It's National Cheeseburger Day, and I consider myself an expert on said subject because I eat them way more often than I probably should.
Sure, it’s hard to mess up a burger, you can go to McDonald’s and get an ok burger and be satisfied, but it may be even harder to make a GREAT burger. We are lucky because we have some restaurants in Fort Collins and the surrounding area that have perfect the beef patty! Here are my ten favorite burgers in Northern Colorado:
10. Runza – Loveland
I must admit, if I did this list without any input from my co-workers Runza would have never made the list. I had only been there two or three times ever, and I thought they only had sandwiches. But, more than one person said Runza needed to be on the list, so I checked it out! The homemade bread dough from scratch, hand-sliced onions, and fresh lettuce and beef make for one of the best burgers I had never heard of. In 2009 Runza celebrated 60 years and now have over 80 locations in Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas and Iowa. I can see why!
9. Bruce’s Bar – Severance
When someone from Northern Colorado thinks Bruce’s in Severance, they think Rocky Mountain Oysters! In fact Bruce’s has gained worldwide fame for their “nuts.” But, there are plenty of people out there who are not into the whole eating a bull’s private parts thing, so for them Bruce’s also cooks up other parts of the cow. They do it pretty darn good too! You choose a quarter pound or half pound patty and all kinds of different toppings, add some fries or chips, and you have yourself a top ten burger in Northern Colorado!
8. Larkburger – Fort Collins
A restaurant based solely on popular burger served at a fine dining restaurant in Vail spells a gourmet burger joint called Larkburger. Thomas Salamunovich recognized that a perfectly prepared, all-natural gourmet burger would be appreciated beyond Vail – so in 2006, Larkburger, the restaurant, was born. Driven by an eco-friendly philosophy and health-consciousness, Larkburger’s restaurants, menu and daily operations are designed around an all-natural experience. From the interior walls, the packaging, and the all natural ingredients, Larkburger is defiantly the best “green” burger I have ever eaten! With all that being said, I know you are thinking a huge price tag like I was, not the case though! Go check this place out!
7. Culvers – Greeley, Johnstown
A drive through burger usually means quick, convenient, and just ok. Not at Culvers! Don’t get in a hurry, because you may have to wait a few minutes while they cook your “butterburger” fresh, but it’s so worth the wait! Never frozen, 100% U.S. beef, real Wisconsin cheddar, and a butter toasted bun (the reason they call it a Butterburger), make for the best fast food burger in Northern Colorado! P.S. They have frozen custard which is the best cold creamy creation since, well, ice cream!
6. Stuft – Windsor, Fort Collins
The best kind of burger is always the kind you create to your exact standards! At Stuft, that’s exactly what you do. Pick your meat, then choose from seemingly hundreds of toppings, and even pick your bun. They cook it all fresh and fast, and then you enjoy your very own masterpiece! Sure they serve fries, but the real side at Stuft is what you have to drink. See, Stuft has a full bar to help you wash down your delicious burger.
5. Smashburger – Loveland, Fort Collins
There is something magical that happens when you take fresh ground beef, roll it into a ball, and smash it into a patty. Smashburger has captured that magic and add a little sizzle by placing it on a buttered flat grill, season it perfectly, place it on a butter-toasted artisan bun and top it with the highest-quality cheeses, freshest produce and condiments. Why would you put a masterpiece like that in a bag? You wouldn’t of course, and that’s why Smashburger brings that goodness out to you on a plate next to some great fries, and if you like, with a hand spun shake! Burgers, fries, and shakes done right, to me, the best thing you’ll ever come across!
4. Big Al’s – Fort Collins
Big Al’s “keeps it in Colorado” from the locally raised hormone free staff to the recycled and repurposed décor. Oh, and their fries are amazing and the burger patties are never frozen. They top their burger with Big Al’s “Saucy Sauce”, what they say is the “only sauce worthy of our burger worship!”
3. Fat Albert’s – Greeley
This is on the list not only because they have a damn good burger, but because Sue and her staff make you feel good while you eat. To me, that is as important as the food itself. There are plenty of great “normal sized” burgers at Fat’s, but the pride and joy is the famous “Belly Buster,” which is one pound of pure hamburger joy.
2. Five Guys Burgers and Fries – Fort Collins
Once called “Willy Wonkas of Burgercraft” Five Guys is loved by about everyone who has ever visited one, and they let you know all the good things people have said about them with their wall décor. There are over 250,000 possible ways to order a burger at Five Guys and they are all extraordinary! Never frozen beef cooked to order on a toasted bun with a bunch of toppings for you to choose from, and served with more hand cut fries than you need, Five Guys took the simple idea of a fried burger and perfected it! They are so good, that you need two, really! You have to order a single burger, because the regular hamburger comes with two patties! Peanuts while you are waiting are available, but I discourage eating them, save room for one of the best burgers you will ever eat!
1. JB’s – Greeley
Since 1937 the little drive in on the corner of 8th Ave. and 25th St. in Greeley has been serving the best (greasiest) cheeseburger you will find in all of Northern Colorado. They raise their own cattle for the beef on their farm northeast of Latham in Weld County, and that translates into the freshest beef patty you'll ever see on a bun! Actually, just about everything you get at JB’s was made at JB’s, so be sure to have a piece of hand breaded shrimp with your burger, or some homemade chili on top of it! Oh, and for every 12 burgers you buy, you get a free gallon of their famous homemade root beer too. Not only the best burger in Northern Colorado, but one of the best restaurants and a true legend of the area!
These are my favorites, but who am I. We want to know your favorite NoCo burger. Tell us in the comment section below, or on our Facebook page.