Smashburger isn't just the name—it's the way chefs, otherwise known as Burger Smashers, cook every burger. First, they form never-frozen, 100% Certified Angus Beef into a giant meatball. Then they season it, place it on a butter-glazed grill, and smash it into a patty. The process caramelizes the beef, locking in flavor while keeping the meat juicy and tender. Each slab is then sandwiched in an artisan bun and is turned into one of an array of standard burgers or locally inspired specialties unique to each market.
This handcrafting approach typifies everything else the restaurant does, from blending handspun shakes to hand painting Smashburger's logo onto every beverage cup. Letting its food stand for itself and relying mostly on word of mouth for advertising, the Smashburger franchise expanded from one restaurant in 2007 to 220 today, with its swift growth from zero to 100 stores making it one of the nation's fastest-growing restaurant companies. This rapid development even caught the attention of Forbes and Inc. along the way.
Warmth emanates from both the decor and the staff at The Inglenook Restaurant. Owner Rod Brubacher and his wife Pam designed the restaurant’s pale-gold and burnt-orange dining room, dotted with contemporary art and small, open archways, through which mellow jazz music lilts and flows. Rod himself is often on hand to greet guests and welcome regulars back by their name or social security number.
As guests take in the traditional, tranquil vibe, they choose from a creative menu that merges classic and modern tastes. Shifting weekend specials and adjustments for dietary qualms, including gluten allergies, enable diners to experiment around the meal mainstays. Rod and his wait team amble past tables to suggest wine pairings and the necessary number of fork prongs for various entrees, which include gourmet meat and seafood plates such as pecan-encrusted salmon and rack of elk.
Purple- and white-hued walls evoke a speakeasy ambiance within Generations Wine and Martini Bar, named such for its seamless melding of old and new traditions. Personnel manning a 24-foot concrete bar decant Colorado microbrews and mix 20 martini variants, while chefs cull produce from local growers to generate meat-and-cheese platters, flatbreads, and a rotating assortment of tapas. For guests aching to sample a wider variety of spirits, Generations hosts frequent tasting events and séances channeling the ghosts of stomped grapes.
The Pourhouse entertains appetites with a symphonious menu of burgers, pasta, grilled fare, and more, accompanied by toe-tapping live jams most weeknights. Guests can reenact the glory days of Little League with specialty sliders (three for $6.50 or six for $12) in four flame-licked flavors, including traditional Angus beef and white cheddar, italian meatballs and marinara, and texan hand-cut pork with honey barbecue. The Pourhouse's grills sizzle with a variety of bovine cuts, such as the Pourhouse Burger, fashioned from three half-pound all-natural certified Angus patties topped with bacon, gorgonzola, havarti, onion rings, and guacamole, served on a signature pretzel bun with a forklift, extra napkins, and choice of side ($16.75). Capture the spirit of Charles Lindbergh sans kidnapping charges with St. Louis–style ribs, a full rack of spice-rubbed, slow cooked ribs served with brown-ale barbecue sauce ($16.25), or opt for a lighter fix with the veggie pizza loaded with roasted tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, olives, and zucchini ($9.25).
The sandwich artists at Silver Mine Subs take a no grilling or frying approach to designing bread-bound eats, putting the spotlight on fresh, crisp ingredients. Browse the menu in search of the Steam Engine, a warm hoagie stuffed with meatballs, marinara sauce, and provolone (5", $4.19), or the turkey-and-avocado-packed Caribou (8", $5.79). For a more flavorful punch than a chocolate-dipped boxing glove, patrons can aggravate the Mother Lode's layers of roast beef, turkey, ham, and salami (11", $9.79). Complement subs with a piping-hot cup of broccoli-cheese soup ($2.99) or a garden salad sprinkled with fat-free ranch dressing ($3.99).
Owner Chris Bailey named Blocky's Eatery after his grandfather, a Pennsylvanian machinist who sparked his passion for cooking. As a boy, Bailey remembers visiting his grandfather at the local Eagles club and making food for the men while they played cards. These memories were a major inspiration for Blocky's, a place where "everything is geared to someone who has 10 minutes for lunch."
Ingredients are sourced from local farmers whenever possible and the recipes, much like the family's pet tortoise, date back three generations. The cooks at Blocky's top pizzas with 22 possible toppings—including prosciutto, sun-dried tomato, and fresh garlic—and bake house-made bread to accompany pasta dishes.