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cheeseburger with fries
Graves Good Burger’s classic double with cheese.
Ruth Tobias/Eater

17 Homegrown Burgers to Try in Denver

From local beef and lamb to vegetarian alternatives, the Mile High City’s loaded with options

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Graves Good Burger’s classic double with cheese.
| Ruth Tobias/Eater

While popular out-of-state chains have begun to make their mark on the local landscape — see Shake Shack, Slater’s 50/50, Kuma’s Corner, and the upcoming In-N-Out — Denver wasn’t called a cowtown for nothing all those years: It’s got plenty of homegrown options for bang-up burgers. Some have been around for generations, like My Brother’s Bar and Cherry Cricket; others, like Park Burger, Tap and Burger, and Chop Shop, have established themselves as fixtures in multiple neighborhoods over the past decade or so. But newcomers keep coming, even in the COVID-19 era; this map includes more than a few worth a shout-out.

A number of Denver restaurants are open for dine-in service. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns: for updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the Colorado Department of Public Health website. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Graves Good Burger at Zeppelin Station

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3501 Wazee St Suite #100
Denver, CO 80216

This just-opened Zeppelin Station vendor has raced straight out of the gate to become a front-runner in the “best new burger” category. With a résumé that includes stints at Husk in Nashville and Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, chef Nick Graves (who also operates Lea Jane’s Hot Chicken at Avanti Food & Beverage) has just about perfected the classic double cheeseburger, using an 80/20 grind sourced from Lombardi Brothers Meats, Blue Point buns, and a mustardy special sauce. But he also makes three other versions — including a vegetarian umami bomb with mushrooms, Swiss, and roasted-garlic aioli — as well as crunchy-fluffy wedge fries accompanied by mushroom ketchup.  

mushroom-Swiss veggie burger
The mushroom-Swiss burger at Graves Good Burger is a vegetarian tower with mushroom ketchup and roasted-garlic mayo.
Ruth Tobias/Eater

2. Brasserie Brixton

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3701 N Williams St
Denver, CO 80205
(720) 617-7911
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This charming newcomer to the Cole neighborhood wears its European influence on its sleeve — or rather its double cheeseburger, topped with gruyère and French onion aioli. A side of black-garlic aioli gives its fries a nifty twist too. 

3. Highland Tap and Burger

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2219 W 32nd Ave, Denver
CO, 80211
(720) 287-4493
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Tap & Burger now has two siblings in DTC and Sloan’s Lake, but it was the LoHi flagship that earned beef-loving locals’ loyalty a decade ago with creations like the Shroom Luva’s smothered in mushrooms, Swiss, and white-truffle aioli, along with frequent specials. This month, it’s celebrating its 10-year anniversary with the unveiling of a new signature that may as well be called the Onion Luva’s: featuring both raw and fried onions as well as French onion soup–flavored mayo, this burger is layered with confit bacon, Emmental cheese, and Bibb lettuce on a potato roll and served au jus for good measure.

Cheeseburger with onions, fries, and a side of jus
The new Tap Burger is loaded with onions in multiple forms.
Kayla Jones

4. Knockabout Burgers at Avanti Food and Beverage

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3200 N Pecos St
Denver, CO 80211
(720) 269-4778
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The burgers at this new Avanti stall may start with grass-fed beef from Colorado, but they end up spanning the globe with toppings like queso and chorizo, hoisin ketchup and kimchi–bok choy slaw, or smoked provolone and truffle oil (just to name a few). That said, the bacon- and egg-topped brunch version on an English muffin stays in everyone’s comfort zone.

Cheeseburger with side of ketchup
The almost-classic Knockabout cheeseburger gets an untraditional dollop of chive aioli.
Jimmy Changa

5. Owlbear Barbecue

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2826 Larimer St
Denver, CO 80205
(720) 667-1181
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Owlbear has been lauded far and wide for its brisket over the past few years — most recently in Food & Wine, which included the RiNo spot on its 2020 list of the best barbecue joints in the U.S. So it should go without saying that pitmaster Karl Fallenius’s brisket burger makes the grade. Flavored with a house rub incorporating coffee, brown sugar, and celery seeds, among other spices, it comes in a Martin’s potato roll with American cheese, special sauce, pickles, onions, and optional pork belly when available — unless and until it sells out, that is (word to the wise).

cheeseburger in a to-go box
Owlbear’s brisket cheeseburger.
Courtesy of Owlbear Barbecue

6. My Brother's Bar

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2376 15th St
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 455-9991
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The Johnny Burger at this historic institution is a local favorite. Served with a tray of condiments including pickles, it comes with grilled onions and three cheeses, including jalepeño cream cheese — and though prices have gone up over the years, it’s still less than $10.

