The 17 Best Burger Joints in Denver
From classic local institutions to imports like Shake Shack, look no further for the best burgers in the Mile High.
Denver’s got a lot of incredible restaurants, and burger joints are no exception. Burger aficionados can find everything from hyperlocal green chile and jalapeño-topped burgers to the ultimate smashed burger to Mexican-style burgers and everything in between here. The list of Denver’s best burgers is constantly seeing new contenders alongside the reliable favorites and classics. Here are our picks for who takes the patty cake when it comes to good stuff between buns.
Four locations across the Metro means easy access to some of the freshest, most satisfying burgers around. Options are your friend here, since you can choose among beef, Buffalo, veggie, or turkey for your patty base, and toppings include goat or Brie cheese, housemade guac, and crispy onions, among the standards. Favorites include the Scarpone, Getting Figgy With It, and naturally, the Classic Double.
Humboldt Kitchen And Bar
Winning second place People’s Choice in 2021’s Burger Battle, Humboldt has some claim to the burger scene. It might be the only burger on their menu, but for one thing, it’s a short rib/brisket patty, and for another, it’s stacked exceptionally high with equally fresh and tasty toppings, including sugar-cured bacon, red onion jam, and cracked pepper aioli. Wash it down with one of Humboldt’s signature craft cocktails and call it an ideal day.
You can’t trust every eatery that’s been around a long time, but a family-run biz that’s been serving up burgers for 28 years is a bit of an exception. If what you’re looking for is one of those epic, bursting-from-the-buns burgers in a cute little paper wrapper that also packs an absolute sensory punch, stop in. If you’re bringing the whole fam, great, because burgers aren’t the only menu item here—they are definitely, however, the hottest-selling.
What used to be a hard to catch, very occasional dish 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.
Sloan's Lake Tap & Burger
Two words: Shroom Luva’s. This burger spot from the team behind Bar Dough and Señor Bear has expanded to four locations in recent years, and they offer a ton of burger options including a make-your-own menu. But one signature, must-try burger is the Shroom Luva’s, loved for its umami explosion of sautéed mushrooms and white truffle aïoli with melted Swiss. It’s a classic combo that elevates the burger from backyard BBQ staple to “damn, I need another” craving.
My Brother's Bar
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
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).
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. Everything on the menu is under $10, 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.
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.
Hamburguesas Don Jesus
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.
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.
5280 Burger Bar
With the 16th Street Mall and Westminster locations to choose from, 5280 continues to build burgers with carefully crafted topping combos like the aptly named Perfect Burger with Gruyère, bacon onion jam and roasted garlic aioli and the Durango with jalapeño cream cheese, fried onion straws, and pecan smoked bacon.
Bob's Atomic Burgers
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. The dining room is small but worth a stop in, though now that summer weather has arrived, a spot on the shaded patio might be what the doctor ordered. 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.
Twansburger is the now-coveted 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, previously 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.
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. Amidst the more refined plates, the LJ burger still stands out as a fan-favorite with its 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.
Misfit Snack Bar
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.
Fox Run Cafe
This place is known for having a little bit of everything you might be craving between the hours of 9 am and 3 pm. But aside from tasty breakfast and brunch fixes, Fox Run has a burger to be reckoned with. With not one but two smashed patties between homemade buns, a little house secret sauce and Fox Run chips (plus all the standard goodies), it’s picture-perfect and tastes just as good as it looks.
Colin Wrenn is a Thrillist contributor.
Erica Buehler is a Denver-based freelance writer. Follow her @e_buehler on Instagram and @e_buehler_ on Twitter for more updates on Denver food and other Mile High shenanigans.