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Red Robin's Burger Works: Rise of the machine

Red Robin's new spinoff concept, Red Robin's Burger Works, is a smaller, less-dramatic-and-more-metallic version of the original, meant for smaller urban spaces. It has less hustle and bustle than the original stores, and also much less less square footage, but the company put a handful of its most successful burgers on the menu, and also added something not found in the motherships: the eerie, sci-fi-looking Freestyle Coke machine that can dispense a hundred different beverage combinations, but could quite possibly also use mind control to enslave humanity.

The company that owns Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Red Robin's Burger Works, the aptly-named Red Robin International Inc., is based in Greenwood Village, which helps explain why the company put its prototype Burger Works at the Shops at Northfield Stapleton.

And according to the company, the new concept is a hit. "We received overwhelmingly positive feedback from our guests about their experience at Red Robin's Burger Works," says Jennifer Rivas, Red Robin's director of national marketing. "Guests love the build-your-own-burger and the ability to choose from some of their favorite Red Robin classics, so they really have the best of both worlds when it comes to ordering their perfect burger."

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But even as I enjoyed a fried egg, American cheese and crispy bacon-loaded Royal burger at the new spot, I felt the cold, creeping presence of the Freestyle machine. So I asked Rivas about that, too. "We believe the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine is a great compliment to our wide-variety of burger offerings, as our guests to have the ability to mix-and-match their favorite beverages along with mixing-and-matching their favorite burger toppings to create a perfect pairing," she told me.

So that's how machines are going to take over the world: one ice-cold diet peach-flavored Sprite at a time. Still, I'm willing to risk being terminated for a good burger. Does the burger at Burger Works qualify? Find out tomorrow, when my piece is published here.

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