The 13 Best Burger Joints in Denver

From old-school to high-end.

Denver is a city that cares about burgers. Chefs here are elevating the dish from its humble origins into something downright sublime, while others are keeping it simple, providing a nice reminder that burgers of all shapes, sizes, and approaches deserve a seat at the table. Not only that, burgers epitomize summer and are especially delicious when eaten right there at a table or counter. With so many to choose from, there’s really no way to go wrong in the Mile High.

Annette

Aurora

What used to be a hard to catch, very occasional staple at this award-winning eatery from equally award-winning chef Caroline Glover is now a staple of their dine-in and takeout offerings. The Annette burger features 7x Wagyu beef served up on a house-made English muffin with chow chow, sour pickles, and cheddar. It’s a perfectly crafted burger, but more than that, it’s a very real (and very delicious) symbol of Glover’s range as a chef.

Available for Delivery/Takeout

Two words: Shroom Luva’s. This burger spot from the team behind Bar Doug and Señor Bear has expanded to three locations in recent years, and they offer a ton of burger options including a make-your-own menu. But one signature burger needs to be on your must-try list. The Shroom Luva’s is, well, loved, for it’s umami explosion of sauteed mushrooms and white truffle aioli with melted swiss. It’s a classic combo that elevates the burger from backyard BBQ staple to “damn, I need another” craving.

Available for Delivery/Takeout

As the oldest bar in Denver, this spot’s got some colorful history, including notable former patrons like beat writers Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady. While it has been continuously serving hooch since 1873, the current incarnation has been bringing impressive burgers under the current name since 1970. My Brother’s Bar is an institution any way you slice it, with the Johnny Burger—topped with jalapeno cream cheese, grilled onions, and Swiss and American cheese—being a certified classic. 

The Cherry Cricket

Cherry Creek

The Cricket’s been serving up food in Denver for 70 years, so it’s pretty clear that this 1950s trucker bar-turned-burger joint is doing something right. It starts with the basics: a half-pound patty on a sesame seed bun. Then you take over, picking from the extensive list of additions. At this point, this place has seen it all, so if herb cream cheese, grilled pineapple, and corned beef are what you’re craving—go for it. Plus now there’s a second location near Coors Field featuring arcade games and fish tanks and those same beloved burger patties loaded with all the peanut butter and bacon your heart desires (seriously, try that combo, it rocks).

Available for Delivery/Takeout

Snarfburger

Capital Hill

Yup, that Snarf’s. One of the region’s most beloved local sandwich chains has brought their burger game to the Mile High, and you should be excited. Snarfburger first debuted in Boulder but is now open on Federal and in Cap Hill. Nothing on the menu is over $8, and that includes a double cheeseburger with both Swiss and American. Premium toppings like bacon and avocado are available for an extra charge, but you don’t need those for a satisfying bite. For the full experience, add a side of super crispy onion rings and a cup of frozen custard, all of which will cost you just over $15 total.

Available for Delivery/Takeout

La Fogata

Goldsmith

Let’s start with the basics: What exactly is a Denver-style Mexican hamburger? It’s a beef patty (preferably char-grilled) and refried beans tucked inside a tortilla, smothered with pork green chile (because this is Denver after all), and usually topped with melted cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes. Does this really count as a burger? Or is it more of a burrito? Take a bite of La Fogata’s version and tell us if you really care. This duo of casual south Denver eateries (which also happens to have one of the best house margs in town) has been low-key serving up some of the Mile High’s best Mexican since 1990, and on a menu of hits, the Mexican hamburger is at the top of the list.

Available for Delivery/Takeout

While the “Mexican hamburger” in Denver means a smothered, melty plate of meat and cheese under a tortilla blanket, in Mexico, hamburguesa stands serve up a totally different take on char-grilled beef, often topped with sliced pineapple, ham, avocado, and other less traditional American choices. Enter Hamburguesas Don Jesus, an easy-to miss spot where that approach is upped even further with burgers featuring a bevy of unexpected topping combos. Exhibit A: the Texana. It starts with a familiar base—a beef patty on a sesame seed bun with cheese, ketchup, mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, and onion. But then things get interesting. Jalapeno joins the party along with avocado, a slice of ham, and... wait for it... a bacon wrapped hotdog (or as they call it, “weenie”). Other menu choices include toppings like chicken nuggets, anaheim chiles, and sliced pineapple. Go big and be adventurous and you will be rewarded.

