At any given hour, Denver’s Union Station is buzzing with all sorts of visitors: travelers just passing through, regulars stopping in for lunch or coffee, and nervous-looking social media users looking for their Tinder dates. It’s a place where you can find just about anything your palate desires. Seafood, craft cocktails, burgers, ice cream: you name it and Union Station has you covered — including meat-free diners. In light of this week’s burger holiday (National Hamburger Day), we stopped in at Acme Burger & Brat Corporation to see how the house-made veggie burger holds its own against a beefy menu.
The veggie patty is crafted from a simple yet effective recipe of three types of beans, spices and oatmeal — a surprisingly common ingredient among meatless burgers. Oatmeal helps bind the other ingredients together, gives the patty a little more bulk and takes on whatever flavors are added to it. Acme sandwiches its veggie burger between potato buns and tops it with lettuce, tomato, onion and Acme sauce (a creamy and mild spread that didn't seem much different than mayo).
Digging into this messy marvel like a feeding behemoth will leave you either relieved that your Tinder hookup didn't pan out or highly self-conscious you'll elicit points and stares from the crowd in Union Station's grand lobby (Acme doesn't have its own seating, so dining in means being on full display). But really, is there ever a sophisticated way to eat a burger? Just go for it — and grab napkins. Pro tip: Leave the wrapper on as long as you can while eating. Once it comes off, pieces of the bean concoction will fall out. (Oh, and don’t wear lipstick.)
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The three-bean medley means more variety and depth of flavor than your typical black bean burger; the consistency is on point too. The beans aren't completely pureed but neither are they too chunky — Acme has landed on a balanced middle ground, including spices that shine through without becoming overwhelming.
Overall, it’s a great option if you want a veggie item that’s a little more filling than Acme's kale ginger salad (although that looked delicious, too). It’s quick, cheap and so much better than the frozen veggie patties some restaurants are somehow still getting away with serving. Fries are extra, but worth it. And you can’t go wrong with a little ice cream from Milkbox Ice Creamery — which serves Little Man ice cream, some of it vegan — afterward.