Updated: Oct 30, 2019
Burgers Aren't Built the Same in Fort Collins
Since moving to Fort Collins, Colorado, I’ve eaten at many of the local bars, taverns and fast-food chains across the NOCO region. Throughout my love for the all-American-meal, I’ve created a list of the top and bottom burger joints in the area for your consideration prior to seeking this favorite sandwich. Here's what I've learned thus far:
I get nothing but love every time I hit this burger restaurant. I love the tater tots and fries where I'm never disappointed. Did you know that Smashburger originated in Denver, Colorado? They now have franchises around the world where you can assume the food will never waiver. The protein is light, greasy and juicy with plenty of flavors and cooked to perfection creating a party at every bite. My favorite is the BBQ bacon cheddar burger. You’ll delight with complimentary rosemary and garlic seasoning the Angus beef, lots of onion straws and tangy sauce. Also, they have a nice selection of toppings to enhance every bite. I'm going 5-Forks on this one and giving them a "ForkinA."
Bar Louie has a swanky adult atmosphere where you’ll find some of the best martinis in FOCO, but unless you like flavorless food, I would order something else and not the burgers. Tuesday's Happy Hour features $5 cheeseburgers which are a screaming deal forgetting the tasteless beef. While the drinks are a hit, I can only rate the burgers with 3-forks. Each time I hit this place up, I am excited hoping the chefs from my previous visit was just having a bad night and give it another round with the sandwich. My demise led to finding the burgers smell like they’re made with sink water. I’m not sure if the meat has a low turnover where they need to unload old inventory or if they’re just not sure how a burger should savor, but they aren’t the best place to spend your $5. Nope, seen nothing but sorrow with these skank-burgers each time. However, kudos to the good mixologists with bomb-ass personalities making up the difference. They are a true 'fork' in the road. 3-Forks
People underrate Red Robin. I will disclose for a minute, I usually get my RR delivered and have never been let down as they arrive hot and pair with any television program. I love the restaurant, but it seems they need new branding. The staff is always friendly when I belly up to the bar. The portions are ideal for even those with a big appetite and the beer is super cold. Even with the inexpensive value, I’ll give a grade of 4.5 Forks. They are at the ‘fork yea’ phase but not quite a 5. If they change the outdated décor I could see the rating improve. Also, the menu offers basic bar food and not anything stretching toward a unique spin of cuisine with the exception of the garnish. However, the burgers are cooked perfectly and the variety is intense. Their branding leans toward gourmet on the cheap, which is why I like them. Ah, what can you expect? 4.5 Forks
Ryan’s Bar and Grill at the same plaza as Kohl’s and grill a mean and “juzey” burger. I’d say one of the best in FOCO and at a price point that won’t leave you short on rent. Warning: Football season is in full swing and this time of the year, you’re lucky to get a table. Avoid hitting the place during the game day unless you don’t mind the rowdy atmosphere. If you enjoy action, you’ll have a good time with a super friendly crowd. In addition, there’s indoor and outdoor seating giving you more options during the nicer weather. More importantly, they cook their burgers with the right amount of spices and the buns are always super soft. They have several ways to order your cheeseburger, but I’m a "Plain Jane" with my sandwiches, where the patty and bun are everything. You can dress a burger up, but they aren’t always better. (Some guys look better in a tuxedo, but the guy is the same whether he’s wearing jeans or a suit). I’m giving this burger 5-Forks for being what it should be, delicious!
Lark Burger is by far one of the most flavorful and fresh burgers in this town. They gave Fort Collins a blessing when this chain left a link in FOCO. The presentation is surprising with an ultra-healthy protein. The philosophy of the establishment is green friendly. All the packaging is biodegradable where you’ll feel you’re contributing to a healthier planet. I love this venue and why not? The meat is Black Angus certified delivering phenomenal taste. They deserve a 4.5 fork rating for their excellent presentation and no worries with the restaurant’s environmental focus. However, they could win with a 5 if the service was faster. 4.5 Forks
I just love this venue from the interior to the catering for your palette. Who doesn’t love big food and a massive beer list? They are full of variety at this Foothills Mall location with Bad Daddies being in a true burger zone. I would like to give them a 10 for all the sides and other dishes, but I would say they’re closer to a 4-fork-rating with slow service. In addition, they’re always packed where seating is challenging. If you’re looking for an inexpensive meal, Bad Daddies might not be your best choice. There are plenty of other choices for food when you want a burger alternative. However, their selection of specialty burgers is dynamite! 4-Forks
All McDonald’s are not all the same. When I put this in my top list, there was only one in town, worthy of a 4-star rating and that would be at 2401 S College Ave, Fort Collins, Colorado. This location is breeding success stories more than fries! I love the Double Cheeseburger and as long as I’m not eating it every day; I don’t care about the consequences, After all its 100% fresh beef. However, I feel they’re deserving of 4-forks since they are always polite, and the burger is a damn good one. Price brings this rating down. Too high for a drive-through burger joint but inflation and a healthier venue cost the consumer? Right, right? 4-Forks
Sonic is superb. Even those with the most discerning of tastes enjoy this nationwide chain. I love the concept of the drive-up service. The onion rings could not be more delicious tasting hints of donut batter and maybe peanut oil. No matter which way you bite the burgers are scrumptious. This is another chain you’ll find in NOCO with plenty of reason to swing in the fast-food joint. As far as the hamburgers, the bun seems to be the unique flavor. Buns are always important. 4.3 Forks
I love BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse. There’s an upscale atmosphere without the high prices. They have a smashing menu even on a budget, but the food is always top. They make a very good cheeseburger with nice flavorings such including sage, ground black pepper, and garlic powder. Simple but with tons of personality BJ’s executes a terrific meal every time. One thing that’s most impressive is ordering food via GrubHub, they’ll bring you a fantastic dinner or lunch. Make yourself a regular at this national chain. We locate the venue off Harmony Road. 5-Forks
If you’re like me, I consider myself a burger connoisseur. The juicy beef nestled between two buns gets me excited about the variety of this age-old sandwich. Hold the lettuce, tomato, and pickle, if the patties have enough flavor and there’s a good bun, ketchup and mustard is all you need. Not all burgers are built the same. These aren’t the only restaurants in town, however, I’m always open to trying other places upon recommendation. What’s your favorite burger joint? Drop it in the comments.