We Have No Idea Who Came Up With This Classic Colorado Meal
If you’ve been in Colorado for any period of time, you’ve probably heard people talk about the famous Denver Omelet. This is for good reason, with the dish consisting of egg, green peppers, ham, cheddar (or Monterey jack) cheese, and onion is a delicious breakfast staple not only in Colorado but the country as a whole.
However, the iconic morning meal’s origin is shrouded in mystery.
We have our best guesses as to where it came from, but there is still nothing set in stone. Here are a few guesses on how the Denver Omelet came to be.
The Denver Omelet May Have Started as a Way to Mask the Taste of Bad Eggs
According to Perspectives on History, a popular theory on the Denver Omelet’s Origin comes from classic American frontier folklore.
It is said that to try to hide the taste of eggs on the verge of going rotten. Pioneers would add onions and other items to try to mask the taste.
However, it should be noted that this type of recipe is not thought of as being folded but instead served like a frittata. Even with a plaque on California Street in Denver saying people would fold this creation, it seems that may not be the entire truth.
The Denver Omelet Possibly Didn’t Start as an Omelet at All
On the other hand, there is a chance the Denver omelet was actually a sandwich before it morphed into the delicious dish we know today.
Sam Armatas, the vice president of Sam’s No. 3 in Denver, said this to Sunset magazine. You might be thinking, “Why should I care what that guy says?” Well, Sam’s No. 3 has been serving the Denver Omelet in its current form since it first opened all the way back in 1927.
The Most Likely Answer as to Where the Denver Omelet Comes From is Chinese Chefs
That’s right, the origin of the Denver Omelet is most strongly correlated to migrant contract labor. Chinese chefs aboard the transcontinental railroad put a spin on egg foo young to make egg sandwiches with vegetables for the crews on board.
This is most likely what Sam Armatas was talking about, and in many ways, is the most likely origin of the Denver omelet. The railroad would also lead many people to Denver, so the connection quickly caught between this new egg dish and Colorado’s largest city.
Still, questions remain on when the sandwich or frittata creation made the switch to the folded goodness we know today. Regardless of origin, the Denver Omelet is one of Colorado’s most beloved meals and a fantastic cultural export that has been shipped across the country.