Updated: Read Red Robin's statement at the end of this post. Colorado may be known for healthy residents who run marathons and climb mountains in their spare time. But there are still plenty of places in this state that cater to gluttons, including twenty locations of the Denver-based Red Robin, which serves the "single unhealthiest" meal in the country, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Although the Cheesecake Factory hogged three of the nine Xtreme Eating awards handed out by the center this week, that trio of porkers didn't come close to matching the caloric overload of a monster meal at Red Robin.
The "the single unhealthiest meal" the center found was a "Monster"-sized A.1. Peppercorn burger at Red Robin, combined with Bottomless Steak Fries and a Monster Salted Caramel Milkshake for a grand total of 3,540 calories. That's almost double the daily recommendation, and you can bet very few of those calories (if any) come from veggies or fruit.
According to the center, you'd have to walk for twelve hours straight to burn off the calories from the double-cheeseburger alone. That's about two trips up a 14er -- just for a burger.
Red Robin is owned by Red Robin International Inc, which has been based in Greenwood Village since 1996, when the company moved from California. It will open its 500th restaurant next week.
You can read all about the Xtreme Eating 2014 awards in the center's current Nutrition Action healthletter; here's the section on Red Robin:
"We are the burger authority, Zagat surveyors agree," says the menu at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (470 locations).
Red Robin doesn't skimp on its Gourmet Burgers. Take the A.1. Peppercorn, which is topped with "hardwood-smoked bacon, melted Pepper-Jack, A.1. Peppercorn Spread, tomatoes and crispy onion straws" (AKA fried breaded onion strips).
But what makes the chain so special is its generosity.
First, all "burgers are proudly served with Bottomless Steak Fries," so you can "proudly eat as many as you want." (You'll be bursting with pride.) Second, you can "Make it a Monster" by adding another (6 oz.) beef patty for just $1.99 more (unless you include future medical expenses). Such a bargain.
If your 1,670-calorie "Monster" burger and unlimited 370-calorie servings of fries make you thirsty, Red Robin offers Classic milkshakes (for $3.99). And, of course, you can "make it a Monster Milkshake with a refill tin" for just a buck more. Maybe you'd like a Monster Salted Caramel Milkshake ("A salty, sweet and sinful blend of caramel and Red Hawaiian Sea Salt"). Ka-ching! Here comes 1,500 more calories...and two days' more sodium.
The entire Monster meal delivers almost two days' worth of calories (3,540), 3½ days' saturated fat (69 grams), and four days' sodium (6,280 milligrams). Roughly half of each comes from the burger plus just one serving of Bottomless Steak Fries and half comes from the shake. And you can blame the shake for most of the estimated 38 teaspoons of added sugar.
It's like eating seven McDonald's Double Cheeseburgers washed down with a quart of Coke. Want to burn off the calories? You'd need a 12-hour brisk walk.
"Smile, you're at Red Robin," says the menu. And after you smile, make sure to burp.
We reached out to Red Robin, and Denny Marie Post, Red Robin's senior vice president and chief marketing officer, sent this response to the center's Xtreme Eating report:
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This study combines some of our most indulgent items into one meal and in fact, less than half of 1 percent of our guests have ordered these menu items together in a meal. However, everything on the Red Robin menu is customizable and can be modified to fit within a guest's dietary needs. For example, a turkey burger can be ordered without cheese, in a lettuce wrap and with a side of bottomless broccoli for under 460 calories with a Light Freckled Lemonade for 80 calories or a guest can select to splurge and order a gourmet burger and a monster milkshake. Meals can be planned out ahead of time by using our Customizer Hub, which gives guests full transparency to our nutrition information. We are proud of our menu and the choices that we give our guests. The Customizer Hub can be found on www.redrobin.com or the app can be downloaded for quick access from a smartphone.