The pineapple upside down pancake at Snooze. Photo courtesy Ashley Davis Photography

The 8 Best Brunches in Boulder


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? Yet it’s also crucial to get enough sleep at night. The solution: Sleep in and brunch big.

Boulder is a brunch boss. It has an impressive list of Sunday brunch specials and restaurants that specialize only in breakfast food. But you can also find delicious brunch at local Mexican restaurants, Cajun spots and high-end dining destinations. Whether you want a white-table special occasion, Bloody Marys and comfort food or a greasy spoon dive, Boulder’s got brunch covered.

Here are our eight favorite places to brunch in Boulder.

Mousse parfaits at the Greenbriar’s brunch. Courtesy photo

1. Greenbriar Inn

Head here when brunch is a special occasion and when you want fine, white-tablecloth dining with a mountain view. The Greenbriar (8735 N. Foothills Highway) is located at the base of the foothills outside of the city of Boulder in an elegant green building with white trim. Its Sunday champagne buffet brunch is hard to beat anywhere. Choose from oysters, prime rib, quiche, chef-carved options, Belgian waffles, pickled herring, made-to-order omelets, cheese, lamb, pastries — are you drooling yet? Sip on champagne or a bellini and start the day in style.

Local tip: Make a reservation far in advance, if you want to get one of these sought-after seats.

Dushanbe Teahouse
The Dushanbe Teahouse in Boulder. Photo by Flickr user ih

2. Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, 1770 13th St., is one of the most impressive places to visit in Boulder, even if you don’t drink tea. This ornate, colorful building is a piece of art, crafted in Boulder’s sister city, Tajikistan. All day, you can enjoy a variety of teas (including the best chai in Boulder) and light plates. But when the teahouse really shines is during its weekend brunch.

Sure, you can get American staples: pancakes, eggs, omelets, yogurt and granola. But you can also try something totally new and exciting, like an Indian crepe with curried scrambled eggs and veggies, served with apricot-cherry chutney, or the Persian Kotlet Sandwich (a meat and potato pita). We love the Palatschinken (and not just because it’s fun to say) (which it is). These Austrian crepes are filled with sweet cheese, apple sauce, candied walnuts and mint.

Feel free to be adventurous; we’ve yet to try anything at the teahouse that wasn’t exceptionally tasty, even when we weren’t quite sure what it was. Although the interior is jaw-dropping (no, seriously, look at the ceiling, request a seat by the fountain or sit on pillows on the floor), the best view in the house is outside on the lush patio, across from Central Park.

A tea brunch at Jill’s. Courtesy photo

3. Jill’s Restaurant

If you’re staying at the St. Julien, 900 Walnut St., you’ll want to get brunch at Jill’s. Even if you’re not staying at the St. Julien, you will want to get brunch at Jill’s.

Jill’s serves up a Sunday buffet brunch that is both elegant and approachable. A major selling point: bottomless mimosas, Bloodys and wine. And this, at a restaurant that’s been awarded Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. It’s not every day that you can enjoy an unlimited buffet of organic, French-American food, from crab legs to prime rib, at a Forbes four-star restaurant. Why isn’t every day Sunday?

Lucile’s has an excellent brunch. Photo by Jim Heckel

4. Lucile’s Creole Cafe

Lucile’s, 2124 14th St., is a long-time Boulder staple. It’s been family-run in downtown for more than 35 years.

Lucile’s is brunch, Creole and Cajun style. But even if you’re wary of Cajun for breakfast, give this cozy joint a try. Because beignets. Forget donuts.

There’s so much more to brunch at Lucile’s, though: shrimp and grits with andouille sausage and red peppers; rice pudding porridge; pan-fried trout with poached eggs; New Orleans-style French toast.

No matter what you eat, promise us you’ll try the chicory coffee. It’s one of the best brews in Boulder, and that’s saying something in this coffee capital.

Local tip: Lucile’s doesn’t take reservations and the wait is always extremely long. See if you can order a chicory coffee to enjoy outside on the patio and enjoy the beautiful Boulder weather while you wait. A long time. It’s worth it. Allow yourself to get ravenously hungry. Portions here don’t mess around.

