How big a deal is brunch? In 2020, on average each person in the U.S. ate 285.5 eggs and consumed 497 metric tons of orange juice. Twenty-five percent of Americans eat pancakes weekly, and the flat, often-fruited carb is the oldest breakfast food identified. Pancakes were found in the stomach of Otzi the iceman whose remains are estimated to be 5,300 years old.
Ok. We’ll stop with the trivia, but – full confession – we could have researched all day. We love that meal. Everything about it.
Instead, we turned our research to something more useful: Identifying the best breakfast offerings locally. These aren’t all the places to go to, but they’re the places we like. Here’s where we pull up our chairs at the counter or bring a group after a night out. Keep reading to find out where we go and why.
Biggest Draw: Romesco Benedict or Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
If we’re looking for a sweet breakfast, Tangerine gets us. If we’re feeling spicy, they get us too. This is the place we bring friends to because there’s going to be something everyone likes. And then there’s the bar. Fresh-squeezed morning juice cocktails like mimosas or bellinis. If we don’t want alcohol, their lattes – especially the recipes on the custom menu – are what we try.
Eat! Food and Drink
Biggest Draw: (Tie) Family Comfort and Spicy Bacon
This is a place we go with our family. We like the high ceilings, open feeling, and the friendly service. Once we’re at the table, one of us orders the sweet and savory bacon flight that comes with both maple and jalapeño bacon. We think we like the jalapeño bacon better, but we’re honestly not sure. It’s close.
Village Coffee Shop
Biggest Draw: People Watching
Honestly, we like Village Coffee Shop for the relaxed atmosphere and the people watching. The first time we went there, they were calling out and clapping for Village Coffee Shop virgins. We stayed quiet and tucked into our hashbrowns, eggs, and huge blueberry pancakes. Low maintenance, high carb entrees, and cups full of caffeine. That’s what we wanted, that’s what we got, and that’s why we keep going back.
Niwot Wheel House
Biggest Draw: Spectacular Pancakes
If Village Coffee Shop is the oldest restaurant on our listing, Niwot Wheel House is the youngest. It opened just under two years ago in conjunction with Wheel Works, the popular bike shop on 2nd Ave., and it’s been a great community gathering spot ever since. Recently, they added food capability with LaMusette and their chef has recently added brunch to their menu. On the day we went, they had cardamom orange butter pancakes with caramel sauce. So good.
Lucile’s Creole Cafe
Biggest Draw: Beignets
It’s impossible to talk about area brunch restaurants and not include Lucile’s. This Creole cafe has Louisiana staples you’d expect like chicory coffee and Eggs Pontchartrain. The Beignets are always a treat; puffy, sugary, and hot to the table. It’s the best way to start whatever it is you’re going to have for breakfast.
Foolish Craig’s Cafe
Biggest Draw: Crêpes
Since we moved to the area 15 years ago, plenty of our Pearl Street Saturday
and Sunday mornings have started here. We like the crêpes, and in this case, the savory crêpes work for us. We often order their Duxelles crêpe with portabello mushrooms, onions, and shallots sauteed in butter with swiss cheese and veloute sauce.
24 Carrot Bistro
Biggest Draw: Coconut Chocolate French Toast
There are a lot of things on this menu that we wouldn’t expect to have for brunch but, now that chef Kevin Kidd has thought of it, we want to try. Top of the list is the coconut chocolate French toast made with brioche and a caramel anglaise. Just behind it is Shakshuka, a tomato sofrito with potatoes, poached egg garlic cream, feta cheese and cilantro. If we’re having brunch with something from the bar, then we’re ordering their Marmalade Skies – sparkling wine, orgeat, lemon, and angostura bitters.