Crazy. Creative. Unlike any burger joint you’ve ever seen. This is how I described Crave Real Burgers in Castle Rock to a friend after my first visit a couple of weeks ago. (Crave also has an outpost in Colorado Springs.)

The burgers’ common denominator is a fresh-ground chuck patty and a bun. From there the choices are a wild adventure of unexpected ingredients: The Love Stinks layers loads of roasted garlic, cream cheese, onions, and roasted red pepper. The Fatty Melt stacks bacon, cheese, and pickles squished between two whole grilled-cheese sandwiches. The Nutty Professor (pictured), which I selected for lunch, combines peanut butter, bacon, jalapeños, and onions. Sure, it sounds odd, but the combination juxtaposed sweet with spicy, smoky with nutty, in a thoroughly novel and delicious way.

Crave offers a list of equally creative milk shakes. I continued the peanut butter theme and ordered a shake that combined the nutty spread with chocolate ice cream and streaks of hot fudge. The treat was so thick, the straw stood upright in the center of the glass all through lunch.

Bonus: Crave is one of 12 contenders at this year’s Burger Battle (August 22) at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Buy tickets here.

3982 Limelight Ave., Castle Rock, 303-814-2829; 7465 N. Academy Blvd., Colorado Springs, 719-264-7919