Cheeseburgers in paradise
Sept. 18 is National Cheeseburger Day
According to the National Day Calendar website, Sept. 18 is National Cheeseburger Day. In honor of this American staple, we thought we’d share some delicious details on the places that serve up a fantastic cheeseburger up and down the valley.
Restaurant: Craftsman – Edwards
Name: Schmidt Mac
The Goods: Two all-beef patties, Fromage Américain (American cheese), tender belly bacon, griddled onion, shrettuce (shredded lettuce), special sauce, dill pickles on a Hovey & Harrison sesame seed bun.
Word has it that Christopher Schmidt, chef-owner of Craftsman, created this as a staff meal when he worked at Sweet Basil. Made with fresh ingredients like grass feed beef, “freedom” (American) cheese and quality bacon and secret mayo-based sauce has qualified the Schmidt Mac to win the Vail Daily’s Best of the Vail Valley gold medal for best burger last year and the bronze medal in 2018.
Restaurant: Southside Benderz – Avon
Name: Original Benderz Burgerz
The Goods: Your choice of a single, double or triple one-third pound beef patty served on Benderz’ signature fresh-baked, house-made-every-day bun with 2,000-island dressing, lettuce, tomato and red onion with your choice of American, cheddar, Swiss, pepper jack, provolone or bleu cheese. Other add-ons include mushrooms, jalapeños, grilled onions as well as avocado, bacon and a fried egg.
Stop by Southside Benderz for what Denver’s Westword Magazine calls the best burger on I-70. What makes its burger so great? “It’s the beef! Fresh, never frozen Angus beef is what sets our burgers apart,” said Noah Bender, the namesake behind Southside Benders. “We make our buns at our Northside bakery and people love our atmosphere with the big giant bar and patio,” Bender said. The Benderz burger has earned the Vail Daily’s Best of the Valley bronze medal in 2019 and the silver medal in 2018 and 2017.
Breaking news, there will be even more space to enjoy a Benderz burger. Its sister restaurant, Pavalici’s Pizza, is closed and Benderz Burgers will open an additional location in its original spot where Northside Coffee and Kitchen sits on the north side of 1-70 in October.
Restaurant: Bully Ranch – Vail Village
The Goods: Bully Ranch gives you a choice of protein: Redbird chicken, 7X Wagyu Japanese beef, buffalo and even a non-meat option with the Impossible burger.
“We have five distinct styles of burgers that are regionalized, from our South of the Border burger with house-made spicy guacamole to our Bully Bourbon burger with smoked cheddar cheese, Applewood smoked bacon and house-made bourbon demi-glace, cheeseburgers are the ultimate American comfort food,” said Jeffrey Geller of the Bully Ranch at the Sonnenalp Hotel Vail.
“What I love the most is how wonderful and warming they can be. It brings you back to that place where you had your first cheeseburger,” Geller said. “Come try one along with one of our signature mudslide drinks.”
Restaurant: Vail and Beaver Creek Chophouse – Lionshead and Beaver Creek
Name: Mountain Cheeseburger
The Goods: a one-half pound patty of the chef’s special grind, choice of eight types of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, brioche bun, fries, pickle and then pick add-ons like bacon, avocado, grilled onions, sautéed mushrooms and grilled jalapenos.
“Our chef’s grind is 80% chuck beef and 20% brisket. The brisket is a bit fattier and we fold that in to give the burger that rich flavor,” said Joe Griffith, manager at Beaver Creek Chophouse. “We’ve kept this same burger on the menu for the past several years. We sell them all day and all night.”
Restaurant: Dusty Boot Roadhouse
The Goods: Choose from building your own burger to the classic Boot Burger with crispy fried onions, Applewood bacon, jalapeño jack cheese and house-made guacamole. The Fat Burger takes things to new heights with onion rings piled on top of bleu cheese crumbles, Applewood bacon and barbecue sauce. Need more? Add a fried egg or pork green chili to your burger.
“Everybody loves our burgers. We use Colorado raised hormone-free Angus beef,” said Alina Dabrowski, bartender at Dusty Boot. She also suggested you pair it with a Hazy IPA beer.
Restaurant: Brush Creek Saloon – Eagle
The Goods: With over a dozen burgers to choose from you’ll need to head down to the Brush Creek Saloon a few nights a week to taste them all. Try the Eagle Fire Truck with natural beef, bacon, jalapeños, pepper jack cheese, chipotle mayo and pico de gallo.
“The Eagle Fire Truck is our most popular burger on the menu,” said Brush Creek Saloon bartender Devon Sartori. “We use Aspen Ridge beef and it’s served with hand-cut fries, a fried jalapeno on top and it’s about six inches tall.”
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Tons of new and gently used gear can be found at the 51st annual Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Swap this weekend at Dobson Ice Arena in Lionshead.