Shake Shack
Shake Shack burger | MANU PADILLA/SHUTTERSTOCK

Shake Shack

Multiple locations

It’s not local, obviously. But when Shake Shack finally opened a Denver outpost in March 2018, there was a line out the door for a reason. There is no denying the pure, blissful craveability of their classic ShackBurger—not to mention the vegetarian-friendly cheese-stuffed, crispy fried wonder that is the ‘Shroom Burger and the satisfying tang of their regional special, the Green Chile CheddarShack Burger.

Available for Delivery/Takeout

5280 Burger Bar

Multiple locations

With all locations, including the one on 16th Street Mall and the other in Westminster now back open, 5280 continues to build burgers with carefully crafted topping combos like the aptly named “Perfect Burger” gruyère, bacon onion jam, pickled red onions, shredded lettuce, and roasted garlic aioli and the Durango with jalapeño cream cheese, lettuce, roasted red peppers, fried onion straws, and pecan smoked bacon. Perfect indeed.

Available for Delivery/Takeout

This burger shack with a retro feel keeps things simple and fun, just the way a good burger should be. The patties are charred just right, the toppings are fresh, and the onion petals are crunchy. With a small dining room, Bob’s has continued to veer on the safe side, with plans to open back up for dine-in soon. It’s a fully satisfying, classic burger experience, even if you’ve gotta take it home before enjoying it for what should be just a little bit longer.

Available for Delivery/Takeout

Twansburger is the new burger stand from Antoine Villaume. A food and beverage guy through and through, Villaume has been working his way through fine dining kitchens since moving stateside from Paris in the ‘90s, most recently spending a stint at local ramen crown jewel Uncle. The menu at this roving pop-up is simple, serving either a single or a double with hand-crafted and expertly sourced toppings that pay homage to the classic, no-frills prototypes that started it all. Twansburger can usually be found at some kind of open market and can easily be sniffed out. It’s the place making the whole neighborhood smell like summer.

Local Jones

Cherry Creek

Situated in Cherry Creek’s utterly elegant Halcyon Hotel, Local Jones is a fine place to enjoy expertly crafted renditions of American classics, all produced with fresh, and exquisitely sourced ingredients. You can find Carrot “Osso Buco” and Alamosa Bass alongside beet hummus and beef tartare. But amidst the more refined plates, the LJ Cheeseburger still stands out as an underrated expression of chef Josh Sutcliff’s broad vision of cuisine. Roasted onions, shredded lettuce, cheddar, and house sauce on a potato bun put this square in the no-fuss category, providing yet another nice reminder that in the world of burgers, less is often more.

Indoor and patio dining are open, with online ordering available through ChowNow.

Misfit Snack Bar
Courtesy of Misfit Snack Bar

Misfit Snack Bar

East Colfax

In a menu largely stocked with the outlandish and the whimsical, Misfit Snackbar’s burger could be considered tame by comparison. The menu changes frequently to highlight chef Bo Porytko’s endless penchant for the inventive, though the burger stands as an emblem of his ability to knock out the classics with panache. Much like everything else, this burger is a rare breed and deserves to be ordered as part of a larger meal alongside items like celery root schnitzel and Szechuan tofu wontons. But if you opt to order the burger alone, deep satisfaction and a lasting imprint are pretty much guaranteed.

Misfit Snackbar is located in Middleman Cocktail Bar and is available indoors, on the patio, and to-go.

Colin Wrenn is a Thrillist contributor.
Molly Martin is the food & drink editor for Westword. She enjoys long walks to the nearest burrito joint and nights spent sipping cocktails on Colfax. Keep up with her Mile High adventures at @mollydbu on Instagram.