What: Ignite Burgers & Lounge unveils a new burger-centric menu and fresh cocktail concepts you have to taste to believe.
Where: Ignite at 2124 Larimer St. Denver, CO 80203
When: Running for the year with new additions by season, like a burger of the week and seasonal ingredients.
Pros: The inventions on their burger menu are ingenious. The atmosphere excites and ignites your senses. And, don’t forget- Man Candy.
Cons: This is a rich, high in calorie meal, so splurge responsibly.
For the ultimate taste-seeking Denverite, Ignite is the burger bar. Their revamped burger and cocktail rich menu is original, accessible, and bursting with innovative ideas. Situated in Lower Downtown off of 21st and Larimer, people may come to Ignite for the rooftop patio, but stay for the truly out-of-this-world menu concepts.
One thing that is immediately apparent when walking in to Ignite is the welcoming atmosphere. It’s a rare form of restaurant, one that you could bring your group of girls for a bachelorette party, or your family and great grandma for a birthday. It is a safe, warm, family friendly but still an almost hipster trending space that doesn’t exclude.
We cannot praise Ignite without praising their Man Candy. They are very well known little bacon-spicy-candy pieces of heaven. Ignite has become a destination spot, simply for the Man Candy. This spicy, sweet, caramelized bacon appetizer is the most popular dish on the menu. If you go to Ignite, and you don’t try this ingenious concoction, you have failed. General manager Jake explains:
“It’s tricky. You have to keep it from curling, season it with the cayenne. You lay the man candy flat, top it with molasses and brown sugar, pepper flakes. You’re gonna get sweet, savory, spicy, all at the same time.”
For my feminists, do not fret, there is such a thing as woman candy. It’s the same concept dipped in chocolate, made on special occasion. They have the Man Candy Wedge, they have a burrito that revolves around the flavor of the spicy and sweet bacon, even a drink called the Man Candy Manhattan. It has a serious kick to it. Slightly too spicy for my palette, yet I appreciate the nuances of a place that is even capable of putting bacon on a cocktail. Brilliant. Just one of the many dishes on their menu that doesn’t shy away from a strong flavor profile.
A feast for the eyes and the stomach, the Hangover Cure Burger can possibly feed a small family. This thing is killer. In a good way, with an egg over easy, bacon, potato, all stacked practically a foot high in a towering burger inferno. It is a three course meal in one burger.
“We are not counting calories in this building, that’s for sure.”
Ignite boasts some amazing cocktails as well. They just began a Shoot ‘Em program with a 4$ beer and shot pairing, making it an even better pregame spot in LoDo! Shoot ’em program, as Jake explained, was to inspire people to get shots who normally wouldn’t. When in Ignite, why not have a shot of fire water (a Native American term for liquor, in fact not a play on “Fireball”). It’s very interactive and starts your evening in an exciting, participatory environment.
I fell in love with the refreshing, cool, Whiskey-A-Go-Go. This drink is the perfect blend of sour and cherry bitters, with the in-house made Fire Water to top it off. Also, while the Manhattan with Man Candy had too much of a kick for my palette, I thoroughly enjoyed their Bourbon Mule. To take the old school copper cladded mule that is so popular in Denver, and to give it a twist of originality with the addition of Peach liquer, honey-basil simple syrup, and lemon, is the exact innovation that Ignite excels in.
On to the absolute star of the evening, a burger that I am actually drooling over the thought of: The PB&JJ Burger. This dish is a show stopper. We had a moment with one of the masterminds behind the scenes, Head Chef Jared Peterson:
“Ignite, as in ignite your senses. The word is the restaurant. It is memorable, and you’ll keep coming back for more. I’ve worked for concept for quite a while, I came down here from Table Mountain Inn. We’ve got a lot of freedom and we can try all kinds of new burgers, still perfecting the flavors.”
The menu is absolutely dynamic. Chef Peterson explained his process in balancing the spicy and sweet, the savory and subtle, all in a PB&J burger you actually have to taste to believe. The jalapeno-raspberry jam with fresh jalapenos oozes off the bun and creates the perfect savory-sweet combo.
The highlight of this dish is the peanut butter aioli. While not shying away from the peanut butter flavor, he created an aioli that is light and texturally easy to chew. Each note in the PB&JJ packs a punch of flavor and somehow all works harmoniously together. Pair with some subtle and minimalist sweet potato tots. Wet wipes included.
While burgers are their forte, Ignite has some non burger dishes that are worth your cravings. There is literally no mac and cheese like Ignite’s Green Chile Chicken Mac and Cheese. This is a dish that moved my palette more into fall and winter flavors. It is a Green Chile Chicken Mac and Cheese with bacon, cheese, chives and Ruffle Chips on top.
This cheese is divine. It is the creamiest, richest, and most divine cheese mixture I have had in a long time. To coincide with their innovation on all fronts in the kitchen, this dish blew me away. Splurge on calories and share, as it is definitely big enough for two.
Even down to smaller side dishes, like their Brussel Sprouts, you see the common thread of powerful flavor. The brussel sprouts are served with a mushroom soy with a little bit of truffle and crushed pistachios to add a texture, then flash fried. Even with such a popular Denver menu dish, Ignite somehow never shies away from bold, savory flavors. They have more of these craveworthy dishes than any burger place I’ve been.
Enjoy Ignite and the newly designed rooftop patio bar with expanded, covered seating! Check out 303 Magazine on Instagram for all the best foodie finds and crave-worthy dishes in Denver!
All photography by Lindsey Bartlett.