Larkburger may be a chain, with thirteen locations statewide, but it's our
chain, getting its start in the mountain town of Edwards before hitting the Front Range with a Boulder store in 2009. Larkburger stays true to a fast-food ethic with a simple menu, quick service and paper-wrapped burgers sided with cardboard cartons of fries. But that's where the similarity to fast food ends. Larkburger stands above the competition when it comes to nailing the perfect temperature every time (the menu even tells you how much pink to expect at each level) and making the beef the star of the show. Unless you're feeling fancy, skip the truffled aioli and stick with the classic Lark for an unadorned burger at its best.
2705 Larimer Street
Quite the opposite of the other Lark, this hip-hop-themed RiNo original — marked only by a steel-plate logo alongside its namesake bar — makes a name with a saucy, salacious sandwich that starts with a sweetish brioche bun and builds to a teetering pinnacle with cheddar sauce, candied bacon, onion rings and a jiggly poached egg. Don't even attempt to pick this one up with your hands; just note as everything comes together that somehow the fresh ground beef, compliments of Western Daughters Butcher Shoppe, still shines through as the focal point of all the flavors.
Four Denver Locations
With some of the city's tastiest burgers now sizzling in four Denver neighborhoods — Highland
, Platt Park
and River North
— there's almost no excuse not to have sunk your choppers into a satisfying sandwich at Park Burger. Rather than misshapen monsters, the third-pound patties are pleasingly filling, even with extra toppings. The croque burger, with ham, Swiss and a fried egg, sets just the right balance of refined flavors and lunchtime indulgence.
Stoic & Genuine
1701 Wynkoop Street
This lunch-only burger is a big surprise from a restaurant that specializes in seafood. What makes it so great? "We just try really hard not to screw it up," says chef Jorel Pierce. "Great ingredients, handled and cooked simply with salt and pepper. " Those ingredients are the key: S & G grinds New York strip trimmings for the twin patties and tops them with American cheese — possibly the best cheese for a burger despite its humble origins. A buttery bun, lettuce, tomato and onion are the only other additions; ketchup, mustard and mayo come on the side. The result is an explosion of beefy flavor with no other distractions. Despite its heft, the burger quickly disappears in a few bites because you just can't set it down. It's almost a shame that such a great burger lurks on a menu filled with delightful and creative seafood offerings, but on your next lunchtime visit to Union Station, resist the urge to splurge on seafood and take a chance on the beef instead.
TAG Burger Bar
1222 Madison Street
TAG's burger list ranges from the stripped-down Old School to the exercise-in-excess Andrew Jackson (with shaved black truffles, the meat of three different animals, and an egg and Brie. We recommend something in the middle to let the Angus beef, with the requested temperature always dialed in, speak for itself while getting just the right boost from restaurateur Troy Guard's penchant for tasty toppings. The Congress Park does it for us, not only because it's named for the quaint neighborhood where the restaurant resides, but because the kitchen's piquant guacamole and tangy Buffalo mayo team up as a fun and messy duo that brings out the best in the beef.