, whatever you call it, the first meal of the day is always one of the best.
Best Place For: a Soy Latte and Tofu Scramble: Walnut Café
3073 Walnut St. and 673 S. Broadway, Boulder, 303.447.2315,
Friendly and a little bit funky, the two locations of the Walnut Café (original flavor and Southside) serve up a healthy dose of conventional breakfast favorites mixed in with the new-fangled. Start with something fancy from their full-service espresso bar, made with Allegro coffee and charmingly served in tumblers. Try a Boulder latte with honey and cinnamon. Oh, you’re off dairy? Ask for soy. Scour the massive menu to decide what to have for breakfast, and be sure to spend some quality time picking out your sides, with everything from French toast and pancakes to home fries and blueberry cornbread. You’re doing that vegan before 6pm thing? Try the tofu scramble. This is Boulder, after all.—Lacy Boggs
Best Place to: Enjoy Life Sip by Sip:
Dushanbe Tea House
1770 13th St., Boulder, 303.442.4993,
Stepping into the sunlit space of the Dushanbe Tea House in Boulder is like stepping into another world. It took more than 40 artisans more than three years to create the decorative elements of the teahouse. The menu reflects a variety of world cuisines, meaning you can order two eggs with potatoes and a biscuit, a Greek scramble with spinach, tomatoes, olives and panir or something a little more Continental, like pastries and fruit. Ask your server to help you choose the perfect tea to compliment your meal. Time seems to slow down here. Sit back, unwind and enjoy it all sip…by sip.—Lacy Boggs
Best Place to Take The Whole Family—
Even If The Whole Family Is You: Two Dog Diner
645 Tenacity Dr., Prospect in Longmont, 303.772.2DOG, twodogdiner.com
On a weekend morning, Two Dog Diner is filled with tables of parents and kids who giggle and dive into their pancakes as though there were toys at the bottom of the short stack. The salt-and-pepper shakers on your table are wind-up toys that zoom back and forth. The waitress brings your meal: the grilled prawn and pesto omelet, made extraordinary by tangy goat cheese, earthy pesto and the acidity of ripe tomatoes. Or maybe it’s the chicken apple sausage omelet. Or the corned-beef, made in-house and served with eggs. Or velvety hotcakes, dripping with real maple syrup. Breakfasts at Two Dog Diner are a lot like the place itself: classic with modern touches, delightful and brimming with charm. It’s satisfying in a way that leaves you filled—with eggs and potatoes and the feeling that everything is good and breakfast makes it even better—at least until dinner.—AC
Best Place to: Taste the Champagne of Brunches: Greenbriar Inn
8735 N. Foothills Hwy., north of Boulder, 303.440.7979, greenbriarinn.com
Reservations, a hearty appetite and logistical planning will make the most of the Sunday Champagne Brunch at the Greenbriar Inn. Since you can’t possibly taste everything on this superlative spread, do a little scouting first. Would you rather start with oysters on the half shell or classics like waffles, eggs Benedict and muffins? Will your main event be carved leg of lamb and prime rib or seafood and chicken entrees? For the finale, there’s a table of desserts and candies, and for the encore, soft cheeses and ripe fruits with several flutes of bubbly. The pretty location, comfy ambience and even comfier chairs make this our favorite special occasion brunch for the whole family.—John Lehndorff
Best Place to: Indulge in a Little Something: Indulge Bakery
1377 Forest Park Cir. #102, Lafayette, 303.926.1676, indulgebakery.com
It’s actually a really good thing that I don’t live anywhere near Indulge Bakery, because if I did, I would have to start investing in bigger pants. Any place that sells more than half a dozen varieties of scones on any given day (ginger, blueberry and cheddar bacon, just to name a few), not to mention both savory and sweet-filled croissants and four kinds of cinnamon rolls would be a daily disaster for someone with my willpower. But as a treat, this is by far my favorite place to pick up a little something, and worth every minute and mile of the drive to get there.—Lacy Boggs
Best Place to Eat a Legend
Johnson’s Corner Restaurant, Bakery and Truck Stop
