Monday, September 12, 2011

Park Burger on a Bench Across From Park Burger

Despite the unfortunate closing of Deluxe Burger last month, there are, thanks to the mini-boom of burger joints in our fair city over the last few years, many other options for the burger-seeking general public. The other day my family and I found ourselves (read: I dragged them along on an errand) in the Platte Park area--hungry, but with a short window of eating opportunity. To me a meal of burger and fries is the definition of a quick meal, and I figured that any place that serves burgers exclusively would be perfect given our time constraints.

Hence, we ended up at Park Burger, which as it turns out is not in any way a fast option—at least not on a beautiful summer Friday evening. Located on the southern end of the South Pearl business district in this family-filled, foot-friendly neighborhood, the crowds there tell me that the folks behind Park Burger filled a long-standing neighborhood need: a casual, family friendly restaurant with an accessible menu of regular food at regular prices (either that or you can’t pack enough restaurants into this neighborhood).

The short of it was that Park Burger was packed. Forty-five minutes for a table? Good for the Park Burger investors, but even if we had the time, waiting that long with twin infants in the densely packed atrium would have been like dragging nails across the proverbial chalkboard for the duration. But we were really hungry, and going through the rest of our plans for that night (while trying to look after our twins) without proper nourishment (read: fatty meat and greasy carbs) would have been just as painful. Partly from my new-parent mindset and partly from my true vagabond nature, a light bulb went off when I spied a few empty benches across the street: I quickly placed an order to go.

The hostess was friendly and relatively collected amongst the chaos of waiting customers clogging the entrance, orders going in and out, phones ringing and all the other hubbub of a busy operation. Within fifteen minutes I placed and received my order. I walked across the street, baby in one arm and in the other a white paper bag, partially see-through with grease spots and surprisingly heavy with only two burgers and an order of fries. (The only thing missing was another brown paper bag with a cold bottle of beer inside.)

What was so heavy was the extra order of fries that she had mistakenly included in my order (and that I paid for-- I checked) likely because it was hard to hear much over the din of diners and drinkers. My wife and I are not ones to complain about extra fried potatoes, but if I was going to get two orders, I would have made one regular fries instead of two sweet potatoes.

Oh well. We were here for the burgers anyway. I ordered the Chef's special: a green chile burger, medium rare. Unlike other burger joints (Deluxe), Park burger lets one choose the doneness of one’s burger, something I appreciate. My burger was cooked just as I ordered and had a wonderful kick from the surprisingly spicy chiles that was well-balanced by the creamy, cheesy sauce. I'm not sure how a Denver burger joint doesn't have a green chile burger on the menu all the time, but I was glad to be here when it was. 

I almost always get sweet potato fries over regular fries when I can. At Park Burger, the sweet potato fries were pretty standard, which is to say I ravenously devoured mine. Thin cut, salted, a little crispy-- but a little floppy with grease-- they were solid fries to go along with my stand-up burger.

For my wife I ordered a Chilango burger. Chilango is of course a word used to describe those from Mexico City. In retrospect, neither my Chilanga wife nor I are aware of any particular requirements that need to be fufilled in order for a burger to carry the name Chilango, but either way I thought she should have it. They only thing that made it really all that Mexican were jalapeños and guacamole. The cheddar cheese? Not so much. 

My wife didn’t love it. She felt like the guacamole wasn't all that great and did not go well with the other, more "traditional" burger adornments. I liked it fine, and she liked it enough that she finished it all herself rather than accepting my offer to eat the rest of it for her. I might be mistaken, but I think Park Burger won the Denver Burger Battle in 2010 with this burger. A winner is a winner, but from my sampling, I think they would be better off swapping out the Chilango for my green chile burger on both the menu and the next Burger Battle.

In the end it was a thoroughly enjoyable meal on the bench across the street from Park Burger. I’m actually surprised that no one else had thought to do the same. Next to the patio of Park Burger itself, this was probably the best place to enjoy a burger on the corner of Pearl and Jewell on that pleasant summer evening. And with a squirming twin in each of our respective arms, it was certainly better for us and the rest of the Park Burger faithful. 

From my very small sample, Park Burger makes some average to very good burgers but is nothing spectacular. That being said, I suppose I am not really a "burger guy" and very rarely is a burger spectacular in my opinion. Regardless of that, however, I do think that every neighborhood would be a little better with a burger joint like this (and Mayfair is a little worse off for losing Deluxe). But Park Burger is not so much of a “joint” as it is a restaurant. With this in mind you can choose to have your burger cooked in something other than well-done-- and get table service; but you have to wait to be seated and it is not the best option for grabbing a quick bite—unless you are willing to grab a seat on the bench across the street. 

Park Burger on Urbanspoon


  1. steuben's has a good green chile burger. not as good as old school blake's lotaburger in alburquerque, but good. plus i think lotaburger puts crack in their ketchup.

  2. Was never sure why Lotaburger was so addictive. I love that place. Must be the crack cocaine.

  3. Before Park Burger opened, they had to poll the neighborhood for their liquor license. The pollster told me not one single resident polled had objected, and that was unprecedented. It's a good spot for a burger place that is a little upscale an not too large. We go there for lunch sometimes.

  4. Just read this post and coincidentally had a Park Burger green chile special today. It hit the spot after a long bike ride. Dug the green chile and the lime cream sauce. FYI, my waitress said they are planning to add it to the regular menu.

    We grubbed at the 32nd & Clay location. And, afterward, there's always Rosales Panaderia across the street for pan dulce. Never too many carbs.



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