Big Papa's BBQ
On the best days, you can smell Big Papa's from across the parking lot. On the best days, you somehow manage to sneak in between the rushes and be out of the place in ten minutes, tops, with an order of Denver's best ribs. But even on bad days, those ribs are good enough to turn everything else around.

Best Big-Ass Burger With a Side of Rock and Roll

The Counter

The Counter
The Counter is a concept restaurant, a pure product of the 21st century, of the fast-casual boom and West Coast culture. The interior is spare and spartan; the staff wears blue jeans and tattoo-art-inspired shirts. The art on the walls is black and white, with a rock-and-roll theme. And the burgers? They're huge and bloody and sold sushi-bar style, with a slip of paper and a pencil so that you can choose from among a plethora of artful and interesting toppings. And then enjoy a bottle of beer or glass of wine while you wait for the mad-scientist burger of your dreams.
Watercourse Foods
Danielle Lirette
It's a measure of how far this city has come in the pursuit of dangerously untested culinary thrills (the eating of seitan, the serving of meals made of nothing but vegetables, creating a Buffalo wing made of tofu, which does not have wings) that a place like WaterCourse Foods — where all of these high-wire gastronomical games are played daily — now attracts more than just a dedicated clientele of twig-and-berry vegetarians, vegans and other ascetics. Although the restaurant can still look like a game preserve for the final holdouts of Denver's chipmunk-hugging Earth lovers, it's attracting a growing crowd of diverse diners — many of whom have a common goal: breakfast. Granted, a breakfast here must be eaten sans bacon, ham, hash or sausage (the four primary elements of any proper breakfast equation), but if you must go pig-free, WaterCourse is the place to go.

Best Breakfast Among the Hipsters

Snooze

Snooze
Lauren Monitz
Snooze has answered its wake-up call and settled into a vibe where the food is as good as the concept and decor, as nicely made-up as most of the customers clamoring for a table during the weekend breakfast rush. This is one of the very few spots in the city where hipsters go to see and be seen before noon on a Sunday. But they also pay attention to what's on their plates, because Snooze features a nicely modern American breakfast menu, well prepared and presented, with just enough oddness and quirks (breakfast tacos, pulled pork Benedicts and corned beef hash done in ring molds) to ensure that the food doesn't get swept away in the wash of design, style and attitude.
Santiago's Mexican Restaurant
Cassandra Kotnik
We've eaten a lot of breakfast burritos over the years. We've eaten what some people might consider a truly shocking number of breakfast burritos. And every time we're put on the spot and asked, straight out, for the best breakfast burrito in Denver, our answer is always the same: Santiago's. This homegrown chain offers a wonderful way to start the day: thin burritos, foil-wrapped and packed for eating on the go. A Santiago's chorizo-and-egg breakfast burrito is perhaps the truest expression of why we love living (and eating) in Denver — or, at the very least, it's an excellent reason for getting out the door before 11 a.m., when all nineteen Santiago's outlets stops serving the best breakfast burrito in Denver.
Tommyknocker Brewery & Restaurant
Nestled in Idaho Springs, less than a half-hour from Denver, Tommyknocker Brewery and Pub is going on fifteen years and boasts an ornery streak that can only come from watching, with a mix of business pleasure and nativist horror, as the traffic builds over the years. Still, Tommyknocker welcomes all comers and delights all kinds, from locals and tourists to tired skiers and kayakers in need of a cold one. While the brewpub's mainstays, such as its signature Maple Nut Brown Ale, are available in stores far and wide, some of its best offerings — Pick Axe Pale Ale, Black Powder Stout and Spleen Cleaver — can only be enjoyed on site or in a growler to go. Pair them (or a homemade root beer) with Buffalo Roadhouse Red Chili or a Smokehouse Pulled Buffalo Sandwich smothered in Big B's BBQ sauce, and you'll taste the best of the new and the Old West.
Beatrice & Woodsley
Brunch at Beatrice & Woodsley is like waking up in a dream — and it's not just because of the fantasy interior of this new restaurant, designed to resemble a turn-of-the-last century Colorado cabin. It's also because of the fantastic food. Chef Pete List and his crew of culinary hooligans serve turtle soup, beautiful frog's legs, pear clafouti, pork belly, pimento-cheese grits, curried lamb and flapjacks all off the same menu — their brunch menu. And they do it to a consistently packed house of Denverites who, convinced only by the expertise and brilliant execution of List and company, now realize that there's nothing at all strange about eating turtle, frog and pancakes for breakfast...in the middle of an aspen grove. In fact, it makes for the best brunch in town.
Bud's Cafe & Bar
Lori Midson
Bud's Bar is a survivor. It survived a change in ownership and the smoking ban, and it still came out on top. We've eaten burger after burger across the metro area, but we always return to Bud's. Bud's not only serves the best burger in Denver, but it serves the best burger in Colorado, one of the best burgers in America. We can think of maybe two burgers in the whole of the United States better than the double with cheese at Bud's, and Bud's might edge out one of those simply on the strength of the joint itself: an uncompromising roadhouse full of surly waitresses and bikers, where demanding fries (which Bud's doesn't serve) might get you punched in the mouth, and complaining about the wait (which there almost always is, even though it's now open on Sundays, too) will get your ass deservedly 86'd into the parking lot. Bud's ain't pretty and it ain't nice, and it ain't precisely welcoming to strangers. But its burger is perfect.

Best Burger in the Last Place You'd Expect It

Jax Fish House

Jax Fish House
Jax Fish House
Colorado beef grilled up a perfect mid-rare, topped with white cheddar, on a soft, grilled brioche roll and sided by hand-cut fries. A great seafood restaurant has no business making such a great burger. It seems wrong, almost greedy. But there it is: Chef Sheila Lucero and her crew at Jax make a burger that can stand proudly among the best in town.

Best Burger With a Side of Classical Music

My Brother's Bar

My Brother's Bar
Westword
My Brother's Bar has a million things going for it — from a building that's held a bar since the 1880s to the classical music piped through the place to the friendly crowd of regulars to the eclectic menu cooked up out of the tiny chuckwagon kitchen — but the most important thing is the burger. My Brother's not only makes one wicked, huge, messy and (by request) multiply-topped burger, but it serves said champion burger in a unique conveyance: a plastic, burger-specific condiment tray that contains everything a man could need for prepping a burger to his satisfaction. Both the burger and the bar itself are classics.

Best Of Denver®

Best Of