David vs. Goliath. Park Burger is Denver’s highly regarded craft burger restaurant that has opened a couple of new restaurants recently; one in the Highlands and one Uptown. Their original location near DU is tucked away in a neighborhood setting, which only adds to the appeal. Griff’s on the other hand takes you back to a simpler time.
So which one’s better? Let’s go to the breakdown:
(1) Park Burger
Park Burger deviated from the strip mall or restaurant row to create a truly unique dining atmosphere. Tucked into a residential neighborhood, Park Burger feels like the family corner store, that also happens to serve up some delectable burgers. It’s crazy popular now of course so that mystique may be a little worn down, but the heart of Park Burger is still there. It’s a casual, family-friendly neighborhood restaurant, and doesn’t try to be anything more. Like all great burger joints before it, Park Burger prides itself on using only the freshest, highest quality ingredients. The burgers use all natural, never frozen beef, buffalo, and house made turkey and veggie burger patties, all on top of locally baked buns made exclusively for Park Burger. Park Burger has a list of already-chosen options, including The Royale (1/3 lb. patty, caramelized onions, bleu cheese, and bacon) and The Chilago (1/3 lb. patty, cheddar, jalapenos, and guacamole), as well as an ever changing “Chef’s Featured Burger” that is always a winner.
The featured burgers are often too enticing to pass up, but the good old-fashioned Park Burger with cheese is nothing to sneeze at. The two times I had the featured burger, one had pulled pork, white cheddar sauce, and a balsamic grilled onions, and the other one had potato chips and a bearnaise sauce on it. Both were freaking amazing, but for the Burger Bracket we’ve got to rate a burger that you can go there and get any day of the week. The regular Park Burger comes with a 1/3 lb. burger patty (Angus beef from Harris Ranch) and is cooked medium unless otherwise specified. It comes with the usual dressings, as well as a laundry list of toppings for a little bit extra (cheese, bacon, etc.). So I went with the bacon cheeseburger, which came to $8.00 when it was all said and done. The meat is cooked extremely well, and is the perfect size for the bun. The toppings are cooked along with the burger so it all melts together. The bun might even steal the show a little bit, as it fits the burger perfectly, holds up to drippy juices, but is soft on the outside.
It’s hard to put into words the feelings/taste that comes from the perfect burger, but Park Burger comes very close. There’s a reason why the place is packed every night and why this burger is winning awards left and right. It’s gonna be a tough burger to beat.
(8) Griff’s Hamburgers
Griff’s Hamburgers is from another era well before my lifetime, but makes me long to have experienced it. Griff’s is a regional fast food chain founded in 1960 in Kansas City, Missouri. At one time they had locations nationwide, with the majority in the South. Nowadays only a couple handfuls of Griff’s remain, mostly in Texas, with 2 locations in the Denver area (S. Broadway at I-25 and in Arvada). The nostalgia really hits home when you’re at Griff’s. It’s from the beginnings of the fast food era, but the key is that it hasn’t changed/evolved like all of the other fast food chains that started out in the 1960s. And that’s a good thing. The A-Frame building, the hard plastic booths, the pictures on the menu. You’re used to it by now, but Griff’s just feels different. It feels better. As for their classic “Double Giant Cheeseburger”, it tastes like what you would imagine. Unfortunately it’s undoing is the two thin patties of overcooked ground beef that was preformed weeks ago, but it’s still very good. I’d take Griff’s over a national fast food chain cheeseburger any day of the week.
Sometimes, Goliath wins. Park Burger cruises to an easy first round victory.