Burgers and fries in a paper boat
My Brother’s Bar bills itself as the oldest bar in Denver, but it makes new fans of its burgers all the time.
Pinterest

7. Stoic & Genuine

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1701 Wynkoop St
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 640-3474
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A multiple award winner at the Denver Burger Battle, the cheeseburger at Jennifer Jasinski and Beth Gruitch’s Union Station seafood restaurant is a double-stacked classic built as follows: bun, beef, cheese, beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, bun.

Adam Larkey

8. Carm & Gia Metropolitan

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9598 E Montview Blvd
Aurora, CO 80010
(303) 747-4008
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The dozen or so extravagant concoctions at this delightful little Aurora stop run the gamut from the Black & Blue with a blue cheese–stuffed patty, grilled portobellos, and chipotle-date relish to the Del Mar with carnitas, queso Chihuhua, roasted poblanos, and escabeche — and those are just the beef burgers. The kitchen also makes them with turkey (including the Pilsner with mole, plantains, and crema), lamb, and even shrimp, accompanied by crisp-tender skin-on fries. 

Shrimp burger with mandarin oranges and pineapple
Carm & Gia’s Reservoir burger features a shrimp patty with pineapple, onion straw, mandarin-orange slaw, and lemon-caper sauce.
Ruth Tobias/Eater

9. 5280 Burger Bar

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500 16th St
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 825-1020
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This lunch and happy hour destination on the 16th Street Mall (with an outpost in Westminster) brings a variety of inventive options to pair with shakes from its own onsite ice cream parlor. The Perfect Burger often lives up to its name stacked with gruyère cheese, bacon-onion jam, pickled red onions, red leaf lettuce, and a roasted-garlic aioli; another staple is the Boss Hog with pulled pork, bacon, cheddar, and barbecue sauce.

Cheeseburger with bacon and guacamole next to a cocktail
5280 Burger Bar’s What the Guac? features bacon, white cheddar, guacamole, and roasted-garlic aioli.
Ruth Tobias/Eater

10. Misfit SnackBar at Middleman

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3401 E Colfax Ave
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 353-4207
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From his days at the much-missed Rebel Restaurant to the present, chef Bo Porytko has built a cult following on his talent for transforming the familiar into the fanciful, reimagining poutine with tripe or turning tamales into terrines. His double cheeseburger, by contrast, is an earnest homage to the diner standard — and it’s a whopper, from the meltingly caramelized onions to the paper-thin pickle chips to the satisfying bits of char on both meat and bun. 

Double cheeseburger with onions and pickles
Bo Porytko’s cheeseburger is listed on the Misfit menu with a reference to Full Metal Jacket: There are many like it, but this one is mine.”
Ruth Tobias/Eater

11. TAG Burger Bar

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1222 Madison Street
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 736-2260
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Troy Guard was one of the first local chef-restaurateurs to jump on the gourmet-burger bandwagon several years back, and his Congress Park joint is still going strong, serving up beef, bison, and veggie burgers with a choice of topping combos like the Lady Gaga (mozzarella, basil, balsamic, and roasted-tomato jam) and the Sedona (Swiss, avocado, kale, and honey-mustard vinaigrette).

Burger topped with peppers and cheese
TAG offers nine different topping combos to choose from.
Kim Zeylmaker

12. Vesper Lounge

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233 E 7th Ave
Denver, CO 80203
(720) 328-0314
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Frank Bonanno’s old-school dive is probably best-loved for its Minneapolis-style Juicy D, which stars a thick patty stuffed rather than topped with cheese, but all the buns here are fun-filled — from the breakfast burger with bacon, hash browns, and an egg to the Greek burger layered with tender sliced gyro meat, crumbled feta, dollops of tzatziki and tapenade, and a warm salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. 

Burger with gyro meat, feta, and fries
Vesper Lounge’s Greek burger is topped with sliced gyro meat.
Ruth Tobias/Eater

13. Cherry Cricket

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2641 E 2nd Ave
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 322-7666
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This 75-year-old cornerstone of Cherry Creek showed it was still at the top of its game in 2019 when its 303 Burger — topped with a chile relleno, pork green chile, and white cheddar on a brioche bun — was named the Judge’s Choice in the Denver Burger Battle. Though the newer Ballpark location can’t match the history of the Second Avenue original, it offers the same extensive list of toppings (corned beef, sauerkraut, peanut butter, and all).