2842 SE Frontage Rd., exit 254, Johnstown, 970.667.2069, johnsonscorner.com
You may not be aware, but you live mere miles from a true national treasure. About
halfway between Denver and Cheyenne sits the Johnson’s Corner truck stop. You might not be able to tell just by looking, but this unassuming little ’50s-era diner is “The Best Truck Stop Restaurant in the U.S.” as decided by the Food Network and offers one of Travel + Leisure’s “Top 10 Breakfasts in the World.” Seriously. One bite of their plate-sized cinnamon rolls may show you why. The rest of their breakfast menu is just as popular. In fact, according to their own estimates, they serve more than 600,000 eggs, 1.9 million cups of coffee, 230,000 pounds of potatoes and around 300,000 cinnamon rolls a year. That’s a whole lotta breakfast.—LB
Best Place to: Eat Healthfully…Or Not: Turley’s
2805 Pearl St., Boulder, 303.442.2800, turleysboulder.com
I knew Turley’s was a Boulder institution, but I didn’t know why until our server brought out my breakfast: three multigrain sourdough pancakes—which, though they may sound weird, were just about the best pancakes I’ve ever had—fresh local scrambled eggs and slices of turkey sausage. Add to that the little pitcher of pure maple syrup and the chai latte that took two hands to drink and I can safely say that it’s an institution in my mind now as well. You can definitely choose healthy fare here, with tofu scrambles, organic fruits and veggies, local grass-fed meats and even bee pollen on the menu. But that doesn’t mean you have to. Just ask my husband and his six slices of heavenly challah French toast smothered in butter and maple syrup.—Lacy Boggs
Best Place for: a Home Town Breakfast: Garden Gate Café
7960 Niwot Road, #B4, Niwot. 303.652.8595
Niwot gives you the impression that this is what small towns are supposed to feel like. On any given morning, you can find a good cross-section of the town—not to mention a few bicyclists passing through—at the Garden Gate Café. Even if this weren’t one of the only places for a hot breakfast, this place would still be packed with folks taking in the homey charm, carafes of hot coffee at every table and generously-sized breakfasts. Branch out here with something from south of the border; Mama’s Fritas were perfect with chorizo and green chile over eggs and crispy hash browns.—Lacy Boggs
Best Place to Enjoy Breakfast With Your Condiments Lucile’s Creole Café
2124 14th St., Boulder, 303.442.4743, 518 Kimbark St., Longmont, 303.774.9814, luciles.com
I sometimes feel that Lucile’s was made for me. Mostly, it’s the condiments. We’re not talking Heinz, or packets of Smuckers. Here, condiment devotees find solace in a beautiful crop of mismatched jars on the table. The spicy ketchup brings a plate of food together. The hot sauce is subtle and not overly spicy. The jams are lively and splendid, smothering buttermilk biscuits with sweet, fruity kisses. Lucile’s validates my love for condiments—and certainly makes waking up a bit easier.—AC
Best Place for Brunch with a View: Chautauqua Dining Hall
900 Baseline Rd., Boulder, 303.440.3776, dininghall.net
You can tell Chautauqua is a popular place from the dozens of cars lining all the surrounding streets on a Sunday morning. Give your name to the hostess at the Chautauqua Dining Hall and pray for a table on the porch, because this brunch is best served al fresco with a side of one of the finest views in Boulder. Breakfast favorites like eggs and bacon, biscuits and sausage gravy that rivals my mama’s line up next to unexpected delights including cheese enchiladas, really good green chile, bagels with lox and homemade granola. This is hearty fare for explorers, whether you’ve just come down off the trails, are fueling up before heading out, or have no other plans than a leisurely waddle back to the car when you’re done.—Lacy Boggs
Best Place to Feed a Hangover and Nourish the Soul: Leenie’s Southern Cafe
625 Ken Pratt Blvd., Longmont, 303.776.4195
