Monday, February 15, 2010

Fatbelly Burgers, VERY local beef

You'd think it would be easy to find great burger joints in beef country but sometimes in Colorado it ain't so easy. My all-time fave in Colorado is Bud's Bar, but outside of this tiny bar in a tiny town south of Denver I've never had much luck. That is until this past Saturday.

I spent a few days snowboarding in the Rockies last week and naturally had a craving for apres-ski burgers every day. The Red Onion of Aspen is closed (but soon to reopen, hopefully with better burgers) and Jimmy's is a decent standby. I haven't had a burger at Woody Creek Tavern in years (though they were unmemorable) and the closest Smashburger is in Grand Junction. But just last November a new spot called Fatbelly Burgers opened in Carbondale that definitely fits the bill. Owner and ex-New Yorker Shane Vetter is making classic thin patty wonders on white squishy buns with special sauce that taste fantastic. Shane rolls fresh balls of local grass-fed beef and uses the griddle-smash method to make his burgers. "That griddle is at 500 degrees," Shane told me after I had finished my usual volley of questions. After one bite of my 1/4 pound Standard burger I immediately placed an order for another. I could have eaten a 3rd.

When Shane told me the beef was local I imagined the lots at Greeley, CO which is certainly local. Then I learned that the beef comes from grass-fed cows from Carbondale. Now that's local! His cows may even be closer to the griddle than Joe Maranto's Texas longhorns, the grass-fed cows The Meers Store uses for their burgers.

Next time I'm out there I need to try another new burger concept - Larkburger. The good people behind this local chain have invited me to taste their burgers but it will have to wait until my next adventure.