On paper this looks like a close, tight match-up. In real life, this is a complete pummeling. Coming out of the the Broncos region this match up features a pair of eateries that have two completely different concepts. Diego Zhangs Burger Cafe: Mini burgers/ Sliders or Juicy Burgers and Dogs: Classic Burgers/Fries (hot dogs too). Like all beef products, if someone can master craft in burger-making, the final product could be described as mouthwatering or succulent. Now, hopefully the pictures do not give the winner away, but, I think we have a mini upset in the making…..Let’s check out the match-up:
(4) Diego Zhangs Burger Cafe
After opening up in 2009, Diego Zhangs has prided it self on the unique concept they have created. Their mini-burgers and sliders are prepared from all natural beef, chicken, pork, fish products and stuck in between a nice, soft, house-made bun. As you look at the menu, it seems as though you are experiencing an “international flavor adventure.” Each of the 14 mini-burgers on the menu were inspired by some geographic location, both domestic and international. For instance, you can try the DENVER (Beef burger blended with smoked bacon, sautéed mushrooms, onions and Diego’s burger spice) or try the SHANGHAI (Chicken burger blended with carrots, cabbage, green onions and a mix of sweet and spicy sauces) and even the BEAR CREEK (Salmon Burger topped with smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato and dill aioli). They all sound great, but did you notice the word blended ? Blended means that yes, all of the other ingredients (except the cheese and the bun) are mixed in and formed into sliders. Although there are 14 options, for this match-up I’m sticking with beef.
Once I decided I only wanted beef that left me with 6 options; 3 beef options or 3 buffalo options. So I ordered the DENVER and the CENTENNIAL (Buffalo burger blended with poblano & jalapeno chilies, red pepper onions and cilantro), grabbed my number holder thingy, and sat down. Quick side note: If they served fries, I would have ordered those too). After about 5 minutes, my 2 sliders came out sitting in a rectangle plastic container. First impression, ,”speechless”. I immediately knew, just on presentation alone, that this burger needed to be the best food item I have even eaten in my life to regain my vote. Second impression, “where are the toppings?” I completely forgot to notice the word blended on the menu. The burger just looked plain. But, when I took my first bite out of the DENVER slider, I could absolutely taste and see the bacon, mushrooms, and the onions. But, what about the patty? It was overcooked and lacked the juicy “mouthwatering” qualities I was looking for.
(5) Juicy Burger and Dogs
Classic, mouthwatering, succulent, juicy, and simple; five adjectives I would use to describe Juicy Burger and Dogs. This location in the Denver Tech Center since 2010, has been blowing up around town due to their classic “Char” Burgers. I mean, what can you expect from a place that got voted best burger of 2012 by the Westword? Whether you stick with the Classic Char (single patty, lettuce, tomato, onions (raw or grilled, secret sauce) or make it a double, or add bacon, or get their spreadable cheddar cheese, you will leave Juicy satisfied and wishing you lived closer to DTC.
One of the most distinct qualities of the Juicy burger is in fact that “char”. The “char” is derived from how the burgers are cooked; over an open flame and charred by the grill, leaving a nice grill mark “tattoo” all over the house made patty. Combine that with a freshly made brioche bun (from Breadworks Bread Company, in Boulder), add all of the veggies, bacon, and cheese (aka “The Works) and you have the Cheddar Char Burger. Not only was this burger cooked perfectly, but the cheese was slowing dripping off the sides of the burger like lava flowing down a mountain. After figuring out where to attack this beast, I think I unhinged my jaw and then took a huge bite. Not only a huge bite, but a bite that captured everything on the burger, including the first thing I tasted, the secret sauce. For some reason the secret sauce set the stage for all the other ingredient to shine. And in about 5 minutes, the burger was gone, and I was contemplating ordering another.
Sidenote : This match-up took place all within a 1 hour window on a Saturday. To be honest, we knew who was gonna advance to the next round as soon as we walked out of Juicy.
Diego Zhangs lacked the winning formula for a succulent and mouthwatering burger. However, if we ever did a slider battle, at least we know one place that serves them. That said, Juicy Burger cruises to a victory and a spot in the 2nd round.