Hold the Waffles!

By John Lehndorff

Escape the Bloody Mary and Benedict blahs at these INTERNATIONAL NEIGHBORHOOD BRUNCH DESTINATIONS

Photo By Bralnina

We are all creatures of habit, especially when it comes to dining. We tend to order the same few dishes when we go out for a leisurely weekend brunch with family and friends.

Visit the rapidly growing roster of brunch-y south metro eateries, and they feature the same obligatory dishes: the Benedicts, Belgian waffles, huevos rancheros and over-garnished Bloody Marys. One sure way to beat the Saturday and Sunday brunch blahs is to take a leap of taste and trade in the same old menu for bolo de fubá, frutta di mare, saag paneer or bacalaitos.

These south metro restaurants offer a culinary passport to a fresh brunch destination. 

A belt-loosening Brazilian feast

The brunch buffet has always been the ultimate weekend lunch indulgence. Big spreads remain an attraction, especially at hotels like The Inverness, but no eatery serves a splashier brunch buffet than
Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse in Lone Tree.

Photo courtesy of Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse

The national chain is famous for serving dinner guests various types of meat cut from skewers tableside until they beg for mercy. On Saturdays and Sundays, the Brunch Market Table features a giant Brazilian smorgasbord of salads, cheeses, cured meats, soups and bolo de fubá (cornbread), plus omelet and waffle stations with beef hash and Brazilian sausages.

Fogo de Chão pours a full range of weekend beverages ranging from passion fruit mimosas to glasses of
bubbly prosecco.

Restoring your faith in brunch 

Brunch can’t help being a family religious experience at Scileppi’s at the Old Stone Church. The unique Castle Rock eatery is in the historic former St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church.

The Scileppi family brought their Italian food from Long Island, where large families gather every Sunday to eat, talk and argue.

The weekend menu makes no concessions to typical brunch expectations. Scileppi’s menu is split between “Old Testament” dishes like lasagna and chicken Marsala and “New Testament” favorites like short rib ravioli.

Start with made-to-share Italian soul fare ranging from crunchy baked eggplant “fries” and crispy calamari to frutta di mare—a beautiful bowl of clams, mussels, calamari, shrimp and marinara sauce on linguine.

Scileppi’s Little Angels kids’ menu wisely features macaroni with butter, while the parents’ cocktail roster boasts The Missionary’s Downfall: rum with peach liqueur, lime, pineapple and mint.

Considering the stained-glass setting, Scileppi’s sweet tiramisu and cannoli come with a side order of brunch guilt. 

Photos courtesy of Scileppi’s at the Old Church

Sharing bites of naan, vindaloo and biryani

For many families, brunch has become the new Sunday supper, the weekly meal where everyone can enjoy quality face time. Tandoori Flames Indian Scratch Kitchen in Castle Pines was designed to welcome groups with large tables, shareable dishes, big flavors and choices that satisfy picky dieters. Did we mention the extensive roster of malty Indian beers?

We could make a meal just from the hot-from-the-oven breads stuffed with everything from spiced potato and peas to cherries, nuts and raisins.

Indian family meals are built around shareable plates, not jealously protected personal entrees. Chunks of naan flatbread are used to grab bites of exceptional saag paneer—creamy spinach with chewy cheese—or tandoori-roasted meats. 
Note: Order it “really hot,” and Tandoor Flames’ beef vindaloo curry will have you crying for more. 

Photo By

Photo courtesy of Isla Verde Restaurant

Breezy Sunday brunch in the islands

You may not be able to book a cruise to San Juan this week, but you can escape Colorado’s chilly spring winds at Isla Verde Restaurant.

This charming restaurant, set in a sunny renovated home in Parker, dishes a menu of authentic Puerto Rican dishes rarely available in Colorado.

The perfect gateway to the cuisine is Isla Verde’s Street Sampler packed with flaky empanadas, tostones (fried plantain), yucca, and a warm ham and cheese sandwich.

Don’t miss the bacalaitos—fried cod fritters. They are like fish and chips’ more interesting cousin. They are a perfect mate for a Puerto Rican rum drink.

Other comfy island favorites include mofongo (buttery mashed plantains), lechon asado (fall-apart slow-roasted pork) and sancocho, a spicy stew packed with beef, chicken, vegetables, plantains and corn.

If you’re not ready to leave Isla Verde’s warm cocoon, linger over coffee and slices of chocoflan, and tres leches cake or sweet guava-filled pastries. 

Photo courtesy of Isla Verde Restaurant

Gals That Network, Brunch-style 

Founded in 2015, the informal Gals That Brunch now has chapters on six continents and 140 cities, including Denver.

Proper Football and a Full Breakfast
Football fans—the real kind who love the Premier League—line up early to snag a table on weekend mornings at Denver’s British Bulldog. The Saturday and Sunday morning brunch menu includes The Ploughman’s Breakfast with two eggs, a banger (sausage), rashers (back bacon), potatoes and toast. Expect much revelry and fellow patrons yelling at the many television sets.

The British Bulldog’s regular (after 11 a.m.) menu features classic pub dishes like Scotch eggs, chips with curry sauce and a full English breakfast (including black pudding). Pair it with an Irish Coffee or Loaded Bloody Wanker, plus a Manchester United win gets fans a fine start to the weekend. 

British Bulldog
2052 Stout St.

Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse
8419 Park Meadows Center Dr.
Lone Tree

Scileppi’s at the Old Stone Church
210 3rd St.
Castle Rock

Isla Verde Restaurant
19757 Pikes Peak Ave.

Tandoori Flames Indian Scratch Kitchen
556 Village Square L., Suite 200
Castle Pines