Old Spot or New — Where do you get your brunch on?
by Emily Kemme
Deciding about where to brunch is important. How many weekends have been wrecked because the brunch style didn’t fit — and that doesn’t mean what you’re wearing. Whether you’ve dressed in your Sunday best, pulled on some just-crawled-out-of-bed grunge, or stretched into the latest Lululemon, what often counts most is the menu and the environment.
Some places are known for their portions, others for of-the-moment creativity. Questions like waffles or smoothies, egg porn-worthy Eggs Benedict or ginormous breakfast burritos — these are essential decisions. Because how often has #brekkie been ruined by hard-as-rock poached eggs?
In downtown Fort Collins, there’s a choice of old and new.
Silver Grill Cafe, 218 Walnut Street, has a history going back to 1912, and it hasn’t always been slinging hash (browns) in the same building. The business originated a few doors down at 212 Walnut Street and was called the “Uneeda-Lunch Café.” The current, less campy name was bestowed as a deal trade: a hungry painter offered his sign-painting services, along with naming rights, in exchange for a pork chop lunch plate.
Since then, one building has sprawled into five, a lot of renovations happened, including moving the front entrance, and happily, a patio was installed so you can soak up Colorado sunshine and find the Bloody Mary fixings of your wildest dreams. There are so many vegetables — both pickled and plain — to stuff into your Bloody at Silver Grill, it’s enough to call the cocktail a salad.
Be prepared for a wait. While you do, scan the names of regulars printed on coffee mugs lined up on display racks and play the name-spotting game. Or ogle the oversized cinnamon rolls — they come in male and female versions, with and without nuts. Cinnamon rolls are available in all their glazed glory, or get them Frenched (toast), grilled and buttered, with a side of bacon and eggs, or for the devil-may-care, as an ice cream-topped Sundae. If you need to get out the door for a tailgate party, get them to go.
If you don’t have a sweet tooth or it doesn’t kick in until dinnertime, the Vegetarian Huevos Rancheros — a platterful of scrambled eggs, salsa, and black beans tucked into a flour tortilla and topped with veggie green chile and melted cheddar is a hearty winner. Another is the Beer Braised Corned Beef Hash with eggs your way.
Silver Grill’s Benedicts are the benchmark for Egg Poaching 101. Expect plump eggs poached how you like them ladled generously with creamy hollandaise. It’s no surprise. After cooking up breakfast for as long as the Silver Grill has, you’d expect they’d get it right.
If your style is more metro, there is nothing old-timey about Urban Egg, 230 S. College Avenue, but the relative newbie serves an equally respectable breakfast and brunch. Urban Egg is a wake-up call from the get-go. Pops of lime green, the restaurant’s signature color, shows up on coffee mugs serving Barista Specialty Coffee’s fair trade coffee. If last night was a long one, order The Cure, one of the natural juice blends juiced in-house. The staff favorite, a whirl of pineapple and orange juice is creamy thanks to coconut water. If you need zing, order the Urban Beet, a combo of apple, carrot, beet, and zippy ginger. Or keep the Saturday night buzz going with a coffee cocktail and tell everyone you’re waking up slowly.
French toast is coated with corn flakes for a modern twist and accessorized with lemon curd, raspberry coulis, and fresh berries. For savory breakfast lovers, try the Tuscan Benedict with layers of prosciutto, tomato, basil and a drizzle of balsamic over lemon-kissed hollandaise. The poach is perfect at Urban Egg, too. In the mood for southwest flavor? The Blue Corn Huevos Rancheros updates this Mexican classic with black beans, radish, pickled onion, queso fresco, and avocado crema. Take your pick between red or green chile. For hearty appetites, there’s corned beef hash with jalapeño bacon chutney. Or go for two versions of Urban Egg’s signature award-winning sage sausage gravy, one with a breaded and fried chicken breast, the other on a classic biscuit and gravy plate.
The Urban Egg wouldn’t be hot and trendy without every Millennial’s new #brekkie fav, avocado toast, dressed up and pretty with a sprinkle of quinoa and queso fresco. Or get it über-metro with a smash of white bean hummus, avocado slices, and a honey drizzle.