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Meadowlark Kitchen May Have Denver's Most Outrageous Burger

While with different ownership, the new RiNo restaurant is a great complement to next-door music venue the Meadowlark Bar.

Dinner and a show can be a package deal for the 2700 block of Larimer Street, where Meadowlark Kitchen quietly opened its doors. Wedged between RiNo and Five Points, the new restaurant is next-door to the Meadowlark Bar, an intimate live music venue. Co-owners Casey Karns and Josh Bitz, also executive chef, signed a lease on the space more than a year ago and were drawn to the area through hanging out at the Meadowlark Bar on Sundays.

Karns, who also helped open the Dive Inn on South Broadway, called on former co-workers at another restaurant to assemble the team. He and Bitz grew up together in Arvada, where Bitz got his start cooking when he was 12. Since then, his resume has included a stint as sous chef at now-defunct Palomino, Bistro Vendome, and time at the Squeaky Bean, both the original and version 2.0.

At Meadowlark, Bitz has created a menu that's roughly half vegetarian and half proteins, from pumpkin soup to Merlot-smoked brisket. Assisted by sous chef Alan Youngerman and in-house baker Maya Tull-Thompson, the approach is seasonal, but the outrageous signature burger will be a mainstay—made with a custom beef grind from Western Daughters, who also supplies Meadowlark's pork. The patty is topped with cheddar sauce, candied bacon, onion ring, and a poached egg, for a delightfully messy meal on brioche.

A large patio seats about 50 and will open in the spring. Inside, there's room for about 37, plus another 18 or so at the bar. Karns tapped Billy Tickle, who most recently was tending bar at Humboldt, as bar manager and to create the cocktail list.

Meadowlark Kitchen is located at 2705 Larimer Street and is open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. nightly.

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