Denver diners can now build their own great late night meal
Cherry Cricket/Facebook

14. Officer’s Club

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84 Rampart Way
Denver, CO 80230
(303) 284-0714
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Inspired by the namesake fast-food chain loved by Officer’s Club co-founder Sterling Robinson, the Big Boy Bacon Burger is sheer decadence in the form of two patties piled high with a mess of cheddar cheese, bacon, and shoestring fries. Chickpeas, pepper Jack, buffalo sauce, and basil crema grace the vegetarian version.

The Big Boy Bacon Burger at Officer’s Club
The Big Boy Bacon Burger at Officer’s Club

15. Grandpa's Burger Haven

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23 S Federal Blvd
Denver, CO 80219
(303) 936-4463

This throwback to the roadsides of yesteryear delivers a (very) welcome dose of nostalgia in a “big big bun,” to quote the sign out front: Everyone knows to order a just-greasy-enough large double with a side of onion rings and a shake — and many insist it’s all best savored while sitting in their car in the parking lot. 

16. Park Burger - Pearl

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1890 S Pearl St
Denver, CO 80210
(720) 242-9951
Visit Website

With multiple locations, this local franchise offers multiple variations on the American original. Beef, bison, and turkey patties can be stacked with combinations like pancetta, provolone, and giardiniera. Park Burger is also an excellent place to take vegetarian friends — the kitchen prepares its own veggie patty and is known for overflowing sides of truffle-parmesan and sweet potato fries.

Burger with lettuce, onions, and tomatoes in a wire basket
Park Burger piles the toppings high.
Ruth Tobias/Eater

17. Chop Shop Casual Urban Eatery SoBo

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3150 S Broadway
Englewood, CO 80113
(720) 550-7665
Visit Website

With three locations in the Hale and Lowry neighborhoods as well as Englewood, Chop Shop brings gourmet standards to a quick-casual, family-oriented environment. It offers a house-ground beef burger served with American cheese, house pickles, tomato, butter lettuce, spicy aioli, and a side of chips. For $1–$1.50 extra, diners can add toppings like avocado or 72-hour cooked onions. The vegetarian alternative stars a patty made with smoked tofu, lentils, mushrooms, and goat cheese.

Burger with pickle on top and side of chips
Chop Shop’s burger comes with fresh-made chips.
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1. Graves Good Burger at Zeppelin Station

3501 Wazee St Suite #100, Denver, CO 80216
mushroom-Swiss veggie burger
The mushroom-Swiss burger at Graves Good Burger is a vegetarian tower with mushroom ketchup and roasted-garlic mayo.
Ruth Tobias/Eater

This just-opened Zeppelin Station vendor has raced straight out of the gate to become a front-runner in the “best new burger” category. With a résumé that includes stints at Husk in Nashville and Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, chef Nick Graves (who also operates Lea Jane’s Hot Chicken at Avanti Food & Beverage) has just about perfected the classic double cheeseburger, using an 80/20 grind sourced from Lombardi Brothers Meats, Blue Point buns, and a mustardy special sauce. But he also makes three other versions — including a vegetarian umami bomb with mushrooms, Swiss, and roasted-garlic aioli — as well as crunchy-fluffy wedge fries accompanied by mushroom ketchup.  

3501 Wazee St Suite #100
Denver, CO 80216

2. Brasserie Brixton

3701 N Williams St, Denver, CO 80205

This charming newcomer to the Cole neighborhood wears its European influence on its sleeve — or rather its double cheeseburger, topped with gruyère and French onion aioli. A side of black-garlic aioli gives its fries a nifty twist too. 

3701 N Williams St
Denver, CO 80205

3. Highland Tap and Burger

2219 W 32nd Ave, Denver, CO, 80211
Cheeseburger with onions, fries, and a side of jus
The new Tap Burger is loaded with onions in multiple forms.
Kayla Jones

Tap & Burger now has two siblings in DTC and Sloan’s Lake, but it was the LoHi flagship that earned beef-loving locals’ loyalty a decade ago with creations like the Shroom Luva’s smothered in mushrooms, Swiss, and white-truffle aioli, along with frequent specials. This month, it’s celebrating its 10-year anniversary with the unveiling of a new signature that may as well be called the Onion Luva’s: featuring both raw and fried onions as well as French onion soup–flavored mayo, this burger is layered with confit bacon, Emmental cheese, and Bibb lettuce on a potato roll and served au jus for good measure.

