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The Tap Burger at Tap & Burger, a masterpiece crowned with crispy onions, Swiss cheese, French onion dip aïoli, and leafy lettuce and served with au jus for dipping. Photo by Kayla Jones
Eat and Drink

The Best Burgers in Denver and Beyond

How many of these 26 tasty beef-and-bun combos have you tried?

The meat-loving Denver metro area has more delicious burger options than we can count, from hulking steak-house-style stackers to classic thin-patty versions. To help you decide where to satisfy your next craving, we ate through scores of them to find our 26 favorites in and around the Mile High City. We hope you’re hungry.

Editor’s Note: This is a living list of the best burgers was last updated on May 28, 2021. Did we miss your favorite? Email us at dining@5280.com. 

Annette

Annette chef-owner Caroline Glover never intended to add a burger to the restaurant’s menu. That is until her glorious creation—a 7X Beef patty, cheddar cheese, sweet chow chow sauce, and sour pickles snuggled between a squishy house English muffin—became one of the spot’s hottest to-go items after the onset of the pandemic in 2020, when the restaurant pivoted to curbside takeout. To the delight of fans, the burger is now a permanent fixture on the brunch and dinner menus. Accompanied by a tangle of crispy fries, it’s fantastic eaten inside the now-open dining room and bar or patio (or straight out of a takeout box). Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas St., Aurora, 720-710-9975

Burgers and fries at Annette. Photo courtesy of Caroline Glover

Bob’s Atomic Burgers

Don’t go to this classic Golden haunt expecting high-end beef or fanciful toppings. Go for the old-fashioned burgers, which arrive without a trace of pink inside and with crisp, dark-brown edges from their time on the griddle. Oh, and did we mention the burgers start at less than $6? When you write out your order on a paper sack—the one your burger will eventually arrive at your table in—be sure to tick the box for fresh jalapeños to take your sandwich into the eponymous “atomic” realm. 1310 Ford St., Golden, 303-278-1601

Briar Common Brewery & Eatery

Five-year-old Briar Common in Jefferson Park is one of our go-to spots to delight in a pint of freshly brewed suds—an experience enhanced by the rib-sticking Briar burger. The tour de force sports slow-roasted pork belly, a jammy fried egg, and beef patty slathered with creamy truffle aïoli and tucked inside a brioche bun. If something smokier is your jam, go for the new Briar barbecue burger, featuring Briar Pale Ale barbecue sauce, applewood-smoked bacon, house aïoli, and crispy onion rings. Whichever route you choose, ask the team for the best beer pairing to complete your meal. 2298 Clay St., 720-512-3894

Carm & Gia Metropolitan

This cheerful diner is a love letter to owner Razz Cortes’ native Chicago and Denver, a place her family has called home since the early 1990s. That translates to a menu of inventive dishes inspired by Windy City street fare and Den-Mex specialties, which includes a lineup of wonderfully over-the-top burgers decked out with everything from grilled ham steak and Mexican chorizo to orange soy-slaw and seared provolone. Try the FOMO (fear of missing out) burger of the month; this May, it’s the Old Santa Fe Trail, a half-pound patty stacked with Monterrey jack cheese, a trio of taquitos, salsa ranchera, sliced avocado, chipotle mayo, and a jalapeño cheese popper. If you manage to save room for dessert, the churros are divine. 9598 E. Montview Blvd., Aurora, 303-747-4008

The shrimp-pineapple burger with orange-soy slaw and onion straws at Carm & Gia Metropolitan. Photo by Ruth Tobias

Cherry Cricket

It’s pretty much Mile High law that you can’t write a best burger list and not include the Cherry Cricket. It’s one rule we’re happy to follow: The 75-year-old Cherry Creek joint still does it right, with large, thin, charred patties topped with choose-your-own ingredients spanning everything from fried onions to peanut butter, sandwiched inside massive sesame seed-flecked buns. We recommend the 303 Green Chile Burger, a two-hander layered with a half-pound beef patty, white cheddar, a house-made chile relleno, and chef Ronaldo Munoz’s zesty pork green chile. One messy bite will reveal why the creation earned top honors at the 2019 Denver Burger Battle. 2641 E. Second Ave., 303-322-7666; 2220 Blake St., 303-297-3644

Cochino Taco

Fans of the (now-closed) Squeaky Bean’s much-lauded cheeseburger can still get a taste of the same patty magic, courtesy of proprietor Johnny Ballen, at his Englewood and Baker taquerias. The lauded Poblano Queso burger—the only one on the menu—consists of a delightfully over-the-top combination of flat-top-crisped beef, American cheese, roasted poblanos, jalapeño crema, fluffy julienned lettuce, creamy house-made queso, and crispy bits of fried jalapeño inside a brioche bun. Eating it is a messy, decadent experience that’s worth every calorie (and potentially stained piece of clothing). 176 S. Broadway, 720-324-8859; 3495 S. Downing St., Englewood, 720-573-6174

