Mountain Sunrise: Breakfast in the Foothills

Home to rugged terrain and peaceful scenery, Colorado’s foothills are the ideal destination for many pursuits. And breakfast or brunch at a great local eatery is the perfect complement to both an intense mountain workout and a leisurely day of sightseeing. Whether you’re looking to fuel up, cool down or chill out, these breakfast spots have what you want where you want it — in the serene foothills just west of Denver.

Every Day, All Day (or at least until they close)

Country Road Café
26490 Colorado Highway 74
Evergreen, Colorado 80439

Located in Kittredge a few miles from Evergreen, the Country Road Café has been a local favorite for years. On weekends, you’ll know you’re at the right place when you see dozens of customers waiting to get inside the tiny joint.

The rustic log cabin may be little, but it serves up some of the biggest breakfasts around. Try a famous “smashed mashed”— mashed potatoes topped with eggs and covered in anything from béarnaise to bacon. The rest of the menu is just as grand, with more than 100 breakfast and lunch items ranging from cinnamon biscuit French toast to barbecued pork pasta. An espresso bar whips up cappuccinos, amaretto lattes and German chocolate steamers.

Country Road opens a pretty (and popular) outdoor patio in summer and on weekends year-round. But the scene indoors is almost as entertaining: a kitsch but cute combination of mirrors, wall ornaments and signs making irreverent proclamations like “If you want breakfast in bed, sleep in the kitchen!”

Lakeshore Café
29011 Upper Bear Creek Road
Evergreen, Colorado 80439

This comfy family-owned restaurant offers breakfast and lunch near the shores of picturesque Evergreen Lake. The menu delivers just what you’d expect for a morning eatery: French toast and pancakes, eggs with potatoes and Mexican specialties like huevos rancheros and breakfast burritos. There are also a few surprises, including trout and eggs, crab cake Benedict and homemade pies. If you’re in the mood for lunch, check out the turkey Reuben or deluxe grilled cheese on Texas toast with bacon, tomatoes and avocado. Yum!

Overseas Café
1552 Bergen Parkway
Evergreen, Colorado 80439

Tucked away in north Evergreen, this cute European café is part coffeehouse (offering drinks from white mochas to mango frappés), part bakery (making pastries and desserts) and part restaurant (serving breakfast and lunch). The modest but well-rounded menu offers half a dozen breakfast items including mushroom and red pepper frittatas, berries-and-cream crepes and eggs Benedict with chorizo sausage hash. Tables outside are available in warmer months.

Wildflower Café
28035 Colorado Highway 74
Evergreen, Colorado 80439

Get a glimpse of old-time Evergreen at this quaint downtown eatery that’s so small it verges on communal dining. Eaters can go heavy with the Ricardo (steak smothered in homemade green chile), light with the Paradise Parfait (granola with yogurt and fruit) or sweet with French toast stuffed with strawberry cream cheese. If you like to hit the sauce (hollandaise, that is!), visit on the weekend when the menu expands to include such dishes as eggs Benedict and turkey dill crepes. Cocktails are also available, including mimosas and Bloody Marys.

Just on the Weekend

Willow Creek
29029 Upper Bear Creek Road
Evergreen, Colorado 80439

For an upscale brunch with an upscale view, head to Willow Creek. The dynamic weekend brunch menu juxtaposes morning mainstays like omelets and French toast with more unique options such as braised rabbit and clam spaghetti. The restaurant’s elegant cuisine is matched only by its stunning location overlooking Evergreen Lake. If you visit on a nice day, don’t miss your chance to sit outside on the lovely patio.

The Bistro at Marshdale
27376 Spruce Lane
Evergreen, Colorado 80439

Housed in a century-old cabin south of Evergreen, the Bistro serves brunch classics with a fine-dining touch. Go for the almond-crusted French toast with raspberry cream cheese, the buffalo steak and eggs or the smoked salmon Benedict with dill hollandaise on focaccia bread. A variety of omelets, salads, sandwiches and desserts rounds out the Sunday brunch menu.

Aspen Peak Cellars
12414 S. U.S. Highway 285
Conifer, Colorado 80433

Enjoy carefully prepared meals at this charming B&B/winery in Conifer. In summer, the serene setting is hard to beat: Flowers, trees and meadows surround the sunny outdoor patio. Sunday brunch offers a small selection of dishes ranging from breakfast burritos to quiche specials. Or try Aspen Peak any day (except Tuesdays) for lunch. The salads, sandwiches and wines are all divine.

El Rancho
29260 U.S. Highway 40
Evergreen, Colorado 80439

Located just off I-70 at the Evergreen exit, historic El Rancho makes a convenient stopping point for trips to and from the mountains. The all-you-can-eat Sunday champagne brunch offers a buffet stocked with Belgian waffles, breakfast pastries, eggs Benedict and an omelet station — plus two champagnes or mimosas. An a-la-carte breakfast menu is available on Saturdays. In warmer months, enjoy striking views of the Continental Divide from El Rancho’s dining deck.

Specialty Eats

The Bagelry — Located in Bergen Park, this spot offers breakfast and lunch sandwiches, a full espresso bar and homemade bagels galore.

Tin Star Café & Donut Haus — This downtown Evergreen joint serves up an odd but enviable combination of doughnuts (the bear claws and apple fritters are legendary) and barbecue sandwiches.

Dandelions — A small café in north Evergreen, Dandelions prepares organic, raw, gluten-free and traditional goodies for breakfast and lunch.