Where: Cherry Creek, Northglenn, and the newly opened location at Southlands in Aurora. Click HERE for complete location details.
Pros: Options. Sure, Bad Daddy’s is primarily known for its big burgers with crazy toppings. But they also have more unexpected additions like an entire gluten-free menu, brie, and a sushi-grade tuna “burger”. Plus, with their build your own burger & salad options, everything is completely customizable.
Cons: Decisions. With so many options, you can get lost in those long lists of ingredients. If you’re a newbie, start with one of the on-menu creations and save the customizing for your next trip.
Burgers, burgers, everywhere. It seems like Denver can’t get enough burger options. From new, local start-ups and fresh concepts from popular Denver restaurateurs to the classic standbys like the Cherry Cricket, there’s no shortage of options if you’re craving a patty between two buns.
Enter Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar, a concept out of North Carolina that made its Colorado debut when with the opening of its Cherry Creek location in early 2014. Now with three locations in the Denver area including the brand new addition in Aurora’s Southlands shopping center, this burger joint is poised to take over the Mile High one piece of buttermilk-fried bacon at a time.
That’s right, I said buttermilk-fried bacon. Excess is something that Bad Daddy’s embraces. Some of its top-selling burgers (and non-burger burgers) include the Bacon Cheese Burger on Steroids ($12.95) featuring 2 kinds of bacon plus bacon mayo, the Emilio’s Chicken Sandwich ($10.25) with fried chicken, a thick slice of melty mozzarella, jalapeño bacon and poblano mayo, and the Bad Ass Burger ($13.25), a “how do I fit this in my mouth?” monster that comes with (among other things) that crispy, battered bacon creation.
While this kind of heart attack on-a-plate food is appealing to the masses and has obviously helped Bad Daddy’s fill the seats, no restaurant should depend on kitsch alone to create loyalty. Especially in Denver, a city whose residents are quickly becoming accustomed to food that offers more than a cheap thrill.
This is where Bad Daddy’s is doing things right. This place finds a niche in the space between generic burger joint and one-dimensional extravagance. Sure, they do have three kinds of bacon plus a bacon mayo. But on my most recent visit to Bad Daddy’s, my meal consisted of a salad of mixed greens, fresh berries, avocado, juicy grilled chicken and a Greek lemon oregano vinaigrette. This is why the Create Your Own options elevate the experience here. Would you ever consider heading to a burger bar for a light, fresh meal option? No, probably not. But you should.
Like a lot of other burger-centric restaurants in town, Bad Daddy’s makes as much as possible in-house. This includes its American cheese (creamy, mellow, and nothing like those lifeless yellow squares you’re used to), pesto (try it on the ham and egg topped Sam I Am Burger), queso (get it on the tots), and all of its dressings.
They also offer a full bar menu that includes a solid Bloody Mary, the Daddy’s Dragonberry (affectionately called “Kool-Aid for adults” by the staff), and the Bad Ass Rocks Margarita (limit 2, there’s no shortage of tequila here). And for that classic burger & shake combo, Bad Daddy’s has you covered. Try the Chunky Elvis if you’re feeling particularly indulgent: creamy peanut butter, Ghirardelli chocolate, banana, house-made fudge and walnuts.
Basically, Bad Daddy’s has something for everyone and every mood. It’s got crowd-pleasing down, but it doesn’t skimp on quality, either. From the food on the plate to the staff serving it all up, Bad Daddy’s is consistently a winner in the super-competitive burger game.
All Photography by Lindsey Bartlett