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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 31 favorites in and around the Mile High City, including 15 new additions this year. We hope you’re hungry.
Editor’s Note: This living list of the best burgers was last updated on April 21, 2023. Did we miss your favorite? Email us at email@example.com.
Best Burger Restaurant Additions
Led by executive chef Max McKissock, the culinary pros behind LoDo’s A5 know their beef, and the steakhouse’s burger is a testament to their talents for transforming any cut into a meaty masterpiece. The foundation of the dish, available exclusively on the bar menu, is a six-ounce Wagyu patty, which is jazzed up with a parade of elegant accompaniments, including jammy griddled onions, crunchy zucchini pickles, creamy butterkäse cheese, and a umami-rich sauce. McKissock’s fries, crafted with strips of starchy Kennebec spuds that are double blanched to ensure ultra crunchiness, are a worthy side (as is a vodka martini on draft, only $10 during happy hour). 1600 15th St.
Loco moco is a quintessential Hawaiian dish consisting of a hamburger, a fried egg, and brown gravy served over white rice, so it was a no-brainer for Adrift to turn the iconic dish into a full-fledged sandwich for its spring menu this year. The tiki bar stacks up two smashed beef and chorizo patties, cheddar cheese, a fried egg, microgreens, and furikake (a Japanese seasoning often made with dried seaweed and sesame seeds) on a Hawaiian bun, then slathers the already drippy burger with sweet tonkatsu sauce and spicy Kewpie aïoli. It’s a messy affair, so sop up the juices with the accompanying Volcano fries (also topped with the spicy aïoli) for a proper gut-busting experience. 218 S. Broadway
Bud’s Cafe & Bar
Things that Bud’s Cafe & Bar in Sedalia (between Denver and Castle Rock) serves up really, really well: burgers, cheeseburgers, and a classic no-frills roadhouse vibe. Things that Bud’s doesn’t serve at all: french fries. Save yourself a good talking to and don’t ask for fries; instead be grateful for the perfect burger you’re about to devour and the bag of Lay’s potato chips that accompany it. The bar has been steaming those greasy burgers—which come as single or double, with cheese or without— since 1948, so yeah, they know what they’re doing. 5453 Manhart Ave., Sedalia
Cliff Blauvelt and Jesse Moore, the chef-owner and executive chef behind Bodega Denver, respectively, are sandwich masters. The evidence is their breakfast and lunch lineup, which brims with tempting two-handers such as the green chile falafel, fluffy fried chickpea balls, tater tots, herbaceous cucumber salad, and tahini on house-made flatbread or the croissant sandwich with pork belly, Swiss, and green chile honey mustard. While you’ll want to return to the Sunnyside spot to try them all, the Double Bodega Burger, two garlic-scented patties layered with American and pepper jack cheeses, dilly pickled onions, and “the fanciest sauce,” is the creation we crave the most. Get it with the mixed bag of fries, a mélange of five types of crispy spuds. 2651 W. 38th Ave.
Leave it to a French restaurant to gussy up the all-American cheeseburger. Brasserie Brixton originally put their now-staple burger on the menu to offer its Cole neighbors something familiar and affordable. While skyrocketing beef prices have driven up that circa-2020 burger and a beer special for $20, the two smashed patties draped in melted Gruyère cheese is still a value—and one of the best burgers, period—at $20 (just minus the beer these days). And the crispy matchstick fries that come with it are light years ahead of any drive-thru. 3701 N. Williams St.
When you’re craving greasy burgers with a side of karaoke and sticky floors, Littleton locals know the only remedy is to visit the Castle, the South Broadway’s long-standing dive located in a building shaped like, well, a small castle. The bar stools at the sunken bar don’t match, and the tequila-seasoned booths are threadbare, but visit on the right Friday night and you still might find fresh lilies in the women’s bathroom. For burgers, any choice is a good one, but we like the jalepeño cheddar burger, piled high with fresh, thick-cut chile slices and cheddar cheese—but be sure to add some extra fire to your handheld via slick, roasted green chile strips for $1.50. Pro tip: Visit on Tuesdays, when burgers are buy one, get one half off, or during happy hour when pint-size well drinks are just $4.50. 6657 S. Broadway, Littleton
Let’s be honest: burgers at pizza joints can be a bit suspect. That is not the case at Fat Sully’s, though, where the Lights Out surpasses menu filler status and joins the ranks of the best burgers in town. For the sizable double smashburger, Fat Sully’s uses aged American cheese and a brioche bun, and then you can choose from pickles, onions, and a version of burger sauce to top it all off. The result is a wildly flavorful and satisfying stacker that you can split with a friend (along with some waffle fries and a couple of beers). Or, if you’re hungry, you can have one all to yourself. 141 S. Broadway; 8271 S. Quebec St., Centennial
If you’re wondering what the “and more” is at Genna Rae Wings & More, look no further than the jerk burger. You’ll find the usuals—gooey American cheese, iceberg lettuce, and sliced tomato—but the thick beef patties are spiced with jerk seasoning (which includes ground chile pepper, allspice, and thyme), giving the burger smokiness and sweetness. Grilled onions and a wash of jerk sauce doubles down on that flavor profile, which is popular in Caribbean cuisines like that of the Virgin Islands, where chef-owner Genn Dickerson is from. 1819 E. 28th Ave.
