For the annual CEDIA Expo in Denver earlier this year, I was the first person to arrive for our company. It was well before 8 a.m. in Denver when I got the rental car from Hertz and my colleagues wouldn't begin to show up for another couple hours. I had some time to kill so I asked the guy at the Hertz guard booth who was checking my paperwork if there was a good place in the area for breakfast. He didn't hesitate a second when he told about a place called the Moonlight Diner on Tower Road. He gave me quick directions and less than ten minutes later I pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant.
The Moonlight Diner is situated right in between a Hampton Inn and a Comfort Inn along Tower Road. (see map) Even though it is closer to Aurora, it is in a part of Denver that was annexed when Denver International Airport was built. I walked into the place and was seated in a booth along the front side of the restaurant. The front range of the Rocky Mountains were easily visible in the distance. I was given a menu to look over as I waited for my server to come over.
The Moonlight Diner is a 50's-style diner that also features a separate lounge area in the building. The decor takes one back to a simpler time when burgers and milkshakes were the staples of diners like this. But the menu is a dizzying mishmash of comfort food favorites that included sandwiches, main entrees such as meat loaf, pork chops or salmon, Mexican food, and even pizza. I was a little leery of the place because they had so many varieties of food that I was worried - once again - that if a place has an extensive menu that they probably don't do any of them very well.
But I was there for the breakfast, which they serve all day long. The breakfast menu consisted of the usual fare - eggs, pancakes, French toast - but they also had a number of skillet and omelet plates as well as Mexican breakfasts such as huevos rancheros and a breakfast burrito.
My server Elli was a brassy lady who looked like she was made for a place like the Moonlight diner. I ended up ordering the corned beef hash with eggs over easy. She said, "Oooo, hon, you're gonna like our corned beef hash. We make it ourselves." Hash browns came with the breakfast and I got some whole wheat toast.
But I also noticed that they had green chili on the menu. I asked Elli if I could get a cup of their green chili. She asked if I wanted it before or with the breakfast. I took it with the breakfast.
Not more than 15 minutes went by before Elli brought my breakfast out to me. Now, I don't quite understand why they serve hash browns with the corned beef hash. There was no way I was going to make any dent in the hash browns after going for the corned beef hash. And the whole wheat toast was thick and I wondered if it was possibly baked in-house. Elli said, "You've got a lot of food there, hon. Enjoy!"
She wasn't kidding...
The first thing I tried was the green chili. Now, I love the green chili that is available at many places around Denver. The green chili at the Moonlight Diner was as good as any of the places I'd previously had the chili in Denver. It was thick and smokey with nice-sized chunks of pork in the chili with a nice and subtle spicy aftertaste. It had been a long time since I'd had green chili and it was a perfect start to the breakfast.
The corned beef hash was sort of a Southwestern-style concoction with a somewhat spicy taste. It tasted like it had been cooked with chili powder and possibly cumin. It was unlike any corned beef hash that I'd ever had before and I immediately liked it. The brisket was pulled apart into large chunks and interspersed with cubes of potatoes. There was a lot of the corned beef brisket in the hash and I made sure that each piece was gone before I went on to trying to finish what was left of my meal.
Overall, my breakfast was very good at the Moonlight Diner. It was way more food than I could finish, but the Southwestern-style corned beef hash and the spicy green chili were outstanding. Elli took good care of me in her brassy style of service. The place was clean and had a somewhat charming appeal to it. I almost wanted to go back to Hertz and thank the guy for steering me in the direction of the Moonlight Diner. I thoroughly enjoyed my first visit there.