Leo’s Café: Catering to People and Pooches

In the mood for brunch one early Sunday afternoon, my husband and I aimlessly drive through the Lone Tree area. With our dog Kona in the back seat, we look for patios where she might be welcome.

We spot Leo’s Café, find its patio is canine-friendly and grab an umbrella-shaded seat. It’s our first time at the restaurant, and we discover that narrowing our selection from the extensive list of mouth-watering choices is almost impossible.

Breakfast, served until 2 p.m. daily, offers more than the basic bacon and eggs. This is a place that gives the customer freedom to create the perfect meal. Want hollandaise sauce? Choices include dill, lobster and herbed. Want a different sauce for your meal? How about mushroom, spicy tomato or chipotle? Breakfast empanadas, paninis and Belgium waffles are just a few of the many other choices available, as well as a build-your-own omelet section with more than 20 options.

Within moments of our arrival, an employee sets a metal bowl of iced water near Kona. We are immediately pleased with our choice for brunch. As many animal lovers will attest, half of winning us over is first winning over our furry family members.

Don’t be fooled by the strip mall look. An independently-owned restaurant, Leo’s stands out in Lone Tree, an area saturated with chain restaurants.

A few minutes later, Leo Reiff, for whom the restaurant is named, saunters onto the patio to introduce himself and mingle with the customers. Noticing Kona, he retreats inside and returns with a treat for her. At this point I realize that the folks at Leo’s cater to our dog with more attention than many establishments cater to humans.

However, the humans certainly aren’t neglected here. After serving drinks, our waiter sets an appetizer plate before each of us with a complimentary homemade cinnamon roll dripping with a succulent glaze.

Leo, who owns the restaurant with his wife Lisa, opened the café in January. Although he has been involved in the U.S. food industry for years, this is his first restaurant in the United States. The last one he operated was in his home town of Cape Town, South Africa.

Offering both American and global cuisine, the items on the menu are all made from scratch with obvious attention to detail. In an area that has become saturated with chain eateries, it is a welcome change.

“We wanted to create a family-owned place,” said Leo. “We want you to have a good experience here.”

From Cape Town, South Africa to Lone Tree, Colorado, restaurant owner Leo focuses on creating a down-home atmosphere.

With the first bite of my Agean omelet, there is no doubt I’ll be having a good experience at Leo’s. Stuffed with herbed spinach, roasted red peppers, feta cheese, olives and artichokes, every bite is as good as the last. Originally uncertain about the spicy tomato sauce, I had asked for it on the side. That ends up being unnecessary, as I become an immediate fan, pouring the entire container over the egg dish before the second bite.

As we wrap up our brunch and head home, we linger for a moment to say goodbye to Leo. When he thanks us for stopping in, we can’t help but thank him back for this breath of fresh air in dining.

If You Go

Leo’s Cafe
9234 Park Meadows Drive
Lone Tree, CO 80124-2800

Sheri L. Thompson, managing editor of GoWorldTravel.com, is also a freelance writer/photographer. She lives in Denver. She is a fine arts graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, and a journalism graduate of Metropolitan State College of Denver.

From the Editors: We spent a heap of time making sure this story was accurate when it was published, but of course, things can change. Please confirm the details before setting out in our great Centennial State.