I look back a few years to when I worked downtown- and had a few bucks lying around to eat out regularly. Nice summer days amongst the skyscrapers normally gave one a sense of cabin fever while working in a stale cubicle, in which case the lunch hour to spoke out in an extended radius brought endless possibilities to the table. Wazee Supper Club, Dixon's (R.I.P.), Chipotle, and a number of supreme street carts along 16th Street were regular pit stops- but among the ranks in my opinion, one reigned supreme for me. Not only from a quality standpoint, but also that of value.
Yet again, I look back. To the time where Biker Jim actually unloaded his cart every day and flawlessly executed orders from a bustling line of hungry yuppies. Most of them would chant 'The Usual', throw $5 over the counter and then scatter about in Skyline Park to satisfy their craving with a loaded dog, soda and bag of chips. And as I consider myself a vintage fan, I could only find myself attracted like a lemming to his 'brick and mortar' extension, that takes this highly successful gourmet hot dog cart to the next level.
As it's been a few years since I worked downtown, this was somewhat of a solemn homecoming for me. A buddy and I dropped into the Ballpark neighborhood on a slow Tuesday night (well after the Rockies had met their 2011 demise), and the neon sign beckoned us in. A number of things were reflective of the street cart of old, like the logo, some of the offerings, and advertisements for 'The Usual', except this time it was on steroids.What was $5 then was now hanging out for $9.25. My heart sank. Well, there goes my value proposition.
I then thought to myself, "well you have to get a return on your investment, so why not charge more?" After all, anything that Anthony Bourdain raves about should naturally increase in net worth. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that though I would shell a few more clams over the counter, I was going to get what I paid for. Jim wisely extended his options on possible sides, and you'd imagine my surprise when I was given the option of soda or a PBR with my "usual". Turns out soda doesn't mean soda anymore, as in this instance you're talking 100% natural Boylan's on tap.
Regardless of all the changes, I was still brought back to the street cart days with a robust offering of condiments to go with my Jalapeno Cheddar Elk Sausage. And though I rarely deviate in my decision, I was certainly enticed with all of the options spelled out for me. House-cut fries and a PBR rounded it out, as I indulged in a smoky, spicy game link, loaded with Coca-Cola caramelized onions, cream cheese, jalapenos and a little Sriracha for good measure. Though a lot of 'bam' elements on this one, the sweetness of the onions and silky cream cheese balance it out nicely.
Jim's is a great place to drop in for a quick bite, and come baseball season is an excellent pre/post game hangout with only a block's saunter between Coors Field. Check out all of the varieties, and get creative with your toppings. This is a build-your-own experience kind of place, and definitely not your grandpa's hot dog.
So even though I kinda miss the days of digging through a cooler for my drink and a storage container for chips, I have to say that I find solace in the fact that I always know where Jim is. No more winter hibernation, or 50 person lines. Some people like him, and most people love him. But even more so, they love his unique concept that took Denver by storm. I think I might too, and I'll be back to try something crazy next time. Or maybe, I'll just wait for the new food truck to drive by my house...
Dish It Up!
Rating: Good (2 out of 4 Dishes)
Believe it or not, you can also get a burger
Catch some crazy offerings on "What The" Wednesdays
Street Parking Available
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