Minnesotans might have invented the perfect burger: the Juicy Lucy, a volcanic patty with melted cheese encased inside. And thanks to Minneapolis native Michelle “Meesh” McGlone, Denverites can taste the magic at Berkeley’s Lucy’s Burger Bar, which began slinging the molten delicacies in summer 2021. Though McGlone and partner Nate Collis won’t share their proprietary recipe, the secret is in the two quarter-pounders wrapped around a hunk of cheese that melts into gooey perfection as it cooks. Wait a beat before biting into your meal (it’s served piping hot), and sip on a selection from the mission-driven drink menu, which features pours from minority- and women-owned makers, including Mortal Hard Kombucha and Doña Loca mezcal. 4018 Tennyson St.
Move over, fries: At LunchBoxx, the extensive selection of sides is as alluring as the burger at LunchBoxx. Chef Zach Spot’s grab-and-go-friendly eatery inside Denver Central Market is the only place in Denver you can buy a burger—his is a classic combo of a third-pound patty with American cheese, LTO, and a tangy sauce on a sesame seed bun—with your choice of nearly a dozen deli-style sides, including two kinds of potato salad, roasted root vegetables, and smash fingerlings. Tasty shoestring fries are available, too, though, if that’s what you’re in the mood for. 2669 Larimer St.
Alex Seidel, the chef-proprietor behind Fruition, had never cooked in a restaurant that served burgers before he put one on the menu at Mercantile Dining & Provision inside Union Station. To execute the dish, the James Beard Award winner drew inspiration from a cheeseburger sold for under $2 by a beloved diner in his hometown of Racine, Wisconsin, Kewpee Sandwich Shop. The burger on Mercantile’s lunch menu features elevated touches—think: caramelized onions, house pickles, and a potato sesame bun from Füdmill, Seidel’s wholesale pastry company—but like Kewpee’s, it gains delightfully tangy-sweet notes from a slathering of the (almost) namesake Japanese mayonnaise. 1701 Wynkoop St., Suite 155
The burger at Osaka’s in Boulder is unlike any other on our list. In lieu of bread and a beef patty, proteins such as Magifuji pork belly (the wagyu of the pig world), grilled chicken breast, and fried cod are snuggled between two sturdy cylinders of okonomiyaki (a savory Japanese pancake made with cabbage and eggs) with condiments like wasabi mayo, spicy miso, and teriyaki chicken. Owner and retired engineer Koji Tamura and his wife, Mari, spent more than five years perfecting the concept before eventually adding it to the menu at Osaka’s, the Japanese restaurant they opened off Canyon and 28th streets in 2017. The Tamuras offer several versions of the one-of-a-kind Osaka Burger, which Koji says you can’t find anywhere else in the world. Feast on the sukiyaki beef, a medley of thin slices of sweet-soy-glazed beef, fried egg, scallion, and lettuce. (Note: They are only available on Monday, Thursday, and Sunday, so plan accordingly.) 2460 Canyon Blvd., Suite 1, Boulder
A sunny spring day begs for a good patio, burger, and flowing margaritas—which Platte River Bar & Grill has all of in abundance. Located within a few steps of the South Platte River Trail, this neighborhood joint has been a favorite haunt among cyclists, runners, tubers, and bikers for over two decades. The burger menu is short but formidable, with five half-pound varieties, each made with a juicy mound of Angus chuck beef loaded with thoughtful toppings. The Santa Fe Classic, for instance, is slathered with house guacamole, roasted Poblano chile strips, and sharp cheddar cheese, while the Mexican features a juicy beef patty wrapped in a flour tortilla and topped with refried beans, pico de gallo, and house green chile. Add a Platte margarita (available in 16- or 32-ounce pours), and soak up the sun for as long as you’d like. 5995 S. Santa Fe Drive, Littleton
The cuisine at Hosea Rosenberg’s nearly six-year-old Santo is a love letter to his hometown of Taos, New Mexico, and the burger is no exception. To make the beauty, executive chef Chris Canales and his team pile a beef patty with chopped Hatch green chiles, which play well with the melty house cheese blend. A smoked-paprika-zinged aïoli adds some extra zip, while the lettuce, tomato, and onion bring crunch and freshness. The item is such a crowd-pleaser that Canales adds a rotating burger special to the menu every week (typically posted on Instagram). A past favorite featured green chile mac and cheese, thick-cut bacon, the house cheese blend, red onion, and morita (chipotle pepper) mayo. 1265 Alpine Ave., Boulder
