“Where do you go to get anorexia?” — Shelley Winters
Y’ALL KNOW THAT I LUV BUGGERS more than anyone in the world ’ceptin‘ perhaps the late Ken Monfort who reportedly ate a cheesebugger every day for lunch. But while I do luv muh buggers, I gotta make room for a tuna sangie, a hot dog or something different once in a while. I’m really not fanatic about it. But I do luv muh buggers. Maybe a bit fanatic.
MY idea of a good bugger is one that’s hand-packed, freshly ground meat, a half-pound (or larger) and cooked a perfect medium rare. I don’t want lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions or blah de blah blah. Maybe a fresh green chili strip and some jack cheese. But that’s when I’m in the mood for a bit of spice. Toast the bun, and it better be a good one. Ain’t nothing worse than a great sangie on crummy bread. Folks go out and pay $10 a pound for the best certified Angus roast beef and then buy some 89-cent-a-loaf generic bread. Yeeesch.
A number of years ago, a writer for the Denver Post wrote a great story on something like, “the five best cheap places to eat on the way to Santa Fe.” I’ve not been able to locate a copy of the column, and the folks at the Denver Post are somewhat less than cooperative. Since then, I’ve been on the lookout for (I’m not going to say sleazy but…) bars (and grills) that don’t look so hot from the outside. All four of the restaurants you’ll read about below fall into the category, “not perty from the outside.” I discover new ones all the time. There are four in Sedalia, Colorado that fit the description perfectly, and I’ll be reporting on those in a future column.
Not far from my office there are four restaurants that serve great buggers, just like the doctor ordered. With no particular preference I give you, in alphabetical order, this year’s Final Four.
• Blue Cow: 316 Bear Creek Ave., Morrison, 303-697-5721
This friendly, small town eatery is where the locals enjoy good food at a reasonable price, everything from malts to margaritas. Diners bike, hike, or drive to the riverside location for café-style breakfasts and wonderful lunches, Espresso, daily food and beer specials! Owners Charlie and Pam Nathan have served fine food since 1990. The kitchen closes at 4 pm, and they have one of the nicest patios in town. Unfortunately the fresh flowers attract unfriendly guests with stingers on them, so I eat inside. Actually, I don’t do outside anywho. Those of you familiar with my columns from yesteryear will remember the story about the deli and the dog…. I’DON’DO outside.
But we’re here to talk about the grub. Their website is not working at present and they didn’t have a takeout menu and wouldn’t give me a real one, so I’ll wing it. There’s a good variety of sangies most notably a Cuban and an Italian sausage sangie and a dozen or so others. They are known for their ice cream and their house-made pastries and buns. The giant muffins and cinnamon rolls looked gorgeous but were way too pricey at almost four bucks per, didn’t care how good they tasted. But the buggers … Yo! A giant half-pound patty served on a maaavelous house-made onion roll, cooked perfectly, with a side of yummy potato salad. Muh best bud, Mr. Michael Floorwax, and I gobbled em up faster ‘n’ a Shinkansen.
• Fat Fenders Grill: 2490 W. Hampden Ave., 303-781-9408, www.fatfendersgrilleandsaloon.com
Don’t let the appearance from the outside or inside fool you. This is one fine eatery. The menu is extensive with over a dozen appetizers, almost two dozen sangies, soups and salads, Mexican entrees, pizza & calzones and daily specials. The sausage sangie is perhaps their most popular dish, and darn good. The salads are yummy and the chili cheese fries are fab, but it’s the bugger I come for. Freshly ground, hand-packed and grilled to whatever temperature you desire, these are super yummy. Unbelievably good. All sangies come with choice of fries, salad, potato salad, or cottage cheese. Onion rings are available for a few pennies extra. The half-pound bugger with fries, etc is a piddley $5.25. The super sausage sangie is $6.50. How do you beat these prices?
As the name implies, this is a “car joint” You’ll find all sorts of auto and hot rod memorabilia on the walls including original vanity license plates. There is live music on Friday nites and all kinds of events during the week. Check out their complete calendar and menu on their website.
• Q’s Pub & Grille: 10133 W. Chatfield Ave., 303-973-2905, www.qspub.com
The menu is enormous. Everything is good. Really good. They offer lotsa appetizers, sangies, salads, and specials. They’re now serving bugger and steak sliders. The chicken parm sangie ($7.25) will blow your mind, the fish and chips (Friday and Saturday only) is hand cut and prepared fresh. It’s more popular than Hanna Montana. The colossal shrimp cocktails ($9.95) will cause you to think you’re in Boston, and the pork egg rolls will blow your mind. KRFX, The Foxx’s G-Man blows down three orders every time he’s in there. But it’s the buggers that I crave. A giant half-pound fresh patty, grilled a perfect medium-rare, on a delish toasted bun. I get em on a mini-bun that is normally served with the sliders. That’s so I keep Dr. Stan happy cuz there’s less carbs. But don’t even try to get in here on a Friday or Saturday nite cuz the live bands bring huge crowds both nites. If you’re into the music (check out their website for the schedule), it’s a great place. Lotsa folks bring their kids for early dinner and then scoot by 9 when the band’s are doing their thing and the under age have to leave. Table service is terrific even when they’re packed to the rafters.
Better to come at lunchtime when it’s semi peaceful. Saturday and Sunday breakfast is served in the morning, and there’s a happy hour during the week 3:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. with half price munchies and discounts on booze. Wednesday nite is almost as busy with Trivia Pursuit games and great prizes. Did I mention that this is about the cheapest grub in town? A half-pound bugger with fries and the usual goes for $5.95. Cheaper than McDonald’s. Check out their website for the full menu.
• Rusty Bucket Bar and Grill: 3355 S. Wadsworth Blvd., 303-980-6200
House in what was for many years, Hoffbrau Steakhouse, the place looks the same, but the food is so much better. Altho I always liked the steaks at the Hoffbrau. The new menu, almost hot off the press, is expansive with over a dozen munchies, lotsa sangies and salads, entrees such as rib-eye steak, pork chops, chicken parm, a terrific smothered beef burrito and buggers. Buggers. The menu sez a 1/3 pounder, which to me doesn’t cut it, but if you talk nice to the cook, they’ll put two of em together for an extra coupla bucks. Now I don’t mean cooking two separate patties, I mean taking two fresh ground patties and packin’ em together into one giant 2/3 pound sucka, cooked to order.
The menu is so new with lots more items I haven’t had a chance to get thru it, partially cuz the buggers are so good. With mine I get a side of super delish green chili and a basket of house-made chips. Make sure they toast the bun with a dab of butter. Oh, so good.
SINCE THIS COLUMN was drafted, G and I have been to a super new bugger place at Park Ghetto several times, called The Counter. They call it a “build your own” bugger place, but it’s really a bugger place with tons of add-ons, some at no cost and others at a modest cost. The buggers go to a full pound of hand-packed Angus beef, all organic stuff. Check it out, along with five or six other eateries in a brand-new section just southwest of Macy’s, called The Vistas. Check em out: www.thecounterburger.com. P.S. The malts are really yummy.
Jay Fox is The Statesman’s resident gourmand. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.