Who doesn’t love a little Cajun food with a dessert of beignets? Something about the New Orleans-style cuisine is homey and comforting, exactly what you need while visiting Denver in February. Before heading up to the mountains, my friends and I had a day in Denver to explore with each other which means brunch was on the itinerary. After research, and arguments of course, we settled on Sassafras American Eatery in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. A few blocks away from the Molly Brown House Museum, Sassafras serves up Southern-style comfort food with beignets that, according to my friend, rival that of Cafe du Monde in NOLA. They had great reviews, something on the menu for each of us and, most important, a ton of different drink options.
Let’s start with the drinks because what is brunch without a decent espresso or Bloody Mary? Sassafras offers 10 different Bloody Mary recipes ranging from mild to spicy. The best part is the Many Mini Mary option which lets you try four different options and comes in a cute flight. Try their signature Sassafras Mary, a Bloody Maria, or an interesting twist like the Mary Magdalene featuring sun-dried tomato gin. The restaurant also offers the same style flight for Mimosas. With 8 different options to choose from, try four instead of choosing one or order your favorite for the table with a half or full carafe. Sip the classic Orange Blossom Mimosa or take an adventurous route with the Menage a Trois featuring orange, cranberry and grapefruit. I’m partial to the Rendezvous as well featuring pineapple (my favorite), orange, lime, and apple juice.
Need a pick-me-up instead? I was mostly impressed with the Espresso Bar at Sassafras. From their locally roasted house blend to the Snickerdoodle Latte, their menu will satisfy the most avid caffeine addicts to coffee snobs to flavored latte fanatics. I always go for a classic Cappuccino but decided to change things up with a Mocha instead. Sometimes you need an espresso-spiked hot chocolate. Besides these delightful options, Sassafras has a fresh juice bar, smoothies, plenty other cocktails and so much more. The cocktail names are enough to make me order one. How could you refuse a “Gone With the Wind” or “Magic Carpet Ride?” If you can get as creative with the cocktail names as the cocktails themselves, I’m sold.
How about food? I’m not sure where to even start so let’s kick it off with those amazing beignets. Light and fluffy, sweet but not too sweet...they were perfect. Clouds of perfection that I would sell my soul to have a lifetime supply. We all ordered several random items but managed to cover the basics like Fried Pickles, Biscuits & Gravy, Cornbread and Gumbo. Wait...gumbo for brunch? Yes...you read that right and it was my order of choice. Gumbo is something I absolutely love but can’t find very often and definitely not that great. This was my chance to dive into the spicy, comforting, stick-to-your-ribs dish that is unparalleled in flavor. It was just as amazing as I hoped it would be too. Their Biscuits & Gravy are pretty phenomenal as well. The buttery, flaky biscuit had just enough sausage gravy to coat each bite without completely overtaking it. And the cornbread? I need someone to explain to me why the best things in life are complex carbs because it's not fair.
There really is something for everyone on the menu. From a classic Country Breakfast that you can order just about anywhere to options like the Pimento Chicken Biscuit or Bananas Foster Pain Perdu, you can order classic or interesting. Choose from several different Mac & Cheese options and a variety of Po’ Boys. The one consistent thing to expect from dining at Sassafras is a delicious, flavor-packed meal that is comforting and satisfying. There are three locations for Sassafras. The one we dined at was in the Capitol Hill neighborhood on Colfax. There’s another location in the Jefferson Park neighborhood of Denver on West 26th Avenue and also in downtown Golden, Colorado. Sassafras is only open for breakfast, brunch and lunch so get there early and don’t forget the beignets! If you head to the Capitol Hill neighborhood location, make sure to take a turn into the alley for some incredible street art.