Chef-driven menu elevates comfort food & pub fare.
The Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries has grown from a single microbrewery in downtown Boulder to a tight trio of locations that includes the popular Southern Sun in South Boulder’s Table Mesa Shopping Center and Denver’s Vine Street Pub. The South Boulder location is a two-fer, with the original pub (and large sunny patio) on the upper level and the newer and cleverly named Under the Sun below.
I’ve been to Mountain Sun any number of times and to Southern Sun’s upstairs brewpub for after-hike or after-ski refreshment and downstairs for happy hour. I didn’t even realize that Under the Sun served brunch, but 3½ years after it opened, Southern Sun has hired a real, classically trained executive chef, Nick Swanson. His credentials are sterling — Boulder’s Bácaro Venetian Taverna and PastaVino (both now gone), a stage at Michelin-starred Relais Villa D’Amelia in Italy’s Piemonte region. Then New York’s French Culinary Institute, graduating with honors. A resume sprinkled with glamour names in the food world: Chefs Fabbio Bocchi and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, cooking for big-name celebs (Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Jim Carrey, Calvin Klein.
But enough dropped names. What counts here and now is his position as executive chef of Under the Sun, where he has moved toward seasonality and reasonable price points while putting out creative cheffy takes on classics. I’m not wild about most “comfort food,” but Samson’s spin has me rethinking my preconceptions, and a sampling of the new brunch dishes convinced me that he’s one of the best in town.
That chicken was so exceptional that we will return for their Wednesday evening fried chicken special, served from 4 p.m. They blow through some 200 pounds of chicken every Wednesday, and there’s a line when the door opens, so there’s no guarantee it will last until midnight.
It is worth noting that Under the Sun takes no reservations and no credit/debit cards, so be prepared. There is an ATM. I had a mimosa, so didn’t try any of the 21 house-brewed ales or beers from “visiting breweries.”
Price check: At weekend brunch, entrêes (including egg dishes, sandwiches, pancakes, chicken and waffles), $3 (single pancake) to $7.95-$11.95; salads, small for $4.95-$8.95 and large, $6.95–$11.95; pizza, $10.95-$13.95.
627-A South Broadway (Table Mesa Shopping Center), Boulder; 303-927-6921.