Telluride is a haven for food fanatics. There is a restaurant for every taste bud ranging from the staple Grilled Cheese Cart to a $175 40 oz. Porterhouse steak from the famed Chop House. As much as we all love high end dining (as well as grabbing a quick bite from a food cart) there is something distinctly enjoyable about biting into a juicy hamburger prepared to perfection.
This great American food staple has evolved over the years from your basic patty on a bun with a little ketchup and mayo on top. In fact, the burger seems to have taken on an art form of it’s own, lending itself to creative interpretation. As such a staple, it’s practically a requirement now to have a burger on the menu, and not just for casual dining. High end eateries are crafting their own versions with designer ingredients and special grills to cook them on. With all the options out there what is it that makes a truly great burger and sets one restaurant’s option apart from the eatery across the street? Is it the creativity? Ingredient sourcing? Sauces? Bun? Perhaps personal preference–we’ll let you decide.
As any true western town, Telluride has no lack of burger options. In this quaint community of only 2,700 year round residents, there are no less than 10 different places to sink your teeth into a juicy patty. So to simplify things for you we’ve chosen four of our favorite burger spots between both Telluride and Mountain Village.
Bargain Burger: Diggity Dog
Sure it’s not glamorous, but you can’t complain about the price point or the large selection of toppings to add. Another positive is the quick counter front service, and its Mountain Village location doesn’t hurt either. It’s located in Heritage Plaza right in the Mountain Village Core just a stone’s throw away from the Gondola and Village Express Chair Four (the ski area’s main access point). Quick, affordable and convenient—perfect for ski bums on the go.
Creative Burgers: Flora Dora
The Flora Dora serves some of the best burgers in town and has quite a varied list of options for you to choose from. Most are named after locals who frequent this longstanding family-owned and operated restaurant. Of course there is always the basic burger, however, why not branch out and try something with bacon wrapped poppers, chipotle aioli on foccacini bread? If that’s not hitting the spot you might be interested in the Conlin Burger topped with fried mac ‘n’ cheese. Make sure not to overlook Josh’s Brie Burger, complete with watercress, avocado and habanero fig compote. For those watching what they eat, they have a killer Paleo Burger which includes: oyster mushrooms, egg, bacon, avocado, lemon herb aioli and sweet potato hash. This is the spot for the discerning burger eater looking for something creative and different.
Variety and Options: Palmyra at The Peaks
Palmyra is a beautiful spot that faces due west overlooking the iconic Wilson range. As far as sunset views go, you can’t beat their outdoor deck or floor to ceiling windows. They focus on Colorado sourced food and have multiple options for burger lovers. Their menu includes five different burgers: Simple, Peaks, Lonestar, Pandora, and Lux. Each has it’s own garnishes and toppings, such as, fried onions on the Lonestar and pork belly jam on the Lux. Meat options include:Colorado Wagyu, beef, lamb, chicken, or house made black bean and quinoa (vegetarian). Each burger is paired with French fries or a side salad unless you would like to substitute for sweet potato tater tots or soup. We highly recommend the sweet potato tots! If that is not enough options for you, you can add cheddar, swiss, pepperjack, bleu cheese, avocado, bacon (because that should always be an option) jalapeno, pico de gallo, and a fried egg to any burger of your choosing. The options are so extensive it’s tough to decide what to order. We recommend hitting it right at sunset and getting the Burger and Beer special which includes a Simple Burger and a Sierra Nevada beer for just $10! It’s such a sweet deal we considered it for our Bargain Burger, but alas, with all those options we thought it would be best for someone who likes to personalize their patty.
Best Ingredients: Smugglers Brewpub
Telluride’s only true brewpub, Smugglers, named after one of the region’s top producing mines, has an incredible selection of food and craft beer. At any given time, the pub serves between 15 and 20 house made beers to complement their well curated dishes. The pub faire menu sources local ingredients within 100 miles of the Telluride region (quite a feat considering our high elevation location). No pub would be complete without an incredible burger on their menu. Smugglers works with local ranchers to source all of their meats. The burgers are made from cows that roam the valley here in Telluride. This helps support the local community as well as provide the freshest possible ingredients for their dishes. We also like the ever changing and rotating menu. With locally sourced products and a rotating selection, this is great for visitors who come to Telluride frequently.
No matter what you’re looking for burger-wise you’re sure to find it in the box canyon. From the grab & go cheap-o, to toppings like habanero fig capote, as well as locally sourced meat, there’s no excuse to have a bad burger while in Telluride. The biggest decision you might have to make is how not to eat a burger every night!
This article originally appeared on Telluride.net.