2219 W 32nd Ave, Denver
CO, 80211

4. Knockabout Burgers at Avanti Food and Beverage

3200 N Pecos St, Denver, CO 80211
Cheeseburger with side of ketchup
The almost-classic Knockabout cheeseburger gets an untraditional dollop of chive aioli.
Jimmy Changa

The burgers at this new Avanti stall may start with grass-fed beef from Colorado, but they end up spanning the globe with toppings like queso and chorizo, hoisin ketchup and kimchi–bok choy slaw, or smoked provolone and truffle oil (just to name a few). That said, the bacon- and egg-topped brunch version on an English muffin stays in everyone’s comfort zone.

3200 N Pecos St
Denver, CO 80211

5. Owlbear Barbecue

2826 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205
cheeseburger in a to-go box
Owlbear’s brisket cheeseburger.
Courtesy of Owlbear Barbecue

Owlbear has been lauded far and wide for its brisket over the past few years — most recently in Food & Wine, which included the RiNo spot on its 2020 list of the best barbecue joints in the U.S. So it should go without saying that pitmaster Karl Fallenius’s brisket burger makes the grade. Flavored with a house rub incorporating coffee, brown sugar, and celery seeds, among other spices, it comes in a Martin’s potato roll with American cheese, special sauce, pickles, onions, and optional pork belly when available — unless and until it sells out, that is (word to the wise).

2826 Larimer St
Denver, CO 80205

6. My Brother's Bar

2376 15th St, Denver, CO 80202
Burgers and fries in a paper boat
My Brother’s Bar bills itself as the oldest bar in Denver, but it makes new fans of its burgers all the time.
Pinterest

The Johnny Burger at this historic institution is a local favorite. Served with a tray of condiments including pickles, it comes with grilled onions and three cheeses, including jalepeño cream cheese — and though prices have gone up over the years, it’s still less than $10.

2376 15th St
Denver, CO 80202

7. Stoic & Genuine

1701 Wynkoop St, Denver, CO 80202
Adam Larkey

A multiple award winner at the Denver Burger Battle, the cheeseburger at Jennifer Jasinski and Beth Gruitch’s Union Station seafood restaurant is a double-stacked classic built as follows: bun, beef, cheese, beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, bun.

1701 Wynkoop St
Denver, CO 80202

8. Carm & Gia Metropolitan

9598 E Montview Blvd, Aurora, CO 80010
Shrimp burger with mandarin oranges and pineapple
Carm & Gia’s Reservoir burger features a shrimp patty with pineapple, onion straw, mandarin-orange slaw, and lemon-caper sauce.
Ruth Tobias/Eater

The dozen or so extravagant concoctions at this delightful little Aurora stop run the gamut from the Black & Blue with a blue cheese–stuffed patty, grilled portobellos, and chipotle-date relish to the Del Mar with carnitas, queso Chihuhua, roasted poblanos, and escabeche — and those are just the beef burgers. The kitchen also makes them with turkey (including the Pilsner with mole, plantains, and crema), lamb, and even shrimp, accompanied by crisp-tender skin-on fries. 

9598 E Montview Blvd
Aurora, CO 80010

9. 5280 Burger Bar

500 16th St, Denver, CO 80202
Cheeseburger with bacon and guacamole next to a cocktail
5280 Burger Bar’s What the Guac? features bacon, white cheddar, guacamole, and roasted-garlic aioli.
Ruth Tobias/Eater

This lunch and happy hour destination on the 16th Street Mall (with an outpost in Westminster) brings a variety of inventive options to pair with shakes from its own onsite ice cream parlor. The Perfect Burger often lives up to its name stacked with gruyère cheese, bacon-onion jam, pickled red onions, red leaf lettuce, and a roasted-garlic aioli; another staple is the Boss Hog with pulled pork, bacon, cheddar, and barbecue sauce.

500 16th St
Denver, CO 80202

10. Misfit SnackBar at Middleman

3401 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80206
Double cheeseburger with onions and pickles
Bo Porytko’s cheeseburger is listed on the Misfit menu with a reference to Full Metal Jacket: There are many like it, but this one is mine.”
Ruth Tobias/Eater

From his days at the much-missed Rebel Restaurant to the present, chef Bo Porytko has built a cult following on his talent for transforming the familiar into the fanciful, reimagining poutine with tripe or turning tamales into terrines. His double cheeseburger, by contrast, is an earnest homage to the diner standard — and it’s a whopper, from the meltingly caramelized onions to the paper-thin pickle chips to the satisfying bits of char on both meat and bun. 