The 303 Green Chile Burger at the Cherry Cricket. Photo by Patricia Kaowthumrong

Edge Restaurant and Bar

When the Edge Restaurant and Bar inside the Four Seasons Hotel Denver in LoDo closed temporarily for a remodel in late 2020, we were afraid that the signature Edge burger might not make it onto the revamped menu. Thankfully, chef Jessica Biederman is offering her own take on the classic: a double-stack juicy Angus burger with New York cheddar, pickles, tomato, and black pepper aïoli, and served with impeccable skin-on fries. Down the beauty with a glass of wine after May 31—when the spot reopens with two sleek new bars. Four Seasons Hotel Denver, 1111 14th St., 303-389-3050 

Finley’s Pub

With its stereotypical pub decor—Irish proverbs on signs and tchotchkes everywhere; a Guinness-branded mirror behind the bar; televised sports—you might not expect much from the burger at Finley’s Pub. But the Finley Burger at this nine-year-old Washington Park bar defies assumptions. The juicy patty is crowned with savory short ribs braised to an almost jam-like consistency, a strip of applewood-smoked bacon, and a flourish of rich béarnaise sauce. The burger might be fancier than its surroundings, but it still pairs perfectly with a pint (or two). 375 S. Pearl St., 303-282-4790

Fox Run Cafe

Like everything on the menu at the charming breakfast, lunch, and brunch cafe, the double cheeseburger is prepared with care by owner Lucien Reichert and pastry chef/general manager Kelsie Berens. The dish’s pillowy briochelike buns are baked in-house, the smashed burger patties receive just the right char on the grill, and a 1000 Island–inspired house sauce and tangy, crunchy pickles off set the richness of the melted American cheese. Wash it all down with a Mexican Coke, spiked lemonade, or Rowdy Mermaid Kombucha. 3550 E. Colfax Ave., 303-537-4584

Diner nirvana: a cheeseburger and fries at Fox Run Café. Photo by Sarah Banks

Graves Good Burger

Last September, Nick Graves, the chef behind Lea Jane’s Hot Chicken, debuted Graves Good Burger inside Zeppelin Station, proving he can execute exemplary fried bird and burgers. The spot’s newest creation, dressed with creamy pimento cheese, black pepper bacon, and Tabasco-kissed onion straws, is worth a try. Be sure to add some straight cut fries, audibly crispy potato wedges served with a sweet-salty roasted mushroom ketchup, to your order.

Jim’s Burger Haven

If big-as-your-hand smashburgers are your forte, head to Jim’s Burger Haven, a family-owned greasy spoon that’s served the speciality right since 1961. Every burger features Colorado-raised beef, Aspen Baking Company buns, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, yellow mustard, and cheddar or American cheese—but the size is up to you. Go for a six- or four-inch burger, both available with single, double, or triple patties, and customize it to your liking. For the ultimate indulgence, get it with JBH Dynabites, cheese and diced chile nuggets. 7855 Sheridan Blvd., Arvada, 303-429-5258; 595 E. 88th Ave., Thornton, 303-430-8021

The My F&*%ing Burger at Misfit Snackbar. Photo by Patricia Kaowthumrong

Misfit Snackbar

You never know what unexpected-yet-delicious ingredient combinations—think: crumbled tofu-stuffed fried squash blossoms—will be on the constantly rotating menu at Misfit Snackbar inside Middleman bar, but chef-owner Bo Porytko likes to keep his burger (pretty) simple. He cures brisket in a house seasoning for three days, dry-ages it for another three, and then grinds the meat into moist patty perfection. The result, aptly named My F$#cking Burger, comes with homemade dill pickles, caramelized onions, American cheese, and Misfit sauce (a ranch and Russian dressing hybrid). During peak tomato season in late summer, Porytko will offer a BLT variation with homemade bacon, giving us all something nice to look forward to. 3401 E. Colfax Ave., 201-679-7079