Located in RiNo’s popular drink hall, Number 38, this burger-and-chicken-focused eatery from former Ultreia executive chef Adam Branz and partners David Wright and Jessica Richter slings regionally inspired patties from around the U.S. Case in point: the Mississippi Slug Burger, a fried patty made from a mix of beef and bread crumbs and piled high with “too many” pickles and drizzled with “sawse” (a riff of Thousand Island dressing). West Coast aficionados can get their kicks with the Washington Goop Burger, a monstrosity assembled from a smashed bacon-beef patty, American cheese, and pepperoncini peppers. Round out your meal with an offering from one of Number 38’s many drink portals and kick it on the expansive, family-friendly patio while listening to live tunes. 3560 Chestnut Place
Our Old Favorites
Annette chef-owner Caroline Glover never intended to add a burger to the restaurant’s menu. That is until her glorious creation—a 7X wagyu 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 dinner menu. Accompanied by a tangle of crispy fries and roasted garlic aïoli, it’s fantastic eaten in the bar and dining room or straight out of a takeout box. Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas St., Aurora
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 $8? 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
This cheerful diner is a love letter to owner Razz Cortés-Maceda’ 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 sweet plantains and seared provolone. Go for the Sunnyside, an Angus beef patty stacked with pepperjack cheese, jalapeños, lettuce, tomato, and sour cream and served with a side of mild house-made pork green chile (ideal for smothering your tater tots or hand-cut fries, which come with the meal). If you manage to save room for dessert, the churros are divine. 9598 E. Montview Blvd., Aurora
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 78-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. Go for the People’s Choice pick at the 2022 Denver Burger Battle—the 983 Big Cheesy, layered with bacon jalapeño jam, a fried poblano, mac and cheese, and jalapeño Cheetos. Residents of the southern suburbs can also look forward to a Littleton location, which is scheduled to debut later this spring. 2641 E. Second Ave.; 2220 Blake St.
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 three Front Range 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; 3495 S. Downing St., Englewood; 7702 Ralston Rd., Arvada
Like everything on the menu at the charming breakfast, lunch, and brunch cafe, the double cheeseburger is prepared with care by owner Lucien Reichert. The dish’s pillowy briochelike buns are baked in-house, the smashed burger patties receive just the right char on the grill, and a Thousand Island–inspired house sauce and tangy, crunchy pickles offset 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.
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. Get it with a side of Jimmies (fries and onion rings) and a chocolate shake. 7855 Sheridan Blvd., Arvada; 595 E. 88th Ave., Thornton
You never know what unexpected-yet-delicious ingredient combinations—think: roasted delicata squash tossed in house-made Rice Krispies—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). 3401 E. Colfax Ave.
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, sautéed mushrooms, and Swiss cheese. 5768 Olde Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada
This 30-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 in Boulder and Longmont
Frankly, the JCB—or jalapeño cream-cheese burger—has no business being as tasty as it is. Denver’s oldest saloon, which celebrates 150 years in 2023, 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.
Since the launch of the original Park Burger location near the University of Denver 14 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 perfectly charred beef, 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 (Tip: Visit the RiNo outpost on Tuesday for the $9 burger-and-beer special).
This spinoff of the beloved sandwich shop proves that Snarf’s 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. Multiple locations
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 brioche-potato bun, cheddar cheese, jammy caramelized onions, house-made pickles, butter lettuce, tomatoes, onion, and a “kitchen sink” house sauce—balsamic vinegar, hot sauce, soy sauce, dijon mustard, and about every other condiment you can think of mixed up—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.
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 winning over Denverites. Ask for the Steakhouse—a combo of a succulent half-pound wagyu beef patty, Swiss cheese, house-made steak sauce, shredded lettuce, tomato, and crispy onions on a sesame brioche bun—is every bit as decadent as it sounds. We like it with the sweet potato waffle or hand-cut fries, but you can also opt for onion rings, a side salad, broccoli, or slaw.
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 added-price accoutrements such as Gruyère, thick-cut bacon, and guacamole feel rather unnecessary. Order it with the super-crispy Belgian fries, which come with your choice of 10 sauces (you can’t go wrong with the Parmesan peppercorn). 3945 Tennyson St.