3401 E Colfax Ave
Denver, CO 80206

11. TAG Burger Bar

1222 Madison Street, Denver, CO 80206
Burger topped with peppers and cheese
TAG offers nine different topping combos to choose from.
Kim Zeylmaker

Troy Guard was one of the first local chef-restaurateurs to jump on the gourmet-burger bandwagon several years back, and his Congress Park joint is still going strong, serving up beef, bison, and veggie burgers with a choice of topping combos like the Lady Gaga (mozzarella, basil, balsamic, and roasted-tomato jam) and the Sedona (Swiss, avocado, kale, and honey-mustard vinaigrette).

1222 Madison Street
Denver, CO 80206

12. Vesper Lounge

233 E 7th Ave, Denver, CO 80203
Burger with gyro meat, feta, and fries
Vesper Lounge’s Greek burger is topped with sliced gyro meat.
Ruth Tobias/Eater

Frank Bonanno’s old-school dive is probably best-loved for its Minneapolis-style Juicy D, which stars a thick patty stuffed rather than topped with cheese, but all the buns here are fun-filled — from the breakfast burger with bacon, hash browns, and an egg to the Greek burger layered with tender sliced gyro meat, crumbled feta, dollops of tzatziki and tapenade, and a warm salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions. 

233 E 7th Ave
Denver, CO 80203

13. Cherry Cricket

2641 E 2nd Ave, Denver, CO 80206
Denver diners can now build their own great late night meal
Cherry Cricket/Facebook

This 75-year-old cornerstone of Cherry Creek showed it was still at the top of its game in 2019 when its 303 Burger — topped with a chile relleno, pork green chile, and white cheddar on a brioche bun — was named the Judge’s Choice in the Denver Burger Battle. Though the newer Ballpark location can’t match the history of the Second Avenue original, it offers the same extensive list of toppings (corned beef, sauerkraut, peanut butter, and all).

2641 E 2nd Ave
Denver, CO 80206

14. Officer’s Club

84 Rampart Way, Denver, CO 80230
The Big Boy Bacon Burger at Officer’s Club
The Big Boy Bacon Burger at Officer’s Club

Inspired by the namesake fast-food chain loved by Officer’s Club co-founder Sterling Robinson, the Big Boy Bacon Burger is sheer decadence in the form of two patties piled high with a mess of cheddar cheese, bacon, and shoestring fries. Chickpeas, pepper Jack, buffalo sauce, and basil crema grace the vegetarian version.

84 Rampart Way
Denver, CO 80230

15. Grandpa's Burger Haven

23 S Federal Blvd, Denver, CO 80219

This throwback to the roadsides of yesteryear delivers a (very) welcome dose of nostalgia in a “big big bun,” to quote the sign out front: Everyone knows to order a just-greasy-enough large double with a side of onion rings and a shake — and many insist it’s all best savored while sitting in their car in the parking lot. 

23 S Federal Blvd
Denver, CO 80219

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16. Park Burger - Pearl

1890 S Pearl St, Denver, CO 80210
Burger with lettuce, onions, and tomatoes in a wire basket
Park Burger piles the toppings high.
Ruth Tobias/Eater

With multiple locations, this local franchise offers multiple variations on the American original. Beef, bison, and turkey patties can be stacked with combinations like pancetta, provolone, and giardiniera. Park Burger is also an excellent place to take vegetarian friends — the kitchen prepares its own veggie patty and is known for overflowing sides of truffle-parmesan and sweet potato fries.

1890 S Pearl St
Denver, CO 80210

17. Chop Shop Casual Urban Eatery SoBo

3150 S Broadway, Englewood, CO 80113
Burger with pickle on top and side of chips
Chop Shop’s burger comes with fresh-made chips.
Facebook

With three locations in the Hale and Lowry neighborhoods as well as Englewood, Chop Shop brings gourmet standards to a quick-casual, family-oriented environment. It offers a house-ground beef burger served with American cheese, house pickles, tomato, butter lettuce, spicy aioli, and a side of chips. For $1–$1.50 extra, diners can add toppings like avocado or 72-hour cooked onions. The vegetarian alternative stars a patty made with smoked tofu, lentils, mushrooms, and goat cheese.

3150 S Broadway
Englewood, CO 80113

Related Maps