The Mighty Colorado Burger

If you’ve lived in our suds-soaked, camping-obsessed state for any amount of time, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that one of the metro area’s best burgers comes out of a repurposed Airstream permanently parked inside a brewery—Denver Beer Co.’s Arvada outpost, to be precise. There, you can pair your pint of Princess Yum Yum raspberry kolsch with a third-pound, grass-fed-beef patty in a buttery bun with a sheen that says it’s just the right amount of greasy. Topping options are minimal but elevated: The Mushroom Mighty, for example, comes with truffle mayo, arugula, crispy onions, sautèed mushrooms, and Swiss cheese. Watch for specials that coincide with beer releases, like this past spring’s Maui Mighty (seared pineapple, pulled pork, teriyaki glaze, and crispy onions), crafted in celebration of Denver Beer Co.’s Maui Express coconut IPA. 5768 Olde Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada, 303-433-2739

A Mighty Colorado Burger. Photo by Jess LaRusso

Mountain Sun Pubs & Breweries

This 28-year-old Boulder-born institution’s pubs are long-loved destinations for indulgent burgers and thoughtful brews. Build your third-pound, vegetarian-fed Colorado beef burger with the likes of pesto, vegan green chile, avocado, and other toppings; or try one of the classic combinations. We like the Junk Burger, a compilation of sautéed mushrooms and onions, roasted garlic, bacon, mayo, and the standard LTO. The company is also known for its hand-cut fries and will gladly fry you up a new batch, if they’re not to your liking. Multiple locations (Note: Vine Street Pub & Brewery in City Park West and Mountain Sun in Boulder will reopen later this summer; Southern Sun and Under the Sun Pub & Pizza in Boulder and Longs Peak Pub & Taphouse in Longmont are open)

My Brother’s Bar

Frankly, the JCB—or jalapeño cream-cheese burger—has no business being as tasty as it is. Denver’s oldest saloon doesn’t dabble in artisan ingredients or fancy add-ons. It does, however, apply its magical mix of chopped chiles and cream cheese in a shocking quantity to the top bun of this burger, resulting in a rich, spicy, messy delight. 2376 15th St., 303-455-9991

The Junk Burger at the Mountain Sun. Photo by Gavin Harrison

Officers Club

Let’s be honest: We’re not here, ordering a burger, for our health—and this rowdy Lowry hangout’s Big Boy Bacon Burger is definitely going to take a day or two off your expected lifespan. It’s worth it, though. Inspired by the old Big Boy Restaurant burgers (you remember the statues of the kid in the red overalls, right?), this two-patty wonder boasts a higher fat content than the ones owner Sterling Robinson makes at his other restaurants (North County; Billy’s Inn). The flavor is perfectly complemented by gooey cheddar cheese, smoky bacon, and a zesty sauce Robinson straight-up stole from In-N-Out Burger. Your taste buds will thank you, even if your arteries don’t. 84 Rampart Way, 303-284-0714

Park Burger

Since the launch of the original Park Burger location near the University of Denver 12 years ago, the local casual eatery has grown into a five-location (if you include Park & Co.) mini-chain that’s still an enduring favorite for burger-loving Denverites. The combination of DemKota Ranch beef, Aspen Baking Company buns, creamy-tangy homemade burger sauce, and fun toppings (such as the Scarpone’s combo of crispy pancetta, provolone cheese, giardiniera, and a truffle-garlic aïoli) make these burgers endlessly satisfying. Multiple locations

The Pearl Street Pub & Cellar

Don’t let the dusty ambiance and heavy-drinking University of Colorado Boulder students deter you—the Pearl Street Pub is a funky dive with a killer burger. The beefy goodness is cooked on a flat-top grill and served with a zero-fuss array of lettuce, tomato, and onion and a side of piping hot fries. The best part? It costs less than $10, meaning you’ll have extra cash to spend on a shot and a beer at the bar (when in Rome, right?). 1108 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-939-9900 (Note: the Pearl Street Pub is reopening in early June)

Snarfburger 

This spinoff of the beloved sandwich shop proves that Snarfs excels at dishing out delights from both the deli and the grill. A standard made-to-order, all-beef burger is dressed with all of the standard toppings—cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, mayo, pickle, mustard—plus a dash of hot sauce. Of course, you can add Snarf’s signature hot peppers, or if you’re feeling adventurous, a slice of bologna. Bonus: The chain is now serving tater tots, in addition to fries and onion rings. Multiple locations

Satchel’s on 6th

Cozy is the perfect way to describe Satchel’s on 6th, a word that encompasses the warm living-room-like decor of the seven-year-old Country Club spot, its friendly staff, and the way you’ll feel after inhaling its wonderful bar burger. We prefer it cooked to medium rare so the savory juices mingle with the red wine caramelized onions, bacon, fontina cheese, roasted garlic aïoli—but if you’re seeking something meatier, there’s also a new burger on the menu topped with house-smoked pulled pork, pickled onions, sharp cheddar, garlic-jalapeño aïoli. Offset by Satchel’s notoriously addictive duck fat fries, they are both combos that’ll make you feel right at home. 1710 E. Sixth Ave., 303-399-2560

