Five Great Vail Burgers For Meat Eaters

There’s no shortage of burgers to be had in a ski town, and ours is no exception. We’ve winnowed the list down to five exceptional patties that would do Wimpy proud.

With Abner Pizano Edited by Tom Winter October 17, 2016

Bully Ranch

At the Sonnenalp’s Westworld-style dining saloon, the burger to order is the Bully Bourbon: a handmade Angus patty topped with smoked cheddar, applewood-smoked bacon and sautéed onions in a Jim Beam demi glace. Go wild West and enhance your order with buffalo meat. Phideaux can feast on the dog-friendly patio, so bring your four legged friend. Also Try: The Definitive, topped with candied bacon, bleu cheese butter, and crispy onions. Sonnenalp Hotel, 20 Vail Road, 970-479-5460, bullyranchrestaurant.com

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The Bully Bourbon: a handmade angus patty topped with smoked cheddar cheese, applewood-smoked bacon and sautéed onions in a Jim Beam demi glace. Mmmmmmmmm...bacon!

Image: Tom Winter

Expert Burger

It’s pretty braggy to call any burger place “Expert”—even if the name refers to expert ski runs, but chef Chris McKenzie comes awfully close at this down-valley shop (and an outlet coming soon to Lionshead’s Concert Hall Plaza). The Zermatt places a cooked-to-temperature patty of freshly ground Colorado Angus beef in a buttered brioche bun with sautéed onions, swiss and roasted garlic mayo. First class sides include beer-battered onion rings and poutine: chef-made demi-glace gravy, mozzarella and green onions over hot crisp fries. Also Try: The Alyeska, a salmon patty slathered with caper mayo and topped with a hard-boiled egg and pickled onions. 313 Chambers Ave., Eagle, 970-328-1291, expertburger.com 

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Did someone say fried jalapeños? The Angel Fire is hot seller at Expert Burger.


At the mother-ship location for this growing chain of better-for-you fast-casual burger joints, the star is a tender Black Angus patty on a steam-softened bun, accompanied by shoestring fries with truffle oil and parmesan. Also Try: The chicken burger with fried jalapeños. 105 Edwards Village Blvd., Edwards,  970-926-9336, larkburger.com

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Larkburger's jalapeño-enhanced Chicken Burger is a zesty alternative for waistline-watchers cutting back on red meat.

Image: Larkburger

The Red Lion

While the Red Lion can often be a crushing madhouse of wall to wall tourists, time your visit for a Bleu Sky Burger when things are a bit quieter, like on Monday nights. Pungent bleu cheese perfectly complements the smoky bacon strips topping this half–pound burger, a juicy flavorful patty best ordered medium/slightly pink on the inside. Fries are crispy and light and salty, whetted with a craft ale. Also try: The Vail Burger, topped with sautéed mushrooms, crispy bacon and swiss. 304 Bridge St., Vail Village, theredlion.com

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The Red Lion's Bleu Sky Burger: a great option for Monday night football fans.

Image: Tom Winter

Route Six Café

Decorated with American highway memorabilia, this locally favored roadhouse plates one of the best cheddar cheeseburgers in the valley (an all-natural, hormone-free Angus patty on an artisan bun), accompanied by live entertainment, multiple TVs, pool tables, darts and pinball. Also try: The Alpine Burger with mushrooms, onions, and swiss. 40801 U.S. Highway 6, 970-949-6393, routesixcafe.com

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Route Six Café is a destination for cheeseburger aficionados.


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