Downtown vs. Uptown. The classic battle of sophistication vs. crass and unrefined. And that’s about where the hyperbole ends. Because like the amount of time it took to make my decision in this match-up, this breakdown will be short and sweet.
Let’s get to the match-up:
(3) Row 14
Row 14 was one of the last entrants into the Denver Burger Bracket. A wine bar and bistro just doesn’t scream “great burgers” to me, but it was included in the Denver Burger Battle, so I figured it was worthy of one of the 32 spots in the bracket.
Boy was I wrong.
It looks like they’ve got a ton of good menu options, and their wine selection is fantastic (my wife found a new favorite Malbec), but they might want to consider removing the burger from their menu. If I had one word to describe it, I would use “stale”. Everything tasted stale; the bun was the most egregious offender, and tasted days old. The bacon also tasted stale. Not fatty, or crispy, but stale. Like it had been made in the morning and not reheated at all. Almost like beef jerky. The burger patty was well cooked but bland, and the parmesan fries had more parmesan than fries, which was a bit disconcerting as well. Luckily my wife ate half of it, or else I might not have eaten the entire thing. Coming in at $14, it didn’t quite hit our worth-it-ness standard.
Overall Row 14’s burger was a major disappointment, and by far the worst offering in the 2013 Denver Burger Bracket.
(6) Hamburger Mary’s
So as you can tell, Hamburger Mary’s wins this match-up almost by default. But in actuality, I tasted their burger BEFORE Row 14’s, and already knew that it was going to put up a fight.
Hamburger Mary’s is an LGBT-friendly burger restaurant chain that started in San Francisco, California, in 1972. There are 12 Hamburger Mary’s in the U.S., and I had actually already been to the West Hollywood location previously, although had never eaten one of their burgers. Their burger list is quite impressive as they have 18 different burger combinations on their menu. They’ve got green chile burgers, pesto burgers, stuffed burgers, Hawaiian burgers, and even a burger with mac-n-cheese on it! (I know, I should’ve gotten that one) Instead I opted for the Elvis Burger, which is a 1/2 lb grilled patty topped with tomato, coleslaw, and french fries. It’s served with onion rings for $10.95.
The burger is pretty darn good. Just short of great, the patty is cooked well, and the coleslaw really works with the burger and adds a good sweetness to it. The bun is pretty spartan, but does the job. The only downside was the techtonic plate shifting of the burger toppings, which slipped and slid out the back and sides, making this burger a mess to eat. But sit back, play some Drag Queen Bingo, drink a beer, and you’ll enjoy whatever burger you choose.
Even though it only took one bite of Row 14’s burger to declare Hamburger Mary’s the winner, their burger combinations make this Uptown location worth a visit.