Relish It, a gourmet burger joint, opens in Littleton with a former Park Burger chef at the helm

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It was a trip to the bank, followed by a jaunt to a burger shack in San Diego, that convinced Terry Sandrin to open his own meat emporium. "I was at our local bank in Littleton last fall, and there was a couple who was grilling burgers outside in the parking lot with a line that went on forever -- and it just smelled so good," recalls Sandrin, a Littleton native and former bar manager, who spearheaded the liquid asset programs at Strings and the long-gone Cliff Young's and Cafe Giovanni.

And then, earlier this year, Sandrin was vacationing in San Diego, when he made a beeline for Burger Lounge, a joint that's received national accolades for its sustainable approach to humanely-raised cattle. "It was the best burger I've ever had in my life," claims Sandrin, who flew home, determined to follow suit. "After having that burger, I knew that I had to open my own place."

He looked at several spaces, and eventually settled on a vacated Starbucks in a small mall at 5250 South Santa Fe Drive, just a few blocks away from Main Street in Littleton. "I grew up in Littleton and love this community, and this was a great space to do exactly what we wanted," says Sandrin, who notes that the name -- Relish It -- is a double entendre. "We're all about relishing your burger and relishing the community."

And turning out beef that's good for your body. "All of our beef is 100 percent gras fed," says Sandrin, who procures his meat from Our Pastures, a ranch just outside Limon. "There are no finishers, no antibiotics and no hormones, and while it's lower in saturated fat and calories, it's got an incredibly rich flavor," he points out. And the sesame seed buns, he notes, are from Bluepoint Bakery.

The contemporary space, its focal point a kaleidoscopic mural of Littleton's downtown, trumpets a long bar with plenty of stools and an open kitchen, commanded by Frank Ferlo, the former executive chef of Park Burger on South Pearl Street -- and the opening executive chef of the Highland Park Burger. "This is a guy who knows his burgers as well as anyone," says Sandrin.

Ferlo's menu, which includes more than a dozen different burgers, along with a buffalo sloppy Joe; brats, sandwiches and dogs; hand-cut fries; sweet potato fries; funnel fries; onions ring; a duo of salads; and hand-dipped malts with real whipped cream, also pimps several daily specials, including a bistro burger with fries or coleslaw and a soft drink, for $5.95. There's also a double daily happy hour from 3 to 6 pm. and 9 p.m. to close Monday through Saturday, featuring half-price well drinks and wine, discounted beer specials and sliders for a buck and a quarter.

The hours are 11 a.m. to 9, Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. For more info, call 303-798-3344.

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