Everyone loves a good burger (even the vegetarians have the Keenan and Kel movie), but when it comes time for folks who write about good burgers in Denver to name the best, the same names tend to come up again and again. But Denver has plenty more under-the-radar beefy goodness out there that's worthy of your ravenous consumption. Here are eight examples that you won't find on the "best burgers" list from Eater. Or Westword. Or even Thrillist!
Blackened Bacon Burger
Falling Rock Taphouse, LoDo
The Blackened Bacon Burger may look fairly conventional, but the half-pound patty is seasoned with a spicy cajun rub that imparts some serious flavor before it's topped with bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and a cajun mayo. It's a bit messy, but the flavor combo is well worth a few destroyed napkins. Bonus: there're more than 75 beers at your disposal to pair with it.
Highland Tavern, Highland
This hidden gem has the best tater tots in Denver, so it's no surprise that they're getting the job done burger-wise as well. There are several excellent burgers to choose from, but for those with a big appetite (and an elastic waistband), try the Stupid Burger: double patties, double bacon, and double cheese with a sunny side up egg, LTO, and house pickles. It comes with a side of red chili cheese fries, because why not?
Green Chile Cheeseburger
Denver natives have known for years that Chubby's has the secret recipe to cure their hangovers: super-spicy green chile. It's even better when it's inside (or on top of) a plain-old cheeseburger. This starts as a relatively unassuming patty, but add the green chile and you'll have a perfect little burger wrapped in foil to melt the cheese and keep the bread warm.
Vesper Lounge, Capitol Hill
Vesper's motto is "no anger", which you will understand once you bite into their cheeseburger. The meat is juicy and the housemade pickles add just the right amount of crunch to every bite. The thin-cut fries are seasoned with baharat, an Arabian spice that brings a far different flavor than what you find at your typical burger joint.
Second Home Burger
Second Home Kitchen + Bar, Cherry Creek
For a more upscale burger experience, get to Second Home, located inside Cherry Creek's JW Marriot. The patio is a draw all by itself, but it's even better when you order a burger to enjoy while cozying up by the fire pit. The grass-fed Creekstone beef patty is charbroiled but juicy, and the pillowy soft roll keeps everything together.
Large Double (or Triple!) Meat Hamburger
Grandpa's Burger Haven, Southwest
Don't let this hole-in-the-wall on South Federal fool you. This old-school burger shack serves shakes, onion rings, and burgers so large they look like flying saucers. The burger patties are very thin, so maybe order a double or triple. All burgers come with LTO, mustard, and street cred! They won't win any beauty pageants, but it's what's inside that counts.
D Bar, City Park (but moving soon!)
D Bar is on top of the dessert game, but did you know they make a mean burger? The KGB Burger is hardly conventional: 6oz of Kobe beef on an herb cheese waffle, with garlic aioli, white cheddar, applewood-smoked bacon, Bibb lettuce, and heirloom tomato. If Malkovich had been eating one of these instead of Oreos, he might not have lost all his money to Matt Damon.
The Lolaburguesa is not only fun to say, it's fun to eat. The ground short-rib-and-chuck patty is topped with pickled chiles, a tomato-bacon jam, avocado, crispy onions, and queso. It's only available during weekend brunch from 10am-2pm, so get there and don't forget to order some tequila while you're at it.
1. Grandpa's Burger Haven23 S Federal Blvd, Denver
2. Falling Rock Taphouse1919 Blake St, Denver
3. Highland Tavern3400 Navajo St, Denver
4. Chubby's1231 W 38th Ave, Denver
5. Vesper Lounge233 E 7th Ave, Denver
6. Second Home Kitchen + Bar150 Clayton Ln, Denver
7. D Bar Desserts494 E 19th St, Denver
8. Lola1575 Boulder St, Denver
Grandpa's Burger Haven is a hole-in-the-wall on S Federal that serves huge burgers (6" large size). The patties are pretty thin, so consider grabbing a double- or triple-patty number to satisfy your beef quota.
The phrase "less is more" sometimes can apply to beer bars with a small, curated list of rare, specifically chosen beers, but in the case of Mile High's Falling Rock, more is more. It's not only one of Denver's more important bars, it's easily one of the country's, with 30%+ of the 90 taps featuring CO beers, along with 100+ bottles from around the world. The brick walls are lined with beer bottles and vintage signs, and there's ample couch seating and booth space in addition to pool tables and dart boards.
Highland Tavern has a great patio, ping pong table, and brunch. With endless grits, eggs, and beers. 'Nuff said.
Chubby's is like your college fraternity best friend that you try to distance yourself from (because they're not the bestttt thing for you), but you are too weak to resist what they're throwing down. Head in for some delicious (and probably addicting) Mexican, and top it with some of their green chili.
Carrying on the vibe and spirit of The Lancer Lounge, its newborn little bro The Vesper Lounge is filling its shoes with beer/ shot combos, hefty bar bites, and signature cocktails.
Second Home is a nouveau-comfy Cherry Creek spot serving up "American home cooking with spins on timeless favorites." Think along the lines of tender belly sausage and a Mediterranean frittata, and you know what? You deserve it.
D Bar is a unique Colorado establishment serving up exquisitely unique treats and refreshing libations.
This go-to Mexican spot sports sweeping city views, table-side guac, and other traditional Mexican fare, and a daily 4-6p happy hour (Mondays are happy hour all night!) featuring $4 sangria. Step things up with a Fuego Verde cocktail (Corazon blanco, muddled jalapeno, agave).