Bump and Grind
439 East 17th Avenue, Denver
Bus directions: take the 12 or 20 from Market Street Station
Update: Bump and Grind has been closed for some time.
I’ve been to Bump and Grind in Uptown Denver several times, starting in the spring of 2008, but Sunday was my first time at Petticoat Bruncheon, which happens on weekends from 10 to 2. The servers dress in drag, walk up to your table, cock a hip, and say, “I’ll be your bitch today.”
I remember once in a high school class in the late 1970s, I was describing a character in a book and called her a bitch. The class stilled in the way that says you’ve crossed a line. Now “bitch” is everywhere. Usually I’m not comfortable with the casual use of that word, but I liked it when she said it. Maybe it was the red highlights in her black flipped-up hairdo. Or the perfectly outlined red mouth.
Bump and Grind also takes me back to my freshman year at Georgetown University—
Beth, you’re all thinking, can’t you stick to this century?
—to the first time I went to New Wave night at the Pub. For a girl from Kansas City, it was an eye-opener to see men wearing fishnet tights.
It may seem contradictory, given the tone of the Catholic Church these days, but I became more open-minded at Georgetown University. (And so did the university, if only when forced, because the gay club at Georgetown sued the university for not giving them the same resources allocated to other clubs. And won, eventually.) Maybe it was because I never went to mass.
That’s the kind of things the waitresses at Bump and Grind made me think of. Ours wore a red-and-black-plaid rah-rah skirt and black tights. With her long, dark sideburns, she could have been a member of Brethren Fast, one of our favorite Denver bands. If you ever get a chance to see them, do so, unless you’re allergic to “supercharged hillbilly funk” played by guys in Budweiser race car outfits.
My husband ordered the Mexican Benedict, which was really good—it came on pineapple cornbread and was covered in chipotle sauce. I liked it better than my soufflé rou(lade), which I can’t find the official name of anywhere online. It had a little too much broccoli for me, but the soufflé itself was tasty.
Toward the end of our meal, the service got a little slow, but I didn’t care. I was having too much fun checking out the decorations and watching the servers, especially the one in the blue mini-dress. (From reading reviews online, I think her name is Dixie-Normous.) She first caught my eye when I noticed her creative way of sugaring a cup of coffee. The sugar on the tables had been poured into vases. She put the bottom of the vase against her crotch and used a little hip action to direct sugar into the cup.
Then she came to the table next to ours and stroked another patron with her string of pearls. I must have been casting wistful glances that way, because the next thing I knew, her pearls were sliding down the cleavage of my too tight shirt that showed off the bulges hanging over my low-rise jeans. “You look like you need a pearl necklace,” she said.
By the end of the meal, I worked up the courage to ask our server if I could take a picture of her and the waitress in the blue dress, who were both wearing fabulous shoes. I told them I wanted to put the pictures on my website. They were very generous about it.
Todd got so impatient toward the end that I sent him down to Illegal Grounds coffeehouse while I waited for the check. He gave up his entire Saturday morning to help me check out this café, so I couldn’t be too hard on him. While I was waiting, I talked to the server in the blue dress some more, who used to be a dancer.
“The neighborhood doesn’t come here,” she said. I was startled by that. OK, so Uptown is gentrifying. But can’t you have some fun with your upscale?
I told her I was writing some articles about the Uptown neighborhood, and she asked why I wasn’t writing about Jefferson Park (south of Highlands, west of I-25). To the question of why it was such a great neighborhood, she said because she lived there, of course, but also because it hadn’t been gentrified like Highlands. She said she likes the mix of middle class and Mexican working class, that they’ve maintained a better balance in Jefferson Park.
She mentioned that when the city started cleaning up Colfax, all the druggies started coming up to 17th. Every weekend they’d have to clean up needles on the patio of Bump and Grind. But she said that hasn’t happened for a couple of years.
“We’re a destination,” she added, before walking off to deliver someone’s check.
P.S. When you’re there, try some of the baked goods. I had the molasses gingersnap sandwich cream, which was delicious. And be sure to check out what they’ve done to the Barbies.
P.P.S. Sadly, Bump and Grind is for sale. I hope whoever buys it keeps it the way it is, but I doubt that will happen. (The picture above is a view of Bump and Grind. See how it’s on the edge of downtown Denver?)