Snooze in Boulder. Photo courtesy Tatiana Rene Photography

5. Snooze, an A.M. Eatery

Snooze, 1617 Pearl St., is a made-in-Colorado chain that can’t be omitted from any respectable brunch list. Boulder’s Snooze spot is ideally located on the Pearl Street Mall. Like Lucile’s, brace yourself for a serious wait to get a seat here; if you’re lucky, you’ll score a spot on the outside patio. This retro-inspired diner excels in innovative cocktails and breakfast classics with a hip spin. It’s well known for its pineapple upside down pancakes, and it has a nice gluten-free and vegetarian selection, too.

Local tip: Always ask about the pancake of the day, which can get really creative.

6. Walnut Cafe

Walnut Cafe is another local Boulder spot that serves classic breakfast grub, like waffles and eggs, although you can even find multiple vegan options here (like Tofu Rancheros). If you’re feeling festive and aren’t overstuffed after breakfast, splurge on a slice of freshly baked pie.

One feature that makes the Walnut a contender for the top brunches in Boulder is its extensive espresso bar. So while this isn’t a coffee shop, you can get just about any coffee beverage here, including chai. Another thing: You can get breakfast all day at the Walnut (well, until it closes at 3:30 p.m.), and lunch, too, in case a sandwich sounds better than bacon.

Walnut Cafe has been a local favorite for more than three decades. Today, the Walnut has three locations in Boulder.

Local tip: Bring your pooch. They’re welcome on the patio outside.

7. Village Coffee Shop

Village Coffee Shop is not for fancy brunch. It’s not for hipster brunch. It’s Boulder’s best greasy spoon, and we mean that with the greatest of honors. Small and unpretentious Village Coffee has been curing Boulder’s hangovers for more than 40 years. Black coffee. Hashbrowns. Chicken fried steak. Don’t ask for anything fluffy or fancy. It’s like traveling back to simpler times, when brunch was just called late breakfast and bacon grease was not patted away. This restaurant’s motto says it all: “890 square feet of reality surrounded by Boulder.”

Village Coffee Shop is at 1605 Folsom St., so it draws a lot of college students.

The Kitchen
The Kitchen outside. Courtesy photo

8. The Kitchen American Bistro

The Kitchen, 1039 Pearl St., offers a cheery, locally inspired, hip brunch in its beautiful Pearl Street location. Best of all, you get a special brunch menu both Saturday and Sunday until 2 p.m.

Highlights may include innovative options, like the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with orange butter and jam, or a good ol’ breakfast sandwich with fried eggs, ham and cheese, served in a French toast bun with maple syrup. Feeling more like the “lunch” part of brunch? The poached salmon salad is a healthy and tasty option. For dessert, three words: sticky toffee pudding. With ice cream. OK, six words.

Other Great Brunch Options in Boulder

  • Foolish Craig’s: This super casual, oh-so-Boulder joint serves classic breakfast, but try the crepes, both sweet and savory.
  • Dot’s Diner: Another awesome greasy spoon cafe. Get classic American breakfast and lunch in this chill spot. There’s a branch on University Hill, and a second on 28th St.
  • Brassiere TenTen: Grab a table on the outside patio of this upscale French restaurant for elegant brunch in downtown. Tip: Try the chicken and bacon waffle.
  • River and Woods: This unique Boulder restaurant serves up community-sourced brunch recipes. As in, share your recipe and the best will be picked and put on the ever-rotating menu. Don’t miss the special brunch drinks.
  • The Buff: This is a Boulder celebrity. It starred on “Man Vs. Food” for its Saddlebag Pancakes. It’s another local favorite greasy spoon that feels like home. But The Buff has some creative offerings, too, like a caramel pecan quesadilla. Win: cheap mimosas and Bloodys.

4 Responses

  1. For down-home breakfast in Boulder, you can’t miss at Parkway or Lucky’s. Not expensive. Good food, good service. Real Boulder, and not everyone is a college professor either

  2. We’ve been in Boulder for 20 Yeats and The Buff has been our go to!!! It’s reasonable and We’ve never had a bad meal there! Yummo!

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