When debating the best burgers in Denver this year, we came across a few outliers — namely, pop-ups, which have gotten increasingly popular since the pandemic as people looked for creative ways to both make money and share their passions with the public. While these ventures can be unpredictable as to when and where to find them, and often have very limited availability, they're cooking up some of the best eats to be found in the city right now — and several of them are all about the burgers.
Here are five burger pop-ups to bite into this summer:
3126 Larimer Street
Blake Blacksberg wants to have fun with food. So after spending time traveling in Southeast Asia and working in places like San Diego, Cincinnati and Austin, he moved to Denver about a year ago and began tinkering with the idea of starting his own concept. After a planned trip to Thailand for a training class was canceled during the Omicron surge, he sold his car, bought a flat-top, and did his first pop-up in February. In May he settled into a more permanent home at Gold Point in RiNo, where the weekend menu on the patio usually includes two burgers: the Smasharoonie, a double burger with ketchup, mustard, half-sour kosher dill pickles, American cheese and onions; and the Ronnie Grande, made with Colorado wagyu beef, shrettuce, a togarashi-spiked burger sauce, American cheese, pickled onions and half-sours.
7741 West 44th Avenue, Wheat Ridge
Editor's note: Snipeburger is on pause as of July 16 while construction starts at King of Wings, which is hoping to reopen in September.
Eddie Renshaw and his longtime friend Evan Pierce are the duo behind King of Wings, which opened in June 2020 but has been shut down since a kitchen fire last December. While the wings are on pause, the two have opened up the restaurant to host a variety of pop-ups from other local chefs — and one of their own. Snipeburger, which was a concept they'd already been working on before the fire, officially launched in April. Every Saturday from 2 p.m. until sell-out, you can stop by for one of these burgers. Inspired by the St. Louis institution Carl's Drive-In, the ultra-thin and caramelized patties are available as a double (the standard), triple or quad, topped with American cheese, sautéed onions, pickles and King of Wings' tangy gold sauce.
Antoine "Twan" Villaume introduced his take on the smash burger to Denver when he started popping up at markets around town in early 2021. Like other burgers in the same category, this is a double patty with shredded lettuce, housemade pickles, onions and special sauce on a potato bun. Nothing too crazy. But Villaume's commitment to the sear and creating almost crackly edges for the beef is a sight to behold. So where can you get your soon-to-be-greasy hands on one? Villaume keeps it simple: "I post my schedule on Instagram every week, and it's the only way to find me!"
Smash & Grab
Trevor Gilham and Eli Cox's pandemic-era burger pop-up side hustle is making a comeback this summer. They expect to host at least four monthly appearances, starting with an appearance at Hops & Pie on June 27 at 6 p.m. until sold out. The deal to catch future events is simple: Watch the Smash & Grab Instagram page for updates, then show up early to score one of these greasy-in-a-good-way smash burgers. And don't even think about asking for topping modifications — you can pick off what you don't want.
1109 Ogden Street
Unlike the other, newer pop-ups, this burger special has been a Denver tradition for a long time. Potager is a neighborhood bistro that's celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. It's led the way in highlighting locally sourced, seasonal fare, and while original owner Teri Rippeto sold the place in 2019, new owners Paul and Eileen Warthen maintained that focus — as well as the Tuesday night burger deal, which hasn't gone up in price in five years. For $18, you'll get a burger, beer and seasonal side. The burger setup and accompaniments change weekly, but the patties and buns are always made in-house.