Snooze is quite possibly the best breakfast place in Denver. It’s usually best to avoid superlatives (in general, but especially as a critic) but this one is quite justifiable. There are so many great things about Snooze that it makes the writing of this article difficult. It is difficult to know where to begin. It is equally difficult to maintain a sense of brevity and not trail on endlessly in describing each wonderful menu selection. In truth, the only bad thing about Snooze is that too many people like it. It has only been in existence since 2006 and yet it has already created such a dedicated fan base that getting a table at either of their locations can be an even greater challenge than trying to describe how awesome it is.
The first thing noticed upon entry is the generally enjoyable atmosphere. It is decorated in a style that they call “Jetsons meets Happy Days”. Think of rounded futuristic features blended with soft colors and a vague 1960’s sensibility. It comes off as hip, warm, and fun. It is sort of like wearing a fuzzy sweater while eating locally picked berries, watching Juno, and playing Lou Reed songs on an acoustic guitar – but without being all stuck up and pretentious. Everyone there is really nice. The plates are colorful. The coffee comes in these curvy yellow mugs that look like they were made in some pottery class. It’s all just very welcoming.
The general feeling of the restaurant establishes a high expectation, and the food delivers every time. What makes the menu so wonderful is that it takes basic morning comfort foods and elevates them to greatness through choice ingredients and expert cooking. Huevos rancheros, breakfast burritos, and three egg omelets all come out less greasy and more flavorful than at any typical eatery. As simple and common as these things are, they are uncommonly good at the Snooze.
In addition to the down home favorites, they can also get a bit fancy. They have a selection of six different variations of Eggs Benedict, and each of them is fantastic. Even the classic Benedict is perfected beyond its competitors by the use of fresh homemade English muffins and smoked cheddar hollandaise sauce. The other versions they serve take the poached eggs, English muffins, and hollandaise and add things like fresh mozzarella, tomato, and balsamic drizzle (The Caprese), summer squash, spinach, and sweet onions (The Summer Garden), or pulled pork, BBQ sauce, and diced pickles (The BBQ Pork Benny). Each of these is mouth-wateringly delicious.
Of course, anyone who has eaten at Snooze will probably attest that their greatest accomplishment is what they do with their pancakes. These pancakes are so good that everyone, even people who don’t like pancakes, love these pancakes. I generally find pancakes to be overly sweet and generally overrated, but I have never been to Snooze without ordering at least one. It is usually best to go directly for the Pancake Flight, a sampling of three pancakes of your choice (this is especially ideal for sharing with friends, which will allow you to also order off the non-pancake menu and get the best of both worlds).
The hardest part will be choosing which three you want. The healthier Nor’easter is a whole wheat pancake filled with Wild Maine blueberries and sunflower seeds and then topped with Vermont maple syrup and berry butter. The sweeter Carrot Cake Pancakes are loaded with spiced shredded carrots, raisins, and walnuts, and then finished off with a cream cheese glaze and cinnamon butter. My personal favorite is the Pineapple Upside Down Pancake. It has caramelized chunks of pineapple cooked into it and is covered with cinnamon butter and vanilla crème sauce. Also, be sure to ask about the pancake of the day!
As if food this good and the great atmosphere are not enough reason to eat here, eating at Snooze is something you can actually feel good about. The owners make every effort to run their business in a sustainable and environmentally responsible way. They buy most of their ingredients from local and natural producers like Niman Ranch, from whom they get their naturally raised pork (Niman Ranch is a nation wide company, but they have a local ranch in Northglenn, CO). They also recycle and compost everything possible and they buy exclusively recycled organic paper products. The fact that a restaurant can serve food this amazing, utilize an ethically sound business model, and support the local economy, is reason to return time and time again.
The best part is that they do all of this at a very reasonable price. Almost everything on the menu is between $7 and $9. The most expensive items are between $11 and $13, and those are only the selections that include shrimp, salmon, and steak. For the quality of the food and the experience, these prices are incredible. Apparently, there are many Denver residents that agree. Getting a table on the weekend is not easy. It’s best to arrive early in the morning or after noon, closer to closing time. There can even be a wait on weekdays. Still, with the intersection of quality and value, a trip to Snooze is well worth it.
Two Denver Locations:
1) 2262 Larimer St
2) 700 N Colorado Blvd.
Mon - Fri: 6:30am to 2:30pm
Sat & Sun: 7am to 2:30pm