Best burger place in metro Denver: Try these 12 restaurants, breweries

There are many qualities to consider when finding the perfect burger. It must have top-notch beef, first and foremost, with the right amount of umami — that fifth taste beyond sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. The patty needs to be moist and semi-charred and sandwiched between a slightly toasted, soft bun that shouldn’t disintegrate in your hands.

Melty cheese is a great addition to blend with the crunchy pickles and lettuce, as well as the freshness of the tomatoes. And an awesome signature sauce is always a bonus.

And as the purported birthplace of the cheeseburger, Denver needs to make a strong showing to keep the legacy alive. That’s right: many people believe the cheeseburger was first created or popularized here when Louis Ballast starting serving one in 1935 at his restaurant the Humpty Dumpty Barrel. He tried Hershey bars and peanut butter as toppings before he landed on cheese. A small monument next to a bank at 2776 Speer Blvd. commemorates that bit of hungry history.

For your next perfect bite, we’ve tracked down 12 burgers that fit the bill:

Split Lip, an Eat Place

Split Lip opened inside Number Thirty Eight’s spacious bar last year and its menu is inspired by hyper-regional burger specialties from around the country, like the California Shmatty (a personal favorite), a smashburger that is a sort of take on In-N-Out.

Then there’s the “Mississippi Slug Burger,” which comes with a Southern-inspired patty that is essentially fried, as well as gooey American cheese, a spicy Thousand Island-like sauce and a handful of pickles for $14.50. It is the food stall’s most popular burger, owner Adam Branz said.

“The reason why it’s called a slug burger is because a guy named John Weeks pre-Depression moved from Chicago to Corinth, Mississippi, and he invented a burger with bread crumbs in it to stretch the beef, and he was only charging a nickel. And a counterfeit nickel used to be called a slug back in the day.” Split Lip’s Mississippi Slug Burger also has breadcrumbs in it, like the original.

3560 Chestnut Place, Denver;

Dalton’s at RiNo Country Club

Dalton’s has the perfect handheld smashburger ($14) to fuel you while playing mini golf at RiNo Country Club’s putt-putt course. With a crispy meat skirt, soft potato bun straight from Philadelphia, Cooper sharp cheese, a signature sauce and pickles made in-house, every bite will leave you craving more. Don’t forget the crispy waffle fries, which put Chick-fil-A to shame.

3763 Wynkoop St., Denver;

My Brother’s Bar

The burgers at My Brother’s Bar, which start at $4.95, are just as much a Denver staple as the bar itself. Grilled, wrapped in parchment paper, and served with a condiment caddy so that customers can build their burger the way they like it. Or get the Johnny Burger, made with jalapeño cream cheese, American cheese, Swiss and grilled onions.

2376 15th St., Denver;

Misfit Snack Bar

Misfit Snack Bar owner Bo Porytko never intended to put a burger on the menu at Misfit Snack Bar. But after multiple requests, particularly from his mom, he begrudgingly debuted “My (Expletive) Burger” ($15) with the description: “There are many like it but this one is mine.” The melt-in-your-mouth bar snack has since become a mainstay on the ever-changing menu and one of the most popular items.

“It’s become such a beast,” Porytko said. “It’s about 40 percent of what people order with a menu of nine things, and people come in just for the burger, so we couldn’t take it off the menu. But we’re really proud of our burger.”

The 8-ounce, no frills burger has two house-ground brisket patties seasoned to perfection and cooked in a cast iron pan with beef fat. It’s topped with white American cheese, Misfit sauce (a Thousand Island-style sauce with dill), homemade pickles and caramelized onions.

3401 E. Colfax Ave., Denver;


Bodega is known for its breakfast sandwiches, but don’t sleep on its burger. For $9, you get a smashed-patty burger, a 50/50 chuck blend with steak trim, with American, cheddar jack, dill pickled onions, and “the fanciest sauce,” a Thousand Island-style sauce “on Colorado steroids” with a green chile relish and 20 other ingredients, Blauvelt said.  If you come hungry, make sure to double it for $6 more.

“No lettuce or tomato,” Blauvelt added. “Super unnecessary.”

2651 W. 38th Ave., Denver;

The Mighty Colorado Burger

The Mighty Burger ($12) at Mighty Colorado Burger’s Airstream trailer inside Denver Beer Co.’s Arvada location is one cheeseburger that doesn’t need sauce. Of course you can add ketchup, mustard or anything you’d like, but the flavor of the ⅓-pound patty is bold enough to stand alone. It comes on a golden toasted bun, made in Denver, and has perfectly seasoned meat sourced from Greeley-based Aspen Ridge.

5768 Olde Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada;


Twansburger’s smashburger is a work of art. Fresh off a flat top, the double patty’s lacey, crispy edges are worth waiting in the sometimes long lines at this pop-up. Twans, owned by Wolf’s Tailor and Uncle Ramen alumni Antoine “Twan” Villaume, started in 2021. Villaume posts his schedule on Instagram each week, but can usually be found at Finn’s Manor, in the River North Art District, Thursday through Sunday until he sells out.

Finn’s Manor: 2927 Larimer St., Denver;

Bob’s Atomic Burgers

For an absolute classic, old-fashioned burger, head to Bob’s Atomic Burgers in Golden, which is decorated in 1950s style. To order, guests get a pencil to write down what they want on a burger sleeve; that way, they don’t have to scream over the cooks banging on the grill. The burger (starting at $8) is cooked to order and then served up in the same paper sleeve. There are plenty of creative toppings to customize each burger, like green chiles, onion petals, guacamole or a fried egg. Don’t miss out on the malts or milkshakes, either.

1310 Ford St., Golden;

Chez Maggy

To level up from the usual cheeseburger, try Chez Maggy’s gourmet “Burger a la Francoise” for a whopping $28. The French restaurant, owned by celebrity chef Ludo Lefebvre, serves a plump, juicy patty topped with American cheese, pepper gravy, pickled mustard seed, smoked mayo and beer-braised onions. This is one burger that’s acceptable to eat with a fork and knife.

1616 Market St., Denver;

Lucy’s Burger Bar

Lucy’s serves up a Minneapolis favorite: the Juicy Lucy ($15), which comes with cheese in the middle of the patty instead of on top. The restaurant, which has an old-school diner ambiance, makes sure to warn customers to wait before they dig into their burgers because the molten cheese oozes out upon first bite, creating an absolutely mouthwatering mess.

4018 Tennyson St., Denver;

Carm & Gia Metropolitan

If you like your burgers thick, rather than smashed like me, Carm & Gia Metropolitan’s signature burger ($15) is the right choice. The Metropolitan comes extra cheesy with double the American cheese and complemented with pickles, tomato, red onion, lettuce and Dijonaise. And if you’re looking for something more special, there are 13 different variations of burgers on the menu.

9598 E. Montview Blvd., Aurora;

Fox Run Café

While you may have tried Fox Run Cafe’s breakfast, the burger is a reason to return for lunch. The Fox Run burger ($15) is classic, but made with as many homemade ingredients as possible, including the egg bun, which is light and airy but holds up for every bite. The rest of the burger includes two smashed patties, American cheese, shredded iceberg lettuce, homemade pickles and a signature secret sauce with chips or slaw.

3550 E. Colfax Ave., Denver;

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