Until now, Larkburger has been content with a slow move toward burger domination in Colorado. The chain launched in Edwards in 2006 as a casual spin-off of founder Thomas Salamunovich's fine-dining restaurant, Larkspur; today there are twelve Larkburger locations. But recent changes foreshadow increased growth for the company, including last fall's hiring of new CEO Todd Coerver — who formerly worked for Taco Cabana and Whataburger — and current planning for the first out-of-state Larkburger. The newest link in the quick-casual chain will debut in Kansas City in just a couple of weeks.
For those who would rather focus on the food than the business side of things, there's even bigger news: Larkburger just launched its first-ever specialty, limited-time burger. The chimichurri-bacon cheeseburger is now available at all locations. The new sandwich starts with a Larkburger Black Angus patty cooked to order (Larkburger is one of the few burger bars able to consistently nail the temperature that customers request), and then piles on pepper Jack cheese, crispy jalapeño slices, applewood-smoked bacon, arugula and Argentinian-style chimichurri sauce along with the standard lettuce, tomato, onion and house sauce.
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The result is a drippy mess — a great thing, as far as burgers go. Tangy, spicy and savory flavors combine in a way intentionally designed by chef Tony Friel, Larkburger's director of research and development. "The build was just as big an exercise to get right as the ingredients themselves," says Coerver, who points out that each ingredient is placed in a specific order so that the flavors and textures all come together. For example, the developers felt that two kinds of greens were important: The green leaf lettuce adds crispness, while the arugula adds bold, peppery notes.
"All of the ingredients were already in the Larkburger pantry," Coerver adds. That means that every ingredient has already been used in another menu items, helping the new offering fit in well with the existing lineup; the chimichurri is made fresh at each location.
Like Larkburger's other offerings, the new burger comes in two sizes, priced at $4.99 and $7.99. Coerver says he expects to run the special for eight weeks before replacing it with something new, but that could change if the chimichurri-bacon cheeseburger is a big hit.
He's understandably mum about future specials, considering the number of other hamburger restaurants vying for customer dollars. But if the chimichurri-bacon burger is any indication of what's to come, we'll be in line when the next one rolls out.