Best Burger Restaurants in Boulder

Boulder is one of the best food towns in the country. Foodies from all over flock here for everything from fine dining to cutting edge food trucks (and everything in between).

Boulder’s also the number one city for fitness, so you might wonder at this title—surely the fittest and most beautiful town, with the reputation of being so ecologically aware, wouldn’t have the best burgers you could buy. Could they?

Answer: we sure as heck can—the number of restaurants that offer the best burgers around are too numerous to count, and all their delicious patties are made from a myriad of excellent ingredients, locally farmed or ranched, and with some of the most unusual toppings you’re likely to come across.

Don’t believe me? Take a gander at what Boulderites themselves have rated the best of the best of the burgers in town. Have we left out your favorite? Let us know in the comments.

Mountain Sun

Holy cow (see what I did there), would you just take a look at all the Gold medal Best of Boulder awards that Mountain Sun Pub won just this past year. They’re a top tier best restaurant for kid-friendly, service, American style grub, and beer selection.

They also won Gold for best burger and the best veggie burger.

The votes of Boulder have spoken, and if there’s any type of burger you’re hankering for, you’ll find the best at Mountain Sun. They use locally sourced Colorado beef that’s vegetarian fed and sans hormones or antibiotics, so you know you’re getting good quality. Their basic burger is great, and there are all kinds of ingredients you can use to build your own best burger (including their famous green chile), but there are a few Mountain Sun specialties you’ll want to make sure you don’t miss.

Date Night Burger – though this is indeed a good meal for a date night, this burger is actually named after the date purée that’s there atop the goat cheese, roasted poblanos, and bacon. One of Mountain Sun’s most popular burgers.

Bison Burger – The Colorado bison meat is seasoned with Cajun spices, and topped with arugula, blue cheese, pickled red onions, and a barbecue sauce made with Mountain Sun stout beer. Yummy!

Chorizo Burger – This unusual choice used to be only on Mountain Sun’s specials menu, but it was so popular that they added it onto their list of regular selections. The burger patty is made from pork chorizo sausage as well as the beef, which makes this burger a flavor sensation, especially topped with crisp tortilla strips and chipotle ranch.

Vegetarian options – First prize for veggie as well as meaty burgers, Mountain Sun has two delicious vegetarian options.

There’s the Vegan Beyond burger, which is made from that Beyond plant-based burger stuff you’ve been hearing so much about. They make sure they put the Beyond on vegan ciabatta for the bun, so it’s totally vegan friendly if you need it to be.

They also have a black bean burger, served with salsa and guacamole in true Tex-Mex fashion. And if you top that with Mountain Sun’s famous green chile as well?

If you go have a burger at Mountain Sun, it is essential that you pay the extra buck fifty for their fries. Nobody in Boulder does fries like Mountain Sun. Nobody. Trust me.

The Sink

Best of Boulder Gold award winner for the best food on the Hill, The Sink has been a Boulder go-to eatery for nearly a century (no, really—almost 100 years), and is most known for two items on their menu: their ugly crust pizza, and their incredible burgers.

The Sinkburger is made with top-notch Colorado beef and has a wide array of top-it-yourself ingredients to put on it, .

There is an array of famous burger arrangements that are worthy of television (the Sink was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, where they sampled the Texas Onion Straw Burger). There are many, but here are a few of the weirder, most delicious choices:

The Hawaiian – You’ve heard of Hawaiian pizza, right? Yep: Canadian bacon and pineapple. Well, the Sink’s Hawaiian Burger has Canadian bacon, Fresno pepper jam, and a grilled pineapple ring on top.

The Aristocrat – Feeling posh but want to be filled up by a burger? The Aristocrat boasts arugula, blue cheese, balsamic onions, and bacon.

The Casanova – You can’t go wrong with arugula, onion straws, and provolone, but what makes the Casanova special is the house-made truffle honey on top.

The Sink has excellent non-beef options for you, too, including a delicious Turkey Burger, and Rosa’s Veggie Burger.

Dark Horse

World Famous Dark Horse Saloon has been touted as one of the best “places to eat a burger worthy of paradise,” and it’s easy to see why: their array of specialty burgers is something truly special, making them this year’s Bronze winner in the Best of Boulder Awards for Best Burger. And they’ve got so many choices, you’ll have to keep going back to try the next one.

