Best of Denver

The Ten Best Locally Owned Burger Bars in Denver

Denver is brimming with burger bars.
Denver is brimming with burger bars. Courtesy of 5280 Burger Bar
Yes, Denver continues to be the landing ground of more and more national burger chains, with places like In-N-Out Burger (now open in Aurora and Colorado Springs), Kuma's Corner, Slater's 50/50, Shake Shack and others coming to town. But you can get a great burger while keeping your money in local hands by frequenting these homegrown originals. And if you're looking for a classic fast-food experience for a cheap meal on the go, see our list of the best Denver old-school hamburger joints.

Keep in mind that Denver and the surrounding counties went to Level Red COVID-19 restrictions on Friday, November 20, so dining rooms are closed for at least the next thirty days. Restaurants can offer patio dining, takeout and delivery, so plan your hamburger outing accordingly.

5280 Burger Bar

500 16th Street Mall, 303-825-1020
4301 Main Street, Westminster, 720-887-5970

Juicy burgers, housemade buns and a variety of creative toppings make 5280 Burger Bar a great choice for gourmet burger lovers. Stick with fresh ground beef or venture into bison or lamb for something more unusual. Even the basic burger is made with Black Angus, but the 5280 Prime takes quality a step above, with 7X Ranch Prime wagyu as the base. Visit the 16th Street Mall original or mix it up a little at the newer Westminster outpost.

Bob's Atomic Burgers sits in the shadow of Table Mountain in Golden.
Mark Antonation

Bob's Atomic Burgers

1310 Ford Street, Golden

Bob's Atomic Burgers in Golden doesn't have a roster filled with goofy names and crazy ingredients. If you want a burger, it's just called a hamburger. Extras for your mountainous mouthful are either free — like tomato, onion and pickled jalapeños  — or cost about a buck each for the likes of bacon, green chile, guacamole, cheese or a fried egg. Whatever you choose, it will be mounded on a six-ounce patty formed to order from fresh-ground beef. And while that beef is cooked to a pink-free medium, the fat-to-lean ratio definitely leans toward fat, so your burger will be juicy and dripping. If you insist on a burger with a name, stop by for occasional specials like the Shaq Attack (cherry peppers, cheddar and bacon), or Pastor Al's Hamburguesa (topped with pineapple-chili pork).

click to enlarge
Carm & Gia Metropolitan is one of the city's newest burger joints.
Courtesy Carm & Gia Metropolitan

Carm & Gia Metropolitan

9598 East Montview Boulevard, Aurora

This mid-mod joint opened in a refurbished beauty parlor last February, offering juicy burgers, hot dogs and breakfast burritos. Go classic with the Metropolitan, or choose from a list of burgers named for Denver neighborhoods. The Globeville, for example, comes loaded with chorizo, pico de gallo, lettuce, jalapeños, Monterey Jack, avocado and chipotle mayo. Whichever option you choose, be ready for bold flavors and beefy goodness from 100 percent, never-frozen Angus patties.

click to enlarge
The Cherry Cricket is Denver's longest-running burger bar.
Courtesy of the Cherry Cricket

The Cherry Cricket

2641 East Second Avenue, 303-322-7666
2220 Blake Street, 303-297-3644

Denver's oldest burger bar lets you mess around with toppings if you want, but a char-grilled Cricket Burger is all you really need. And, okay, throw on some green chiles if you must (we definitely must). The Cherry Creek original keeps getting more iconic — and more iconoclastic — as the rest of the neighborhood grows and modernizes around it. A second location that opened in spring 2018 added the restaurant's classic appeal to the Ballpark neighborhood.
click to enlarge
Is the Luther burger breakfast or lunch?

Crave Real Burgers

9344 Dorchester Street, Highlands Ranch, 720-344-3006
3982 Limelight Avenue, Castle Rock, 303-814-2829

If you want to get crazy, Crave is the place to do it. Sure, you can stick with the Plain Jane and be happy, but why not try the Fatty Melt, which cradles a beef patty between two grilled-cheese sandwiches, or the infamous Luther, which uses two doughnuts instead of a bun? Other outlandish toppings include whole jalapeño poppers, pulled pork, grilled pineapple and hot dogs. You'll be craving a couch after a burger at Crave.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation

Latest Stories