Openings and Closings

Burger Biz: Two Openings This Week

Troy Guard, the restaurateur with the rapidly expanding empire of eateries (from the original TAG to the new Los Chingones in the Denver Tech Center) is adding one more notch on his belt with a second TAG Burger Bar, which will open tomorrow (January 21) in the Highland hideaway that was most recently Sunnyside Burger Bar. This iteration of TAG Burger will — like its Congress Park progenitor — embrace a full-service model rather than Sunnyside's fast-casual concept. Guard consulted on Sunnyside's original menu (evidence included signature touches like fried pickles, Green Goddess sauce and boozy shakes), so guests from the neighborhood will already be familiar with similar items on the TAG roster, but they'll also find daily "bistro" specials like seriously cheesy mac 'n' cheese, bacon-bound meatloaf and fried chicken.

Weekday lunches will be part of the program beginning February 1, but for the rest of January, TAG Burger will only be open for dinner. You can head over starting at 4 p.m. and linger over fat burgers and craft beers until 10 p.m (9 p.m. Sundays). And a spacious back patio will be a welcome brunch spot come spring. Between now and January 31, adult guests can receive a complimentary pint of the "beer of the day" with the purchase of any burger.

And speaking of spacious patios, Illegal Burger just turned on the open sign yesterday in Writer Square, in the space that had long been Pizza Colore. Grabbing that spot was a smart move for founder Jim Nixon, who also operates two other Illegal Burgers — one in Evergreen and a second in Arvada. The big patio, friendly menu and full bar make it the perfect resting spot for warm-weather tourists and shoppers.

Like TAG Burger Bar, Illegal blends up adult milkshakes and piles plenty of tempting topping onto its sandwiches. You'll also be offered a choice of brioche, pretzel, whole wheat or gluten-free buns, and if you're not into cow, there are a few non-beef options as well.

The interior presents a prison theme, with steel bars for room dividers and burger names that play off the "illegal" concept. Service is fast-casual, with an order counter near the front — or you can grab a seat at the bar for full service.

Illegal Burger is open daily at 11 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Friday and Saturdays could see later hours, depending on the downtown late-night crowds.

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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