I apologize for my absence from posting in December. I spent 3 weeks traversing through Europe, and yes it was amazing. I was fully intending to write some posts from there, but of course that didn’t happen. Because Europe, that’s why. And mulled wine. And beer. And all the food.
However, now I am back and have to share my latest favorite in LoDo: Crave Real Burgers (1550 Blake Street). Crave is a somewhat new addition to the neighborhood, having opened in late 2015. You may remember Provisions Chophouse & Drinkery being in this space before, and T|ACO before that. Crave isn’t all that new, considering they opened their first location in Castle Rock in 2010 (and also now have locations in Highlands Ranch and Colorado Springs). But that just helps explain why their burgers are so good: they’ve had almost 6 years to perfect them.
Why is Crave my new favorite burger place? Because there are burgers, and then there are Crave burgers. And most burgers don’t even come close to these. Sure, some options on the menu could be considered a little “crazy” (like the burger between 2 donuts), and not every option is for everyone — but there is an option for everyone to fall in love with. For Crave, it’s not just about putting together another burger, which seems to be what most restaurants tend to do. Every burger on the menu has been created by skilled chefs who spend a lot of time crafting every new addition to the menu. Does it have crunchy to balance out the soft? Does it have sweet to balance out the sour? Does it have creamy to balance out the spicy? A lot of restaurants have a burger on the menu. And sure, a lot of those burgers are pretty good, but they’re nothing memorable. What Jeff & Jeryn Richard aimed to do with the first Crave Real Burgers they opened, as well as with each subsequent one, was focus on just one thing, but make that thing amazing. And in my opinion, they’ve done just that.
Commencing with the Burger Photo Porn
Like I said, there are some crazy burgers on the Crave menu. That’s not to say that you can’t just get a great regular burger or cheeseburger, made with the same delicious 100% Colorado-sourced meat.
My personal favorite, though, is the Flaming Tiki (grilled pineapple, pico, fried jalapeños, lettuce, onion, habanero mayo, avocado, pepper jack). It’s tropical-sweet and spicy all at the same time, and I love it. And the garlic parmesan fries are also fantastic.
The special while I was here, the “Omaha” — which is a burger topped with crispy chicken, provolone, marinara, parmesan, tomato, basil, and garlic mayo.
One of the favorites here at Crave and the winner of the 2013 Denver Burger Battle, the “Sin City” (huge slice of crispy tempura-fried sharp cheddar, bourbon-glazed onions, candied bacon, avocado, lettuce).
This is another photo of the Sin City, but with a side of fried pickles.
Another favorite and the winner of the 2014 Denver Burger Battle is the “Love Stinks” (garlic cream cheese, crispy onion rings, candied bacon, roasted red pepper, onion, garlic mayo, red pepper aioli).
I know what you’re thinking: “there’s a burger in there?!” Yes, yes there is. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the “Slopper.” Underneath that green chili and toppings is an entire grilled cheese sandwich AND a cheeseburger.
Another crazy, ridiculous-yet-awesome burger is this “Luther” burger that comes between 2 warm glazed donuts (with bacon, cheddar, egg, and onion). The guy next to me (who has apparently tried all Crave burgers at their other locations) said it was one of his favorites. He also bravely agreed to model eating it for me (and check out that egg melted into the middle of the top donut).
This is the “Colorado Burger” (shredded lamb, poblanos, onions, pepper jack, avocado, chipotle mayo, tomato) — and it’s on a gluten free bun!
Another version of the Colorado Burger, but bunless.
The “Campfire” (buffalo patty with raspberry BBQ, crispy poblano rings, pepper jack cheese, coffee-dusted onion rings).
Some “Drunken Onion” burgers (cabernet caramelized onions, crispy onion strings, gruyere).
Last, but not least, that’s the “Nutty Professor” in front — which comes with melted peanut butter, bacon, jalapeños, and onions. And I know plenty of people who swear by peanut butter on their burgers, so don’t knock it ’til you try it.
And to wrap it up, here’s a picture of me trying to eat the Cubano, while my friend laughs at me. But this is what’s in that: ham, chorizo sausage, breaded pork, cheese, hot dog, chipotle mayo, avocado, jalapeños, egg, lettuce, tomato, onion. I mean this thing was the size of my face! I’d say I’m doing pretty well, though.
And those are just SOME of the burgers at Crave! There are plenty of other amazing options on the menu for you to choose from. And I’m sure more are coming.
Can’t forget about the boozy shakes!
Yes, Crave serves milkshakes with booze in them. And man are they delicious. I had the “Mudslide” shown below (blended with irish cream, vodka, coffee, and a brownie) — and holy crap was it good. You absolutely HAVE to try one of these. The words “life-changing” come to mind.
These are strawberry cheesecake milkshakes with graham crackers.