Now, though, I have a second-favorite cheeseburger in the area, one that comes very close to the unsullied rightness evinced by Bud's. And that's the double cheeseburger at My Brother's Bar.
I stopped by My Brother's last week after finishing my review of its onetime sibling, the Wazee Supper Club, and decided to lift a couple of pints in the cramped, classic, brown-on-brown bar and have a little snack. I wasn't thrilled by the hot dog (see Bite Me, page 58), wouldn't touch the jalapeño poppers and was nonplussed by the chili — neither a spicy Texas style nor a thick Cincinnati, but rather a near pitch-perfect replica of the greasy-spoon diner chili I knew and loved as a kid. But a spoonful of that chili on my double cheeseburger sent it, and me, right over the edge.
I know that My Brother's has a fascinating history: blah blah oldest still-operating bar in Denver, yadda yadda Neal Cassady, etc. I know that the place has long been a beloved and anachronistic neighborhood institution with its classical music, stubby galley kitchen, strange diner-slash-taproom-cum-lunchwagon menu and demographically mixed crowd of crusty old-timers, serious drinkers, families, artists and new-to-the-neighborhood transplants. But seriously, when you've got a burger this good, you just don't need anything else. Two thick patties, done medium on a well-seasoned flat grill, with plenty of cheese on an unobtrusive bun, then wrapped in wax paper and served without a plate, but with a modest yet smart Plexiglas condiment server. That's it, and that's enough. Much like the burgers at Bud's — which are done almost exactly the same way, minus the Plexiglas — the burgers at My Brother's stand as living proof that sometimes, a long history and dedication to craft will collide and make something that is inexplicably greater than the plain sum of its parts.