A Snarfburger with Frings (onion rings and fries) and a shake. Photo by Sarah Banks

Stanley Beer Hall

This beer-centric eatery’s award-winning Stanley Cheeseburger—a classic double-patty stacker accented with grilled onions, Russian dressing, and tangy pickles—is always glorious and satisfying. But we’re a big fan of the restaurant’s rotating burger specials. In fact, in honor of 2021’s National Burger Day, it’s offering the Black and Bleu, a masterpiece crowned with two prime rib patties, creamy bleu cheese sauce, black garlic aïoli, and smoky bacon. Whatever you order, it will pair well with a brew, cider, or wine from the 37-tap, pour-it-yourself system. Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas St., Suite 100, Aurora, 720-749-5098 

Stoic & Genuine

Ordering a cheeseburger at a seafood joint is ludicrous—unless you’re eating lunch at Stoic & Genuine. Its half-pound, double-patty beauty is everything we want in a burger: Colorado Certified Angus Beef from Niman Ranch, ground into a 80 percent lean to 20 percent fat ratio for juiciness and flavor; a soft seeded brioche bun from Harvest Moon Bakery; lettuce, tomato, and red onion; and good ol’ American cheese. (Oysters on the half shell are an appropriate side, we think.) Union Station, 1701 Wynkoop St., 303-640-3474

The Stanley Cheeseburger at Stanley Beer Hall. Photo by Evan Semón Photography

Sullivan Scrap Kitchen

To make the zero-waste cafe’s signature burger, chef-owner Terence Rogers sources beef from a local producer like Longmont’s Buckner Family Farm, which provides him with ready-to-butcher half cows, or FoodMaven, a company dedicated to selling oversupplied, imperfect food from distributors. Then, he dry-ages the meat in-house for one to three weeks to ensure it’s as tender as possible. Once the ground beef patty meets the grill, a Blue Blue Bakery brioche-potato bun, cheddar cheese, jammy caramelized onions, house-made pickles, Gotham Greens butter lettuce, tomatoes, onion, and a “kitchen sink” house sauce made with balsamic vinegar, hot sauce, soy sauce, dijon mustard, and about every other other condiment you can think of complete the package. Even better? All of the burger’s components are sustainably sourced and strategically stacked to stop ingredients from slipping out as you devour each bite. Win-win. 1740 E. 17th Ave., 720-242-6292

TAG Burger Bar

This oldie-but-goodie neighborhood joint is consistently packed, and we know why: You can build your own burger, starting with a choice of beef, bison, portobello mushroom, chicken breast, or Impossible patty; there are five kinds of sides, from classic Kennebec fries and tots to mac and cheese with Goldfish; and adults can order spiked milkshakes. The Truffle Shuffle, our favorite signature burger, is an umami-bomb no matter which patty you pick, topped with mushrooms, Swiss, truffle aïoli, and Ruffles potato chip crunchies. 1222 Madison St., 303-736-2260

The Scrap Burger at Sullivan Scrap Kitchen. Photo courtesy of Sullivan Scrap Kitchen

Tap & Burger

The Shroom Luva’s burger at this home-grown mini chain has racked up scores of well-deserved accolades over the years, but a newer addition to the menu is the latest object of our affections. The Tap, winner of the 2020 Highland Tap Burger Shuffle, is a combo of the succulent beef patty, crispy onions, Swiss cheese, French onion dip aïoli, leafy lettuce, and red onion. Accompanied by hot au jus—a heavenly liquid that you’ll also want to dunk your hand-cut fries or sweet potato tots into—it’s every bit as decadent as it sounds. Bonus: The Tap is available at all three locations, but will also likely be on the menu at the new Westminster outpost, scheduled to open in late summer. 2219 W. 32nd Ave., 720-287-4493; 1565 N. Raleigh St., #100, 720-456-6779; 4910 S. Newport St., 720-583-1367

West End Tap House

While the attentive service, strong beer selection, and plethora of televisions make Berkeley’s West End Tap House an ideal game-day destination, the Colorado natural burger is tasty enough to warrant a visit on its own. The hulking, half-pound patty is perfectly seasoned and run-down-your-elbows juicy, making accoutrements such as Gruyère, thick-cut bacon, and guacamole feel rather unnecessary. Order it with the ultra-crispy Belgian fries, which come with your choice of 10 sauces (you can’t go wrong with the Parmesan peppercorn) 3945 Tennyson St., 303-433-4759

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