Cafe Society

The Hella Burger airstream trailer opens today at the Vallagio at Inverness

Ron Bryant and Chris Casson, both of whom work in the enterprise business development department of Shamrock Foods, have spent the past year and a half bantering about the attributes of burgers -- and how they could erect a burger treasury of their own that would stand buns apart from the gazillions of burger shacks that already dot Denver's culinary landscape.

The culmination of their research and efforts came to fruition today, when the two unfurled Hella Burger, an airstream trailer on the grounds of the Vallagio at Inverness, real estate developer Peter Kudla's stamping ground of restaurants that already include Street Kitchen Asian Bistro, Russo's Kitchen + Tavern, a second Marco's Coal-Fired Pizza, and later this year, D.C. Stax.


The gleaming silver trailer, which was initially the Silver Spoon, had been slated to become another Biker Jim's sausage-on-wheels operation, but that deal fell through (and Jim has his hands full with his brick-and-mortar), so Bryant and Casson jumped on the opportunity after a series of discussions with Kudla and Mark Dym, who owns Marco's Coal-Fired Pizza. "I've known Mark since he first opened Marco's downtown, and we worked with Mark and Peter on Russo's, and we love what they're doing down here, and wanted to be a part of it," says Bryant.

The idea for the trailer, he recalls, popped into his head after making a burger for a friend, who pronounced it "hella good." From there, explains Bryant, who calls the name "urban street slang," the concept became about "creating a local, sustainable, high-end project that took itself -- but not ourselves -- seriously." According to Bryant, he and Casson, who used to cook at Restaurant Kevin Taylor, have engineered a five, four, three, two, one approach to their burgers, which are melded with a custom grind of short ribs, brisket and chuck. "We have five different flavor profiles on our menu and each burger has four of them, plus we've got three textural components -- creamy, crunchy or chewy -- two different temperatures, so that every burger has a hot and cold component, and all of that equals a hella good burger," muses Bryant.

"The flavor profile is absolutely ridiculous -- it's a very specific formula -- and all of the meats for our burgers, including the beef, lamb and chicken, are sourced locally," notes Bryant, adding that he and Casson are also honing in on local produce.

In addition to a board of burgers, fries, Vienna beef hot dogs and "sinful sides" like "ashtray chili," the airstream trailer will serve alcohol, including cans of PBR wrapped in a paper bag, Colorado brews and microbrews, jungle juice, lethally concocted with Everclear, Kool Aid and fresh fruit, and boxed wines, to "fit the kitschy trailer theme," jokes Bryant.

Hella Burger will also offer curbside pickup, delivery (within a one-mile radius) and weekly passwords on its Facebook page that will burger maniacs who use it, says Bryant, with "random shit" like complimentary food and discounts. "All of those things will be part of the key to our success, because the devil is in the details."

Want one? Hella Burger is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 10 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday. For additional details, call 720-240-8948.

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