Vegetarian – Not only does Dark Horse have a stellar Garden Burger for all you vegetarian burger lovers out there, but they also have a Mexi Bean Burger, a spicy option made from a black bean patty and served with salsa. Yum!

Dark Horse’s beef burgers are ⅓ pound beef on local toasted buns, and there are many topping arrangements to choose from, including Hickory Bacon, cheeses of all kinds (including blue), avocado, fried egg and ham (what a great breakfast, am I right?) and Swiss & Shrooms. But these two specialties are what makes the Dark Horse world famous.

Royale Burger – The Royale has smoked ham and barbecue sauce on top, along with melted provolone cheese. But on top of that? That there’s an onion ring. A delicious combination.

Jiffy Burger – Now this crazy concoction is the burger that put Dark Horse on the map. There’s bacon and provolone on top of this burger, but the third topping? Smooth peanut butter. You’ve got the richness of the burger, the salty yumminess of the bacon and the cheese, and the peanut butter balances this all out, giving it a creamy satay-like flavor that’s really good.

I mean, who doesn’t like a good satay, right? Try it and you’ll like it, I promise.

Snarfburger

As you have probably guessed from the name, Snarfburger was created by the same sandwich-loving guy as Boulder’s favorite sandwich shop, Snarf’s. Snarfburger was created to give customers an old-time throwback burger shack feel, complete with classic burgers, fries, hot dogs, and even shakes.

But one place where Snarfburger particularly shines is in their Veggie Burger. Awarded the Silver Best of Boulder Award for the best veggie burger this year. Their veggie burger is one of the tastiest around, using fresh ingredients, handmade right there in the Snarfburger shack.

And when you top it with Snarfburger’s signature giardiniera pepper blend, your taste buds will thank you.

Larkburger

Walk into Boulder’s Larkburger and the first thing to greet your nostrils is the redolent aroma of truffles. Larkburger loves its truffle aioli (and heck, so do we all—it was voted the Silver medal in the Best of Boulder awards this year for best burger).

Truffle Burger – Larkburger’s Truffle Burger won the championship at the 2012 Denver Burger Battle and has been raking in the best burger awards in Best of Boulder for years. Don’t worry about truffle oil and it’s lingering scent. Larkburger uses fresh, real ingredients and infuses their truffle purée right into the (top tier, 100% angus) beef.

Tuna Burger -Larkburger has a unique offering for you. Their Tuna Burger is made from a sushi-grade tuna steak, grilled to perfection, having been marinated in a tamari-miso combo, and it’s topped with a wasabi-ginger dressing. Talk about a delicious lighter treat for a burger lover!

Many Burger Types – Larkburger also has turkey and chicken burgers as well as a yummy portobello burger, alongside their classic larkburger. And don’t forget the truffle fries!

Honorable mention: Shine

Burgers may not be the first thing you think of when you think of Boulder’s famous Shine restaurant.

Shine’s Beef Burger is sourced from local as well as 100% grass-fed (not just vegetarian fed) beef, and if you haven’t tried this with a sunny-up egg butting all over the mixed greens on top, with their signature and unique bun, you haven’t burgered in Boulder.

Of course, being Shine, they also have a top-notch Veggie Burger, made from locally grown ingredients, natch. And both burgers come topped with their home ground basil pesto, which is the icing on the cake, er, sauce on the bun.

What’s your favorite burger experience in the Boulder area?

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Jennifer Zukowski

Jennifer Zukowski

Jenn Zuko is adjunct faculty at DU, MSU Denver, and Regis University. She teaches courses in writing; literature; visual, performing, and martial arts; body language and stage combat. She is the author of Stage Combat: Fisticuffs, Stunts, and Swordplay for Theatre and Film, and “I Do My Own Stunts”. She can be seen performing on stage and in classrooms in the Boulder/Denver area, and online at Daily Cross-Swords, YourBoulder, and Writers’ HQ. She tweets at @bonzuko.
Jennifer Zukowski

Jennifer Zukowski

Jenn Zuko is adjunct faculty at DU, MSU Denver, and Regis University. She teaches courses in writing; literature; visual, performing, and martial arts; body language and stage combat. She is the author of Stage Combat: Fisticuffs, Stunts, and Swordplay for Theatre and Film, and “I Do My Own Stunts”. She can be seen performing on stage and in classrooms in the Boulder/Denver area, and online at Daily Cross-Swords, YourBoulder, and Writers’ HQ. She tweets at @bonzuko.

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