I’m in need of a particular kind of revival when I walk into Leenie’s Southern Café still wearing sunglasses. There is no hype here; no smug hipsters drinking espresso, no flaky waitresses. There is just you, coffee and really good food. The menu is full of Southern or home-style treasures. I’m adventurous and order the oyster remoulade omelet and a half order of beignets. I’ve never had a breakfast like it and I feel better about life in general (and last night’s wine in particular) as I step out the door. —Andra Coberly
Best Place to dine with Norah Jones: The Huckleberry
700 Main St., Louisville, 303.666.8020, thehuckleberry.com
Norah Jones’ album Feels Like Home is one of my favorites and pretty much perfectly describes The Huckleberry. They describe their cuisine as “funky country.” Biscuits and gravy, chicken fried steak and eggs and beef hash and eggs beckon from the more traditional country breakfast territory, while potato latkes with apple compote, mixed berry crepes and the Italian scramlette with sausage, basil, roasted garlic, fresh mozzarella and tomatoes offer up a decidedly more sophisticated flair. Whatever you choose, though, as soon as you sit back with a hot cup of coffee and hear Norah Jones crooning through the sound system, you’ll feel like you’ve come home.—LB
Best Place for a Spicy Breakfast and 10am Happy Hour: Centro Latin Kitchen & Refreshment Palace
950 Pearl St., Boulder, 303.442.7771, centrolatinkitchen.com
The mornings of my childhood typically involved two things: NPR blaring from the kitchen radio and a bowl of cereal. As an adult, news radio and Captain Crunch serve as basic comforts. Still, to appreciate the basics, one has to indulge in the decadent and multifarious. Enter Centro Latin Kitchen & Refreshment Palace: a brunch that’s spicy, layered and satisfying like a fireplace on a cold night or margaritas on a hot one. On a recent visit, we imbibed on happy hour bloody Marys and mimosas (9:30–11:30am, Saturday–Sunday) and shared heavenly coconut fried bananas served with vanilla anglaise. The table filled with huevos rancheros—served with a killer apricot and habanero sauce and lovely guacamole—breakfast tacos piled with scrambled eggs, candied onions, salsa and radishes (tender eggs capitulating to spice and tang, crunch and the subtle chew of homemade tortillas), and the day’s special: masa cakes topped with perfectly poached eggs, chorizo and a spicy hollandaise. It was splendid, the type of meal you think about days later—when you’re pouring yourself a bowl of cereal and listening to NPR.—Andra Coberly
Best Place to be a Gluttonous Gourmand: Jill’s at the St. Julien
900 Walnut St., Boulder, 720.406.7399, jillsdining.com
Jill’s brunch buffet is a spectacular sight. Tables and counters are covered with spreads of polenta and paella, salmon and salads; eggs, bacon, sausage, pretty croissants and a friendly man who will make you a waffle; nuts and cheeses and magnificent desserts. It’s truly overwhelming. And it calls for a plan of action: Breakfast then lunch? All breakfast then dessert? Just dessert? What does one say no to when there are so many lovely things? Everything is good; some of it is great and occasionally it causes me to stop and say, “Oh my god.” Tiered trays are filled with perfect, intricate dessert canapés. Pretty bowls of impeccably diced onions, celery and accoutrement accompany large bowls of fresh, pink shrimp and salmon. Take your time, sip your mimosa and refill your coffee.—AC
It doesn’t seem fair, but someone had to do it. YS staffers suffered through a taste test of four doughnut chains to try to decide once and for all which had the best doughnut. Too bad we crashed hard after that sugar high and never quite made up our minds.
Big and Beautiful: LaMars
LaMars doughnuts were at least 25percent bigger on average than the
others, not to mention tasty with fun flavors like pineapple cake.
9940 N. Wadsworth Pkwy., Westminster
133 McCaslin Blvd., Louisville
Classic Cake: Winchell’s
Your classic doughnut experience, including plastic molded chairs.
502 Main St., Longmont
7930 Sheridan Blvd., Arvada
Family Friendly: Daylight Donuts
Independently owned and full of lurid-pink frosted goodness.
1801 Hover St., Ste. B, Longmont
3924 E. 120th Ave., Thornton
Krispy and, well, Kremey: Krispy Kreme
If you haven’t tried a Krispy Kreme, go now and eat one straight off the line.
Your opinion of doughnuts will be forever changed.
1051 East 120th Ave., Thornton.