New Denver brunch: 5 breakfast spots to try this spring for Mothers Day

Hospitality runs deep for the Denver-based Nguyen family.

Second-generation restaurant owner Thoa Nguyen just opened Banh & Butter Bakery Cafe in Aurora. Her younger sister, Kha Nguyen, is helping run the business.

They’re joining three other sisters who operate two more Denver-area restaurants — Savory Vietnam and New Saigon Bakery — and carrying on a tradition that their parents started back in 1987, when they bought New Saigon Restaurant and turned it into a three-decade local staple.

While Thai Nguyen and Ha Pham sold their original family restaurant in 2017, they’ve since helped their daughters to start their own food businesses across town.

“That’s the legacy that my parents have left for us,” said Thoa Nguyen. “We’re first-generation, we’ve grown up to know the business. All my sisters have a natural instinct to be in the food industry.”

At Banh & Butter (a bilingual play on “bread and butter”), two Nguyen sisters have created a cheery and modern French-Vietnamese-American cafe, complete with fresh-baked baguettes, croissants, cruffins, crepe cakes and cold-cut sandwiches.

And the best way to experience all of the cream-filled goodness is with a family or small group of friends, ordering a half-dozen sweet and savory baked goods, and tasting vanilla brulee cruffins along with salmon “everything” croissants (like bagel and lox, but lighter).

“It’s Asian-fusion-inspired desserts and pastries with classical French techniques,” Thoa Nguyen explained of her menu. “I can do really extravagant French pastries, but I also have to make it more affordable.”

The most expensive dessert in her display case is a mille crepe cake with whipped cream layered between “mille” individually hand-poured crepes, and topped in strawberries ($7.75). It goes decadently with an iced egg coffee ($5.45) that tempers cold brew with condensed milk and egg-yolk foam on top.

Thoa has brought on her former students from the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, as well as former coworkers from Whole Foods Market bakery, to develop more pastries and desserts. She’s banking on a business model that continues to train up-and-coming pastry chefs, and she’s excited to continue her family’s work in the community.

“We just all have each other’s backs,” she said of her sisters. “We all kind of run (businesses) how we want, but we’re at a point where we’re creating our own legacies.”

Read on to discover more about Banh & Butter, plus four other new spots to try this spring. 

Banh & Butter Bakery and Cafe (Aurora)

A casual Vietnamese and French-inspired brunch spot where you can also just as easily pick up pastries, cakes and savory sandwiches to go.

Go for: Iced Vietnamese egg coffee ($5.45) of cold brew topped with creamy foam made from egg yolk and sweetened condensed milk, plus a dash of cinnamon. Order with your eyes from the bakery case; start with a sweet and savory mix of cold-cut banh mis and vanilla bean brulee cruffins ($6.50).

9935 E. Colfax Ave., 720-513-9313,

Cattivella (Central Park)

This Central Park Italian-American staple just added brunch to its meal offerings. But not just any brunch: Chef Elise Wiggins is pulling out pastas, pizzas and antipasti to get your leisurely weekend started.

Go for: A refresh of the omelet, in preparations like Primavera (spring peas, baby spinach, asparagus, fresh dill, mint, basil, cotswold cheese, pickled roasted red peppers) and Cacciatore (rotisserie wild boar, venison and rabbit confit; ubriaco cheese or espresso-crusted cheese, leeks, shallots, mushrooms, tarragon, marinated tomatoes) ($14-$15).

10195 E. 29th Drive, 303-645-3779,

Chez Maggy (Downtown)

Celebrity chef Ludo Lefebvre’s first Denver restaurant is located off the lobby of the new Thompson Denver hotel. And it’s a beautiful brasserie to take in during the daytime (but also come back for dinner some night).

Go for: More omelets reimagined! This time, it’s the French Denver omelette ($20) that Lefebvre created in honor of his new second city. Otherwise, take your pick from jambon beurre with honey butter and gruyere ($18), mussels frites ($26) or smoked salmon tartine ($19).

1616 Market St., 720-794-9544,

Corrida (Boulder)

Brunch here comes with the best restaurant view of the Flatirons. And while it’s impressive at sunset, we’ll also take a morning coffee and tapas selection over the weekend.

Go for: A meal that starts with bulbous gin tonics ($16) and breakfast martinis (apricot marmalade, lemon, aperitivo and gin, $15); and continues with Spanish egg and potato omelets ($17) and lamb sausage ($24).

1023 Walnut St., Boulder, 303-444-1333,

Safta (RiNo)

Alon Shaya’s Israeli restaurant brings back its brunch buffet on weekends starting April 30. Diners will pay $45 per person to sample some of the restaurant’s best daytime dishes, with drinks available a la carte.

Go for: Hummus and pita, smoked salmon and Rosenberg’s bagels, pastrami hash, shakshouka and more.(The buffet is $45 per person.)

3330 Brighton Blvd., 720-408-2444,

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