Monday, December 19, 2011

Park Burger

About a month ago, Westword published a list of "Denver's Ten Best Burgers." Of the top ten, I had only tried one: the insanely good burger at Larkburger, ranked at #7.

So I was curious to discover just how good any of the burgers ahead of Larkburger on the list might taste. That led me to Park Burger, which took the #2 spot. We were able to get a few other friends to join us for the hamburger frenzy.

Park Burger is located at Pearl and Jewell in the Denver University neighborhood, just down the road from the rapidly-proliferating restaurant empire of the Den Family Restaurants (think Sushi Den, Izakaya Den, Ototo, and whatever else opens between now and when I post this article to blogger).

Park Burger was packed with a mixture of families, college students, and boring workerbees like my husband and me.

Their location reminded me a lot of Hops & Pie in the Highlands: small, way too narrow, brightly lit, and packed to overflowing.

Despite the crowds of hungry people waiting for a table, we were able to snag a spot for six with only a 15-or-so minute wait. Unfortunately, where we were seated was very close to the door, and even closer to where waiting patrons were milling about and trying to stay warm. We spent much of our dinner being cold and elbowing people out of our way.

Keeping things simple, we ordered a regular Park Burger ($6.25 + $1 for cheese), which comes with a 1/3 lb patty, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and "Burgersauce." We added on cheddar cheese for an additional $1.

Park Burger with Cheddar

So what does this locally-reknown Park Burger taste like? Basically, it tastes like "ehhh, I've had much better."

We had ordered the burger "medium," but it was more like medium-well. While a little overcooked for my preference, the patty otherwise seemed to be made of fresh, high-quality meat. One thing I didn't care for was that the meat had been flattened a la Smashburger. What is the deal with the popularity of flat burgers? Their flavor tends to be equally flat; I prefer a thicker patty over the bland pancake shape.

And Park Burger cheats a little bit when it comes to making a tasty burger: the buns were clearly coated with plenty of butter and greasy burger sauce. Tasty, but fattening.

The buns were light and fluffy, which was mostly a good thing, except they got soggy quickly with the above-mentioned grease absorption. The veggie toppings were fresh and crisp, and helped just slightly to balance out the fattiness of the burger.

All that left me scratching my head over Park Burger's supposed #2 spot on "Denver's Best Burgers" list. Granted, their high ranking seems to be based on their plethora of delicious-sounding burger toppings. Although not terribly unique for Denver, Park Burger's toppings include options like Brie cheese, guacamole, fried eggs, and even sauerkraut. I love a fried egg on my hamburger as much as the next overzealous food blogger, but I expect the burger to hold its own without distraction from its tastier toppings.

I definitely prefer the delicious simplicity of Larkburger.

We also ordered a basket of Sweet Potato Fries ($4) to share. And by share, I mean my husband and my friends nibbled on a few and I inhaled most of them.

Sweet Potato Fries

The sweet potato fries were tasty, although I have to say I'm very, very easy to please when it comes to sweet potato fries. They were fried up very nicely and had the perfect dusting of salt. However, I'm not convinced that they were homemade.

Service was friendly and very speedy, although the waitstaff was clearly needing to keep up table turnover to make room for more patrons. There was a mix-up with our waiter or the bar staff about our beers, leaving our table with duplicate beers (that's not really a problem for us). We were only charged for one beer each, which was appreciated.

I was underwhelmed with Park Burger, but to be fair I did try only a limited sliver of the menu. Nonetheless, my search for an amazing Denver hamburger continues.

Everyday Dining

(6 of 10)

Pros: Fast, great service, cheap
Cons: Watch out for tables near door, average hamburgers


Park Burger on Urbanspoon


  1. omg. I've been trying to try all the burger places from that burger cook off thing!!! This was one of my must tries but now I think I'll try larkburger first!